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The Story of Soda, an All American Beverage

Friday June 28, 2013

Although soda has its roots in Europe, it's fair to say that this carbonated beverage has become the U.S. national drink. I became fascinated with soda after visiting the Vermont Country Store, where there's a fabulous antique soda fountain.  So here's the birth story of soda, continuing on to the development of the soda industry after the Civil War -- strikingly like today's cocktail culture.  And more still to come.

Join the Guinea Pig Club in Vermont

Wednesday June 26, 2013

No, it has nothing to do with the Peruvian dish cuy. But while you won't have to worry about being served a common domestic house pet,  you should bring a more standard sense of culinary adventure when you dine on Thursdays at The Inn at Weathersfield in Vermont.

It's worth a visit now, but keep an eye out for The Hidden Kitchen, two-day culinary workshops that will have a special focus on Vermont ingredients.

Vintage Candy at The Vermont Country Store

Wednesday June 19, 2013

Make the memory of your long-gone baby teeth ache when you visit The Vermont Country Store, in Weston, Vermont.  The place, which is best known as a catalog but also has two physical locations IRL, offers a huge variety of candy that people of all ages will remember from back-in-the-day -- Charleston Chew, anyone?-- as part of its mission to purvey the practical and the hard-to-find. (N.B.: IRL = In real life, as opposed to online. N.B.= Nota bene.)

As I wrote about my visit to the store a few weeks ago, I started thinking about how we hardly ever hear about "practicality" as a value anymore. Vrest Orton, who founded the company with his wife Mildred in 1946 (can there be more solid and practical names than these?) apparently insisted that all the products sold must be "useful, work and make sense." I am not 100% sure how these standards apply to jawbreakers, however.

Waldorf Astoria Unveils Roof Garden

Wednesday June 5, 2013

The Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City officially opened its rooftop garden today -- the rooftop here is actually a large 20th floor terrace. There are nine planting beds, and -- anaphylactic shock-sensitive beware -- beehives.  The honey from appears in cocktails, and on menu items, and in the hotel's spa. And even if you're not a guest at the hotel, you can jump on to the hotel's historic tour on Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:45 a.m.  Learn more.


Urban Agriculture in New York City

Friday May 31, 2013

You probably don't think "farm" when you think about visiting New York City -- but if you're interested in food, it's time to rethink that thinking.

My eyes were open to the possibilities of urban agriculture thanks to The Horticultural Society of New York, which put on an excellent conference on the topic, and included a tour of the city's working farms. Brush up on the definition of urban agriculture, and then check these farms out on your next city visit.



There's Food on Your Shirt -- and You Like it

Monday April 29, 2013

If you're looking for a gift for a food-loving mom, dad, grad keep in mind that while people can be really picky about their food, everyone loves a funny t-shirt. Food on Your Shirt, a Calgary-based company, has a comprehensive line of food humor t-shirts, and is especially encyclopedic on the subject of bacon.

The Bagel Betrayal - A Native New Yorker Confronts Montreal Bagels

Sunday April 28, 2013

I've hinted at this betrayal here and there, but now I come clean: my name is Alison Stein, I was born and raised in New York City, and I prefer Montreal bagels to New York bagels.

Here's the full bagel story, including the surprising history of bagels, which includes Jesus, and a theory about why Montreal bagels are better.

Vegan Cookies and Vietnamese Food -- in Lancaster?

Sunday April 28, 2013

It was quite a surprise to me to revisit Lancaster, Pennsyvlania -- better known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country -- where I once lived, and find that the food scene there had changed dramatically. How dramatically? Read on to find out.

Some Further Thoughts on Feeding Your Face. With Face.

Sunday March 31, 2013

...with face. I can't stop thinking about the wonderful food that you can eat, from an animal's neck up. Guanciale is just the beginning. There are the ears of pigs. There is the tongue of cow. There is the head of lamb. The whole head.  Read on.

And while I'm at it -- are you curious about the difference between ocean ranching and fish farming? Of course you are.

You'd Eat the Face off an Animal

Saturday March 30, 2013

Face bacon, pig face, barbacoa, guanciale.

I consider the notion of eating the face off an animal -- okay, mostly the cheeks -- which I started to think about because I so enjoyed this halibut cheek sandwich in Juneau, Alaska....

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