Food

Stories related to food in Seattle, including Dick Stein and Nancy Leson's weekly commentary Food for Thought.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

According to my Food for Thought pard  Nancy Leson, the #1 reason to go to all the trouble of home-grinding your own 'burger is because it will taste way better.  

Reason #2? It's really not all that much trouble. Plus you'll know exactly what's in it. Which, she suggests, might include bacon or chorizo. Which can never be bad.

Ft. Nisqually Living History Museum

I've received many invitations to judge cooking contests which I always decline with thanks. I've just never felt comfortable doing that. 

But when Chris Erlich, the Event Coordinator for the Ft. Nisqually Living History Museum invited me to a sampling of authentically-prepared 1855 Washington chow, I couldn't resist, especially since I got to wear a real-deal 1855 outfit.

That's right. The only difference between me and a real ham is that a real ham can be cured.

K. Kneistedt / Hair on Fire Productions

I knew that  recipe was dangerous the moment I saw it. Six Thai peppers? A half cup of chile oil? And that was just the start of the hot stuff. Naturally, I couldn't wait to make it. 

Because he'll eat anything (except tofu), I invited Weekend Edition host Kevin Kniestedt over to have some. We were in agony. And we couldn't stop. Maybe you'd like to try it.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Starbucks will begin posting calorie counts on its menu boards and bakery cases nationwide next week—something it’s already required to do in King County.

First, let's spoil this tale right away by telling you the 19-year-old man in Virginia who downed a quart of soy sauce on a dare survived.

It's a happy ending of sorts. But the guy had a close call. And you definitely don't want to try it.

While there's been quite a debate lately about whether the salt in the modern American diet is risky, there's no question that a massive amount of salt ingested quickly can lead to death.

"Open #&%" sez me!

Jun 12, 2013
Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

The fold out spout that doesn't.  The pull-ring that pops off so violently it spews the carton's contents all over your hands, the counter and your new pants.  Little foil closure tabs  so absurdly tiny they'd make Tinkerbell look ham-handed. 

We cover them all and more in this week's Food for Thought.


When photographer Ajay Malghan looks at this image, he sees the Virgin Mary. But you might see something entirely different — a flower petal, maybe. Or a sea slug.

Or how about ... a carrot? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a picture of a sliced carrot.

And this? It's not a supernova. It's not the Eye of Sauron. It's a strawberry.

Let's do lunch!

May 29, 2013
swamibu / flickr

In my whole life I've never even had a one-martini lunch. I stay right here in the KPLU Jazz Bunker, wolfing down last night's leftovers.  If you think  Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson  is lunching more luxuriously, think again.

This is an encore episode of Food for Thought.

I blame my mother. 

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

I don't expect you to forgive me for that headline. To paraphrase Tammany Hall "Honest Grafter" George Washington Plunkitt, I saw my opportunity and I took it. But I digress. In this week's Food for Thought we come to praise Caesar salad.

Sniff, memory!

May 8, 2013

Some smells always bring back fond memories. Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson says one whiff of mint, and she's suddenly 6 again. 

Two of my favorites are  flame-broiling meat in a highly air-conditioned room, and the aroma of onion soup on a freezing Quebec day. I guess I just like the memory of warm food smells in a cold environment. Not always, though.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

These look like some nice beans. And there's a story behind them, too. In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy and I chatted about what we're putting into the ground this spring, and what we hope to get out of it—including something I never knew could be grown around here.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

So says the Hostess company of its frozen food saw. I hadn't known there even was a tradition for frozen food saws. I do know that the Hostess company would never exaggerate, so probably the tradition they mean is that of medieval surgical tools. 

Kevin Kniestedt / Unrepresented

Nancy Leson surprised me when she said she was using cake flour and plain cold water for her dumpling wrapper dough.  I've been using all purpose and just-boiled very hot water. 

Nancy got the recipe from Judy Fu of Seattle's Snappy Dragon restaurant fame and wrote about it recently.  There's something I like about her method. And something I don't.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

My friend and fellow–though fancier– eater,  Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson is just back from the Windy City, and telling wide-eyed tales of exotic dinners.  Nance and her fellow Times gastro-journalist Providence Cicero lucked into reservations at two of the top restaurants in the country, if not the world.

John Lok / Seattle Times

I would. And so would Nancy. She calls Michael Sanders' loaves "perhaps the best bread in town" and says she'd happily pay twice that.  

Only about 50 of these beauties come out of Sanders' oven each day and most of those are going to a Matt Dillon restaurant. But if you get to Sitka and Spruce in Melrose Market early enough, you just might be able to score one.

Stein / Marshmallow Mavens, Inc

There are Peeps diorama contests held all across the nation, not least of which is that sponsored by the Seattle Times. Here, take a look.  This year's contest attracted hundreds of entries. As Nancy pointed out, it's perfectly possible that these Peepsle have too much time on their hands. Some fun, huh?

Be a recipe renegade!

Mar 20, 2013
Stein

Run wild!  Sure, if you've never made something before, it's a good idea to follow the instructions. But if the instructions look weird or include ingredients you really don't like, that's another story.

Recipes come from all-too-fallible humans. Take it from me that some of them can haul you right over the Foodscal Cliff. I speak from bitter experience.

It happens to the best of us. You drink one too many cups of coffee and, for the next few hours, you end up acting like a hyper preschooler who just can't sit still.

Which can be pretty inconvenient if it's, say, noon and you're at the office, or if it's midnight and you can't fall asleep.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were something quick and easy that you could take to combat the effects of over-caffeination? Something like ... a banana?

old-picture.com

This week's discussion was inspired by the TV comedy Portlandia  and its Brunch Village episode about an endless line of would-be brunchers. 

I have lurked in the lobbies of dim sum joints waiting for tables.  And once in a while I've been been willing to wait in the bar.  But queue up out on the sidewalk?  Uh-uh.  I've stood on all the chow lines I care to, thank you. 

It's no secret that many Americans have a fetish for big food. Whether it's a triple-decker cheeseburger or a 128-ounce Big Gulp, some portions in the U.S. have gotten freakishly large.

But not all of our supersizing is unhealthy.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

You don't need an oven to make great flatbread.  You can do it all in a skillet right on top of your stove.  Here's how:

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

I can't believe that Leson got that "natural" style starter to work.  I've tried over and over again with no success.  Her success encourages me.  Maybe I'll try again. 

Nancy Leson

Making your own vinegar is not complicated, thank goodness, but it does require a  good starter. Seattle Times food writer, Nancy Leson, tells KPLU's Erin Hennessey how she makes her own red wine vinegar and why it's so special.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

Okay, this one isn't about food -- other than the food scraps that were embedded and festering in both my kitchen floor and Nancy's.  It's about floors -- and the amazing Air Sled appliance mover.  One of the coolest gizmos I've seen in many a year.

Hot legs!

Feb 6, 2013
Nancy Leson

I confess that though I've chewed my way through enough chicken wings to levitate a dumpster I've never had the official Buffalo Wing.   And now I may never bother.  Here's why:

Looking to cut back on the calories in your cocktail by mixing, say, diet soda and rum? Well, get ready for the buzz.

According to the results of a new study, this combination will leave you drunker than if you'd mixed the liquor with a sugary, caloric mixer.

Take a look at this remarkable graph — is it the stock market? Home sales?

Nope. Click on the blue box in the lower right-hand corner and you'll see that the blue line tracks the number of chicken wings that Americans bought at grocery stores over the last year. See that mighty surge of wing-buying in early February? Apparently, you just cannot have a Super Bowl party without chicken wings — millions and millions of chicken wings.

Say "Super Bowl" to Philadelphia chef and restaurateur Jose Garces, and he instantly recalls winter Sundays growing up in Chicago. "While my dad and two brothers and I were watching a Bears football game, empanadas would just appear in front of my lap," he tells All Things Considered for the Found Recipe series.

TURNER, Ore. - When a dog finds its first truffle -- the fungus, not the chocolate candy -- the sound you hear will most likely be the voice of a very excited dog handler.

And you might be as excited as Mia MacCollin of Bend if your pet showed an aptitude to find buried treasure. And treasure it is. The native Oregon white truffle can fetch several hundred dollars per pound at retail.

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