Olives of the Roman Countryside

If you could fly like a bird over the campagna romana where it fades toward the hills, you would see it clothed in a broad, silvery gray cloak of olive leaves. Those trees are the pride of all Italy’s oil production.
For the ancient Italic peoples, the olive tree symbolized not only the fertility of humans and of the earth but also peace and a serene life. Thus, it easy to understand why this plant has traveled the centuries clothed in an aura of sacredness. The oil produced by its fruit was an essential food on poor tables, ever since the time of republican Rome; its oil served to light the lamps, its dregs were a good fertilizer, and its wood, considered precious, could be burned only on the altar of the gods. And the olive tree is indissolubly linked to the advance of Mediterranean civilization. In the imperial period, the tables of the Roman gourmands made a distinction between the sapid oils of Sabina and the lighter oils of Liguria¹The strong, heavy oils from Spain and North Africa were primarily used to fill lamps.

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Olives of the Roman Countryside

If you could fly like a bird over the campagna romana where it fades toward the hills, you would see it clothed in a broad, silvery gray cloak of olive leaves. Those trees are the pride of all Italy’s oil production.

For the ancient Italic peoples, the olive tree symbolized not only the fertility of humans and of the earth but also peace and a serene life. Thus, it easy to understand why this plant has traveled the centuries clothed in an aura of sacredness. The oil produced by its fruit was an essential food on poor tables, ever since the time of republican Rome; its oil served to light the lamps, its dregs were a good fertilizer, and its wood, considered precious, could be burned only on the altar of the gods. And the olive tree is indissolubly linked to the advance of Mediterranean civilization. In the imperial period, the tables of the Roman gourmands made a distinction between the sapid oils of Sabina and the lighter oils of Liguria¹The strong, heavy oils from Spain and North Africa were primarily used to fill lamps.

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The World’s Scariest Foods
Barbecued bat anyone?

The World’s Scariest Foods

Barbecued bat anyone?

Ray Bradbury on the “golden elixir” of his childhood (originally published in 1953):

Half a century ago, Ray Bradbury wrote about the golden elixir of his childhood. That story continues to travel around the world.

Little did I know, as the old saying goes, that when publishing my “Dandelion Wine” story in gourmet in 1953 I was starting a novel.

The history of my books is most strange. My stories, essays, and poems suddenly grow full and tall.

The Martian Chronicles, for example, born in 1944 as a collection of stories, along the way civilized an entire planet.

Similarly Green Shadows, White Whale. My life in Ireland, written as poems and plays, finally became a novel about John Huston and Moby Dick.

Dandelion Wine then was a series of word associations about my hometown, remembering how it was to run in a new pair of tennis shoes or to perch on the family porch on those wonderful summer nights when we filled the sky with rockets and fire balloons.

The novel was published in 1957. Since then, I’ve been astounded to receive letters from Sweden, where summer lasts perhaps three or four days, or Kenya, where summer lasts forever. Then, Tokyo. Where is there room for grass anywhere in Tokyo, how in hell could they grow dandelions to make wine?

But every Christmas for 20 years, 40 Japanese students airmail me essays, poems, and novel fragments about Dandelion Wine as a special gift to end the year. Their exquisite writing cracks my heart. How peculiar that my grandfather’s cellar pressings would be a proper vintage for those students halfway round the world.

Along the way the book has shifted locales and costumed itself in stage plays and musicals. Three different composers have written music for the productions that have appeared in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

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The World’s Scariest Foods

And you thought airline food was bad.

full story here

The very first issue of Gourmet Magazine. (photo courtesy Serious Eats)
—January 1941
It Only Gets Better, Newsweek

The very first issue of Gourmet Magazine. (photo courtesy Serious Eats)

—January 1941

It Only Gets Better, Newsweek

With today’s news about Newsweek going digital, we bring you a reminder of Gourmet magazine’s first issue.
The first issue of Gourmet magazine was January 1941. It was also Gourmet’s first holiday issue.
Pearl V. Metzelthin was the magazine’s first editor. Here’s a look at her editor’s letter (courtesy Serious Eats).

With today’s news about Newsweek going digital, we bring you a reminder of Gourmet magazine’s first issue.

The first issue of Gourmet magazine was January 1941. It was also Gourmet’s first holiday issue.

Pearl V. Metzelthin was the magazine’s first editor. Here’s a look at her editor’s letter (courtesy Serious Eats).

Inside the Tobasco Factory

Miles of sugarcane fields fly by as we drive to Avery Island, a journey punctuated only by glimpses of sagging stilted houses that have seen more than their fair share of hurricane winds and flooding. It is the middle of nowhere, and yet, it just may be the center of the universe for lovers of hot spice. For here, some 30 miles south of Lafayette and 140 west of New Orleans, is where Tabasco sauce is born.

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text and photos by Sara Bonisteel

The Dry Harvest
This year’s major drought in the U.S. will change the way we eat for months—if not years—to come.

By the end of the summer of 2012, the United States was experiencing its worst drought in 50 years. Crops were drastically damaged and on government agriculture maps, a searing, disaster-level red burned through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and other states in the country’s corn belt and breadbasket—states that usually, if you fly over them on a clear day, bear the distinctive green patchwork of productive farming. But if you flew over or drove through the stricken regions this summer, what you likely saw instead was a landscape blighted by the browns, tans, and yellows of struggling crops. Many corn stalks in Tennessee grew only a fraction of their usual height; others in Illinois produced ears with sparse, shrunken kernels. Soy and wheat fields around the country struggled to last through the summer, whose unusually high temperatures added insult to agricultural injury.

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photo: Scott Olson/Getty

The Dry Harvest

This year’s major drought in the U.S. will change the way we eat for months—if not years—to come.

By the end of the summer of 2012, the United States was experiencing its worst drought in 50 years. Crops were drastically damaged and on government agriculture maps, a searing, disaster-level red burned through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and other states in the country’s corn belt and breadbasket—states that usually, if you fly over them on a clear day, bear the distinctive green patchwork of productive farming. But if you flew over or drove through the stricken regions this summer, what you likely saw instead was a landscape blighted by the browns, tans, and yellows of struggling crops. Many corn stalks in Tennessee grew only a fraction of their usual height; others in Illinois produced ears with sparse, shrunken kernels. Soy and wheat fields around the country struggled to last through the summer, whose unusually high temperatures added insult to agricultural injury.

keep reading

photo: Scott Olson/Getty

The Feast and the Famine of Fall
This week’s Gourmet Live issue delves into this year’s drought and what it means for farmers, consumers and the future.
Also, we have a behind-the-scenes look of the Tobasco factory on Avery Island in Louisiana
The full table of contents is here
photos: Marcie Gonzalez

The Feast and the Famine of Fall

This week’s Gourmet Live issue delves into this year’s drought and what it means for farmers, consumers and the future.

Also, we have a behind-the-scenes look of the Tobasco factory on Avery Island in Louisiana

The full table of contents is here

photos: Marcie Gonzalez

The Way We Cooked: Varmints

Exclusive recipes for Creamed Woodchuck, Roasted Raccoon, and more—pulled directly from Gourmet’s archive.

They have not been re-tested by our food editors since they were published in the magazine, but they’re a pretty good indication of the kinds of things we once cooked—and ate—with great pleasure.

full list here

p.s. your Tumblrer just got a bit lost in the archives.
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