Was Stone-Age Wine a Drink of the People?

“The Plate,” National Geographic • May 23, 2016

Think about wine in the ancient world, and chances are you’ll picture chalices, feasts and rituals: The stuff of elites. But ruins in Greece suggest that wine may have roots that are more populist than we typically think—even as far back as the Stone Age—according to a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Continue reading “Was Stone-Age Wine a Drink of the People?”

Pita and Hummus: The Next Great American Foods?

“The Plate,” National Geographic • May 6, 2016

Picture a traditional American meal, and chances are good that you’re headed for the 1950s: burgers and fries, fried chicken and potato salad, maybe an Italian-turned-American-staple like pizza (see How Italian Cuisine Became as American as Apple Pie.)

But chances are good that the cuisine of the Middle East, a region whose immigrants to the U.S. face varying levels of acceptance, does not come to mind right away.

And yet, at the James Beard Foundation Chef and Restaurant Awards this week, a Lebanese restaurant was named an “America’s Classic.Continue reading “Pita and Hummus: The Next Great American Foods?”

How Italian Cuisine Became as American as Apple Pie

“The Plate,” National Geographic • May 4, 2016

If you’re wondering about how and why food gets appropriated—i.e. when Americans consider it their own—think about this: Eating Italian food was once considered “slumming.” So what does it take for a foreign cuisine to melt into America’s pot? We talked to Krishnendu Ray, the director of NYU’s Food Studies program and author of The Ethnic Restaurateur, a book about how immigrants to the U.S. shape the food culture, who gave us a step-by-step breakdown of how a cuisine can go from unnoticed to avant-garde; from popular to prestigious. Continue reading “How Italian Cuisine Became as American as Apple Pie”

At Food World ‘Oscars,’ Category Sneakily Redefines All-American Cuisine

“The Salt,” National Public Radio • May 2, 2016

The food glitterati will gather in Chicago Monday night for the black-tie James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards, known as the “Oscars of the food world.” Most of the categories sound like industry fare: Outstanding Restaurant Design. Best Chef: Great Lakes. Best New Restaurant. Rising Star Chef of the Year. There’s not much of interest for anyone outside the foodies and food world orbit. Except, that is, for a sneakily subversive category: America’s Classics. Continue reading “At Food World ‘Oscars,’ Category Sneakily Redefines All-American Cuisine”