Well, it's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans so get yourself a frosty hurricane, a mess o' gumbo, and a fistful of beads and follow us on down to the Big Easy...
Where we start this week's digest of food news stories with the New Orleans Times-Picayune and a long line for Friday lunch at Galatoire's, one of New Orleans's top restaurants. Free food? No, it's not free, it's tradition, and it's the last Friday before Fat Tuesday. Judy Walker investigates the krewes of the workplace as business and pleasure mix in offices along the parade routes in New Orleans. Maybe that krewe can put together a mess of beans? Alicia Ross and Beverley Mills offer us a recipe for an Indonesian spicy bean stew I think would work for any Mardi Gras celebration. There is another event happening this week, and I think you know what I mean. Yep, Girl Scout cookies are being sold and Marcelle Bienvenu has worked up some recipes using these addictive fund-raising treats.
Oh, you thought by "another event" I meant that big football game on Sunday? Traditionally the mayors of the Superbowl contending teams bet packs of local merchandise, heavy on the food. ESPN tells us the governors got in on this one but the food bet got ki-bosh'd when Mitt Romney of Massachusetts rejected Penn. governor Ed Rendell's offer of Philly Cheesesteaks as "too fattening". Too fattening? Have you ever been to the Italian section of Boston? There's food there that makes you put on weight just walking past it in a store window! Pfft.
Howard Shapiro at the Philadelphia Inquirer tastes and rates flavored potato chips you can munch on during the game. Marilynn Marter reminds that in addition to being Fat Tuesday, the 8th is also the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and that means banquets are back.
Up in Boston, the Globe's Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven advise readers to celebrate the gladiatorial contest with the Philadelphians with Maple Glazed Chicken Wings. The Globe's wickedly insoucient scribblers also offers up a delightful bit of fluff in Rick Haggerty's guide "How to Eat Like an Eagles Fan". How positively provincial!
Eagles by 4 (Yo, Hinch!).
The Chicago Tribune devotes the front page of its Good Eats section to Robin Mather Jenkins's test of skillets, an essential tool for many of the season's best foods. Bill Daley checks in with some Roscoe Village people (who gets the Indian headdress?) who are using the Internet to shop for wine. DOC? RTFA! ROTFLMAO.
David Bernstein in the New York Times writes about Chicago chef Homaro Cantu. Don't remember seeing Bernstein's name in the Food section before? That's because he's a technology writer writing about Cantu's use of technology in cooking including ink jet sushi. Can I just get a shark steak cooked with a frickin' laser? David Karp sends food freaks into a frenzy tracking down the new varietal lemons he's discovered. Julia Moskin writes about the bitter taste you leave behind in your waiters' mouths.
A bitter waiter might try to scam you, as our own Todd A. Price (aka Todd in New Orleans) discovered in the New Orleans Gambit Weekly when he interviewed the author of How to Burn Down
the House: The Infamous Waiter and Bartender's Scam Bible, a book that details scams waiters and bartenders pull on their employers and customers. Maybe its the chain, but the picture of the author of the book, R. Chip DeGlinkt, makes him look a little... well, Vanilla Ice.
Walter Nicholls in the Washington Post follows Embassy Row chefs as they acquire the ingredients they cook for diplomatic receptions. Robert L. Wolke delves into the physics of "resting" meat before cutting and serving it. A body at rest tends to remain at rest, I always thought, even if it was a cow.
In San Francisco, Chronicle writer Amanda Byrne gets friends and family to come on over for a Sunday dinner revolving around - television? SF's large Asian population almost guarantees a good recipe or two for Lunar New Year and Olivia Wu obliges with rice cake.
Los Angeles Times writer Jordon Mackay reports that the third annual Madrid-Fusiˇn conference was special not only for the usual Mr. Wizard tricks by Ferran AdriÓ, but for the fact it featured wine. A Spanish favorite - the blood orange - is now grown near L.A., Susan LaTempa tells us. Mmmm.. Blood Oranges. Double Mmmmm... Blood-Orange Margaritas.
Get yourself a fruity drink and enjoy the seventeen holidays about to descend upon us. February will still feel the full 136 days long, but it might be a bit more tolerable.