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A Most Unusual Dinner in Chioggia

Calle ponte caneva, 915, Chioggia
labruttafigura

The dining experience at Jackie Tonight is somewhere between dreams and inebriation. The interior of Jackie’s house is a warren of dark rooms made yet more befuddling by the smoke from open fires... Read more

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The Miracle of Maguey Naomi Bishop January 10, 2013

It can get you drunk three different ways and it’s not your college boyfriend — moreover, the maguey (or agave) plant is used to actually treat syphilis, not cause it. A look at the humble maguey’s role in Aztec and Mexican life, past and present.

The spikey American agave plant
Photo: Naamsvermelding vereist/Wikipedia

The maguey cactus, native to Mexico, is best known for its place in alcohol, specifically tequila, but it’s also eaten in a variety of ways, used to make fabric and clothes, and taken for medicinal purposes. Not a looker, this giant, spike-covered plant somehow made its way from desert cactus to unexpected star of ancient Aztec (and later Mexican) civilization, permeating food, drink, clothing,...

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Tags: food origins Mexico

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Origins: Pueblo chile Yasmin Ghahremani November 1, 2011

Pueblo chiles in New Mexico

It’s hard to find a restaurant in Pueblo, Colorado, that doesn’t serve green chiles. This is prime pepper country, a smaller—and, some would argue, tastier—alternative to Hatch, New Mexico.

In autumn, at harvest time, the scent of roasting chiles wafts from roadside stands, supermarkets, and the annual Loaf ’N Jug Chile and Frijole Festival, which I was lucky enough to catch this September. (Among pepper enthusiasts, the preferred spelling of the capsicum fruit is chile. The dish containing meat, chile, and vegetables, like the one we tried in Denver, is chili.)

The chiles are roasted over an open flame in rotating black-wire drums, and then hosed down in a cloud of steam. It’s...

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Tags: food origins

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Origins: Cranberries Laura Siciliano-Rosen November 21, 2010

 Cranberry bog in Cape Cod.

Cranberries. I don’t think of them too often, unless I’m throwing a handful of dried ones into my salad. Or, you know, it’s this time of year, when cranberry sauce makes its annual appearance in the Thanksgiving spread. But cranberries are an important fruit to the U.S., not only because of their more recently publicized “superfruit” antioxidant qualities, but because they’re one of the few fruits that originated on North American soil. They were a staple in the diets of Native Americans, who passed along the wild fruit’s benefits to the Pilgrims when they arrived in the early 1600s. Cultivation of the berries began on Cape Cod in 1816; commercial harvesting followed in 1847. Today,...

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Tags: food origins cape cod

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