Food Time Line Begins


M.F.K. Fisher writes Here Let Us Feast

Mrs. Paul’s Kitchens launches fish sticks

Brennan’s Restaurant opens. Creates competition for

Dinner at Antoine’s with Breakfast at Brennan’s

Arthur Bryant opens Bar-B-Cue restaurant in Kansas City

Taillevent opens in Paris.

1947          Reuben sandwich huge hit

1948          Frank Perdue, age 28 ruffles feathers when he takes control of Perdue Farms and its 40 employees

1948          Balducci’s opens

1948          J.I. Rodale says organically grown fruit and vegetables are good for you. Brand new idea

1950          Legal Seafoods opens

1950          The Coach House opens to fanfare

1950          The Rainbow Room blazes back on restaurant scene after wartime closing

1950 Diners Club is founded. Patrons carded

1950 Dunkin’ Donuts opens. Hole in one

1951 Parks Sausage is introduced in Baltimore

1951 Duncan Hines Cake Mix introduced. Sales rise

1951 Louis Zabar leaves business to sons, Saul, 22; Stanley, 18 and  Eli, 7

1951 L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes opens in Paris with Julia one of the Trois

1953 Cheez Whiz introduced. Gee!

1953 “TV Dinner” appears on the market. Customers take news lying down

1953 Irish coffee is introduced at San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café

1953 Joe Baum, 33 opens The Newarker restaurant at Newark Airport, NJ

1955 Ray Kroc opens his first McDonald’s hamburger stand

1955 Kentucky Fried Chicken opens, Harland Sanders, 65 wings it

1955 Lum’s opens the first of its 390 restaurants in Miami Beach

1955 Ferdinand Point of Restaurant de la Pyramide at Vienne dies at age 58

1955 Owen Brennan dies at age 45, leaving sister Ella, 30 in charge

1956 Lever Brothers introduces Imperial margarine

1956 Paul Bocuse, 50 leaves La Pyramide to join his father at Collonges-au-Mont d’Or

1958 Williams-Sonoma opens in San Francisco. No pans.  Many pots

1958 Pizza Hut opens in Wichita Kansas. Delivers fast service

1958 International House of Pancakes opens in California. Sales not flat as…

1958 Henri Soulé opens La Côte Basque on the former site of Le Pavillon

1958 American Express Card founded

1959 Gaston Lenôtre, 44  opens a petit pâtisserie  in Paris

1959The James Beard Cookbook  is published

1959 Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream factory opened in the Bronx by Polish born Reuben Mattus

1959 Four Seasons opens for all

Please add more lines to this beginning.

What to Give a Veteran for Veteran’s Day

A job would be nice.

A food job would be even nicer.

Many men and women who have served in the military have already worked in restaurants and have determined that an in-depth education from a cooking school will advance their careers.

What all aspiring food enthusiasts share is a passion for food, (though not necessarily for cooking).

Veterans may have valuable work experience already. But to succeed in today’s rapidly changing foodservice industry, they need the “complete package”—proven knowledge, skills, experience, and the all-important degree credential.

Note to Vets Continue reading

Military Invade the Kitchen Commanded By Chef David Robinson

Chef David RobinsonChef David Robinson has been a caterer to a former United States President and to senators, to movie stars, hedge fund financiers and the biggest shots in the military–including General Colin Powell.

Today, he was interviewed on CBS This Morning by Lee Woodruff on his successful campaign to take the military into the kitchen. 

After ‘Chef David’ created a 10-video series: How to Cook (And Eat Your Mistakes), he concentrated his efforts on a new program called Culinary Command Training, an intensive culinary training program for returning U.S. veterans, as well as active military. Continue reading

Farm-to-Table Concept Is Growing

Among the most powerful little words in our language are: Guilty!Not Guilty!; I’m Pregnant; It’s a Boy!; We won!; Thank you;  Yes and NO!

Celebrated Chef Larry Forgione

Celebrated Chef Larry Forgione

Celebrated Chef Larry Forgione said, NO!

He said, “NO,” while standing at the podium in front of 350 of the top-flight food folk in the nation. He spoke at The First Symposium on American Cuisine convened by Phillip S. Cooke and Daniel Maye in Louisville, Kentucky in 1982.

Larry Forgione was the keynote speaker. He was chosen because he was, and remains to this day, a pioneer of farm-to-table local ingredient sourcing.

Chef Forgione talked in poetic, inspirational words, describing the joys of farm-fresh ingredients, grass-fed pork and beef, handmade berry and cherry preserves, honey and local dairy, artisanal cheeses.

At the end of his speech, he was asked if he would provide the audience with a list of his suppliers.

He said, “No” because  he couldn’t say, “Yes.’”

Why Not?

Forgione said NO but failed to explain to the audience that small farms and cottage industries that supplied his restaurant couldn’t possibly handle the huge volume that would be needed for deliveries to giant enterprises.

A view from Windows on the World restaurant

A view from Windows on the World restaurant

For example, the Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center, was actually two acres of restaurants, serving hundreds of guests every day at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The management also dreamed of saving the environment and serving fruits and vegetables filled with sunshine, but their desire for quality always had to be tempered with practicality, and the need for large quantities of supplies.

Not incidentally, it was far too great a hassle for small farmers to drive many miles into downtown Manhattan and wrestle with security guards and crowded elevators in order to deliver their small batches of newly plucked peaches, live lobsters, bunches of fragrant herbs, small batches of smoked salmon, a few dozen new laid eggs and some“free-range” chickens. (“Free-range” is a term Forgione himself coined.)

An American Place

Larry Forgione’s restaurant, An American Place, named by food legend, James Beard, his mentor and friend, had room only for 45 seats. Similarly Alice Waters’ trail-blazing, tiny Chez Panisse restaurant, founded in 1971, served only a handful of guests, though with the highest quality, organically-grown and in-season ingredients on its prix fixe, limited menu.

The New American Cuisine

Larry Forgione provided his long-ago audience with a vision of a New American Cuisine; a table for two with every element in perfect balance. On one plate, a perfectly roasted quail; on another, a perfect breast of duck with a simple sauce and combined tastes that were coaxed and nurtured until they explode into a symphony of flavors. And everything — fresh, fresh, fresh!

Back then he was sharing a philosophy — not a shopping list. His listeners didn’t understand then.  Now they do.

Larry’s great, great uncle was Francesco Forgione from Pietrelcina Italy, otherwise known to practicing Catholics as “Padre Pio” — or ever since Pope Paul Canonized him in 2002, “Saint Pio.” Following in his ancestor’s saintly footsteps, Chef Forgione is universally acknowledged as the Godfather of American food.  (Alice Waters seems to have similarly been awarded a sort of honorary culinary sainthood.)

Forgione’s long journey began at the Culinary Institute of America. He graduated in 1974 and continues to preach to the choir — He was named “Chef Of the Year” at the 1993 James Beard Awards. Now the CIA has just launched a new program that allows students to study farm-to-table cuisine with him as their guide and mentor at the college’s California campus, the CIA at Greystone.

Chef Forgione glimpsed the future: it is Mensana in Corpore Sano, meaning “A sound mind in a healthy body.”

Thanks to Larry’s vision, today there also is such a food job as farm-to-table chef, and folks are hiring.

What’s Up?

The pendulum is still swinging between sumptuous and the sublime, the stark and austere and these contrasts of style are found not only in the restaurants but also in the food itself.  In some places styles overlap while at others they are more clearly defined.

The revolution in the ways we are eating today is still evolving, and it is a wondrously intriguing game to try to sample it all and all at once.  There are instant gratifications of new pleasures paired with old indulgences. We are seeing everything on the same menu — from duck with fresh foie gras and cornmeal pancakes with caviar to almost instant ice cream fabricated with liquid nitrogen.

Here’s Chef Larry Forgione’s recipe for :

Cornmeal Pancakes
from An American Place
Makes about 24 9-inch pancakes

1 cup flour

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 cups milk

4 tablespoons salted butter, melted

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Corn oil for frying the pancakes

Mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, eggs and egg yolks.  Gradually whisk in the milk and continue stirring until the batter is smooth. Stir in the melted butter.

Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Lightly brush a 9-inch non-stick frying pan with oil.  Heat the pan and pour in about 2 tablespoons of batter to coat the bottom.  If the batter does no easily cover the bottom of the pan, thin it with a little milk.

Cook each pancake over medium heat for about one minute or until lightly browned.

Flip the pancake and cook the other side, for just a few seconds.

Repeat until you have used all the batter.



Dining at the CIA

 Culinary-Institute-of- America-Farquharson-Hall

Culinary-Institute-of- America-Farquharson-Hall

I always enjoy watching the gasp of astonishment on the faces of visitors as they enter the Culinary Institute Farquharson Hall with its glorious sky-blue vaulted ceiling and dazzling stained glass windows. This remarkable space was originally the hallowed chapel of St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Hyde Park, NY, a Jesuit seminary built in 1901. Now it is the main student dining room.

How appropriate it is to associate monks with the blessings of good food and plenty of it.

You will undoubtedly remember that pretzels are thought to have been invented by an Italian monk–baker in 610 AD. The original snack-food, they were made from dough scraps formed into a shape emulating arms folded over the chest in prayer. The monk gave the baked goods to students as rewards for good works. He called them pretiolas, which means “little rewards” in Latin.

And it was in medieval times that a monk visited a baron’s home and sat down to dinner with the family.  When the chicken was brought out on a platter, the monk offered to carve the splendid bird according to scriptural precepts.  The baron was delighted and agreed enthusiastically.

The monk thereupon offered the head, neck, wings, and drumsticks to the baron and his family and took the rest of the bird onto his own plate. When the baron questioned the seemingly disparate division of the chicken, the monk explained:

“Since the master is head of the house, he should get the head. The baroness, being closest to the head, should receive that part of the bird closest to the head — namely, the neck. The wings symbolize the flighty thoughts of the young daughters and so constitute their portion. The drumsticks go to the sons to remind them that they are the support of the house even as the legs hold up the chicken.”

Having delivered himself of this edifying piece of logic, the monk proceeded to devour his handsome portion, while the baron and his family were left to nourish themselves, mainly on his wisdom.

Food Job: Monks and nuns raise money to help support their monasteries and convents by making and selling a variety of foods. These may include breads, cheeses, cookies, candies, fruitcakes and preserves. Mary Jacobs, a reporter for The Dallas Morning News wrote, “Not all monastic communities with businesses have managed to balance the distractions of financial and commercial success with spiritual life.”

According to a National Catholic Reporter article, the brewery at Andech Monastery in Germany has “expanded to a multimillion-dollar business, staffed by 23 monks and 200 lay employees.” Giuseppe Bellapadrona, the Vatican’s farm and garden manager, reveals that annual production is valued at $330,000 and that it makes a healthy contribution to the cost of operating the pope’s residence.

Chefs are employed too, by many religious institutions. They provide everything from macaroni and cheese to sumptuous suppers accompanied with uplifting spiritual refreshments.

Here follows the silent prayer of the Quakers.……….

CIA Grad Travels to Australia

Rebecca Morris blogRebecca Morris writes: “I’ve always loved to travel, but it wasn’t until my CIA (Culinary Institute of America) trip to Spain that I realized just how well food, wine, and the people that produce it can tell the story of a region.”

When my partner accepted a job in Australia, I barely hesitated to sell my car, leave my stable job as a recipe developer at America’s Test Kitchen in Boston, and head down under. Crazy? Not quite, just wanderlust.

I’ve been living in Sydney for two months now, and am happy to report that their advertising campaign is right: There really is nothing like Australia! In terms of the wide variety of food and wine, Australia goes way beyond the meat pie and the Vegemite. Take for instance the macadamia nuts that crunch and melt in your mouth, or the sensuous black truffles as big as your fist, or the rebel wine makers that are breaking all the stodgy ‘old world’ rules (and becoming wildly successful). There’s no way around it, Australia is primed to be the next destination on the bucket list of every food-loving traveler around the world.

At the moment, I’m in the running for an exciting food job in Australia that would allow me to stay for another six months. It is called, “One of the Best Jobs in the World” and is being promoted on by Tourism Australia.

When I heard of this opportunity, I had a gut feeling I should apply. I want to be a food writer and if I want to tell the story of a region through food, there is truly no better place to start than Australia because there is still so much to be discovered.

I put together a 30 second video highlighting my accomplishments and why I am qualified for the job of “Taste Master.” If hired, the job would involve going all over Western Australia (WA), eating, drinking, and foraging for the very best that their territory has to offer.

My goal at first was to just make it to the top 25, as there were over 45,000 applicants from all over the world applying for the same position as I was. Well, what do you know? I made the cut, and am now charging full speed ahead for the shot at being an ambassador to all things tasty in WA.

My next challenge will be to gain support on my social media sites until they narrow it down to the final three contestants on May 15th. You can keep up to date on my application, and read about what I’ve been up to in Sydney, on my travel blog, lucky country diaries.

A Personal Note: Rebecca, I am happy to be among the many voices who are singing your praises and hoping, hoping, hoping you win…Oh, I forgot…You are already a winner in my book!