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Foraging for the past

The recent foraging trend is nothing new to Kara Flynn. She spent her childhood reluctantly foraging for blackberries, dandelion greens and cardoons with her mother Mary Louise Gerlach. Similarly, Gerlach recalls her own father foraging for a variety of plants. Flynn attributes her family’s love of foraging to their Sicilian roots. Foraging still plays a …

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Translating “cheesecake” into Polish

When you think of Polish food, pierogies and kielbasa may come to mind. But Liisa Ecola’s Chicago grandmother broke the mold: she is remembered for her cheesecake. Large numbers of Poles began arriving in Chicago in the early 19th century when unrest rocked their homeland. Today, they are among the city’s three largest European ethnic …

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Bundt cake means community – literally

Most Americans today will recognize a Bundt cake when it’s on the table. But for many, the fluted cake with the hole in the middle is particularly reminiscent of the 1950s and ’60s. It was this kind of nostalgia that prompted Marci Hilt to revisit her Bundt pan collection after the death of the pan’s …

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Utah Pioneer Day means family, food and Jell-O

Pioneer Day and food preservation are essential to Utah’s culture, which is intricately tied to the customs and calendar of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – the Mormon Church. Family and community gatherings — often potlucks, picnics and barbecues — are often also religious affairs. Pioneer Day, the official state holiday celebrated …

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Vermont farm vacation means food and family

One of my family’s favorite summer rituals is a trip to Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester, Vt. Tucked along the banks of the White River, this working dairy farm has about 300 cows, a hayloft with a tire swing and so many kittens the kids never have to fight over who gets to hold them. …

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African food, an American story

Auntie Oye has a message for children: Skip the fast food. Eat healthful, fresh things. Tell stories. Be proud of yourself. Laugh. Move. Auntie Oye is the alter-ego of Vera Oye Yaa-Anna, a nutrition educator and culinary storyteller in Washington, D.C. Her own story starts in Liberia, where she describes an idyllic childhood, going to …

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A Passover seder in Iowa

When Good Friday and the first night of Passover coincided several years ago, the Rosenblum family and a minister friend of theirs from Iowa decided to celebrate together. The New York Rosenblums decamped to Emmetsburg, population 3,904 at the last census, where they were to prepare a traditional Jewish seder for their friend’s congregation. And …

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Brisket for a hunger the size of Texas

When Katie Younger left Texas nearly a decade ago, she had no idea she was leaving brisket too. “I was shocked,” she says about the ignorance surrounding large slabs of fat-blanketed beef. “I just thought it was such a common meal for people to have.” In New England, beef brisket most often shows up as …

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Bear meat sometimes a hard sell

Alyssa Haak grew up in Wisconsin and remembers the day her dad served bear meat. “Nope,” she said after one bite, pushing it aside. “Nope, I’m done.” Haak admits that she was a pasta-with-butter kind of picky eater, but just the same, her reaction to bear was not unusual. Today, even well-traveled palates such as …

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Chef Erik Bruner-Yang serves noodles with a story

Erik Bruner-Yang, 28. watched his Taiwanese mother and grandparents cook, and it made an impression. He took what he learned in their kitchens, mixed it with a good dose of contemporary American sensibility and opened a Taiwanese-style noodle shop on H Street N.E. in Washington, D.C. “I try to honor the traditions of my family …

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