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Food for a Lucky Chinese New Year

Lucky Chinese New YearThe Chinese New Year falls on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Thus, it does not always fall on the first day of January. For 2016, February 8 will be New Year’s Day and traditional Chinese celebrations will include not only a barrage of firecrackers but also a menu consisting of dishes to bring good luck.

Oranges and Tangerines for Good Luck and Wealth

If you’ve ever wondered why most Chinese restaurants will slice up an orange for you at the end of your meal, you will be glad to know this fruit symbolizes good luck for you. In Community Table’s “7 Foods to Eat for Good Luck on Chinese New Year”, Shannon McCook says: Displayed as decorations and given as gifts, the tangerine is said to represent wealth and the orange brings good luck. While their bright vibrant colors lend themselves to the spirit of the day, their associations with wealth and luck originate in how similar the Cantonese word for tangerine is to wealth, and the Cantonese word for orange is to luck.” [Read more…]

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Getting to Know Soul Food

Soul Food

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo https://goo.gl/WBu2E1

Origin of Soul food can be traced back to the time when slavery existed in the United States. It is a cuisine with a long political history; it is also a testament to African-American creativity. People have discovered what an indescribable delight soul food can be, and it is amazing that it all started with scraps, leftovers, and the less desirable vegetables and cuts of meat.

Soul Food Over Two Centuries Ago

In “Soul Food”, a Brief History”, the African American Registry reviews the beginnings of soul food back: “Soul Food is a term used for an ethnic cuisine, food traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans of the Southern United States. Many of the various dishes and ingredients included in “soul food” are also regional meals and comprise a part of other Southern US cooking, as well. The style of cooking originated during American slavery. African slaves were given only the “leftover” and “undesirable” cuts of meat from their masters (while the white slave owners got the meatiest cuts of ham, roasts, etc.).”

Apart from the leftovers from the slave owners’ tables, the slaves also expanded their food choices by growing their own vegetables. The African American Registry adds, “We also had only vegetables grown for ourselves. After slavery, many, being poor, could afford only off-cuts of meat, along with offal. Farming, hunting and fishing provided fresh vegetables, fish and wild game, such as possum, rabbit, squirrel and sometimes waterfowl. Africans living in America at the time (and since) more than made do with the food choices we had to work with…”

[Read more…]

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Marinade: Spinning Magic in Your Food

Marinade

Photo Credit: Jeremy Keith https://goo.gl/bTXYPM

A marinade is a mixture of acid, oil and spices that can add flavor and tenderize meats. Though the concept has been traditionally applied to meats, its use has been expanded to include poultry, and even seafood and vegetables. The food is allowed to soak and absorb all the essences, making it acquire unique and complex flavors. Every cook can make his marinade distinct and flavorful depending on the simplicity or complexity of the ingredients used. For those who want complex flavors or have a delicious marinade without much effort, the market is swamped with premixed/packaged marinades.

Marinade 101

What are the most basic things that you need to know about making marinades? Check it out in this post “Marinating Meat Guidelines – Marinating 101.” [Read more…]

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Food Destinations for the Best Local Cuisines According to CNN

Food Destination

Taipei’s Beef Noodles
Credit: Yuli Chua https://goo.gl/RWEMoK

Food, in its most basic definition, is anything meant to nourish the body and sustain its functions. But food has always been an expression of the way people live their lives, so it is also a reflection of a local culture and national identity.

In the last decades or so, travel and communication technologies made popular destinations become more attractive places as the world gets wind of what else they can offer, in terms of food. Local cuisine also pushed “unknown” or lesser destinations to prominence as their foods catch the fancy of travelers, who are as likely to satiate their pangs for food as their desire to satisfy their taste for adventure. This development has made cuisines and foods in general to cross borders and boundaries to become the world’s most coveted dishes and delicacies.

One natural consequence of this rising interest on the best local cuisines is where to find the, CNN Travel Section just recently made a poll to give foodies and travelers alike a list of where to go for soul-satisfying gastronomies. The result appears in its post entitled Which destination has the world’s best food? [Read more…]

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Japanese Food on a Conveyor Belt

Sushi conveyor belt

Credit: Todd Lappin/ http://goo.gl/f1P3wH

Food on a conveyor belt? You heard it right! This is the Japanese innovation to fast food service, and it is a method that allows people to stay seated throughout a meal, choosing dishes as they go without having to order each additional plate.

Restaurants that opt for conveyor belt sushi are usually advertised as kaiten-sushi (rotation sishi) or kuru kuru sushi  (sushi-go-round) in Japan. In Australia, these restaurants are sometimes called sushi trains, and in the United States, these are referred to as rotating sushi bars.

How the Conveyor Belt Meal Works

Ways of Wanderers writer Jessica Dawdy shares her experience on this innovative approach to quick service, handmade Japanese food in How to Eat Conveyor Belt Sushi. [Read more…]

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The Brisket Crisis

BrisketThe world may not miss the briskets, but not in Texas where it sells like “hot cakes.” The news that there is shortage in this beef cut is taken quite seriously around the state. Do Texans need to guard their briskets just as Michael Kaminer suggested in the article The Great Brisket Crisis of 2014 posted in The Jewish Daily Forward.

Guard your briskets!

Brisket prices are skyrocketing nationwide as voracious demand for a “limited edition” Arby’s brisket sandwich eats into supply for the prized cut of meat.

Fueled by a hugely successful online marketing campaign, the fast-food giant is consuming more than a half-million pounds of brisket every week to keep up with its 3,300 stores demand for the “Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich,” whose schtick is that it smokes for thirteen hours.

Arby being the reason for the brisket crisis and the soaring brisket prices is also the essence of the article Arby’s New Sandwich Causes Spike in Brisket Prices by Erin DeJesus for Eater. [Read more…]

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Rediscovering Street Foods: Why Foodies Seek It Out

Street food has been around for centuries now. Being borne out of local culture, it is something that pleases one’s sense of taste; most can even give one a sense of comfort. With human’s excessive concern for cleanliness referred to as “sanitized culture,” street food was casted as bad food at one time in history. It is for this matter that eating food bought from street stalls and hawkers is preferred by many to be kept under wraps, lest one is criticized for “lack of culture.” [Read more…]

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Food and Travel: A Taste of Fall

Summer is fun, but just like all good things, it must come to an end to give way to fall, another beautiful season that gourmands love. Around this time, the northern hemisphere’s crops are starting to get to their peak to become more luscious, extra vibrant and sweeter. This makes fall a perfect season to go places in search of gustatory ecstasy. It is also a good time to enjoy the season’s bounties from the sea and to sip wine.

Regardless of travel preferences and goals, all people seek good food wherever they go and whatever they do. There are people who travel to learn about culture and food. That is not surprising at all; local cuisines say so much about any place and its people. If you are a certified foodie about to take off for a “food trip” this fall, here are a few ideas for you. [Read more…]

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A Good Food and Life for the Elderly: How Maggie Beer is Making a Difference

No, kids are not the only ones who need balanced meals to fight malnutrition and visually attractive meals to entice them to eat. Even older people living in aged-care homes are in need of quality foods. The best strategy to improve nutrition among the elderly is to enhance the usual standards in the foods served in homes for the elderly. This means serving them appetizing, nutritious and visually enticing meals to motivate them to eat properly.

This prompted celebrated cook, entrepreneur and 2010 Senior Australian of the Year awardee Maggie Beer to launch the “A Good Food Life for All” under the auspices of her Maggie Beer Foundation. Find out more about Maggie Beer’s campaign to improve the meals aged-care homeswritten by Michelle Rowe posted in The Australian – Executive Lifestyle.
[Read more…]

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Back to Basic: What Slow Food (and Travel) Means in Akyaka, Turkey

Cities have always attracted ambitious people who want to make it big in their industry. It is a jungle out there. Surviving the city, and much more, conquering it can be so stressful. Times like this, you wish you can go back to a simple life the way it was for you or your parents. It is no wonder slow travel and slow food is coming back with a vengeance!

If you are in the mood to recharge somewhere scenic and serene, take Rachel Dixon’s word, head off to Akyaka. Read about her slow travel and her slow food explorations in her blog “Slow food and an easy vibe: Akyaka, Turkey’s New Foodie Destinationpublished in The Guardian – Travel Section. [Read more…]

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