Jiffy corn muffin mix is the second-most sold dry grocery item in the U.S. Maseca is used in more than two-thirds of all corn tortillas in Mexico. Yet the food world tends to sneer at them both. By tracing the origin stories of these two iconic corn mixes, I explore how America’s current romance with kitchen labor can edify longstanding inequities of race and gender—and remind us that we live, and eat, in the present.
When Razi Jafri, an Indian-American from Detroit, saw a Facebook post about a cooking class with an Iranian chef, he knew he wanted in on it. “I love cooking for people and I love looking at different types of cuisine,” he said. Plus, said Jafri, a fellow with micro lender Kiva, he was fascinated by Persian food and diplomacy; he’d followed the Iran nuclear deal closely. This would be perfect.
About 16 years ago, I lost my hungry heart to a flour tortilla. I was in the small town of Las Vegas N.M., at Charlie’s Spic & Span Café, when a server placed a basket on the table. Inside was a stack of thick, charmingly floppy tortillas, dotted with browned bubbles and closer in thickness to pancakes than the wan, flaccid discs I was used to at the supermarket. My Brooklyn-by-way-of-Michigan palate was infatuated: What magic was this? How could I not have known that tortillas like these existed? Continue reading “Why Thick Flour Tortillas Never Made It Big And Thin Tortillas Did”
Last summer I asked Tamar Adler—the only professionally trained chef I know well enough to invite over to my house—to come help me clean out my fridge. I had reached a point where my kitchen was full of decrepit leftovers and castaways. I described the project as “sort of like Iron Chef, but broke.” Continue reading “Food Fetish”
Awards season is in full bloom in the food world, which means it is time for the International Association of Culinary Professionals to announce the finalists for this year’s cookbook awards, based on new books from 2012. Continue reading “Check out nation’s best cookbooks”
For Americans, particularly in the cold months, dinnertime mostly means home and hearth. It also means convenience and comfort.
In 2013 we are making family dinner more often than we dine out, a trend that took root before the recession. Mostly, we’re cooking with and eating a narrow range of foods — and relying, to some extent, on prepared, frozen, and canned items to feed our families quickly and economically. “It’s very boring. That’s the sad truth,” says Harry Balzer, chief food industry analyst for the NPD Group, a national market research company. “For the most part, we’re looking for what’s the easiest way out of this, what’s the cheapest way out of this.” Continue reading “Thanks for the shout-out! @BostonGlobe On the family menu: What’s familiar”
I”m still getting used to seeing portraits of myself, but I can’t complain about the roster of talent that Martha Stewart Whole Living put me in line with in their November issue’s Food Visionary List:
It took me until I was 33 to start cooking dinner.
Don’t get me wrong—I was no stranger to the kitchen. I had prepared laborious, extravagant meals before, often using exotic ingredients I’d learned about in magazines. Continue reading “Cooking Isn’t Fun”