CategoryFood and Cooking

Famous Foods for Famous People

The Stage Deli, an institution in New York City, was famous for its sandwiches named after celebrities. Sadly, those mile-high sandwiches have disappeared along with the closing of the Deli. But for a lucky few, whose memory lives on in the form of famous dishes, here are some of the more popular, familiar to all.

Beef Wellington: Who put the beef in Wellington? Controversy abounds. The Duke of Wellington, a war hero who clobbered Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, frequently dined on steak, pate and mushrooms, so after he emerged from his military duties, this rich dish was purportedly created in his honor (what Napoleon dined on is unknown, quite possibly crow). However, some historians pooh pooh that story and insist meat wrapped in pastry dough had been around for centuries, unlike the Duke. (Yes, but did it also include mushrooms and pate?). A possible connection to Wellington, New Zealand also shares the credit.

Oysters Rockefeller: This one is easy. Created by the son of famous New Orleans restaurateur Antoine’s, it was named after John D. Rockefeller, who at the time (1889) was the richest man in America (and the oysters were pretty rich themselves). The original recipe was never shared, hence all future chefs have had to wing it. No one knows if it was a popular item on John D’s dinner table, but we’ll just assume it was.

Cherries Jubilee: Nobody was named Jubilee, but this special dessert was probably created by renowned chef Auguste Escoffier, who prepared the dish for one of British Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations (she lived a long time), widely thought to be the Diamond Jubilee in 1887. When this flaming delicacy wasn’t setting the dining hall’s draperies on fire, it was savored by royalty in both England and Europe.

Eggs Benedict: Certainly not named after the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold, there is a bit of competition concerning its origin. Well-known New York City restaurant Delmonico’s claims ownership way back in 1860, but a gentleman named Lemuel Benedict insists it was his creation after ordering a full plate of breakfast foods, topped off with hollandaise sauce at the Waldorf Hotel, 34 years later.

Caesar Salad: A San Diegan named Caesar Cardini owned a restaurant called Hotel Caesar in Tijuana during Prohibition, thus enabling him to serve alcohol during the 1920s. It was in his kitchen that this popular salad was created. Californians flocked there to munch on Romaine lettuce, anchovies and a special dressing; diners could also enjoy a cocktail or two. (author’s note: as a San Diego resident, I can assure readers that these days no one travels south of the Border for any kind of salad, trust me.)

Chicken à la King: Not named after Elvis, but once again, debates among historians and king-sized egos offer up several versions; a Philadelphia gentleman named William King insisted it was his creation in 1915; another American, James Keene, argued that he came up with it, but chicken a la Keene just didn’t quite cut it (maybe Keene Chicken would have worked). Then Keene’s son Foxhall (would I make that up?) backed up his father’s story in the 1890s; well-known hotel chef George Greenwald insisted he concocted it for wealthy hotel residents Mr. and Mrs. E. Clark King II at the Brighton Beach Hotel in New York. So there you have it. You decide, and if your last name is King, you could also get into the act.

Lobster Newberg: A Captain Ben Wenberg, who discovered a delightful seafood dish in his worldly travels, brought back the recipe and offered it to Delmonico’s, a thriving restaurant in New York City during the late 1800s. The chef happily recreated it for the Captain after tweaking the rich ingredients a bit, and named it in his honor. Fast forward several decades, when the two men had a falling out (perhaps too much or too little cream, no one knows) and the offended chef renamed it; there was no one named Newberg, it just sounded better. A first cousin to Lobster Thermidor, which we’ll give to the French, who named it after a popular play.

Beef Stroganoff: The first known recipe appeared in a Russian cookbook in 1871 Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard, the name was derived from a Russian diplomat and Minister of the Interior, Alexander Stroganov. It’s doubtful that the diplomat even tasted his namesake, but one would like to think he conjured it up one night while craving beef with sour cream. Many countries have similar variations, including China, all claiming origin, but it remains a mystery. We know for sure that neither explorer Marco Polo or foodie president Thomas Jefferson ever had the pleasure.

Noodles Romanoff: Originally appearing at Romanoff’s, a favorite restaurant back in the mid-1950s, located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Years later giant Stouffer’s Foods popularized it at their now-defunct restaurants in Chicago, as well as a frozen version (also defunct). A top item on the menu, it featured a sharp Cheddar cheese sauce and sour cream, sinfully rich and delicious by any standards. Sadly, it has virtually disappeared and must be made from scratch for those who still crave it.

Brandy Alexander: Some sources recognize the Russian Tsar Alexander II as its namesake, but more likely it was named by Troy Alexander, a bartender at Rector’s, a New York City restaurant. Seems he wanted to create a white drink for a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow, a fictitious character portrayed as a New York socialite who was a spokeswoman for a railway and always wore white (you figure it out). Regardless of the origin, it remains a delicious dessert drink made with creme de cocoa, cream and brandy, purported to have been legendary Beatle John Lennon’s favorite cocktail.

Chateaubriand: A tenderloin of beef named for a French ambassador and viscount in the early 1800s by his personal chef, the Viscount Chateaubrant hailed from a region in France bearing the same name; a large cut of prime steak, it’s usually served as a meal for two, accompanied by a rich sauce and potatoes, but apparently the Viscount had a hearty appetite and polished it off alone, leaving Mrs. Viscount to fend for herself.

These timeless dishes memorialize their namesakes in the history books and top foodies’ hit parades. But take heart. There is always room for more, so start cooking and you, too, could become a famous food for years to come.

Summer Fruits and Their Benefits

Summer has arrived. It is the season of shorts, sunscreen, hit the beach, filling the coolers and many other things. But summer also brings with itself excessive heat and chances of dehydration. In this season you need to eat food that helps prevents above mentioned conditions from occurring. Here are a few summer fruits and their benefits.

Watermelon – Ripped only in summer, this big red ball of health is filled with water and taste. The amount of water present in this fruit helps you in being hydrated and keeps your body cool. Watermelon also acts as in defense and protects your skin from sunburn. You won’t get food cravings after its consumption, it keeps your tummy feels filled. It is also good for people with high blood pressure, but in a limit. This one ought to be consumed almost every day in summer.

Oranges – Oranges are sweetest, juiciest summer fruit full of nutrients. Orange is low in calories and keeps your blood pressure in check. Orange is also a source of Vitamin C which is the most required vitamin in your body after an age. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that is also useful in skin damage caused by sun rays. Not only oranges, but their peel also performs wonders on your skin. It lightens your skin tone and erases all the scars and shades.

Mango – Mango is called the king of fruits. There are many reasons for calling it so and one of them is the long list of its benefits. It is proven by research that mango prevents cancer. Mango, when mixed with milk, becomes a source of strength. Mango shake increases immunity and gives you the strength to perform better. Vitamin A present in mango helps with good eyesight and stops night blindness. Mangoes have enzymes that break down protein and improves digestion. Like oranges, mango is also beneficial for skin. Those skin pores you can’t get rid of, mango removes them.

Litchi – Litchi though arrives a little late in summer but is worth the wait. The taste and sweetness of litchi are exquisite, plus it is also a source of nutrients. Apart from the taste, litchi also excels in health factor. It is filled with Vitamin B & Vitamin C and minerals like magnesium and potassium. It is also proven to be helpful in asthma. The antioxidants present in Litchi have cancer-fighting abilities. The minerals help in proper blood circulation throughout the entire body. It prevents signs of aging and promotes hair growth as well.

Peaches – Peaches are also high in Vitamin C. The fiber present in peaches fills you up without increasing weight. Peaches also cure metabolic syndrome. It also lowers the risk of cancer. It is a mixture of all the nutrients – protein, carbohydrate, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, sugar and rich in various vitamins – A, C, E, and K. Though you should try to consume peaches that are canned in water and not the one canned in syrup. Peaches with syrup are not so healthy and can increase your sugar level.

Food and Food Health

We all have passed through a phase, or are still in one where the mind still walks the streets of dilemma as to whether the salad in the afternoon can make up for the double cheese hamburger of last night. Whether the calories gained through the chocolate pudding can be balanced through the oatmeal in breakfast.

A few years back, there was a stigma about having the perfect thin or muscular (as one prefers), flat-stomached body. There was this misconception that slim and trim is the way to look beautiful. But fortunately, this stigma and misapprehension is slowly and somehow being eliminated from the society. Today, every type of body is beautiful, whether it is a flat-stomach or a fat belly. But that does not give any of us the right to overlook the fact about eating healthy.

Eating healthy does not mean gulping down only chunks of vegetables and salads. Eating healthy does not mean being on a “diet”. Eating healthy means providing the body every kind of nutrients to function properly. And it includes the Broccoli Soup one cringes to as well as the delicious classic double crust cheese-filled pepperoni pizza, everyone craves for.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE BODY

We all love eating, mainly the junk type, but sometimes realization hits us and we tend to understand that salads and vegetables and fruits are really important part of a diet. Every type of nutrient is needed to keep the body functions in its right place. Vitamins, proteins, minerals, carbohydrate, fats, roughage and water, these are the nutrients we need almost on a daily basis. I won’t waste time by telling what these are and how each of them are important because this is something we all have learnt in six-grade science subject. But I do would like to mention some of the dishes that are delicious, healthy and contain all of the above nutrients in the right amount.

THE FINGER-LICKING CLASSIC CHICKEN SALTIMBOCCA

It is a delicious chicken preparation, which is rolled up with prosciutto and mozzarella cheese and drenched in a tasty white wine pan sauce. It is a mouth-watering dish with the goodness of protein (found in chicken), fats (cheese) and the palatable white wine sauce. It can easily be garnished with vegetables, providing the wholesome richness of vitamins and minerals.

THE DELICIOUS UN-CHEESY POTATO BROCOLLI SOUP

The name may seem to have no part of it seem delicious- ‘un-cheesy’, the dreaded ‘broccoli’ and ‘potato’, but the taste seems to be contradicting it’s not-so appealing name. It is a preparation which will fill the tastebuds with an explosion of flavor and its richness makes it almost hard to resist. The dish is a mixture of health and taste.

THE OH-SO YUMMY APPLE CINNAMON BREAKFAST BARS

This the perfect preparation for all those fuzzy kids who refuse to eat any fruits. This flavorful dish is full of protein and fiber and a favorite among the children and adults alike.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD HEALTH IN OUR LIFE

There is absolutely no need to state what importance food holds in the existence of an individual. As stated above, it does not matter if one is slim or fat, what matters is whether the individual is eating healthy. Excess of nothing is good, especially not food. But we need to understand the right amount and the right kind of nutrients our body needs, to stay healthy and to keep our loved ones healthy as well.

7 Negative Effects of GMO Foods

What is a GMO? GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered. It is the process of taking genes from one species and forcing them into the genes of another species. The inserted genes come from species, such as bacteria and virus. Why is this being done? It’s to benefit the chemical companies so that they can sell more pesticides. What happens is the plants are injected with foreign genes to allow them to be resistant to Roundup and BT Toxins. Roundup and BT Toxins are poisons! Yet it’s being blasted on all our fruits and vegetables! The chemicals are also destroying our soils and water! The process is unnatural for the plants. A lot of other countries have banned GMO’s because they know its poison! Yet, it’s widely used here in the USA and is in major commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, cottonseed, Canadian grown canola and sugar beets. Also, 70-80% of all boxed and packaged foods are made from GMO’s!

Several animal studies show Serious Health Risks associated with GMO foods including:

1. Infertility

2. Immune Problems

3. Accelerated Aging

4. Faulty Insulin Regulation

5. Major Changes in Organs

6. Major Changes in the gastrointestinal system

7. Causing major Allergies to GMO and non-GMO foods

You may be wondering why the FDA has allowed this harmful process to be part of our food supply. In 1992, The Food and Drug Administration claimed they had no information showing that GMO foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods. Thus, being safe to eat. However, internal memos made public by a lawsuit reveal that their position was staged by political appointees who were under orders from the White House to promote GMO’s. Also, the person in charge of creating the policy was Michael Taylor, the former Attorney for Monsanto, the largest biotech company. He later became Monsanto’s Vice President. The FDA scientists had warned that GMO food can be unpredictable, have hard to detect side effects, causing allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They used long-term studies but their suggestions and studies were ignored!

So, how can we protect ourselves and our families? First, educate ourselves on GMO foods. Second, read ALL FOOD LABELS and INGREDIENTS before purchasing food items. Please understand that labels such as “All Natural”, “Gluten Free”, and “Organic” mean absolutely NOTHING! It’s a Marketing tactic! We now must read every ingredient listed on the label. A key to remember is if the ingredient is more than 5 to 8 ingredients and contains words you can’t pronounce, leave it on the grocery shelf!

The First Celebrity Chefs

Bartolomeo Scappi: A Renaissance Italian author and cook (circa 1500 – 1570), his birthplace is debated, as both Italy and France play tug-of-war; but no matter his humble beginnings, Scappi had the distinction of cooking for six popes, serving up dishes in the Vatican kitchens while Michelangelo was laboriously painting the Sistine Chapel (yes, but did he serve lunch to the great painter?). Apparently popes didn’t live too long back then, and Scappi enjoyed a long career in Rome; his cookbook was published in Venice (1581) after his death, in six different installments, but rumor has it he was not very forthcoming with his secret recipes; nevertheless, judging from its lengthy contents, the popes and the Vatican staff ate very well, Michelangelo we’re not sure of.

Procopio Cutò: Italian born but French trained, he opened the first coffeehouse in Paris, in 1686; billing the popular hangout as “modern” he attracted notables from literature, politics and the art world. His grandfather pioneered the ice cream machine, and Procopio introduced world-class gelato to the Parisians; King Louise XIV was especially fond of the Italian ices in a variety of fruit flavors. Eventually, he added a few food items to accompany the coffee and desserts and thus undoubtedly created the first Starbucks, but with ice cream.

Nicolas Appert: While not a chef in the classic sense, he belongs on the list of famous foodies for his invention of preserving food; frequently considered the “Father of Canning” he spent 14 years refining his invention in the early 1800s and helped change the kitchens of the Western world. Appert hailed from France.

James Hemings: Better known as foodie president Thomas Jefferson’s chef, started life as a slave but accompanied Jefferson to Paris, where he trained as a chef and learned the language. Upon returning to palatial Monticello, he was paid as Jefferson’s personal chef and turned out most of the fabulous dinners. Since Jefferson had an enormous garden, one can only imagine the ingredients which were available to Chef Hemings. Tragically he died young after a struggle with alcoholism (all those imported French wines, one might presume).

Ruth Graves Wakefield: Owner and chef of the Toll House Inn restaurant in Massachusetts, she created the famous Toll House cookie back in the 1930s; her restaurant, well-known for home cooking and delicious desserts, was a popular destination for many Massachusetts residents and vacationers. Ruth had a background in home economics, was a perfectionist (as most chefs are) and authored a best-selling cookbook, not to mention putting herself and the Nestle Chocolate Company on the map.

Alessandro Fellippini: Head chef at Delmonico’s in NY City, considered the first fine dining establishment in America, which opened in 1827 and was famous for their signature steaks and vast wine selection. New York’s social elite, politicos, millionaires and even visiting European royalty dined there often. Named for the brothers Delmonico who owned the place, several legendary dishes were created and took center stage, among them Eggs Benedict and Lobster Newberg.

Charles Ranhofer: The Delmonico brothers spared no expense hiring fine chefs, and French born and trained Ranhofer cooked at this fine restaurant in the late 1800s; never modest, he took credit for Baked Alaska, Chicken a la King and Chateaubriand (although all three are probably not originals) and published several popular cookbooks. Adored by commoners and royalty alike, he often traveled to France to learn some new tricks, then came back to New York and served them up at Delmonico’s. He ruled the kitchen for over 30 years, hanging up his apron in 1896.

Marie-Antoine Carême: Considered by most as the founder of haute cuisine, this French chef took food to a higher level, which suited the French just fine. Starting out with rich and beautiful pastries, he graduated to fine cuisine. His talent was recognized early and attracted nobility, namely King George IV, eventually becoming the personal chef for the Rothschild family (who also considered themselves royalty). Sadly, he died at age 48 but made a huge impact on French cuisine, setting the tone for fine dining worldwide. His influence helped create one of the greatest chefs in history, Auguste Escoffier.

Born outside of Nice, France, Escoffier‘s culinary talent was recognized early by his father, who sent him to apprentice in a relative’s restaurant. By his twenties, his prowess was spreading throughout France, and he was hired by the world-class Savoy Hotel in London, where his biggest fan was the Prince of Wales. He frequently trained and hired chefs in some of Europe’s finest kitchens, and he was top dog with the Ritz Hotels. The equally immodest German Kaiser once proclaimed Escoffier as the “Emperor of Chefs”; (seems the Kaiser had a special fondness for his strawberry pudding). He owned a prized restaurant in Cannes, while performing double duty at the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo, attracting the rich worldwide. Remembered for his exquisite sauces as well as other dishes, including bombe Néro (don’t ask) and Peach Melba, somehow he found time to author several cookbooks and numerous articles on the fine art of cuisine. Fortunately for future generations of foodies, he lived and cooked right up until his death at the age of 88, in 1935.

No list would be complete without two marvelous American chefs who pioneered TV cooking shows in the 60s and 70s, paving the way for today’s Food Network stars: French-trained chef Julia Child and wonderfully entertaining British Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet. Kerr popularized getting sloshed while cooking in full view of his live audiences, and of course who could forget Julia’s high-pitched enthusiasm for her nouveau French dishes.

Whether you’re a fine dining fan, or just a regular foodie, this list is a sample of the many artistic, adventurous and hardworking chefs who raised the bar for great eating. We applaud them posthumously as their legacies live on.

The Way to Health Through a Diet

There has been so many issues pertaining to the food we eat, whether we are eating healthy or putting poison in our stomach. This has become particularly imperative in the wake of genetically modified foods that are gracing our dining tables and cross border diets engendered by the emergence of a global village. Other issues involve vegetarianism and the vegan introduction, where people indulge in abstinence from animal foods. For some, it is the way to spiritual ascent. For others, it is simply following the trend of. But the question is, what is the best directive for healthy living?

To begin with, each individual is connected to the soil of his birth by ties of radiation. Hence, his health depends to a large extent on the food produced from his soil of birth. And it also depends on the time of harvest. So it follows that maximum benefit is usually got from eating foods that are produced in its season. Yam is to be consumed more at the season of yam, blackberry to be consumed at the time of blackberry harvest. This gives maximum radiation potential for the individual.

But it is also important to note that part of the cosmic duties of animals is the provision of food for human beings. Hence there is absolutely nothing wrong with the eating of Animals. But the important thing is that such animals should not be made to suffer unnecessarily before its death, and that preferably such an animal is not a pet, that is, the soul is not molded with love. If that is the case, the agony will follow it to the beyond, and the custodian beings will not be happy.

The human spirit, in its evolution over millennia, is expected to have developed its body in such a way that gradually it moves away from animal protein. Hence, it is meant to gradually move from eating red meat to white meat, to sea food, and finally become vegetarians. But reincarnation, with its karmic burden, resulted in many souls that have already developed retrogressing. This means that on earth today there are preponderance of people who still need red meat for their sustenance living with people who naturally have outgrown that level and should only eat white meat and others. A few have naturally graduated to being comfortable with sea food. But Vegetarianism should be the next natural evolution point. Therefore those who take the initiative are taking the future now, and may end up the worse for it.

It is recommended that a vegetable diet should be taken for a maximum of twenty-one days for internal purification, except where it becomes necessary to use it therapeutically to help alleviate some ailments. in that case it can be taken as long as health requires.

French Specialties: “Don’t Try This At Home”

Ambition has its place in the kitchen, but these French dishes, which have stood the test of time, might just be the downfall of any well-meaning cook. Let’s take a look.

Souffles: From the French word soufflér, this is a classic, and been around since the 1800s. You’ll need a special souffle dish, the usual eggs, butter and depending on what flavor you want, grated good cheese (like Gruyere) or spinach; for a dessert souffle some finely grated dark chocolate, and did we mention eggs? Maybe a splash of grand marnier to really drive home that French theme. They can be a thing of beauty, or a fallen disaster. Sadly, they’re not on too many menus these days. If you’ve never eaten one (Stouffer’s frozen spinach souffle doesn’t count), you have no clue what you’re missing.

Escargots de Bourgogne: A delicacy anywhere, these are snails baked in their shells with parsley butter. You’ll need a special escargot tray for each person, plus a little snail holder (kind of like pliers) which hold each shell as you dig out the snail meat with tiny forks. Shells are reusable, so if you can’t find fresh snails (good luck) you can buy canned ones and stuff them into the shells.Then bake. And slugs from your garden won’t work.

Terrine: Not to be confused with pate, although they do resemble each other; you’ll need a terrine pan, which has to be lined with strips of bacon (good quality) and then packed with mixed ground meats, pistachio nuts and vegetables to add color, herbs, chopped parsly, onions and garlic, usually an egg and breadcrumbs; fold the bacon strips over the top, then cover with something heavy to press down the mixture while cooking. Roast for 2 hours in a larger pan with 1 inch of water (your basic French meatloaf without the ketchup); served cold. It could work.

Croissants: The trick is multi-layered dough, so get out that rolling pin and pastry cloth, plus lots of butter. You won’t need to do any weight lifting at the gym for an entire week after rolling and re-rolling the dough until it’s paper thin, then stacking all the layers on top of each other, cutting it, forming the little crescents. Oh heck, where was that bakery?

Coquilles Saint-Jacques: There really was a Saint Jacques for whom this dish was named. Apparently his body was lost at sea on its way to be entombed, and well, you don’t want to know the rest. For starters you’ll need to purchase large scallop shells specifically for this dish (it just doesn’t work with paper plates), and of course good quality scallops (large), white wine, Gruyere cheese, mushrooms and heavy cream. Okay, it was a nice idea.

Gougères: They’re your basic French cheese puffs. You’ll need the standard French ingredients:lots of butter, Gruyere cheese, eggs and oh yes, a pastry bag which you will use to form walnut-size balls, much like small cream puffs. On the bright side, you bake them rather than deep-frying (that’s a relief).

Confit de canard: Nobody loves duck more than the French, not even the Chinese. The duck meat, whole or in pieces, is marinated in salt, garlic and thyme for up to 36 hours and then slow-cooked in its own fat at low temperatures (an alternative to deep-frying). Obviously not something you’d attempt when short on time. If you’re not familiar with duck, it is a very fatty fowl, so be prepared. And then there is Pressed duck. You crush the duck’s carcass in a press (hence the name) which can costs upwards of two thousand dollars. (Maybe your neighbor has one?) Enough said.

If you do by chance decide to tackle one of these rich, complex and delicious specialties, you might want to have plenty of wine on hand (for drinking), and if you are especially overwhelmed and want to go completely French, a glass of absinthe. Bright green in color, it’s a strong anise liqueur, formerly consumed by artsy folk in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century. Because it had a tendency to produce hallucinations after one too many, it was banned for 100 years. Apparently there were frequent displays of unbecoming behavior among the artists. It can be costly in more ways than one, so brace yourself.

But take heart, all you aspiring cooks. Even Julia Child messed up once in awhile, so there’s no shame in attempting the challenge. But for most of us, we’re better off just going out for those special French dishes and not trying them at home.

Bowl of Cherries

Cherries got their start in the regions of ancient Turkey and Greece, making their way to Rome around 72 BC. Slowly moving up to France, King Henry VIII liked them well enough to haul them back to England (Henry was a serious foodie) in the early 1500s. They’re in the same fruit family as peaches, plums, apricots, and almonds.

While many of us associate cherry blossoms with Japan, interestingly, most of those beautiful blossoms do not turn into fruit. Edible cherry producing trees were brought from the West in the late 1800s (think what they were missing all those centuries). However, Japan does not value the fruit as we do, and pies are definitely not on most menus.

In America, because of their beautiful blossoms, cherry trees were planted by settlers up and down the Northeast coast. Early Dutch and French immigrants planted thousands in the NY city area as well as points west, in what is now Michigan. When George Washington purportedly chopped down a cherry tree, he just might have started the ball rolling.

There are basically two types–sweet and sour. They have a relatively short growing season and are not particularly hearty trees. The U.S. is the second largest producer of cherries at 300,000 tons annually, after top producer, Turkey, which weighs in with 460,000 tons. Northwest and Midwest states grow the bulk of cherries, Traverse City, Michigan reigns as the cherry capital of the world and holds a huge festival annually. Known for their sour cherries, they feature the world’s largest cherry pie each year (bring your own vanilla ice cream). The wood of cherry trees is a popular type for furniture in the U.S.

French chefs have given their seal of approval (what more validation do you need?) and use cherries as a sauce for roast duck, flaming desserts (jubilee), crepe fillings and a popular tart called clafoutis. Americans love their pies, and although cherry takes a back seat to timeless apple, it still ranks in the top 5. And we enjoy them in more ways than one:

  • cherry cobbler
  • garnish for whipped cream
  • include in cocktails
  • flaming cherries jubilee
  • New York cherry ice cream
  • cherry jam
  • cherry sauce
  • snacking fresh or dried
  • duck with cherry sauce
  • cherry cola
  • cherry compote
  • cherry turnovers
  • fruit dumplings
  • chocolate covered candy
  • wine and liqueur

Not only are cherries great for cooking and eating, but they tout health benefits as well, including anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, reduce risk of gout, promote better sleep, lower uric acid, all proven by studies at Mayo Clinic and numerous others. Although the season is short, they are readily available year-round in frozen and canned forms, and some groceries and health food markets sell juice and dried cherries.

The most popular sweet varieties include Rainier, Bing, and Lambert, the tart varieties belong to Royal Anne, Montmorency, Morello and Early Richmond. But foodie president Thomas Jefferson, who was an avid gardener and horticulturist, cultivated a variety which he believed to be the best, called “Carnation.” All in all, he planted fourteen varieties of cherry trees in his vast orchard, along with plum, peach, apple and apricot trees. He also planted numerous carnation cherry trees along several walkways at Monticello, due to their highly fragrant blossoms. A sweet dark variety, it was especially prized for eating fresh. Other varieties he incorporated into his cooking. (When neighbor George Washington came to visit, were guards posted at the orchard entrance?)

So, whatever tops your hit parade, be it sweet or sour, fresh, baked or sauced, they’re one of America’s most beloved fruits. Cherries. Have a bowl.

Dry Fruits You Should Add To Your Diet To Stay Healthy

Dry Fruits are unquestionably the rich source of protein, vitamin, mineral and dietary fibre. It’s a healthy substitute for a high-calorie snack, therefore munching them is advisable to a toddler to old age people, everyone. Dry Fruits are life and everyone should incorporate them into their daily routine to fight against a number of health problems. No matter what, understanding the fact that dry fruits are healthy and a must for the one to keep their health in check, here we jotted down some of the popular options and their respective benefits. So, why wait? Scroll to know them all.

  • Almonds: Almonds are undoubtedly the healthiest options of all the time that help you fight against a number of health issues, including constipation, respiratory problems, heart diseases, hair or skin problems, etc. So, the very next time when your mother or grandmother give you a handful of almonds to munch, don’t cheat, just eat them. They are known for their health benefits and having them regularly in an appropriate quantity keeps the diseases away.
  • Cashew: Another popular and common dry fruit that you need to incorporate into your diet is cashew. They have property to fight against health, hair and skin problems. Additionally, they keep your bones strong and fulfill the need of calcium in your body. It’s an energy food that eliminates your need of having junk by keeping you full for a longer period.
  • Walnut: These brain-look nuts have the ability to improve your memory and keep you fit. It contains omega-3 that provides great relief to asthma patients. Apart from that, it also has the ability to deal with the Alzheimer’s disease. It is also good for the people who fail to fall asleep. It supplies protein, fiber and essential nutrients to your body that keeps you healthy and alive.
  • Raisins: These dry fruits are love and everyone. These are sweet in taste and offer so many benefits to everyone. They have the property to cure constipation, dental as well as the eye problems. Having them in appropriate quantity can do wonders for your health that you’ll never regret.

Do you still need a reason to munch on them? These are good for your health and you should opt them than any other unhealthy snack that could be hazardous to your health. Consult your dietitian or doctor before incorporating them into your diet, so, they’ll help you know the right quantity as per your body type.

We’ve Gone Bananas

Bananas (the Musa species) are native to tropical southern Asia and Australia, and most likely were first domesticated in Papua, New Guinea. Currently, they are grown in over 130 countries, primarily for their fruit, but in some countries are used for alcoholic beverages and ornamental plants. The largest producers of bananas in 2016 were India and China with 29.1 tons and 13.1 tons, respectively. On a smaller scale, the Philippines, Ecuador and some parts of Latin America also export.

It’s likely bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors, who brought the fruit from West Africa in the 16th century. (They probably ate a significant amount en route.) From there they traveled north to New Orleans and took awhile to catch on, but at the Philadelphia Centennial Expo in 1876, they made a big splash. Fast forward a few years and the food became more popular, yet still not well known in Europe (apparently French chefs had not been introduced.) They hung around in New Orleans for almost a century before famous Brennan’s Restaurant created “Bananas Foster,” a rich sweet dessert made with brown sugar, dark rum and lots of butter, served over ice cream. (What took them so long?)

There is no mention of bananas in any journals or recipes of foodie president Thomas Jefferson, and it is highly unlikely that he ever served them at his famous dinners. With his passion for fruits and gardening, he surely would have embraced them, but sadly, he missed out. They didn’t gain popularity until 50 years later.

The common banana variety is called the Cavendish. and of course Chiquita and Dole dominate the worldwide industry. The biggest food product sold at Walmart stores (drum roll) is bananas, a whopping 1.5 billion pounds in 2015. No surprise when you consider that the average American eats 26 pounds per year. Although there has been much negative press predicting bananas, as we know them, may be wiped out shortly, due to genetic alterations and parasitic and virus infestation, it’s likely that other varieties will raise up and take the place of the Cavendish, so fear not.

Hawaii has its own banana industry, mostly for local consumption, along with Florida and a smattering of other states which grow a modest amount, but this is one crop which will probably never dominate the U.S. either for domestic use or exportation. We simply don’t have the climates for them.

A first cousin, the plantain has never really caught on in the U.S., but Asian, South American and African countries use both bananas and plantains frequently in their cooking. More starchy than sweet, they are considered a vegetable and rarely eaten in their raw state. Frequently fried or mashed, they are a common street food in Africa and Asia. as well as included in stews and soups, or served with fish. Some celebrity chefs have featured them on the Food Network, using them in pancakes, fritters, and spicy fried slices, but the American cuisine does not really lend itself to plantains, preferring the garden variety banana instead. If you are an adventurous cook, you might want to consider searching out plantains and whipping up a new dish over the weekend.

Americans consume bananas in a number of different ways, including banana bread, banana splits, chocolate-covered frozen bananas, banana pudding, banana cream pie, sliced onto breakfast cereal, and dried chips for snacking. They also sport a few catchy phrases applied to them, like slipping on a peel, or a silly, yet popular old song, “Yes, we have no bananas.” (And monkeys really like them.)

Late to the party, bananas have catapulted to the top of the hit parade of fruits and continue to reign, from baby’s first solid food to grandma’s favorite snack, and everywhere in between. Featured prominently in every produce section, we automatically reach for them. So go ahead. Go bananas.

© 2020 Foods and Cooking

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑