September 15, 2014

biscuits « Oreo »

“Oreo” cookies

In 1824, Charles Caleb Colton wrote: “Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery,” and we’ve been stuck ever since with similar phrases to excuse our copying the work of others. In my estimation, no other field has as much copying as cooking. Whether imitating, duplicating, mimicking, simulating, or outright plagiarizing, to say that copying isn’t commonplace in cooking is to deny that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. more »

September 8, 2014

rouleau de fromage

cheese roll

The modern concept of east‑west cooking, later supplanted by fusion cooking, has been around at least since the 1970s. In one sense, it has been around forever. When an ethnic group migrates to a new area, they tend to adapt their cooking methods and recipes to locally available ingredients. The result is a fusion of sorts. more »

September 1, 2014

hamburger de poulet

mini-chicken burger

In August, 2013, I spent a bit over a week in Japan. My main reason for being there was to learn about and make a few Japanese knives. (A two‑part article about my trip can be found here and here.) Whether home or away or far away, I’m always thinking about whether something I’m eating or watching being made would make a good amuse‑bouche, intermède, or mignardisemore »

August 25, 2014

les bonbons de Martha Washington

Martha Washington candy

Martha Washington didn’t make chocolate‑covered candies. Chocolate is not an ingredient in any of the recipes in either of the manuscripts now given Martha’s name. Other ingredients of these modern candies were also missing from the recipe collections. Dried coconut wasn’t quite yet making the trip to Northern Virginia. Sweetened condensed milk, wouldn’t exist for almost another century. more »

August 18, 2014

bouffées de thon et algues

tuna puffs

For me, as a typical west‑coast, middle‑class kid, the iconic dish in the 1950s was a tuna casserole prepared from a can of tuna, a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup diluted with milk, and a 12‑ounce package of egg noodles. Before baking, the casserole was topped with crumbled potato chips. more »

August 11, 2014

gluten de blé braisé avec cinq-épices

five-spice braised wheat gluten

When I seriously started cooking Chinese food in 1975, there was one ingredient that I would run across in certain cookbooks that I had no interest in finding or trying. It only appeared in cookbooks written in China for a Chinese audience, and I was lucky that many of these books had been translated into English in Hong Kong and thus were not Americanized in any way, including removing ingredients not available in America. more »

August 4, 2014

mousse de carotte séchée

crispy carrot foam

I recently have had the opportunity to eat at a number of modern, high‑end, hard‑to‑get‑a‑seat‑at restaurants. These have been great meals full of attractive dishes and exotic ingredients. For the most part, everything was tasty. A few times, some of the dishes seemed to be on the menu more for effect than taste. more »

July 28, 2014

palmier de parmesan

parmesan palmiers

Pity the poor palmier! It’s an orphan. No one claims to be its mother or father. No one stands up and says: “I made the first palmier.” Many sources claim that it came about early in the twentieth century, but none give a traceable reference. The earliest mention I can find in my books is in the 1938 edition of Larousse Gastronomiquemore »

July 21, 2014

faux boules de pain azyme

fake matzo balls

If the average Jewish mother making matzo balls for her family Seder is a sprinter, my mother was a matzo‑ball marathoner. In the 1950s and into the 60s, she’d prepare the matzo balls for the local temple’s community Seder. This usually meant making between 900 and 1000 matzo balls for a single meal. more »

July 14, 2014

panna cotta au sésame noir

sesame-seed custard

There are certain brands for which I can accept no substitute. Heinz Ketchup is the first that comes to mind. There’s no other ketchup that tastes as good on a hamburger or fries. I feel the same about Best Foods Mayonnaise. The latest addition to my “no substitutes list” is Roland Classic Coconut Milk. more »

©2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.