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Introducing the Daily Meal Council: Camas Davis

Introducing the Daily Meal Council: Camas Davis

The Daily Meal Council is an assembly of respected chefs, restaurateurs, writers, purveyors, food historians, and others who play key roles in the food world. They have agreed to share their opinions and their expertise with us from time to time, answering occasional queries, responding to surveys, advising us on matters of importance to us all.

Camas Davis was born in Eugene, Oregon, but spent most of her childhood in the tiny farming community of Alvadore, about 30 minutes to the west. She went to high school in Eugene, then studied at Antioch College in Ohio before returning home to get her bachelor's degree in comparative literature at the University of Oregon. She went on to earn a master's degree in performance studies at New York University. From 2000 to 2009, Davis was a staff editor and writer for such publications as National Geographic Adventure, Saveur, and Portland Monthly Magazine. In 2009, Davis traveled to southwestern France to study whole animal butchery and charcuterie. Upon her return to Portland, she founded the Portland Meat Collective, a traveling butchery school that has become a local and national resource for meat education. In 2014, she launched the Meat Collective Alliance, a nonprofit corporation whose mission it is to spread similar meat education programs across the country. Davis and the Portland Meat Collective have been covered in the New York Times Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Dark Rye, and many other national media outlets. She lives in Portland, where, in addition to running PMC and MCA, she is working on a book.

What's your earliest food memory?
I have lots of early food memories I'd rather not talk about, because they weren't good. I mean who wants to talk about spoonfuls of smooshed peas? My first good food memory is simply wandering down the dirt road I grew up on and picking fresh Italian plums, blackberries warmed by the sun, Bing cherries, and strawberries from the orchards and gardens and u-pick croplands that surrounded our house growing up. That's a close tie with tasting my great Aunt Helen's chicken-fried venison for the first time, though.

When did you first decide that you wanted to be pursue a career in food, and why?
I was still in high school when Saveur launched. I remember flipping through the beautiful photographs and thinking, huh, people do this for a living? Then I started working in restaurants, and while I loved cooking, I knew it wasn't a lifelong goal of mine to work in restaurants. Plus, my writer side was a little stronger. When I moved to New York to work for magazines in 1999, my first job was at National Geographic Adventure. Whenever they needed someone to write the occasional "Camp Cooking" blurb, I always volunteered. When a job came up at Saveur, I remembered seeing those photos when I was still a teenager and thought: if other people do this for a living, so can I. I applied for the job and got it. I knew then that I had landed on a topic and a lens through which I wanted to explore the world.

Who was your most important culinary influence?
My mom was the main cook growing up, so she is probably my earliest culinary influence. I didn't always like what she cooked, but she taught me the basics. At my first real job cooking in a restaurant I worked under Maria, a talented Venezuelan cook. We were mostly cooking bad hippy Mexican food in Eugene, Ore., but she taught me about ratios and flavors and spices that I had never heard of before. After that, the entire staff at Saveur became my most important culinary influence as an adult.

What are the most important lessons you learned from that culinary influence?
From Mom: Keep it simple. From Maria: The incredible power of an onion. From the Saveur staff: All food has a story.

What drew you to the butcher's craft?
I'd been working as a magazine writer for 10 years and had started to feel like writing about food was starting to get in the way of me really experiencing food, if that makes sense. When I lost my job in 2009, I decided I wanted to stop writing for a while and get my hands dirty. I wanted to experience a part of the food world that I knew little to nothing about, a part of the food world that for many people was an enigma. For me, that was meat. I'd grown up hunting and fishing as a child, then I became a vegetarian, then I started eating meat again, but I'd never really given much thought to everything that goes into getting meat to my table. I wanted to start thinking about that in a meaningful way.

How do you answer those who maintain that eating meat is (a) inhumane, (b) bad for the environment, and/or (c) bad for your health?
I think the way we currently produce and consume meat in America is inhumane, unsustainable, and unhealthy. I have no argument against that. I do also think that there are definite ways to raise meat, slaughter it, process it, and eat it that are humane, sustainable, good for the environment, and good for our health. On a very basic level this means that we need to eat less meat all around, we need to eat better meat, and we need to rethink our entire agricultural system in relation to animals. No small feat. I could write pages and pages on this but I won't. When I set out to learn butchery I did so because I felt that our current debate about eating meat or not was too black and white, and I was convinced that there was a more nuanced answer to the question of meat eating. As it turns out, there is. Setting out to learn whole animal butchery led me to that more nuanced answer. "When I moved there in 2006, Portland was still in the 1990s dining scene for the most part. Then, the food cart craze happened and suddenly we had this incredibly diverse food landscape."

How has the Portland food scene evolved in the years you've been living there?
Tremendously. When I moved there in 2006, Portland was still in the 1990s dining scene for the most part. Then, the food cart craze happened and suddenly we had this incredibly diverse food landscape. Underground supper clubs started to happen. Young people with few resources and great palates basically decided to get creative with whatever they had at hand. This has created a unique Portland food scene that is scrappy, resourceful, and inspired by the food that is grown around us.

What's the most surprising or rewarding thing that has happened to you since you embarked on your career in meat?
Learning how to raise an animal for food, slaughter it, butcher it, and use every part has changed the way I think about the world in ways I could have never imagined when I flew to France five years ago, wide-eyed, with little idea of what I was actually getting into. It has changed how I value the food on my table. It has also changed my relationship to my community. It has inspired a profound philosophical shift for me, one that has created meaning in my life as an eater, as a cook, as a citizen of the world. I had no idea learning how to butcher a whole animal would have that effect on me. It has also forced me to really articulate for myself and others what it means (for me) to kill dinner. The dialogue and debate that this inspires has surprised me. That I have, thus, become a spokesperson for this kind of reimagining and rethinking of the meat world has surprised me most, though. Also, just a few runners-up: I was really surprised when the folks at Martha Stewart called. And when the New York Times asked me to pose with a pig head for them. I also had no idea how hard it would be to explain what I do at parties.

Do those involved in the food industry, whether as farmers, artisans, chefs or restaurateurs, or anything else, have social responsibility beyond simply helping to feed people honestly and well?

I think everyone in the food industry should start with that simple premise: Feed people honestly and well. It can be harder to do this than one might think, however. If you actaully achieve it, you have done something excellent for the world: Inspiring others to live honestly and well too. Everything else beyond that is just pure entertainment.

What future project, real or imagined, excites you most?

I just launched a nonprofit, the Meat Collective Alliance, that will help other individuals and communities across the country start their own Meat Collective-style meat education and buying program. I'm excited to see this model that I created five years ago spread to others and inspire a new approach to producing and consuming meat. Also, I'm writing again. I couldn't stay away for long. There's a book in my future, and let's just say it's way more complicated than a hundred ways to cook a pig.


Portland's Food Rules

Ten lessons America can learn about what it takes for a midsize city to become one of the most exciting food towns in the country.

And, yes, you have to begin by agreeing that Portland is now so hip, or perhaps so post-hip, that it has a TV show—Portlandia�voted to its hipness, a show involving much hilarity about food in episode one. And that a Portlander famously addressed hipness-sniffing New York writers this way on a blog: "STOP stalking us. Love, Portland." Portland, like Austin, prides itself on being weird, which in the end is a bit of Vegas-style branding. But when you get down to it, PDX, as it&aposs sometimes called, walks the walk concerning chow. If the American food revolution sometimes starts to feel like a lecture, well, there&aposs a lot of giddy class participation in Portland. It has a few things to teach the rest of us.

1: IT&aposS GOOD TO ELECT A FOODIE MAYOR
If you want to see Portland Mayor Sam Adams fired up, get him talking about his backyard bees. Or his laying hens and vegetable garden. Or the City Hall courtyard, where a manicured lawn gave way to 700 square feet of vegetable beds full of tomatoes, kale, and strawberries. On the policy-wonk side, Adams will detail his work with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to convert vacant lots into community gardens or efforts to bring more farmers to the city&aposs many farmers&apos markets.

Struggling to cook healthy? We'll help you prep.

In Portland, food policy gets the juices running, and food policy can make streets messy. Sooner or later, a talk with the mayor arrives at the subject of the 600-odd food carts and trucks camped all over town. Under Adams&apos watch, first as a city council member and then as mayor starting in 2009, licensing fees have been kept low and streetscape regulations have been tweaked to make Portland more cart-and truck-friendly. Stroll any street, and you see the result: an Airstream trailer doing Northern Thai curry next to a Cajun joint with a patio draped in Spanish moss a renovated caboose serving vegan barbecue and a silver trailer offering Scandinavian meatball-stuffed lefse. Sounds charming, but the improvised jumble has created a hint of Bangkok via Burning Man, a rough muddle that would horrify prissier, more tightly zoned American cities. To Adams, it&aposs all part of the democratic process.

"Portlanders eat their values," Adams says, "so they embrace the carts." An added benefit, he believes, is a healthy serving of social justice: Food carts have relatively low overhead, so business ownership has become possible for many who couldn&apost afford to start a conventional restaurant.

There are naysayers. Some restaurateurs grouse that the carts steal their business𠅊 low-overhead cart lunch costs about the same as a fast-food value meal. Others linger over the grunge factor and food safety. The mayor persists, "We&aposve had to work hard to convince people that even though they look a little hodgepodge, carts add an informal charm to the cityscape. And as for food safety, the carts are held to the same high standards as restaurants." —Ivy Manning

2: HANDS-ON COOKING CLASSES DIVE INTO THE HEART & GUTS OF THINGS
Ten home cooks gather around a halved Red Wattle heritage pig and watch Camas Davis flick a boning knife around the rear leg joint of the animal. A camera overhead captures the procedure on a flat-screen TV so no one misses a deft cut. One more turn of the wrist and the leg comes free from the carcass.

Davis holds it up by the hoof and says, "Now that will be a prosciutto. "

Sunday school for the squeamish this is not, but these students�-something locavores, thrifty moms, die-hard bacon lovers𠅊re eager to work at carcass level.

And Camas Davis knows from whence she cuts. A food editor turned butcher, her interest in meat led to an internship in Southwest France with a family that raises and butchers pigs for a fresh-meat and charcuterie business. After returning in 2009, Davis and Tray Satterfield started the Portland Meat Collective, which, in addition to butchery classes, acts as a resource for buying and sharing whole animals direct from local ranchers. It was, in the PDX food scene, a well-timed move.

"As soon as we started, the response was incredible. It&aposs like people were just waiting for this to happen."

The Sunday class breaks into smaller groups, working on their own pigs, cutting roasts, ribs, and trotters. Later, everyone communes over local charcuterie and red wine to discuss cookbooks, home-cured bacon formulas, and the wisdom or risk of nitrates.

The appetite for neo-homesteader kitchen skills runs deep in Portland. An hour from downtown, Kookoolan Farms offers wildly popular BYOC slaughtering/dressing courses𠅊s in Bring Your Own Chicken. Salt, Fire, and Time runs weekly classes like "Bone Broth" and "Potted Meats and Cheeses." Across town at Lost Arts Kitchen, you can learn all about lacto-fermentation (not only cheese: Think probiotic-rich kimchi and fermented ketchup). Even the city&aposs Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is in on the act, offering beekeeping, cheesemaking, and organic vegetable gardening classes.

Davis rejects the notion that this is all the hobby-work of locavore obsessives and fat-wallet foodies: "There&aposs plenty of those in Portland. But it&aposs surprisingly diverse: Farmers, bike messengers, low-income single moms, as well as rich executives are into this. Provide a model for people in which they can eat well, spend less money, and own a part of the process, and a wide gamut of people will find that appealing. It&aposs a shift in thinking, not just a trend." —I.M.

3: FARM ANIMALS ARE AT HOME HERE
There&aposs a funny-looking chicken named Lil&apos Tibby, with a tuft of floppy feathers atop her head, sitting on the back of a rescued white Boer goat named Moonshark. By easy anthropomorphic reasoning, they appear to be friends. There&aposs another chicken that likes to sleep in a bucket. The rest of the birds at Naomi&aposs Organic Farm Supply in Southeast Portland sleep more conventionally on the coop bars.

If urban chicken keeping is in vogue across America, Portland is a few clucks ahead of the flock. Naomi&aposs co-owner, Naomi Montacre, describes Portland as "this fabulously chicken-filled city."

But the real action now is with multiple species. In Portland, anyone can own three small livestock animals, though more than three of an combination of chickens, ducks, doves, pigeons, pygmy goats, and rabbits requires a paid permit from the county. According to Dave Thomson, the code-enforcement officer for Multnomah County Health Department, Portland currently has more than 600 such permits𠅊 number that has more than doubled since 2005.

"We teach chicken-keeping workshops," says Naomi, "but we really focus on multi-animal workshops. A lot of these animals coexist nicely, but there are little tricks that involve who gets free run of everything, who gets locked up at night, who should stay out of whose food, and all that."

It&aposs not all lovey-dovey. Although most Portlanders keep livestock for eggs or dairy, some do so for meat. It is not inconceivable that you could watch your neighbor terminate a goat in his backyard—legally.

Thomson says Portlanders can slaughter their meat animals for personal use with the caveat that, "It must be done in a humane manner. If it is not, it can become an animal cruelty issue, which is an Animal Control matter. As the livestock permitting authority, we are neutral, but we recommend that it be done outside of view and in a discreet fashion." —Liz Crain

4: SPECIALIZE, SPECIALIZE
All great food cities become home to hyper-focused restaurants and shops—run by people who find their greatest satisfaction in one thing done very well. Think of the macaroon-makers of Paris, the barbecue fanatics of the South, the old-school pickle briners who have tiny nooks in New York City. These are the punctuation marks on the long menu that makes up a city&aposs cuisine.

In Portland, Mark and Jennifer Turner Bitterman of The Meadow probably know more about salt than anyone in the nation. Aaron Silverman and Morgan Brownlow&aposs business, Tails & Trotters, specializes in astonishingly delicious pork from pigs who are "finished" with local hazelnuts.

One of the more exuberant and curious of these specialists is Pine State Biscuits, whose co-owners, Kevin Atchley, Brian Snyder, and Walt Alexander, came to Portland a few years ago after graduating from North Carolina State University. In a nutshell: Southeast went Northwest and flourished.

According to Atchley, "Coming up with our biscuit recipe probably took longer than the building of our first restaurant." They would experiment with recipes and styles, then throw biscuit parties for friends and chefs to vet the goods. What won out in the end was a hands-on, cut-no-corners recipe in which frozen blocks of local butter are hand-cut into local flour. The flour comes from the 33-member alliance of Pacific Northwest wheat growers called Shepherd&aposs Grain, the butter from Larsen&aposs Creamery in Clackamas, Oregon.

It did not occur to these transplanted biscuit-heads, apparently, that building a business on a single food not exactly native to the soggy west might not be a great idea.

It was a great idea. Pine State now involves two line-around-the-block biscuit restaurants and an often absurdly crowded farmers&apos market booth. Some 1,000 biscuits a day are drenched with peppery gravy, piled with buttermilk-fried chicken, slathered with apple butter, layered with bacon, and served to knowing Portlanders who tuck in with joy in their eyes. —L.C.[pagebreak]

5: THE CITY IS ONE BIG "FOODSHED"
Every fall, Portland&aposs profuse collection of fruit trees becomes thick with apples, plums, persimmons, and figs—tons of which would fall to the ground and rot without the intervention of the Portland Fruit Tree Project.

Portland was partly built on fruit-lands. "Our climate," says 31-year-old Katy Kolker, the Project&aposs executive director, "is particularly suitable for fruit production, and much of what is now Portland used to be orchard land. You can see this in neighborhoods where some of the original orchard trees were left standing after houses were built."

But not everyone who has inherited a fruit tree wants to pick a fruit tree. Enter the Project, which started in 2006 and has grown mightily. In 2010, it hosted nearly 50 harvest events throughout Portland—mostly on the east side𠅊nd distributed about 21,000 pounds of urban fruit to local food banks (volunteer harvesters get a share, as well).

The original plan was to send out scouts to locate and map trees for harvest. No need, it turned out: "We didn&apost expect the interest would be so high from tree owners," says Kolker. Portland residents now just register their trees online. Harvest wrap-up parties find Project members sharing recipes and ideas for using the fall bounty.

Eat-local proponents think of the matrix of farms, gardens, wildlands, and green spaces outside and within a city as part of the total "foodshed" (think "watershed," but for food). Foraging, whether by organized groups like the Project or by loners and friends, is a sort of interstitial farming that makes deeper use of the land.

Michael Bunsen and Bobby Smith&aposs open source website, Urban Edibles, incorporates wiki pages and an interactive map detailing unclaimed urban edibles in the Portland area. Further afield, at the city&aposs edge and beyond, John Kallas of Wild Food Adventures leads workshops. Participants identify, harvest, and prepare tender cattails and miner&aposs lettuce, extract essential oils from lemonbalm, and grind acorns for acorn pudding. —L.C.

6: DISTILL IN THE CITY
Drink local is an easy idea to swallow when your rough-hewn state&aposs lumberjack thirst long ago evolved into the West Coast heart of the microbrew revolution when your local soils and climes are perfect for pinot noir and pinot gris when the abundant pears and apples inspired one of the country&aposs godfathers of micro-distilling. Throw in a cocktail scene in full hipster-peacock display, and there&aposs a lot of interesting stuff to drink around this town.

"It&aposs a horrendous amount of work," says Steve McCarthy, the above-mentioned distilling godfather, as he watches two employees in his industrial warehouse prepare three massive, glimmering German pot stills for a run of grappa. McCarthy&aposs Clear Creek Distillery was first in a city (and region) that&aposs seen an astonishing recent boom in small-craft liquor production. His pear brandy, first distilled in 1985, is widely reckoned the best of its kind in the country.

Back in the &apos80s, McCarthy was inspired by Oregon winemakers, whose pinots were famously taking on French Burgundies and winning. Beer-making experience also factored large in the late &apos90s, the McMenamin brothers, founders of the city&aposs first brewpub (now a brewery and pub empire), followed McCarthy&aposs lead by making whiskey. In the 2000s, Portland distilleries began popping up like weeds, centered around House Spirits, the most famous of a five-distillery, nonprofit collective known as Distillery Row.

Today, Clear Creek is a relative titan, but newbie hopefuls, like husband and wife duo Sebastian and Erika Degens, keep launching. Their Stone Barn Brandyworks, the latest addition to Distillery Row, produces a small-batch white-rye moonshine, a softly sweet strawberry liqueur, and a pinot noir grappa. "We&aposre trying to make distinctive handcrafted spirits that are characteristic of the materials we&aposre working with," explains Sebastian, "so you can taste the origins of the fruit." —Patrick Alan Coleman

7: FARM TO TABLE IS THE MINIMUM. FARM AND TABLE—THAT&aposS IMPRESSIVE
"This is our brand," Meriwether&aposs chef-owner Earl Hook says as he spreads his tattooed arms wide to take in 4½ acres of vegetable beds known as Skyline Farm.

In the Portland restaurant business, the farm-to-table ethic𠅊 cliché here as everywhere, and sometimes more spin than ethic—gains a ring of truth if it&aposs your own farm. During peak season, Skyline Farm supplies about 80% of the produce for Meriwether&aposs Restaurant, 20 minutes away in Northwest Portland.

The farm was an afterthought for Meriwether&aposs Restaurant co-owners John and Renee Orlando, who live on and own the property. The Orlandos got into farming without the lofty fanfare that attends, say, an operation like Blue Hill at Stone Barns, outside New York City: A green-thumb waiter thought it would be neat to grow a vegetable patch in the backyard. Four years later, the acreage employs four part-time farmers and has increased output from a few hundred pounds of produce to an estimated 15,000 pounds annually.

Not without setbacks, of course. Sixty ducks were wiped out by predators, possibly a bobcat. Cold weather curtailed the tomatoes in 2010. Squash plants rotted last spring, nixing plans for locavore pumpkin pies.

"It&aposs all part of the process," says Hook, who visits the farm weekly and helps plan plantings. The process is simple: "I talk to the farmers, and then I write the menu."

Other restaurants follow, if on a smaller scale. At Ned Ludd, the keep-it-small wood-fire restaurant set in a Northeast Portland neighborhood, chef-owner Jason French saw the vacant lot behind his place as urban eyesore and opportunity. Working with the city and a Community-Supported Agriculture farmer, French helped launch a garden that supplies a small amount of vegetables and lots of inspiration. At Lucca, a casual Italian restaurant nearby, owners Nancy Salta and Sue Davidson use produce from their half-acre home garden, including Italian varieties of kale and agretti (a briny Mediterranean herb) they can&apost find elsewhere.

Few chefs will farm, of course. More promising, though, is the prospect of knitting together a sustainable, social-media web of connected farms and restaurants. The 2009 nonprofit Food Hub is a forum connecting farmers, ranchers, and chefs.

"Chefs are held to a higher standard here," says Hook, "and that makes this one helluva restaurant town." —I.M.

8: PEDAL YOUR FOOD
Jed Lazar stops at a café in the cobblestoned heart of Old Town, Portland, to fuel up and rest his enormous calves. He&aposs been bicycling since 7:30 a.m., and he&aposs covered about 15 miles on a crisscross route. That number wouldn&apost surprise a bike courier, but Lazar has been towing a 215-pound trailer filled with homemade soup.

Yes, cyclists deliver food all over American cities, especially in car-clogged, high-population burgs like Brooklyn—where the Chinese-restaurant delivery guy, who&aposs usually from El Salvador, is ubiquitous. But Lazar co-owns the business. He&aposs the heart and lungs behind SoupCycle, a subscription-based service that offers weekly soup delivery to customers&apos front doors. Lazar and partner Shauna Lambert pieced together the idea for a bike-and-broth business in 2008. They estimate they&aposve covered 10,000 miles and made 29,000 deliveries.

Today&aposs haul included a bright, tangy tortilla soup with bits of bursting-fresh corn, and a fall squash number with a creamy heft and a touch of sweetness.

It makes sense in a bike-mad burg: 6.4% of all city commuters are on two wheels, according to a U. S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. Not only soup but also coffee and tacos are biked around town, and B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery ports hundreds of pounds of organic products to restaurants and outlets like Whole Foods Market.

Back on the café patio, Lazar stretches out his weary legs and smiles.

"I think I have the most positive job in the city." —P.A.C.

9: HARVEST THE MATRIX

Beneath meager shelter in the middle of a small, rain-soaked parking lot off Hawthorne Boulevard in Southeast Portland, several tables are piled with produce: shiny purple cabbages, pale golden beets, bristling mustard greens, bright-red hot peppers. This is the Hawthorne Urban Farmers&apos Market—the slightly muddy face of an experiment in community food-growing.

The veg here is ultralocal, produced on a neighborhood garden matrix� plots of loaned land tended by the Southeast Portland Urban Farm Co-op. The plots add up to a 2-acre labor of love for Friday and Kerry Purington, who&aposve been turning backyards into radish fields, flower beds into rows of leafy kale, and even an abandoned horse corral into a wonderland of squash. The co-op feeds about 120 people each week through a Community-Supported Agriculture model in which landowners get a share of the produce farmed within the network in exchange for allowing the Puringtons and their comrades to farm their yards.

"Portland," Friday says, with a little bit of local pretzel logic, "is a good city to do this, not only for the climate, but also because a lot of people here see themselves as the sort of people who&aposd be into it."

You also see the grow-it-and-share-it ethos in 35 pooled neighborhood gardens managed by the city, each with a waiting list, and in programs like the Eastside Egg Co-op, where members share care of a chicken flock.

Another urban farmer, Joshua Dodds of Velocifeed, who does most of his to-and-froing by bicycle, reckons there are as many as 50 enterprises turning unused land into fields of produce.

It can be messy. Some CSA members are confused by produce they receive. Some don&apost understand how it&aposs grown: In one case, homeowners ripped out what they thought were unsightly dying plants𠅊 seed crop for the next harvest. Others wonder about residual toxins, a worry Friday Purington says can be minimized with a little common sense or, she amends, "not-so-common sense." —P.A.C.

10: LOVE YOUR LOCAL ARTISANS
Food artisans are popping up like mushrooms across America, but Portland&aposs set the pace for fanatical dedication to technique, provenance, and almost loony experimentation—which citizens are willing to try and to pay for.

You want small, personal, handmade, and local? We nominate the tiny Xocolatl de David, a chocolate operation of which David Briggs is the sole owner and operator.

Tucked in the back of a Portland sandwich shop called Meat Cheese Bread on Southeast Stark Street is a 200-square-foot kitchen in which Brigg works 60 hours a week, alone. The galleylike space is filled with small pots of mousselike rhubarb chocolate preserves trays of cooling dragພs (wild Tuscan pine nuts, local hazelnuts, and other treats, tumbled with chocolate) and trays of—get this�rk chocolate chicharrón bars, which are crunchy deep-fried bits of pork rind, robed in dark chocolate: basically, Nestlé Crunch of the Aztec gods. He also makes a "foietella" spread (yes, foie gras plus chocolate, surprisingly delicious) dreamed up in the land of Ferran Adria during a trip to Spain in 2008.

The latter reflects Briggs&apos belief that meat and chocolate are made for each other. "People like to make a big deal out of it, and I get it, because it&aposs different, but Mexicans and other Latino cultures have been doing it for hundreds of years [i.e., mole]. I just flipped the ratio and made it more about the chocolate than the meat."

Briggs sees the food artisan as the essential bridge between the past and future of food in Portland. "The two primary roles of an artisan are to preserve heritage and create quality. You can push boundaries, and I love to do that—I make my living doing that𠅋ut if I wasn&apost bound to classical technique, my product quality would suffer." (To sample, go to xocolatldedavid.com.)

There are plenty of other examples of the local meeting the global in the handmade. Since 2006, trained engineer and avid cyclist Augusto Dias Carneiro of Nossa Familia Coffee has been sourcing coffee from his family&aposs Brazilian coffee farm and roasting it for Portlanders. Every year Carneiro takes a small group to Brazil for several days in the summer to tour the family farm and take part in the coffee harvest.


As risky as drug it’s replacing

The authors point out that there were 244 deaths in 2019 linked to pregabalin use (one side-effect is that it can depress breathing).

They say that the rate of deaths has been rising steeply for the past ten years and now exceeds those attributed to drugs more usually linked to fatalities (the benzodiazepine diazepam, originally marketed as Valium and prescribed for anxiety the opioid fentanyl, used for pain and all the tricyclic and SSRI antidepressants, such as Prozac).

Researchers say pregabalin and gabapentin are increasingly being prescribed for anxiety — taking the place of benzodiazepines, which have fallen out of favour.

The use of benzodiazepines is now much more tightly controlled on account of their well-publicised side-effects and lack of long-term effectiveness, as highlighted by a Good Health campaign that in January 2018 led to a review by Public Health England (PHE) on prescription drug dependency.

The PHE report, published in 2019, highlighted the near-identical risks associated with benzodiazepines and gabapentinoids. But it also found that people taking gabapentinoids were much more likely to be on the drugs for at least 12 months (20 per cent of patients, compared with 5 per cent for benzodiazepines).

Now new research carried out for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), published exclusively in Good Health, shows that by 2015 the proportion of UK patients on ‘dependence-forming medications’ had fallen to just over 2.5 per cent for benzodiazepines, while those on gabapentinoids had reached 9 per cent — and was climbing.

Furthermore, the use of GABAs has risen seven-fold in the past 12 years, and between 2016 and 2019 prescriptions increased particularly sharply, from 11.4 million a year to 14 million — faster than the growth in antidepressant use.

‘Essentially, gabapentinoids are stepping into the breach for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder,’ says psychotherapist James Davies, a reader in social anthropology and mental health at the University of Roehampton and co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry (CEP), who carried out the research.

‘They are being increasingly prescribed instead as greater awareness grows about the harms of prescribing benzodiazepines for anxiety-related issues for longer than four weeks.’

He says that up to a quarter of the people taking GABAs may be receiving them for psychiatric indications ‘largely anxiety-related’. Pregabalin has seen the greatest increase in use, with prescriptions rising from 5.27 million in 2016 to seven million in 2019.

About 88 per cent of people being prescribed gabapentinoids for any condition are on them for at least three months, and about 45 per cent for at least two years, says Dr Davies, warning that gabapentinoids ‘are in danger of becoming the new Valium, dished out with no guidelines to restrict their use’.

Such warnings concern the drugs’ use for pyschiatric disorders, not for nerve pain and epilepsy.

‘When it comes to the conditions for which the drugs were originally designed — seizure disorders such as epilepsy, for example — there may be some justification in the literature for prescribing them long term,’ Dr Davies says.

‘But when people go to their GP with anxiety, or a sleep problem, perhaps because they’ve lost their job and they’re feeling very worried, and end up on the drugs for years, it’s a very serious problem and shouldn’t be happening.’

There are patients who say that GABAs have worked for their anxiety. But experts argue that not only is there no good evidence these drugs are effective for psychiatric disorders, they can also cause debilitating side-effects and severe withdrawal problems and that patients are unaware of the risks.


Prune health benefits:

Prune superpowers go far beyond the bathroom! Here are some reasons to start incorporating prunes into your diet:

  • Can support bone health: Dr. Hooshmand has been conducting research in the area of bone health and prunes for the past 15 years. In a recent clinical trial, Dr. Hooshmand and her team found that osteopenic postmenopausal women who ate 5-6 prunes per day for six months was effective in preventing bone loss. "Previous research also found that eating 10-12 prunes per day for one year was associated with increased bone mineral density and improved indicators of bone turnover in postmenopausal women," she says. Additionally, Dr. Hooshmand shares that interesting new animal research suggests that prunes may help prevent bone loss in people exposed to radiation, such as astronauts in space.
  • May promote heart health: A serving of prunes meets 11% of the daily value for fiber, which plays a role in lowering blood cholesterol. Initial research from the University of California, Davis found that men with moderately elevated cholesterol were able to reduce both total and "bad" LDL cholesterol after eating about 12 prunes daily.
  • Support healthy digestion: The fiber content of prunes may be to thank for their laxative effect, but scientists point to the combination of fiber, phenolic compounds and sorbitol within prunes that are likely what does the trick. Research supports that prunes can significantly increase stool weight and frequency, making them a great natural alternative to promote healthy bowel function.
  • May have anti-inflammatory properties: Since prunes are rich in polyphenols, these antioxidants can help decrease inflammation and protect against DNA damage. Compared to fresh plums, prunes dried at 60 and 85°C may actually have a higher antioxidant activity.

When to Make the Change

It&aposs never too soon to start taking care of yourself, but Davis says you should start being mindful of what you eat in your 20s at this point, make sure you are also eating lean, high-quality proteins. Additionally, she suggests making seafood an important part of your diet. "Think sustainable, fatty fish that is very low in mercury and environmental contaminants," she says. "You can look for the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) or BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certifications when selecting seafood."


Contents

There are many references to food and drink in Irish mythology and early Irish literature, such as the tale of Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Salmon of Knowledge. [4] The old stories also contain many references to banquets involving the heroes' portion and meat cooked in cauldrons and on spits. Irish mythology is a Celtic Indo-European tradition and shares many foods with others in this group. For example, honey has always been valued and was used in the making of mead, a drink featured in many ancient Indo-European myths and rituals, from Ireland to India. [5]

Prehistoric Ireland Edit

Mesolithic Period (8000–4000 BC) Edit

Prior to the Neolithic period in Ireland and advances in farming technology, archeological evidence such as the discovery of stone tools, bone assemblages, archeobotanical evidence, isotopic analysis of human skeletal remains, and dental erosion on the remains of human teeth indicate the Mesolithic Irish were a hunter-gatherer society that ate a diet of varied floral, and faunal sources. [6] [7] [8] Discoveries of food byproducts such as bone fragments [9] and sea shells [10] are key indicators toward the dietary habits of the Mesolithic Irish, as immediate food products have long-since decomposed [11] —especially in the presence of Ireland's largely acidic soils. [12] [13] [14] However, available archeological evidence of food remains, together with discoveries of Mesolithic food-harvesting tools [15] and the relationship of local environments with settlement sites, [12] provide an understanding of what may have eaten. Settlement sites, in particular, have supported notable insight into the dietary habits of the Mesolithic Irish. [12] For example, the proximity of Mesolithic settlements to water systems point to groups or individuals who ate marine species. [16] The predominant location of Mesolithic Irish settlements are close to water systems, and therefore suggests a diet rich in vegetation, marine life, and smaller mammals, as distinct from their British and Native American contemporaries whose settlements further inland influenced a diet more substantive with meat. [12] [10] For example, deer features minimally in archeological discoveries, thought to be particularly due to the infrequent presence of deer along coastal regions, bays, and estuaries. [12]

The deliberate positioning of such settlements also suggests a cultural preference for particular foods. [10] Also unique to settlements positioned close to water systems are large mounds of bivalve shells known as middens, which provide concrete evidence that shellfish played a role in the dietary practices of the Mesolithic Irish. [17] Shell middens are frequent Mesolithic discoveries in Ireland, which for their majority, were predominantly composed of oyster and limpet shells. [10] The coastal town name of Sligo (in Irish Sligeach) which means "abounding in shells," references the area's historic plenitude of shellfish in the river and its estuary, as well as the middens common to the area. [18] [19]

Additionally, Ireland's position as an island and thus unique composition of biodiversity and geography suggests its Mesolithic people enjoyed a somewhat dissimilar diet than their proximal contemporaries. [20] [21] [8] For example, prehistoric Ireland's paucity of small mammals, [22] and its absences of species important to other Mesolithic communities, such as red deer, wild cow, and elk [10] [8] [21] would have contributed to unique dietary habits and nutritional standards. The persistent evidence of certain species, such as boar [23] [8] in contrast with the scarcity and/or uncooked nature of other animal remains such as bear [24] and birds of prey (remains of which have been found in Mesolithic bone assemblages, but are otherwise absent in isotopic analysis of human bones [8] ) suggests a particular understanding of certain animals as sources of food, others that served symbolic or medicinal purposes (as they were in other parts of Europe [25] [26] ), while others still, such as dog, which are not supposed to have been consumed at all. [8]

Due to Ireland's geography and the locations of Mesolithic settlements, the variety of food sources available to the Mesolithic Irish was consequently unique. [10] [12] [8] Outside of boar, large predators including the wolf, the brown bear, and lynx, are scarce in archeological assemblages, and understood to have been generally avoided as a source of food, as they were in most contemporary Mesolithic Europe. [10] Likewise, while cereals were unlikely to have been yet consumed due to the processing required to make them digestible, fungi, roots, leaves, stems, flowers, nuts, seeds, berries and fruits were all otherwise simple to harvest and eat, and would have substantiated the Mesolithic diet with nutritional variety and a diversity of flavour. [10]

This in combination with the prevalence of settlements along waterways suggests key dietary staples of the Mesolithic Irish were marine and floral sources of food. Additionally, that boar was brought to Ireland by early Mesolithic colonists [23] and features frequently in archeological assemblages of faunal bones, points to another noteworthy staple in the Mesolithic Irish diet. [9] [8] [23] Despite the scarcity of plant-based artifacts in light of Ireland's wet weather and acidic soil, biochemical assessments of human bone have been used to provide evidence for a variety of floral sources, including crowberries, raspberries, blackberries, water-lily seeds, tubers, apples, and hazelnuts. [8] [27]

The sizable presence of hazelnuts at many archeological assemblages in both Mesolithic Ireland and Britain suggest the nut was important, [28] [29] and may have even been used as a form of currency, as acorns were for Native Americans of California during the same period. [30] There is indication that these nuts, in particular, were stored underground during the winter months. [31] Elm bark is also suspected to have been a prized source of food for being particularly rich in nutrients, as well as featuring in the diets of other northern Mesolithic European communities, the Scandinavian in particular. [32]

Despite Ireland's coastal geography, there is no evidence of seaweed collection among the Mesolithic Irish in archeological remains, as well as little evidence of deep-water ocean species. [33] However, the presence of shellfish and in-shore fish—particularly salmonids—in the Irish Mesolithic diet is impressive. [12] The absence of evidence for seal is a notable contrast with Mesolithic Scotland, where archeological sites demonstrate the significant exploitation of seals. [33]

Though the Mesolithic Irish were a hunter-gatherer people, such assemblages as middens, discoveries of lithic tools and technologies, and seasonal organization of animal remains alludes to understandings of environmental management to meet subsistence needs. [10] [8] For example, the transportation and management of boar through selective hunting and culling techniques [34] [27] suggests a food source potentially purposefully semi-domesticated, as well as a species important to the Mesolithic communities of Ireland. [24] [23] Research into the composition of middens, as well, suggests that these Irish communities understood tidal behaviours, and optimal harvest periods for respective marine species. [16] [35] Different species of shellfish require different environmental conditions, such as intertidal flats for mussels and cockles, and rocky shorelines for limpets [12] so different harvesting strategies would have been required to harvest and profit from different varieties of shellfish. As well, that freshwater, coastal, and in-shore marine life features greater than deep-sea species in archeological evidence of the Irish Mesolithic diet inherently points to the use of in-shore fishing techniques such as traps and nets, in lieu of off-shore or deep-sea hunting techniques. [12] [36]

The recovery of stone tools in specific sites and vogue technologies of the period such as blade-and-flake likewise suggests their roles in the construction and maintenance of basic food procurement technologies like fish traps. [15] [16] [37] There is even some suggestion of the Mesolithic Irish being actively engaged in land snail farming. [38]

The fundamentally seasonal nature of the Mesolithic diet [10] and the various seasonally-conscripted food-gathering activities affected the time and social organization of the Mesolithic Irish during the year. [27] Such activities would have consisted the hunting and foraging of seasonal plants and animals when they were at their most abundant, as well as such storage-related activities such as preserving meat and seafood through smoking, [39] and caching nuts and seeds. [40] As various plants are fertile only biannually, and the migratory patterns of animals can change over time, [41] [42] [43] these food-gathering activities would have been significantly varied and as such, would have required attention and understanding to environmental and animal behaviours. [10]

While most foods would have been eaten raw and out-of-hand, archeological evidence has provided insight into Mesolithic food processing techniques, such as crude forms of butchery, [24] the soaking of seeds, [44] and thermal processing to directly heat or smoke foods. [39] [45] At a site in Kilnatierney where ash, burnt shells, fish, and pig bones were discovered in a dug-out depression, the diminutive size of the fish bones suggests they were cooked on skewers or directly on hot rocks. [46] The presence of burnt mounds of stones indicate cooking methods likely focused on direct heating methods such as roasting on spits constructed on tripods over open flames, and in earthen hearths. [47]

Neolithic Period (4000-2500 BC) Edit

Understanding the details about the foodways of the prehistoric Irish can be difficult to capture, especially given the island's temperate climate and prevalence of wet, acidic soils that are quick to erode organic material, [34] [14] but thanks to extensive evaluation of biochemical and isotopic signatures recovered from human bone and pottery sherds, there is insight into Neolithic dietary habits. [48] [49] [13] Biomarkers such as lipid and plant residues preserved in the clay matrix of pottery vessels [13] observe a diversity of plant- and animal-life in the diet of the Neolithic Irish, including berries, leafy vegetables, tubers, legumes, meats, seafoods, and nuts. These in combination with the agricultural developments of the Neolithic period such as field systems, farming tools, and animal husbandry [50] [51] begin to describe the dramatic changes in the dietary practices and eating behaviours of the prehistoric Irish people, distinct from their Mesolithic ancestors. [49]

The cultivation and processing of cereals, as well as the maintenance of livestock in farming scenarios saw the significant consumption of new foods, particularly emmer wheat, barley, beef, pig, and goat, which coincided with a steep decline in the consumption of marine life. [52] [13] Emmer wheat was assumed to be a preferred crop for its resilience to wet Irish weather and soil, but evidence of other cereals such as rye, einkorn and barley have been recovered, albeit at a lesser degree. [49] [53] [54] Sugarcane, maize, sorghum, and dryland grasses were introduced to Ireland in only recent centuries, and were therefore absent from the diet of Neolithic Irish. [13] Likewise, although the remains of oat were discovered, their minimal quantity at sites indicate that it was a wild plant, and not yet cultivated. [55] New domestic livestock including beef and sheep are understood to have been brought to the island from continental Europe, in addition to red deer, [56] which marked new and increasingly significant species in the Irish diet. For example, evidence of enclosures couching large assemblages of charred cattle bones suggests the cooking and consumption of large quantities of beef, potentially during large communal gatherings. [57] [58] [59] As they were during the Mesolithic period, hazelnuts were still prevalent discoveries at many Neolithic sites, though their presence declines toward the Bronze Age. [48] [49]

The introduction of agricultural management greatly influenced new dietary staples of the Irish communities. [49] While attention on farming crops witnessed a decline in the consumption of wild forage, [48] changes in the landscape also offered new foraging opportunities for wild plant life which would have thrived along the edges of cleared agricultural land. [60]

While radiocarbon dating of Neolithic fish nets and weirs suggests the consumption of marine life, [61] [62] what archeological evidence of food has been recovered points to a sharp decline in the consumption of aquatic species, converse to the notable consumption of marine life by the Mesolithic Irish. [52] [63] [13] The advancements of farming during the Neolithic period are assumed to have influenced this decline, in tandem with the heightened consumption of farmed animals, cereals, [49] and the very influential introduction of dairying, [64] [65] [66] [67] which coincided similar advancements in other Neolithic societies. [66] [68]

Approaches to agriculture, like those elsewhere across northwestern Europe, were focused on long-term plot management rather than rotational methods, [49] and implemented manure as fertilizer. [69] [70] [49] The emergence of new technologies in cooking, water, and waste management is evidenced by an increasing frequency of crescent-shaped mounds of burnt stones, called fulachtaí fia in Irish, that are understood to be the remnants of burning and/or cooking sites. [49] [71] Yet, despite all such advancements, there was a noticeable absence in the presence of cutlery, cooking, or other eating implements among recovered archeological artifacts. [72]

Bronze Age (2000-500 BC) Edit

It is understood that both direct and indirect cooking methods were important features of Irish cuisine during the Bronze Age (2000—600BCE). The former used open fires to cook foods supported by ceramic vessels, spits, or surface griddles, while the latter used methods to heat surrounding mediums of earth, air, or water to cook foods within. [73] Radiocarbon dating of crescent-shaped mounds of burnt stones, called fulachtaí fia in Irish, are understood to be the remnants of cooking sites in Ireland that emerged in the early Neolithic Period but came to prominence during the Bronze Age. [71] While the word fulacht in medieval texts refers to the direct cooking of food on a spit, it is thought that its origins reside in such Neolithic sites that may have been chiefly used for indirect cooking methods involving hot stones, [74] suggesting at least that the term and its derivatives refer to the activity of cooking. [75]

Contrary to Mesolithic sites featuring burnt mounds, post-Mesolithic sites are significant for featuring significant remnants of flint, [76] charred mounds of stones in close proximity to the remains of domesticated livestock, in addition to being accompanied by pits understood to have held water. [39] Stones belonging to these mounds, the majority of which are large pieces of sandstone, [77] [57] are understood to have been heated and then submerged into these pits of water or buried underground as heat conductors used to boil, steam or bake food. [78]

While burnt mounds of similar natures have been discovered around Europe, Ireland hosts the greatest number of these sites, which suggests that indirect cooking methods were significant in Irish cuisine during the time. These mounds tend to feature a notable amount of stones, thought to be due to their repeated use over hundreds of years, and for the volume of stones needed to heat water to adequate cooking temperatures. [57] Such technology could likely have facilitated a dual purpose for the use in building steam lodges, which were common in parts of Europe at the time, [79] but fulachtaí fia typically feature significant assemblages of charred faunal remains, which argues they were used predominantly as cooking sites. [80] It has been considered that these sites were impromptu cooking locations used particularly by hunters, but most fulachtaí fia were established in low-lying agricultural lands and similar environments not supportive of optimal hunting conditions. [80] As well, the faunal remains recovered from such sites are typically feature the long, upper limb bones of domesticated livestock, archeologically associated with animal exploitation for meat, [81] and also suggestive of animals being previously processed, or slaughtered, butchered, and eaten on site. [80] [82]

As fulachtaí fia emerged alongside developments in animal husbandry in Upper Palaeolithic Europe, [83] pyrolithic technology emerged in response to the newfound importance of livestock. [39] This is further compounded by the scarcity of game animal remains throughout all sites, and otherwise prevalence of sheep, pig, and cattle bones. [84] [39] This is not to discredit the lesser though still significant presence of red deer bones. [82] Likewise, the absence of marine life at fulachtaí fia [57] , also suggests a greater consumption of domestically farmed animals, and might also imply fish were cooked differently or respective of livestock. [85] [39] Many sites feature indications of stake-hole clusters that may have once supported tripods and spits used for draining the blood from- or cooking recently killed animals. [86]

Archeobotanical evidence from the Bronze Age is hard to recover due in part to Ireland's temperate weather and acidic soils, [39] [34] [14] but fossilized hazelnut shells have survived at sites, [57] as well as evidence of elm bark, which is supposed to have been used as feed for livestock and people alike. [47]

There is thought that hazelnuts were used to produce oil, whereupon the nuts would have been boiled in the heated waters of fulachtaí fia for the purpose of extracting their natural oils which would have accumulated atop the water's surface, then skimmed and used or stored. [73] [87] [57] Boiling is thought to have been a choice cooking method during the Bronze Age the method provided good retention of calories in foods. [88] [89] Boiling meat, for example, is thought to have been a preferred cooking application for both helping to retain moisture in lean meats, for rendering fatty deposits in coarser cuts, as well as extracting marrow from bones. [89]

The aforementioned long, shallow pits that accompany most fulachtaí fia are typically found lined with insulating materials like stone, timber, and other organic materials, [90] and divided with partitions suspected to have been intended to separate the hot stones from edible materials, or to divide different types of foods. [57] It is thought that the use of clean, fresh water was a preferred medium given the placement of troughs over or near natural springs, and for their close proximity to irrigation channels carved into the earth which could have assisted in draining the pit after it was used. [57] Other pits, such as those dug into sand or removed from water sources, are thought to have been used as subterranean ovens. [57]

The typically large scale of these mounds and their perpetuity in the landscape not only suggests that individual fulachtaí fia were returned to and used often, [91] but that they were fixtures of social gatherings both large and small. [92] [57] This is furthered by the presence of large assemblages of animal bones, [58] as well as the mounds' notable distance from developed settlements, and the substantive size of the troughs—expected to have held large quantities of food. [93] The laborious nature of preparing food, in addition to that of building these hearths would likely have required multiple actors working over long periods of time to finalize a meal, which suggests that cooking food would have been a social activity, likely with roles of responsibility distributed among the workers and hence a social structure. [94] [95]

As ritual sites were often marked by the production and display of commemorative items, [96] the suggestion that these sites were sometimes spaces of notable communal gathering is further substantiated by the discoveries of monuments, stone circles, and other non-funerary artifacts. [97] Likewise, that fulachtaí fia are structures made principally to facilitate the indirect cooking of food—methods significantly slower and longer than direct heating applications—provides further reasoning that these mounds were places for special occasions where people chose to spend long periods of time eating and communing together. [39]

Gaelic Ireland Edit

Customs and equipment Edit

Hospitality was compulsory on all free landowners to welcome kings, bishops, or judges into their homes, with a wider superstitious fear held by the Irish of the consequences of turning away anyone. Much evidence for early Irish food exists in the law texts and poetry which were written down from the 7th and 8th century AD onwards. The arrival of Christianity also brought new influences from the Middle East and Roman culture. [98]

The main meal was eaten in the afternoon or evening. A daytime meal was termed díthat. A meal at night, and especially a celebratory one, was called a feis and was often accompanied by beer. [99] The main cooking utensil was the cauldron (coire) in which a variety of broths and stews were made. [100]

Meals consisted of a staple of bread, fresh milk, or a fermented variety such as bainne clabhair, yoghurt or cheese accompanied by an anlann or tarsunn (relish, condiment) usually of vegetables, salted meat or honey, but could be any variety of seasonal foods. At the public guesthouses (bruiden) a person of high rank was entitled to 3 tarsunn, a lesser person only one.

Grains Edit

Until the arrival of the potato in the 16th century, grains such as oats, wheat and barley, cooked either as porridge or bread, formed the staple of the Irish diet. The most common form of bread consisted of flatbread made from ground oats. These flatbreads could be wafer thin, like chapati, or thicker like the oatcakes still popular in Scotland.

Household equipment included a kneading trough lasat, a kneading slab lecc, a griddle lann and a griddle turner lainnéne. While oats were the most commonly used grain, bread made from wheat was regarded as a luxury of the aristocratic class. Bread and milk formed the staple of the Irish diet for millennia. From Latin came tortine meaning a small loaf.

Traditional porridge was cooked from oats, barley or wheat meal mixed with water, buttermilk or new milk and cooked to a smooth consistency. This was accompanied by either heavily salted butter, fresh butter or honey. [101]

A fermented mixture of cracked wheat and heated milk was prepared as some form of frumenty or product similar to Turkish tarhana or Middle Eastern kashk. [102] This could have other ingredients added such as egg yolks making a highly nutritious food that could also be dried and stored over winter.

Another grain preparation known as menedach was made by kneading grains and butter together into a type of paste and was known for its medicinal qualities, especially for monks on strict penitential diets. It may have been an early form of roux or perhaps a type of polenta. It could be spread on bread. It is described in the 12th century Icelandic saga Landnamabok in which Irish slaves prepare the food claiming that it will cure thirst. "The Irish thralls found the expedient of kneading meal and butter and said it would quench the thirst. They called it minapak". [ citation needed ]

Meat Edit

Meat was generally cooked fresh and unspiced, or salted and was boiled in a cauldron. [100] Sometimes it was flavoured with honey, sometimes supplied at the table in a dish for dipping. [103] There are many descriptions of meat boiled in a cauldron in a form of stew. One recipe appears to have used "purple berries" to colour the meal. There are also descriptions of meat being parboiled and then roasted over a fire on wooden spits somewhat similar to shish kebab.

Consumption of meat was forbidden twice a week on Wednesday and Friday and during Lent. Céadaoin, the name for Wednesday in Irish, means first fast and Aoine the name for Friday, means fast. Orthodox Christian churches still maintain this practice.

Deer were hunted for meat, being trapped in pits or hunted with dogs.

Both domestic pig and wild boar were eaten. Pork was probably the most common meat consumed in Ireland. Pigs were fattened on acorns in the forests. The flitch of bacon suspended on a hook is frequently mentioned in sources. Sausages made of salted pork are mentioned. Two types of sausage known as maróc (from a Norse loanword) and indrechtán (a sausage or pudding) are mentioned.

The dominant feature of the rural economy was the herding of cattle. Cows were not generally slaughtered for meat unless old or injured, but male cattle, if not destined to be oxen, were often slaughtered at one or two years.

Salted beef was cooked in a cauldron where different forms of stew were commonly made. Meat was also barbecued on spits (bir) made of either wood or iron. The poem Aislinge Meic Con Glinne describes the roasting of pieces of beef, mutton and ham on spits of whitebeam. The meat was marinated in salt and honey first.

Offal was used in various dishes, with tripe being mentioned the most.

Fish was also sometimes grilled on a spit or griddle over a fire.

In the Irish religious diet, horse and crane meat were forbidden. Fowl in general does not seem to have featured much in the diet. There is also evidence for taboos related to totem animals amongst certain groups or tribes for whom consumption of these animals was forbidden.

Dairy Edit

Ireland, with grass growth ten months of the year and no need to shelter cattle in extreme winter conditions, has always produced quality dairy products. Dairy was an important part of the ancient Irish diet, and this is backed up by archaeological record. [104]

Dairy products were known as bánbia (white foods) and milk, butter, curds, and cheese were staples of the diet. Táth was a form of pressed curds, perhaps similar to paneer or cottage cheese. Tánach referred to hard cheese, and mulchán was skimmed milk cheese.

Milk was heated with butter to make a sweet drink called milseán. Milk diluted with water was termed englas.

The practice of bleeding cattle and mixing the blood with milk and butter (similar to the practice of the Maasai people) was not uncommon. Black pudding is made from blood, grain, (usually barley) and seasoning, and remains a breakfast staple in Ireland. [105]

Honey seems to have been a precious but abundant commodity, with beekeeping particularly associated with the church and much used in medicine. [106]

Bog butter was stored for safety and allowed to ferment by being buried in bogs which provides a stable temperature in an anaerobic environment facilitating the aging process. [107] The end product may have been something similar to smen, a North African ingredient in many dishes.

Fruit and vegetables Edit

Vegetables grown and eaten in Ireland included onions, chives, cabbage, celery, wild garlic and leeks. Fat-hen (Chenopodium album) is often found on pre Norman archaeological sites and appears to have been an important part of the diet, as it still is in Northern India. Skirret (Sium sisaram), in Irish cearrachán, appears to have been grown as a root vegetable, but this is no longer used. [ citation needed ] Watercress, sorrel, parsley, and nettles were picked wild and eaten raw or added to broth. [108]

Apples, pears, cherries, and plums seem to have been the most commonly eaten fruits. [109]

Pulses such as peas, broad beans, and lentils were grown and dried since early medieval times, becoming common with the Normans. [110] Berries and nuts were extensively eaten. Hazelnuts were of great importance. Bilberries, [111] known as fraochán in Irish, were traditionally picked on the festival of Lúghnasa in August. [112] blackberries and other wild fruit were also picked and consumed. [113]

Pepper has been known in Ireland since early Christian times, being an import from the Roman empire. [ citation needed ]

The fruit of the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), known as caithne in Irish, is associated with religious establishments and may have been used to make or flavour medicine. [ citation needed ]

Drinks Edit

A four-handled wooden cup called a meadair was used, or a drinking horn for high status individuals. [ citation needed ]

Beer was a prerequisite of a noble’s house and was usually brewed from barley, although a wheat beer was also made. Malting kilns are a common find in archaeological digs in Ireland and appear from early Christian times on. [114]

Uisce beatha (water of life) or whiskey is an invention of the Gaelic world and was developed after the introduction of distilling in the 12th century. [115]

Religious diets Edit

Vegetarian diets were known among the strict monastic orders, but it was not compulsory. However, those that did eat meat were only permitted to eat wild pig or deer. Monks lived on a staple gruel made with water or milk and meal known as brothchán. This, on Sundays and festivals had seasonal fruits and nuts and honey added, and it has been suggested that brothchán may have been an early form of muesli. [102]

The Pale Edit

The Pale was the small area around Dublin in which English influence was strongest, here a hybrid food culture developed consisting of Norse, English and Irish influences. [ citation needed ]

Excavations at the Viking settlement in the Wood Quay area of Dublin have produced a significant amount of information on the diet of the inhabitants of the town. The main meats eaten were beef, mutton, and pork. Domestic poultry and geese as well as fish and shellfish were also common, as was a wide range of native berries and nuts, especially hazelnuts. The seeds of knotgrass and goosefoot were widely present and may have been used to make a porridge. [ citation needed ]

Ovens for baking were used in the towns. [ citation needed ] Evidence for cherries has been found in 11th century Dublin. Bread was sometimes flavoured with aniseed. [ citation needed ]

The Normans Edit

The Norman invasion brought new additions to the diet, introducing rabbits, fallow deer and pheasants in the 12th century. They may also have introduced some freshwater fish, notably pike.

The Norman invasion marked the beginning of both the English and French presence in the country which continued as a unique Hiberno-Norman culture developed in the Norman settled areas and towns. The Norman cuisine characteristically consisted of spicy meat and fowl along with potages and broths, roasts and sauces. The Normans may also have introduced the making of cider. Oysters and scallops were another favourite of the Normans.

Medieval Ireland (5th-15th century AD) Edit

Distinct from preceding eras, the Middle Ages ushered the development of dense urban centers that dramatically affected preexisting food systems by changing both physical and societal infrastructures. [116] [117] [118] The spread and increasing normalization of a new type of civilian who did not produce or hunt their own food and was thus reliant on foreign market trade and import from rural farms made the need for accessible and consistent sources of food vital. [119]

Uniquely to Ireland, the emergence of Norse towns in the 9th and 10th centuries and their subsequent growth during the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in the 12th and 13th centuries ushered a population boom that brought with it new foods born of foreign trade and new methods of production. [120] [119] The Anglo-Normans in particular propagated a commercial economy [120] [121] that encouraged urban settlement and the steady trade of local and foreign commodities by holding festive market fairs [122] and attracting settlers with offers of burgage plots replete with space for a house and garden. [123]

Documentary data such as medieval law tracts, [118] literature on the lives of saints, [124] as well as early records of land holdings [117] provide insight into how food was grown and distributed among society. [125] As such documents were generally concentrated on the literate upper classes of Ireland, additional archeological data [126] [127] offers broader insight into food consumption habits of peasants, commoners, and Irish Medieval society as a whole. [128] Together, these findings and records play a significant role in interpreting urban food consumption behaviors of Medieval Ireland. [129] [130] [131]

During the Middle Ages in Ireland, laws were written to allow only certain foods to certain classes of people. [132] [133] [134] As the accommodation of guests and its embedded acts of hospitality including the offering of food was a strong social convention of Ireland during this time, [135] people entertained at the homes of others expected the service of specific foods. [134] Consequently, if a guest was ‘entitled’ to a certain food and did not receive it during their accommodation, they could justly accuse their host of failing to meet their obligations of hospitality which was a punishable offense. [133]

The law tracts articulating the designation of certain foods to certain classes generally focused on free male landowners with some minor attention to free married women, but they do not describe what foods were entitled to peasants. [132] [133] [134] This is because peasants were considered only semi-free (accommodated and thus 'owned' by their landlords [136] [137] [138] ) and were therefore not entitled to hospitable offers of food or beverage. [116] There is some description of a ‘poor diet’ which references what was permitted to criminals and monks. [139]

The specificity of these foods was precise and provided such laws that decided, for example, to whom individual sections of beef were entitled, [140] [141] or in what quantities food was expected to be given and to what kind of person. [134] These 7th- and 8th-century law texts describe 7 grades of commoners and 3 grades of semi-free peasants—with these grades often further subdivided—in order to help guide judges through cases based on customary law. [142] [133] [132] As it was often difficult to distinguish one's class based on looks alone, [143] food was used as a social cue so people could distinguish anothers' social position, and therefore accommodate them with the appropriate reception.

Prescribing class status to certain foods consequently constructed the perspective of certain foods as being luxurious, and others as being common, but also created distinct nutritional staples for different levels of this stratified society. [116] For example, the lowest-class free commoner was liberally entitled to barley, oats, and dairy products, [144] [132] whereas then penultimate low-class commoner was allowed this in addition to baked breads, [134] [144] though neither were permitted to goods derived of rye or wheat as such cereals were rare in Ireland (and thus privileged only to upper classes of people). [127] [145] Venison and other game meats were likewise considered low-class foods as wild animals derived from ungoverned lands were considered accessible to all classes and thus common. [146] [134] This was contrary to cattle which belonged to the lands of respective lords and made beef a privatized, restricted, and thus more coveted food. [116] The same was said for wild fish, as any commoner was entitled to a fish net or trap, albeit modestly-sized ones. [116] [119]

Based on dietetic rationale, certain foods could travel between ranks under special conditions, such as during injury, pregnancy, menstruation, [147] [148] and illness, [149] when individuals were understood to require more substantial nutrition. All free people during sickness were, for example, permitted garden herbs and small amounts of butter. [116] Free married women were generally entitled to half of what their husbands were entitled to, [149] [148] but it was considered a punishable offense to deny a pregnant woman of any food she craved. [146] This was thought to have been designed in part to protect women from miscarriage. [150] Further dietetic rationale within these laws deemed only soft foods permissible to feed children, [151] [150] including soft eggs, porridge, curds and whey, [148] and garnished only with ingredients (such as honey or butter) that their father's class was permitted to eat. [150]

As religious doctrine heavily influenced these law tracts, Sundays were observed with greater leniency [152] [148] and some foods typically reserved for higher classes were shared with those of lower status. [116] Cow, goat, and sheep milks were staple foods in all classes, from the lowest free commoner to the highest-ranking nobleman, [116] [66] [67] though cow and goat milk were considered higher-ranking milks than sheep's. [134] Common and small birds were afforded to be eaten by commoners, whereas larger or rarer birds such as swans were reserved for royalty (queens, particularly, in the case of swans [153] ). Larger eggs of larger birds species were also permitted only to high class individuals for the basic reason that things of greater quantity or volume were given first to people of higher class status. [154] [155]

As written records generally focused on storehouse inventories and staple commodities, archeobotanical remnants recovered from urban cesspits [156] offer further insight into less-common foods such as wild forage, foreign imports, and garden-grown goods that supplemented the diets of upper-class people, and substantiated those of whom could not afford food from the market. [157] [158] [119]

Both written record and archeological data indicate that sheep, cow, and goat milks made for the staple source of protein for most people, while oat, barley, and rye cereals comprised the typical source of carbohydrate, [119] consumed usually as ale, [159] in pot-based dishes, and breads. [160] [161] [125]

As beer-making would only surface later in Ireland during the 14th century, [162] and because ale had a short shelf-life that did not import or export well, ale-brewing was a significant industry in urban centers for providing what was then valued as a nutritious dietary staple. [119] Cheap and widely available, oat was the preferred grain for this industry up until the 14th century [160] until it was replaced by barley which was considered superior, [163] though not as good as wheat. [164]

Wheat was difficult to grow in Ireland's wet, acidic soils, but the Anglo-Normans nonetheless worked to intensify its production [165] as it was a coveted grain to the upper-classes, [166] and vital in the creation of the Catholic sacramental Host a thin, white wafer. This monastic bread was typically made from barley, oat, and pulse flours baked on ashes or dried into biscuits, but the making of a special wheat-based wafer was reserved for Sundays. [159] As a sacred and rare food, wheat production was a heavily monitored and controlled operation, and wheat products were sometimes used as currency. [167]

Contrarily, while highly-accessible oats [168] were considered 'poor' food, [159] they were also valued as nutritious and easily-digestible, and thus made a staple for children, [166] as well as cheap fuel for horses. [169] Oat gruel, however, was considered inferior in quality and was thus unacceptable to share with travelers. [170] Likewise, pulses, legumes and flours made from them were generally reserved for animal feed [169] and for times of food scarcity. [160] Beans, typically a food of the poorer classes, were often eaten in sweet puddings, according to recipe books of the 13th and 14th centuries. [171] Pulses and legumes also did not grow well in wet, acidic soil, [12] [13] [14] and were generally avoided as a crop, but the arrival of the Anglo-Normans, their new method of crop-rotation, [119] [120] and the coinciding increase of pulse production in Ireland at the time signals the growing of pulses as a means to improve conditions for wheat crops (a crop which thrives in the nitrogen-rich soils left over by a previous crop of pulses or legumes). [172]

Quickly-perishable foods, and those not grown at a commercial scale, such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables are underrepresented in historical records, [158] [160] but archeological evidence suggests such foods were nonetheless important seasonal supplements to the Irish diet. As evidence suggests most urban dwellings were furnished with gardens, [166] the growth and harvest of a variety of fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables would have provided variety of the diets of urban dwellers. [119]

Fragile plant life erodes and disappears quickly compared to grain chaff that fossilizes easily, what evidence is recovered may present a distorted assessment of what ratio of cereals to plant life was consumed [119] at the time only because there is no empirical data of such eroded materials. [173] The presence of vegetables, in particular, is therefore minimal in archeological assemblages, but fruit—via fossilized seeds and pits—consequently features more frequently, [174] with evidence of cherry, strawberry, sloe, rowan, blackberry, bilberry, apple, and haws as present in Medieval cesspits. [128] [156] Apples are frequently mentioned in Medieval texts of various kinds, [160] [134] [166] particularly in reference to sweet varieties as valuable and rare offerings to nobles and lords, [152] [170] and sour breeds as used to make cider, verjus, vinegar, and medicine. [175] [176] [116] That theological and dietetic discourse affected these texts also affected the corresponding behaviors by which certain foods were consumed [166] —to eat apples raw, for example, was frowned upon by medieval physicians [175] and so apples were generally cooked into puddings, or fermented into drinks. [166] [116] [160]

Fruit and herb consumption in the medieval period was particularly encapsulated in a medicinal fervour as unique fruits were prescribed and avoided for reasons concerning health. [119]

The perishable nature of fruits and vegetables also changed the ways in which they were consumed by challenging consumers to develop methods of preserving them. [177] Cooking and fermenting are already examples, but fruits were also commonly dried, pickled, or made into relishes using brine and honey. [178] Their omnipresence consequently precipitated the convention of eating many sweet and savory foods with jams, jellies, chutneys, and relishes. [166] [116]

An herbal broth called brothchán, made with oatmeal and herbs served to sick was one such dish accompanied by a fruit relish, notably on Sundays. [166] The recovery of several fruit presses also suggests that fruits were pressed into juices, though only at a domestic scale. [179] [180]

Hazelnuts, having been an important Irish food from prehistory, [166] [8] [13] [12] were still common in the medieval era, and ground into a meal called maothal. [181]

There is also documentation of a wine trade between Ireland and Biscay from the 7th century, [182] as well as early Irish texts that reference a wine imported from Bordeaux specifically for church feasts, [166] bolstering substantial evidence of wine trade between Ireland, France and England between the 12th and 15th centuries. [183]

Post-Medieval Ireland Edit

The situation changed for the poor, who made up 75 percent of the population of around nine million by 1840. Potatoes formed the basis of many Irish dishes and were eaten both by the Anglo-Irish gentry and the mass of the people.

This was unusual as the potato was shunned in most of Europe for centuries after its introduction, particularly by the elites.

The potato was first introduced into Ireland in the second half of the 16th century, initially as a garden crop. It eventually came to be the main food crop of the poor. As a food source, the potato is extremely valuable in terms of the amount of energy produced per unit area of crop. The potato is also a good source of many vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C when fresh. Potatoes were widely cultivated, but in particular by those at a subsistence level. The diet of this group in this period consisted mainly of potatoes supplemented with buttermilk.

At this time Ireland produced large quantities of salted (corned) beef, almost all of it for export [ citation needed ] . The beef was packed into barrels to provision the navy, army, and merchant fleet. Corned beef became associated with the Irish in America where it was plentiful and used as a replacement for the bacon in bacon and cabbage. However, it was not traditional fare in Ireland.

Fresh meat was generally considered a luxury except for the most affluent until the late-19th century. A pig was often kept for bacon and was known as the "gentleman that pays the rent". Potatoes were also fed to pigs, to fatten them prior to their slaughter at the approach of the cold winter months. Much of the slaughtered pork would have been cured to provide ham and bacon that could be stored over the winter.

Chickens were not raised on a large scale until the emergence of town grocers in the 1880s allowed people to exchange surplus goods, like eggs, and for the first time purchase a variety of food items to diversify their diet.

The over-reliance on potatoes as a staple crop meant that the people of Ireland were vulnerable to poor potato harvests. The first Great Famine of 1739 was the result of extreme cold weather, but the famine of 1845–1849 (see Great Irish Famine) was caused by potato blight which spread throughout the Irish crop which consisted largely of a single variety, the Lumper. During the famine approximately one million people died and a million more emigrated. [184]

Tea was introduced during Ireland's time as part of the United Kingdom and became increasingly popular, especially during the 19th century. Irish people are now amongst the highest per capita tea drinkers in the world. Tea is drunk hot and with milk at all times of the day [ citation needed ] . Slightly stronger varieties are preferred than in England. [ citation needed ]

Great Famine Edit

In 1845, the Great Famine began when many potato crops in Ireland had been infected with the mold that causes potato blight. This had turned their potatoes diseased and useless, putting many who are already in poverty into deeper poverty [ citation needed ] . The crop had failed due to potato blight in 1845–46, had little success in 1847, and failed once again in 1848.

The starving people tried eating the potatoes, and became extremely sick from eating them [ citation needed ] . They began eating a diet of eggs, birds, and plants like nettles and chickweeds. [185] Many farmers bled their cattle out and fried the blood rather than eat their meat. With the cattle as malnourished as the people, the meat wasn’t fit for consumption, so they resorted to using the blood mixed with herbs, garlic, oats and butter, to use as a subsistence meal. [186] The extremely desperate and malnourished ate rats and worms found off the street [ citation needed ] .

Post-Famine Migration Edit

After the famine, many Irish women migrated to America to escape poverty, and were exposed to new ingredients and foods not common in Ireland, such as a greater variety of meats and produce. [187] Entering domestic service in America, they had to adapt their cooking to please the upper-class in America.

This was problematic at first due to Irish women clinging to foods and ingredients common in Ireland. This caused much prejudice towards Irish women and many would mock the Irish's lack of cooking skills without considering the famine and poverty Irish women grew up with. [ clarification needed ]

Newspapers, including the Women’s Journal, published articles which contained prejudice towards Irish women for seemingly being unable to know how to cook. [188]

Irish women in domestic service later gained the experience with ingredients abundant in America and altered Irish cuisine to be foods for pleasure. In Ireland food was designed based on caloric intake, instead of for pleasure, such as foods in America. [189] Traditional Irish dishes started to include more meat and fruit and allowed for Irish food to stray from the stigma of being bland. [ citation needed ]

Modern era Edit

In the 21st century, the modern selection of foods familiar in the West has been adopted in Ireland. Common meals include pizza, curry, Chinese food, Thai food, and lately some West African dishes and Central European-Eastern European (especially Polish) dishes have been making an appearance, as ingredients for these and other cuisines have become more widely available.

In tandem with these developments, the last quarter of the 20th century saw the emergence of a new Irish cuisine based on traditional ingredients handled in new ways. This cuisine is based on fresh vegetables, fish (especially salmon and trout), oysters, mussels and other shellfish, traditional soda bread, the wide range of cheeses that are now being made across the country, and, of course, the potato.

Traditional dishes, such as Irish stew, coddle, the Irish breakfast, and potato bread have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. Chef and food writer Myrtle Allen—an early protagonist of such attitudes and methods—went on to play a crucial role in their development and promotion. [190] Schools like the Ballymaloe Cookery School have emerged to cater for to associated increased interest in cooking.

Fish and chips take-away is popular. The first fish and chips were sold in Dublin in the 1880s by an Italian immigrant from San Donato Val di Comino, Giuseppe Cervi. His wife Palma would ask customers "Uno di questa, uno di quella?" This phrase (meaning “one of this, one of the other”) entered the vernacular in Dublin as "one and one", which is still a common way of referring to fish and chips in the city. [191]

In much of Ulster (especially Northern Ireland and County Donegal), fish and chips are usually known as a "fish supper". The restaurant from which the food is purchased and the food itself is often referred to as a "chippy" throughout many northern regions of the country.

The proliferation of fast food has led to increasing public health problems, including obesity, and it was reported in 2012 that as many as 327,000 Irish children had become obese or overweight, and in response the Irish government considered introducing a fast-food tax. [192] Government efforts to combat obesity have also included television advertising campaigns and educational programmes in schools. [193]

  • Dairy: butter, milk, buttermilk, cheese [194]
  • Grains: barley, oats, wheat : pollan, trout, salmon, smoked salmon, smoked trout
  • Seafood: mackerel, cod, hake, haddock, smoked haddock, mussels, oysters, lobster, crab, sea vegetables (seaweeds), dillisk
  • Meat: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, goose, offal
  • Vegetables: curly kale, potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, rhubarb
  • Fruits: apple, pear, plum, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, tomatoes
  • Herbs: parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives.
  • Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, black pepper.

Breads Edit

  • Bairín Breac—a kind of currant cake which contains a golden ring. Traditionally eaten around Halloween.
  • Blaa—a doughy, white bread bun (roll) speciality —a dessert dish
  • Indian Meal Bread—a traditional Irish soda bread made with corn (maize) —a popular yeast-free bread —a traditional food in Ulster, especially in East Donegal, Inishowen and Northern Ireland

Pork dishes Edit

Potato dishes Edit

    —a kind of potato pancake —main ingredients: mashed potato, scallions, butter and milk —main ingredients: mashed potato, kale or cabbage, and butter /Cottage Pie—main ingredients: mashed potato, minced lamb/beef, and vegetables [195][196]

Seafood Edit

The consumption of seafood, despite Ireland's enormous coastline, is not as common as in other maritime countries. [197] Irish people eat seafood well below the European average. [197] It may have been more common in the past, but declined markedly in the last few centuries. There may be various reasons for this.

Irish-owned shipping was severely restricted under English governance from the late-16th century on. Ireland was traditionally a cattle-based economy and fish was associated with religious fasting. It was the traditional food of fast on Fridays, in common with other Catholic countries. Also, seafood—particularly shellfish—became associated with the poor and the shame of colonisation. [198] However, seafood has remained an important part of the diet in coastal communities, and the consumption of fresh fish and seafood is now undergoing a resurgence all over Ireland.

In Dublin, the fish seller is celebrated in the traditional folk song Molly Malone, and in Galway the international Galway Oyster Festival is held every September. [199] An example of a modern Irish shellfish dish is Dublin Lawyer (lobster cooked in whiskey and cream). [200] Salmon and cod are perhaps the two most common types of fish eaten. Carrageen moss and dulse (both types of red algae) are commonly used in Irish seafood dishes.

Seaweed, by contrast, has always been an important part of the Irish diet and remains popular today. Two popular forms are dillisk (dulse, Palmaria palmata) and Irish Moss (Carageen Moss, Chondrus crispus, Mastocarpus stellatus).


Building Bridges: Wine Innovators Pave The Way For Future Generations

Just like with a good meal, wine is best savored with people you enjoy spending time with. Wine tasting is just as much about the quality time and conversation with your company as it is the overall experience of smelling, tasting, and enjoying the wine.

There are a multitude of growing regions and many techniques of producing amazing wine. Consider the number of wine grape varietals that exist—from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, etc. In fact, there are over 10,000 unique wine grape varietals that we know of today. Now, think of where they’re grown and the journey they must take to eventually produce the perfect bottle of wine. At its core, wine is humble. We often use wine as a catalyst or lens to create inclusive and memorable experiences with colleagues, friends, family, lovers, and more.

How different are humans? We don’t judge a wine for being white, rosé, or red. Why should we judge people? Wines, just like people, are inherently diverse. While it would be nice to imagine the world of wine as one that embraces differences, shuns elitism, all while encouraging inimitable experiences for newcomers and connoisseurs alike, the truth is it can be a tossup.

Diversity can have many interpretations. So, how do you best bring diversity into the wine industry? Let true advocates of change meet one another, exchange ideas and personal experiences, engage in meaningful discussion, and see how they run.

Co-Founder of Be the Change

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Philana Bouvier is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, mentor, current VP of Fine Wine, Supplier Business Development at Republic National Distributing Company, and Co-Founder of Be the Change. Be the Change is an equal opportunity initiative and virtual job fair committed to changing the status quo in the wine, spirits, and beer industries through action, policy, and establishing a just beverage industry via job placement with companies dedicated to creating real solutions with diversity, equity, training, and more.

Dr. Hoby Wedler is an American chemist, entrepreneur, visionary and educator who happens to be blind. This has caused him to follow his passions with more tenacity and drive than others. In 2016, he earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UC Davis. In collaboration with the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, he founded Tasting in the Dark, a one-of-a-kind truly blindfolded wine experience. Today, Tasting in the Dark has expanded across numerous markets and industries around the globe.

As individuals, these two incredibly passionate people have worked tirelessly throughout their careers to enhance opportunities for everyone, specifically in the wine industry. While working to build bridges to success for all, they had the pleasure of meeting each other through the first Be the Change roundtable discussion preceding the inaugural Be the Change job fair in 2020. Bouvier moderated and Wedler spoke at the roundtable.

“We knew from the get-go that we would work together long in the future,” recalls Bouvier. “We quickly realized that our words hold weight, we’re always striving to learn more, and, perhaps most importantly, we always do our absolute best.”

American chemist, entrepreneur, visionary and educator

Bouvier and Wedler came together because they care deeply about equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion, hard work, and connecting people who need to know each other. They both believe deeply in mentoring others, raising the bar, and making a lasting change. They are also continuing their own journeys, learning from each other and their own experiences.

It’s important to note that these two professionals, although meeting through their shared passion and commitment to make positive change, didn’t start working together because they are from unique backgrounds. Rather, they came together to solve important problems as mentors, thought leaders, and relentlessly hard workers that just happen to come from very different backgrounds than most.

“We both get it. We have a sense of what needs to be done, where the industry and individuals need to go, and what they should do next,” says Wedler. “Stated more simply, we are both thoughtful mentors who believe in helping everyone around us get what they need to succeed.”

“Meeting Philana was a breath of fresh air here is someone who shares my passion and work ethic to bring well-rounded thought leadership to the wine industry. Being diverse in the wine industry isn’t enough. It must come along with a willingness to work hard, to produce quality results, and to get along with everyone around you.”

A key tenant of their outlook on diversity? It’s not just about race, orientation, gender… etc. But rather, functionality. This isn't just a surface level thing. In today’s world of identity politics, functional diversity isn’t something that’s really discussed. But needs to be.

Enter Be the Change. Created last year in 2020, Be the Change is an initiative that is focused on job placement and education. Bouvier, along with co-founders, Lia Jones, Rania Zayyat and Cara Bertone aim to create an inclusive beverage industry that will set new standards for employers to empower inclusive hiring practices. This virtual job fair offers multiple job opportunities to hundreds of diverse candidates. The mission of Be the Change is to empower employers committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion to connect with diverse job candidates in the beverage industry.

Be the Change is a game changer as it utilizes the technology of Brazen, a leading virtual hiring event and online career platform, to connect candidates in real time with employers. Virtual recruiting allows candidates to engage with companies on a more personal level from anywhere. Exhibitors receive a virtual booth where participants enter and request meetings with the employer’s team of representatives.

Be the Change is an equal opportunity digital job fair open to all. It is also an incredible networking experience. As a result of the success of their inaugural event in December, Be the Change will host its second job fair on April 22nd, 2021. This second job fair will also include the beer and spirits industries.

“I have a deep-rooted zeal for learning, and am incredibly grateful to have met Lia, Rania and Cara. We opened each other’s worlds. You begin to have this understanding that to work together, we don’t have to come from the same place,” states Bouvier. “It has given me a solid foundation to educate and challenge myself on what true diversity is. When you are working with different leaders it is wonderful to see how much that can positively change your life, both personally and professionally.”

“What we are doing together as a team is extremely impactful and rewarding. When we hear from candidates who have received a job opportunity through Be the Change, it is an incredible feeling, and the result is we are opening doors for others,” she continues. “We are listening, and we are here to help.”

Dr. Hoby Wedler leading a blind tasting

Those who don’t possess certain disabilities will often overlook the ways brands or companies fail to be accessible across all brand touch points, or, how society as a whole marginalizes other differences that aren't as obvious as Black vs. White or male vs. female. That said, spend time with Wedler and you will quickly notice how much we miss out on because we are distracted by our eyesight.

A major part of inclusion is about creating impactful, unique, and memorable experiences for your audience, demographic, or industry. In advancing true inclusivity by introducing new experiences, Bouvier and Wedler are setting an example as visionaries in the wine industry.

Building relationships, finding the right people for the right positions, and allowing them to shine through hard work and humility is what building a culture of change necessitates.

“Diversity means bringing unique perspectives to the table in a meaningful way to solve problems,” says Wedler. “And we often forget that it is also about solving problems with innovative and creative viewpoints developed by multiple perspectives from multiple life experiences.”

“Inclusion is all about creating an inviting environment both for employees at a company and for customers that the company serves. This environment happens when stakeholders are more aware of their surroundings.”

As someone who was born blind, Wedler views the world differently than most people and therefore brings a type of functional diversity the wine industry lacks. Tasting in the Dark transforms blindness, what some might think of as a disadvantage, into an advantage.

A Tasting in the Dark event at Frank Family Vineyards

“This blind tasting added another level of focus, instead of being content to hit the dart board, you were able to laser in on the bullseye,” says Todd Graff, Winemaker and General Manager, Frank Family Vineyards. “As winemakers, we create concentrated wines this tasting concentrates our attention and energy."

"Tasting while blindfolded allowed me to focus on the wines without the distraction of my surroundings and forced me to sharpen my senses of smell and taste,” continues Leslie Frank, Proprietor, Frank Family Vineyards after experiencing Tasting in the Dark with Wedler. “The exercise made me realize just how much our sense of sight can influence our perception of what we smell and taste in the glass."

According to Wedler, tasting wine is akin to looking at art. He developed Tasting in the Dark to offer people a special view of wine in the glass without the distraction of eyesight. “Eyesight” being a term he deliberately uses here as he frequently will make the astute observation, “We all have vision some of us just lack eyesight.”

“If we solve a problem for one group, you will be surprised how many others that solution helps. Think of wheelchair ramps. These were installed around the country for people in wheelchairs,” explains Wedler. “But people in wheelchairs make up a fraction of those who use wheelchair ramps today. Think strollers, bicycles, shopping carts, etc. The same analogy applies to the wine industry. We need to adopt the abundance mindset around diversity and inclusion and realize that a more varied approach helps everyone.”

Tasting in the Dark at Frank Family Vineyards

Along similar lines, creating this culture involves creating well-rounded brands that are fully inclusive of their audience. Wedler also represents Tucker Creative, a renowned Australian and US based brand creative and marketing studio focusing on wine and spirits.

Working with the studio to build engaging branding and packaging with unique textures, weights, and more, Wedler adds to the appeal of products beyond visuals. Tucker Creative has worked with Wedler to create braille labels on products, soft touch printed labels, embossed labels, and more to create highly tactile, emotive, and engaging branding that appeals to everyone.

“Diversity to me is about depth of experience, bringing different voices together and opening doors for each other. It is also about vulnerability as it’s a strength, not a weakness,” says Bouvier. “We are all on our own journey, and, whether you are at the beginning or further along, we have to be patient and kind to each other.”

It’s clear from both visionaries that being a certain way alone doesn't make you extraordinary. What makes you extraordinary is your ability to work hard and be unwavering about it. Bouvier and Wedler understand that it’s important to bring your A-game to the table, sure, but then once you step up to the plate you need to stay there. To do that, you need to add value.

To Wedler, being successful is all about turning what might be considered disadvantages into huge advantages.

Blind tasting at Frank Family Vineyards

“If you’re deaf, you probably are very good visually and can read a room better than most. If you’re blind bring what other people can’t bring to the table with their other senses and bring it well,” continues Wedler. “Always be your best and hold extraordinarily high expectations of yourself. Never lower the bar. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. You are not always the victim. Step up, bring your absolute best, and don’t blame others if you don’t always get your way.”

“What's rewarding when you bring people of different backgrounds and expertise together, is it becomes about opening doors for each other,” explains Bouvier. “You have to open the door the rest is up to the other person. Inspiring and educating the next generation, with the door open. That said, the person needs to walk through.”

“Our hope and desire is to build confidence with our communities that will motivate, build inclusive environments, and lead by example to do the hard work. I’m very proud of the impactful work my co-founders are leading through their own organizations, Lift Collective and Diversity in Food and Beverage. There are several groups inspiring change and the positive here is the entire industry is committed. “

“We think about exploring new opportunities and discovering new roles for people, providing that light that you can do anything you want if you believe in yourself and the community around you,” Bouvier continues. “Traditionally, people are waiting to be asked to sit at the table. But for me, why not generate the opportunity and create the table yourself? This is more powerful because you aren’t having to ask for permission or approval it’s more about building the confidence that you belong.”

So, what does the future of the wine industry look like? According to Wedler, the future of the wine industry will have more perspectives at high levels, more thoughtful and unique perspectives making change and solving problems, and a more eclectic group of people who think about the world differently than one another.

“People should feel completely welcome no matter what they look like and whatever their abilities. Include everyone in the wine industry, from employees to consumers,” Wedler says. “Consumers who feel less intimidated by the industry will buy more wine and become more loyal customers. The future of the wine industry will be more profitable when it further embraces diversity and inclusion. Customers and employees alike will feel more welcome.”

“The future of the wine business will involve marketing wines of all value to a wider community. Recruitment is vital, as our industry has to think outside of the box when it comes to attracting the best candidates to the job market,” continues Bouvier.

“The wine industry has to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion across all levels of the business, to include marketing to consumers. Being genuine in your mission and vision is vital. Human resources departments also internally need to improve recruiting and be open to different ways to recruit and ensure retainment. Positive change will happen when we all work toward these goals.”

The wine industry is changing. New perspectives and practices are shaping the industry. Most importantly, Bouvier and Wedler believe, motivate, and mentor each other on their journeys of helping others be their absolute best selves.

Visionaries are truly special, and can be tough to come by, but once they take hold of something they often manifest exceptional results. They are able to effectively assess a situation and subsequently take the necessary steps to make impactful present-day change, for a brighter future for all. And that is what this industry needs.


Eat Like Royalty With This Cookbook From the Emperor Who Built the Taj Mahal

It was the mid 1600s, and Friar Sebastian Manriquea, a Portuguese priest who had come to visit the Mughal Court, wanted to witness a royal supper. It was a rare sight. The Mughal emperors, who ruled territory across the northern Indian subcontinent, usually didn’t dine with anyone but their wives and concubines. But on this day, Shah Jahan—the Mughal ruler who commissioned the Taj Mahal—would be dining with his wazir, advisor Asaf Khan. Sensing an opportunity, the curious priest found an ally: A court eunuch, one of the many third-gender people who enjoyed an elevated status as guardians of women in the Mughal palace, smuggled the Portuguese friar into the inner chamber to watch Shah Jahan at his meal.

The exact meal Manriquea witnessed has been lost to history. But thanks to The Mughal Feast, a recently-translated Mughal royal cookbook, we have some ideas. Salma Yusuf Husain, a Persian-language scholar and culinary historian, dubs her version of the book—which includes literal translations of recipes as well as cultural and historical notes—a “transcreation” of the Persian-language Nuskha-e-Shahjahani. One of the only extant culinary texts from Shah Jahan’s court, the manuscript had sat in the British Library for years without being available in English. Illustrated with ornate Mughal miniature paintings, the new translation details an elevated courtly cuisine, in which Indian ingredients such as mango and tamarind fused with Persian soups and meats, and every grain of rice was covered in costly silver.

The book’s recipes for qormas, biryanis, and pulaos reveal the roots of one of India’s most globally recognized cuisines: Mughlai food, a culinary tradition descended from the Mughal court, enjoyed across North India, and disproportionately exported abroad. Walk into an Indian restaurant outside of South Asia today, and you’re almost guaranteed to encounter menu items descended from Shah Jahan’s kitchens.

The cover of The Mughal Feast. Roli Books/Used with permission

The Mughal Feast reveals a cuisine shaped by conquest. The Mughals came from Central Asia, and traced their roots to Genghis Khan and to the great Central Asian king Timur. The first Mughal king, Babur, rode into the subcontinent from Kabul with his followers in 1519. He had conquered his way across North India by the 1530s. When Babur arrived in India, says Husain, he would have found a relatively simple cuisine which was, at least among certain Buddhists, Jains, and caste Hindus, often vegetarian. Used to a nomadic lifestyle, Babur brought meat. While the kebab—cut or pounded sections of meat cooked in a tandoor oven—became an art in North India, its early counterpart in Babur’s army was strictly utilitarian. “They would take the meat piece, put it under the saddle, sit on it, and gallop,” says Husain.

Under Babur’s descendants, Mughal cuisine became increasingly complex. Emperor Akbar, who married a Rajasthani queen, brought influences from that desert region Emperor Humayun, who was exiled to Iran, returned with a taste for Persian food. But, says Husain, the most intricate flowering of Mughal cuisine came under Shah Jahan. Compared to his bellicose compatriots, “Shah Jahan was not a warrior he was never a soldier,” says Husain. “He loved to eat.” During Shah Jahan’s reign, the empire was relatively stable, and he frequently entertained visiting dignitaries. Manriquea may have been the only European to spy on the emperor’s dinner, but there was extensive contact between European delegations, often made up of Christian clergy, and the Muslim Mughals. In one incident from Shah Jahan’s youth, the Mughal royals and their Jesuit visitors celebrated Easter in a feast that included Easter eggs, tight rope walkers, and the burning of a firework-stuffed effigy of Judas.

Prince feasting on a balcony. Such paintings show the private moments of royalty in a fashion different from their formal portraits. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 and Roli Books/Used with permission

So what did Manriquea witness in the Shah Jahan’s chambers? A typical meal, served on gold plates, might have included thick, sometimes-leavened naan bread Persian-inspired aash or soup bharta or smoked mashed vegetables meat kebabs and pulao or zeer biryan, rice and lamb cooked on a low flame for hours until the lamb juice suffused the rice. Dried fruits and nuts, such as raisins and cashews, were common flavorings, but some of the more complex spice mixtures of contemporary North Indian cuisine were not. Decorations, from warq silver-coated rice to intricately colored desserts, were lavish. Everything that could be coated in sugar syrup, including savory kebabs and biryani, was. Even the water was high-end: The food was cooked in a mixture of rain water and water from the Ganges river, considered sacred by Hindus.

Some ingredients that we today consider typical of Indian food don’t appear in the Nuskha-e-Shahjahani. “The use of potato came in the later period,” says Husain, as did chillies and tomatoes. (There was no spicy butter chicken in tomato-based gravy during Mughal times.) Chillies were brought to India by the Portuguese, and used originally as a medical treatment. Love for their hot flavor, however, quickly spread, resulting in the chilli-heavy Indian cuisines we know today. By Muhammad Shah Rangeela’s reign in the early 1700s, chillies had become common in North Indian cuisine, and they remain so today.

While some recipes in The Mughal Feast may be challenging for modern home cooks—one recipe calls for boiling lamb liver multiple times before frying it and shaping it to resemble bone marrow—Husain says the recipes can be replicated at home. “It’s a canvass,” she says. “Fill in the colors.” Today’s curious gastronomes may not be able to sneak into Shah Jahan’s inner chambers, but by trying out a recipe from The Mughal Feast, they can still eat like emperors.

Aurangzeb reports to Shah Jahan in Durbar at Lahore in 1649. Shah Jahan is enthroned in the Hall of Public Audience or Divan-i-Am at the Lahore Fort. The British Library and Roli Books/Used with permission

AMBA PULAO
Serves: 6-8
Sweet and tangy mango lamb rice


Crab recipes

Crab cakes
Make them as an appetizer, main dish or sandwich.

Entrees
New ideas and old favorites

Hot Crab Dip
Ingredients:
1 lb. backfin crabmeat
8 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. mayonnaise
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
Mix softened cream cheese with Old Bay, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add crabmeat and fold in. Place cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 34-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Cool slightly and serve with crackers of your choice.--Margaret Hurt, Parkton

Crab Dip Delight
Ingredients:
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 lb. crabmeat
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine Miracle Whip, 3/4 cup cheese, Old Bay, Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard. Mix in crabmeat. Spoon mixture into casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes. Serve with Ritz crackers.--Therese Nesbitt, Baltimore

Baltimore's Best Hot Crab Dip
Ingredients:
1 white bread round loaf
1 lb. backfin crabmeat
2 8 oz. bricks of cream cheese
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
Instructions:
With electric mixer mix the cream cheese, Worcestershire, Old Bay, sour cream and mayonnaise until creamy. By hand, fold in cheddar cheese and gently fold in crabmeat. Put mixture in a Pyrex-type dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. While crab dip is baking, hollow out bread round. Cube any bread removed from center. When crabmeat is finished baking, spoon crab dip in bread round. Sprinkle with extra cheddar cheese or Old Bay. Serve warm.--Donna Gawryck, Baltimore

Michelle and Michael Schaefer's Specials
Ingredients: 1 spoon of mayonnaise
3 pickles
Old Bay seasoning
Crabmeat
Bread -- optional
Instructions:
Break crabmeat apart into small pieces and place in a big bowl.
Chop pickles into small pieces and put them in the bowl, too.
Season with Old Bay to taste.
Add a spoonful of mayonnaise.
Mix together and eat it out of the bowl or make a sandwich.-- Michelle Schaefer, Baltimore

Creamy Crab Dip
Ingredients:
1 lb. crabmeat
8 oz. cream cheese
salt/pepper to taste
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tbs. prepared pesto
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
Instructions:
Check crabmeat for shells.
Combine all ingredients except cheese, sprinkle cheese on top and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese bubbles.
Serve with crackers or cocktail bread. --Sharon Baylin, Baltimore

Crab Spread
Ingredients:
Backfin crabmeat
6 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tbs. sour cream
2 large tbs. mayonnaise
Cheddar cheese
Celery seed
Old Bay (to taste)
Chopped scallion (optional)
Chopped green pepper (optional)
Instructions:
Blend crabmeat, sour cream, mayonnaise and seasonings
Spread in long baking dish
Add cheese on top
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Serve with soft bread or crackers--Sunta Dickerson, Middle River

Crab Spread
Ingredients:
Cream cheese
Cocktail sauce
Lump crabmeat
Amounts depend on the size of the serving container.
Instructions:
Spread soft cream cheese out in container.
Spread cocktail sauce over all.
Sprinkle some lump crabmeat over top.
Serve with a spreader and crackers.--Beth Perry, Owings Mills

Best Maryland Crab Dip
Ingredients:
1 1b. backfin lump crabmeat
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbs. Old Bay seasoning
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. shredded cheddar, divided
3 dashes Tabasco
3 green onions, sliced very thin
2 oz. jar pimiento, drained and diced
4 oz. can mushrooms, drained and diced
Instructions:
Pick crab for any shell fragments
Soften cream cheese in the microwave for 40 seconds
Stir in 4 oz. of cheese and then the rest of the ingredients, except crab.
Gently fold in crab.
Sprinkle with the rest of the crabmeat.
Heat to bubbling in 325 oven for about 15 minutes or for approximately 5 minutes in microwave at medium high.
Serve with small baguette slices or water crackers. --Susan Fisher, Fallston

Maryland Crab Dip
Ingredients:
1 lb. backfin crabmeat
1 pt. mayonnaise
1 tbs. Worcestershire
16 oz. grated sharp cheese
Instructions: Clean crabmeat.
Mix together all ingredients.
Place in two 8 x 8 inch glass baking dishes.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Serve with crackers.--Donna Albrecht, Bel Air

Crab Dip
Ingredients:
1 lb. lump crabmeat
2 tbs. finely chopped onions
2 tbs. green onion (tops only)
2 tbs. Chives
1 tbs. Old Bay
Few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Dashes (to taste) chili powder
Mayonnaise (enough to moisten mixture -- 3-4 tbs.)
Salt
Pepper
Cream cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions:
Place all above ingredients except cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese in bowl.
Spread cream cheese in 9 X 13 pan, place crab mixture on cream cheese mixture, then top with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese on top is completely melted.
Serve with round bite-sized nacho chips for dipping. --Robin DeMarco, Columbia

*Weeknight Crab Soup
Ingredients:
1 lb. Maryland blue crabmeat, free of shells
3 cups low fat chicken broth
2 5.5 oz. cans spicy V8 juice
1 16 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
3 tbs. Old Bay seasoning
3 bay leaves
Hot sauce (to taste, optional)
Instructions:
Combine ingredients in a large stockpot.
Heat over medium flame, stirring occasionally.
Simmer at least 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and serve. --Susan Craig, Pasadena

Crab Bisque
Ingredients:
1 cup crabmeat
1 can tomato soup
1 1/2 cup light cream
1 can green pea soup
1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)
Instructions:
Heat on low temperature, stirring constantly.
Add crabmeat and heat through.
Serves 4.-- Margaret Ellen Kalmanowicz, Kennedyville

Cream of Crab Soup
Ingredients:
1 qt. half & half
1 lb. crabmeat
1 can chicken broth
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp. Old Bay
1 tbsp. parsley
Instructions:
Make a roux (a thickening mixture) from the butter and flour.
Add chicken broth slowly and stir while thickening.
Add half & half and stir.
Add crabmeat and seasonings.
Best served in a crusty boule.
Optional: Just before serving, add a teaspoon of sherry. --Donna Buckmeier, Baltimore

Crab Salad
Ingredients:
2 dozen steamed crabs
1 cup mayonnaise
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
Instructions:
Pick crabs.
Add celery and mayonnaise.
There's no need to add any additional seasonings because you have enough from the steamed crabs. --Elizabeth Scannell, Lutherville

Dill Crab Phyllo
Ingredients:
Small package thawed phyllo
3/4 stick softened, unsalted butter
1 cup lump backfin crabmeat
1 tbs. lime juice
3 egg whites
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbs. fresh chopped dill
2 stalks fresh corn
Instructions:
Cut corn off of fresh cobs and set aside.
Lightly butter small muffin tins.
Carefully peel six 4-by-4 inch sheets of phyllo and mold them into tins.
Cover with wet paper towel.
Whip 3 egg whites until stiff.
Fold in all above ingredients, except lime juice and spoon in about 1/3 cup in each phyllo cup.
Top mixture with small pieces of phyllo.
Place in oven at about 350 degrees for 10 minutes (watch carefully).
Drizzle lime juice over tops when well-browned.
Can be served with a horseradish/mayo/dill sauce. --Bernice Connett, Howell, N.J.

Crab Cheesecake
Ingredients:
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
3 tbs. melted butter
16 oz. softened cream cheese
3 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated onion
1/4 tsp. Old Bay or chowder seasoning
2 drops Tabasco sauce
1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 cup lump crabmeat
1/2 cup sour cream
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the crackers and butter and use the mixture to line a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake for about 10 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Reduce the oven to 325 degrees.
With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, eggs, and 1/4 cup sour cream until fluffy.
Add the lemon juice, onion, Old Bay seasoning, Tabasco, and black pepper.
Stir in the crabmeat and mix well.
Pour into the cooled crust and bake 50 minutes until the cake sets.
Remove from the oven.
Run a knife around the edge of the cake, loosening it from the pan.
Cool on a wire rack.
Remove the sides of the pan.
Spread the cake with the sour cream. --Chaumette Garcia, Arlington, Va.

Crab Roll
Ingredients:
1/2 lb. crabmeat slightly broken up
1/2 cup soften cream cheese
1 tsp. mayonnaise or salad dressing
Seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
Shredded lettuce
Onions, celery, peppers, mustard
soft tortilla
Instructions:
Mix all ingredients (except crab, lettuce and tortilla shells) together
Spread mixture on tortillas -- cover completely
Put thin layer of crabmeat and lettuce over mixture
Roll very tight
Enjoy flat or cut into strips. --Wayne, Baltimore

Cheese Crab Fries
Ingredients:
1 bag of French Fries
1 block of cheese (Provolone or Jack)
1 lb. of backfin crabmeat
Instructions:
Fry the bag of French Fries.
Pour the fries onto a baking tray.
Sprinkle crabmeat over the fries.
Shred the cheese over the entire dish.
Bake until the cheese is well melted.
Then serve to your roomful of Raven Fanatics. --Jack Girod, Eldersburg

Crab Puffs
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
1 cup crabmeat, picked clean
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3 green onions, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400.
Combine butter, water, salt and pepper in pot and bring to boil dump in flour, remove from heat and beat in quickly. Return to heat and continue beating until dough forms a mass and films bottom of pan. Remove from heat. Immediately break egg into center and incorporate completely with spoon. Continue with eggs, one at a time until all are in. Set aside.
Mix the remaining ingredients together and mix into dough.
Spoon into pastry bag with a large tip and pipe dough onto ungreased baking sheets in about 1 ? inch mounds.
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. --Linda Weissert, Pittsburgh

Bay Poppers
Ingredients:
1 cup artichoke and spinach dip
1 lb. backfin crabmeat
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. Cilantro
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
Instructions:
Mix dip and crab together gently with a fork in bowl. Form golf ball-size cakes. Mix egg with Old Bay, Tabasco, and cilantro and roll poppers in flour and egg wash. Deep fry until golden. Serve with horseradish sauce.--Wes McConnell, Timonium

Crab Snug Harbor
Ingredients:
Lump crabmeat
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Wispride cheddar cheese
Canadian bacon, sliced
English muffin, sliced in half
Hollandaise sauce
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut English muffins in half. Spread each muffin with Wispride cheese.
Lay muffins on a cooking sheet and top each muffin with a slice of Canadian bacon and a slice of tomato.
Place a mound of crabmeat on top of each muffin.
Place cooking sheet into oven for approximately 15 minutes. Cheese should start to melt and crabmeat will be warm.
Pull cooking sheet out of oven. Top each muffin with hollandaise sauce.
Place back in oven on shelf closest to broiler. Leave in for four minutes or until hollandaise sauce is slightly brown.
Serve immediately with broccoli or asparagus (top veggie with hollandaise).--Joyce Stinnett, Lusby

Heaven I'm in Heaven
Ingredients:
Container filled with crabmeat
Fork or fingers
Instructions:
Eat!
Hum "Heaven, I'm in Heaven" --William Burton, Baltimore

Lisa's Crabby Muffin Thingies
Ingredients:
6 English muffins
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup crabmeat
Instructions:
Combine the mayonnaise, onions, cheese and crabmeat.
Open the muffins, and spread the mixture onto the 12 halves.
Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes or until cheese is melted and muffins are crispy.
Cut each muffin in halves or quarters and serve immediately. It makes a great appetizer. --Lisa Jester, Perry Hall

Cheese Garlic Crab Muffins
Ingredients:
6 oz. softened cream cheese
4 oz. crabmeat
2 tbs. minced garlic
Squeeze of lemon juice
4-6 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
English muffins (about 6 halves)
Instructions:
Mix the cream cheese, crab and garlic and lemon by hand in small bowl until blended.
Spread over English muffin halves and top with shredded Cheddar (a sprinkle of Old Bay under the cheese is optional but not necessary because of the garlic).
Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes then cut the muffins into quarters with a pizza cutter. --Courtney, Baltimore

My Crab Cakes
Ingredients:
1 lb. crabmeat
2 tsp. melted butter
4 tbs. mayonnaise
1 tsp. mustard
1 beaten egg
1/2 tsp. Old Bay
Sprinkle and add some bread crumbs, or 1 slice of bread, torn into small pieces.
Instructions:
Form all into large hamburger-size pieces and place on a plate in refrigerator for a few hours. Spray a tinfoil-covered cookie sheet and place in oven at 350 degrees until light brown on both sides.--Pat Keefe, Pasadena

Crab Cakes
Ingredients:
1 lb. lump crabmeat
2 eggs
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 sprinkle Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. Old Bay
1 tsp. Horseradish
1 tbs. honey mustard
4 slices bread, no crust
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Instructions:
Mix all ingredients except crabmeat.
Fold in crab and form cakes.
Fry at medium heat in 1/4-inch oil until brown on both sides. --Kathleen Weissner, Baltimore

The Perfect Crab Cake
Ingredients:
1 lb. Maryland crab cake meat
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup deli mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup onion powder
A sprinkle of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
Mix all ingredients, adding more mayonnaise or breadcrumbs to desired consistency.
Preheat broiler and spray with Pam butter-flavored spray.
Add four patties to broiler and broil for 8-12 minutes until brown and flip and do the same on other side until brown.
Serve with a side of broccoli and baked potato. --Ms. Taylor, Baltimore

Crab Cake Without the Crab
Ingredients:
Old Bay
Vinegar
Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tbs. salad mustard
Rockfish
Instructions:
Steam fish using the shrimp recipe on the Old Bay can.
Let stand to cool.
Then mix all ingredients and deep fry or pan fry.--Ed Coscia, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

*Fresh Crab Meat & Green Peppers in a White Sauce
Ingredients: 1 pint of crabmeat
2 green peppers, diced
1 cup of white sauce
Instructions:
To make white sauce:
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup of hot milk or cream
Add crabmeat to white sauce
Add peppers
Bake till lightly brown--Diane Goldbloom, Randallstown

*Blue Crab and Broccoli Enchilada
Ingredients:
1 lb. blue crab claw meat
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 cup non-fat sour cream
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground oregano
15 oz. enchilada sauce
8 6-inch, flour tortillas
Instructions:
Remove any remaining shell from crabmeat.
Combine crab and next 6 ingredients and 5 oz. of the enchilada sauce mix well.
Place the tortillas on a plate cover and microwave on high for 1 minute.
Remove tortillas and place equal amounts of the crab mixture on each and roll up.
Place the rolled tortillas seam side down in a 7-inch by 12-inch glass casserole dish and cover with remaining enchilada sauce.
Cover with plastic wrap, vent and microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes or until sauce is hot and bubbling.
Remove from oven and let stand for 2 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings --Miriam Mitrani, Owings Mills

*Stir Fry Crab with Leek and Ginger
Ingredients:
4 cooked crabs, cleaned, broken in halves
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. fresh ginger, finely chopped or crushed
3.5 grams rice noodles
1 leek, halved lengthwise washed well, cut into 3-cm. lengths and finely sliced
10 spring onions, finely sliced, separate white part of onion, keep green apart
2 tbs. oyster sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 splash of white wine or sherry
3 oz. water
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 small fresh hot chili, finely chopped (optional)
Instructions:
Pre-cook rice noodles in boiling water for approximately three minutes.
Drain and keep hot.
Heat wok, add oil, ginger, garlic and spring onions, cook without burning for one minute.
Add leek, toss for one minute.
Add crab, oyster sauce and splash of wine, then water, and reduce to a nice consistency.
Heat crab through, add in spring onion greens and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. --Channa Turkel, Owings Mills

Crab Imperial
Ingredients:
1 lb. crabmeat
2 tbs. mayonnaise
1 egg
1 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce
6 crackers crushed
Instructions:
Mix all together and place in a baking dish for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.--Maura Manley, Towson

Ingredients:
1/4 cup mustard
2 tbs. of curry powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Dozen crabs
Instructions:
Mix the mustard, curry and mayonnaise, coat the crabs and steam.

Crab Casserole
Ingredients:
2 lbs. lump or backfin crabmeat
12 slices white bread cubed -- no crusts
7 hard-boiled eggs diced
2 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 1/2 cups milk
3 tbs. minced parsley
3 tbs. Minced onions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt, pepper, Old Bay to taste
Instructions:
Line 3-quart casserole dish with bread cubes. Mix all other ingredients except cheese. Cover with aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator one hour before baking and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. (The secret is the 24-hour refrigeration).--Carol Burdick, Baltimore

Plain & Simple
Ingredients:
1 lb. backfin lump crabmeat
2 lemons or limes
4-8 leaves endive or romaine lettuce
parsley for garnish
Instructions:
Pick through crab and remove shells.
Place one or two lettuce leaves on each plate.
Gently mound crab lumps on endive.
Squeeze citrus juice over top of crab.
Serve with fresh, sliced tomatoes.
Serves 2-4.--Lillian, Dundalk

Stuffed Flounder Royale
Ingredients: 4 flounder fillets
1 lb. lump crabmeat
1 tbs. mayonnaise
1 egg
3 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Sauce:
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. nutmeg
6 oz. Gruyere cheese
non-stick cooking spray
Instructions: Spray 9 x 13 rectangular dish with cooking spray.
Place flounder fillets in dish.
Mix crabmeat, egg, mayonnaise, Old Bay, salt and pepper together.
Divide into four equal portions, and place in mounds on top of flounder.
Melt butter in heavy skillet, add flour and cook until reduced. Add cream slowly, stirring constantly. Add nutmeg, and cheese until almost melted.
Spoon sauce over each "stuffed" fillet, allowing to flow around each.
Place in preheated 350-degree oven. Bake 20-25 minutes. Move to broiler to slightly brown top.
Makes 4 servings.--Stephanie Hopson, Glen Burnie

Crab Imperial a la Peggy
Ingredients:
1 lb. back fin crabmeat
1/3 green pepper, chopped
1 small pimiento, chopped
1 egg
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 lb. stick of butter, melted
Instructions:
Pick over crabmeat for shells very carefully.
Combine very gently with other ingredients.
Try to avoid mashing the crabmeat.
Refrigerate about 4 hours so flavors can mix.
About 20 minutes before mealtime, mix in enough mayonnaise to make it a little moist.
Put into four baking shells and top with a dab of mayonnaise and paprika.
Bake in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet. --Peggy Wixted, Westminster

Crab Imperial
Ingredients:
1 lb. crabmeat
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1/2 tbs. green pepper or parsley flakes
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup milk
Old Bay to taste
Instructions:
Blend all ingredients in bowl.
Place spot of liquid on bottom of baking dish and top with crabmeat.
Add another bit of mixture and layer crabmeat until all ingredients are used.
Sprinkle with Old Bay.
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. --Gina Hayniel, Westminster

Nested Soft Crabs
Ingredients: Soft Crabs -- two per person
Angel hair pasta -- 1/4 pound per person
1 1/2 cups of Bisquick mixed with 1/4 cup of cornmeal
One stick of butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pint whipping cream
3 tbs. capers
1 tbs. Old Bay
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
3 tbs. flour
Instructions:
Clean crabs
Drudge both sides in Bisquick/corn meal mix and salt and pepper
Saute crabs (both sides) in butter/olive oil
Remove crabs from pan and set aside (keep warm)
Start pasta (note: angel hair cooks quickly).
Re-heat crab pan (low temperature) containing the essence of the sauteed crabs and butter/oil and whisk in the three tablespoons of flour.
Gradually add cream (stirring constantly so as not to lump) and the Old Bay, capers and red pepper flakes until the sauce thickens (thin slightly with water if sauce thickens too much).
Drain cooked pasta and arrange in "nests" on individual plates.
Nestle two soft crabs on the pasta and ladle sauce over the pasta.
Garnish with cracked pepper and snipped parsley. --Charlie Myers, Laurel

Old-Fashioned Steamed Crabs
Ingredients:
1 Dozen Blue Crabs
1 cup Old Bay
1 cup coarse black pepper
1/2 cup dried mustard
2/3 cup rock salt
1/2 cup crushed red pepper flakes
1 part vinegar to 1 part flat beer to 1 part water
Instructions:
Sprinkle the combination of spices listed above, dry mustard and Old Bay first, and rock salt last, to the layered dozen crabs.
Steam in the combination of liquids above (the cheaper the beer, the better).
Separate the lid from the pot top with several old T-shirts, or a burlap bag. This allows for a steam seal, while providing enough escape to prevent the crabs from becoming soggy.
Remember to use a double boiler, never immersing the crab in the boiling liquid.
To the extent possible, tuck the claws into the crab upon placement in the pot, to minimize the prospect of claws popping off during steaming. It helps to have the crab in a stunned state (through icing or refrigeration) when you attempt this. --Doug Kendzierski, Jarrettsville

Grill 'em up Blues
Ingredients:
12 medium soft-shell blue crabs
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/8 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
lemon wedges
Instructions:
Rinse crabs under cold running water.
Place crabs in well-oiled, hinged wire grills.
Combine remaining ingredients except lemon wedges and warm over medium heat in saucepan.
Baste crabs with sauce.
Place crabs on rack about 4 inches from moderately hot coals and cook for 8 minutes.
Baste with sauce again.
Turn and cook 7-10 minutes longer or until lightly browned.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Yield: 6 servings. --Jim Hayes, Baltimore

Gloria's Casserole
Ingredients:
2 cups cleaned, cooked, flaked crab
2 cups frozen or drained canned small shrimp
2 cup diced celery
2 cup diced green pepper
2 cup diced sweet onion
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Sufficient real mayonnaise to bind
Crushed crackers or croutons with melted butter for a topping (optional)
Instructions:
Toss ingredients gently and place in shallow casserole or baking pan.
Heat through at 350 degrees.
Vegetables should remain crisp.
Serve immediately. --Holly Hickson, Memphis, Tenn.

Thad's Crab Casserole
Ingredients:
1 lb. crabmeat
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1/2 pint sour cream
4 heaping tbs. mayonnaise
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
3 shakes garlic salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together.
Fold in crab last.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.
When done sprinkle with paprika. --Amanda Crow, Towson

Crab Sauce & Linguini
Ingredients:
1 dozen live blue crabs, cleaned
2 29-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato soup
2 jars meatless spaghetti sauce
2 lbs. linguini
salt & pepper
olive oil
Instructions:
Clean shell, apron and gills from crabs and wash off shell.
Break in half, salt and pepper crabs.
Heat olive oil in large pot and saute the crabs until they are almost red.
Add crushed tomatoes, soup, and sauce (add a little water if too thick).
Simmer for at least 2-3 hours on low flame and remove crabs to platter.
Serve sauce over cooked linguini. --Janita Lutz, Baltimore

Pattee O'Bombay!
Ingredients:
1 lb. box of crabmeat
One bunch of coriander leaves, cut fine
Caraway seeds, chili, salt and cumin powder to taste
1 tsp. ginger/garlic paste
2 eggs
Cooking oil
Instructions:
Check the crabmeat for any shell particles.
Add salt, chili powder, and cumin powder to taste.
Add one tsp. of caraway seeds and ginger/garlic paste.
Mix the ingredients well, but gently so that the crab flakes are not crushed and rendered into small particles.
Add finely cut coriander leaves in the mixture and mix well.
Add two eggs in the mixture and make sure that the consistency is not too thin. If it is, let it stand for a couple of hours.
With hand make circular but flat patties that will not break in the middle.
Heat oil for about 2 minutes and when it is hot, place the 5-6 patties at a time in the oil.
Let them get nice and brown and then remove.
Enjoy with white wine! --Visty P. Dalal, Glen Burnie

Crabs in Chipotle Salsa
Ingredients: 1 dozen crabs
5 dried chipotle peppers, or 1/2 cup chipotle sauce
16 oz. beer
one cup cilantro
5 chopped spring onions
Instructions:
Heat beer and chipotle mixture to a boil place live crabs in pot and cover.
Remove crabs when they turn red.
Place on plate, cover with cilantro-spring onion mixture.--Dennis Trencher, Baltimore

Denise's Crab Delight
Ingredients:
1/2 can lump crabmeat
1/2 can of seasoned collard greens (drained)
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix first three ingredients together and pour into an ungreased 9-inch pie pan.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Mix last three ingredients together and pour into pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. --Denise Sconion, Havre de Grace


Acknowledgements

The authors thank all the children and their parents/guardians for their participation in the study. The authors thank research dietitian Karin Hess Ygil for checking and calculating the nutrients in all recipes and meals, and data manager Karsten Kørup for making the dietary intake calculations.

The present study was supported by a grant from the Nordea Foundation (grant no. 02-2010-0389). The funder had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article.

The authors' contributions are as follows: A. B.-J., C. T. D., A. A., K. F. M. and I. T. designed the study R. A., A. B.-J. and I. T. formulated the research questions R. A. and M. E. collected the dietary intake data S.-M. D., C. T. D. and A. V. T. contributed to the collection of the other data E. W. A. undertook the statistical analyses in cooperation with R. A., A. B.-J. and I. T. T. C. undertook the calculations of the dietary intake data in cooperation with R. A. and M. E. R. A. wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final content of the manuscript.

A. A. is a consultant or member of the advisory board for a number companies, including BioCare Copenhagen, Denmark Global Dairy Platform, USA Jenny Craig, USA McCain Foods Limited, USA McDonald's, USA Pathway Genomics Corporation, USA and S-Biotek, Denmark. The rest of the authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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