Just where is “local?” In the food world these days, the answer is everywhere.
Local is emblazoned on your grocery store ad and woven across your restaurant menu. It’s at the core of the growing network of farmers markets, and local is fueling the explosion of new cottage industry producers and specialty suppliers. Local food is big, and around New Orleans it’s booming.
When it comes to the question what is local, however, the answer is changing, and in some very interesting ways. This month in particular is a good time to catch up on what’s new.
We use our outdoor grill several nights a week and do well with things like marinated lamb, yakitori chicken, Puget Sound seafood and vegetables. But when our grandchildren ask for hamburgers, we fail miserably. We make the patties about 1/2-inch thick from the leanest hamburger or ground round. But when we put them on the grill, they crumble and fall apart. How do we get the patties to stay together?
On this week’s Louisiana Eats!, we visit the Greek Isles without ever leaving the bayou. Holy Trinity Cathedral on Bayou St. John in New Orleans is home to the oldest Greek Orthodox community in North America. For over 150 years, this tight-knit community has combined food and faith in the traditional way of their ancient ancestors. For 42 years, Trinity members have welcomed thousands of visitors to their annual Greek Festival.
Tracing the roots of a widespread network of New Orleans restaurateurs back to one Greek island and one shared American story.
“Opa!” that’s the universal Greek exclamation of joy, and you’ll be hearing it a lot this weekend as the Greek Festival returns to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Lakeview. But for some of those sharing in the opa spirit, the toast is about more than just the revelry of the moment.
In the mill room, a cavernous, chilly space in a multi-use facility in West Asheville, North Carolina, that used to be an electrical equipment plant, Kim Thompson takes out a marker and kneels down by a sack of freshly milled flour. She writes the type of flour, the date and often, something extra.
One day, it might be "panivorous" -- the word of the day she found on an app on her phone -- and its definition: "subsisting on bread; bread-eating." Another day, it might be a quote about bread, like the Danish proverb "art and knowledge bring bread and honor."
What do the fermented meat condiments of fifth-century China and the foam, scents and smoke used in molecular gastronomy today have in common? They are all sauces. Maryann Tebben, head of the Center for Food Studies at Bard College at Simon's Rock and author of Sauces, explains.
Depicted in the 16th-century paintings of Pieter Breughel the Elder and criticized by the 19th-century poet Charles Baudelaire, lambic beer is perhaps the oldest of the modern beer styles. Its funky, sour and wild taste is a result of spontaneous fermentation, a brewing method where the beer is exposed to naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in the open air.
If you have tried a Belgian lambic beer, then you have tasted the results of spontaneous fermentation. Lambic beer is exposed to naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in the open air, and matured in oak barrels for months or years (as opposed to other brewing methods, which use highly controlled single-yeast fermentations).