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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food52:

A group of Norwegian researchers claims that there may be some science behind our love of melted cheese. Using a not-so-appetizing-sounding “experimental vanilla custard,” these scientists discovered that subjects enjoyed foods that created minimal “friction in the mouth” — which may explain the allure of melted cheese. Surprise, surprise: our nervous systems also respond positively to fatty, calorie-dense foods.
Read more: Science Defends Our Love of Cheese from Food52 via Pop Sci

food52:

A group of Norwegian researchers claims that there may be some science behind our love of melted cheese. Using a not-so-appetizing-sounding “experimental vanilla custard,” these scientists discovered that subjects enjoyed foods that created minimal “friction in the mouth” — which may explain the allure of melted cheese. Surprise, surprise: our nervous systems also respond positively to fatty, calorie-dense foods.

Read more: Science Defends Our Love of Cheese from Food52 via Pop Sci

Rock Stars Who Make Wine

In an age when so many celebrities are peddling clothing lines and fragrances, for a rock star to put his or her name to a range of wines seems positively old-school —maybe even borderline punk-rock. Artists as diverse as Sting, Madonna, Mick Fleetwood, Boz Scaggs, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, and Maynard James Keenan of Tool (along with many others) all have interests in vineyards, and although I think you’re unlikely to find these people stomping grapes à la Lucille Ball, in most cases we’re talking about more than just an endorsement deal. For a growing list of rock stars (some of whom may surprise you), winemaking has become a surprisingly legit second act.
As a winemaker, David Coverdale, of Whitesnake—which, in case you didn’t know, is very much still a band—has addressed the aspirational, status-making nature of wine connoisseurship head-on in interviews about his own extracurricular activities. In Wine Spectator, he explained that he sees wine drinking as an issue of social mobility, perhaps even class warfare (and what’s more rock ‘n’ roll than that?). Born to a humble household in the north of England in the 1950s, he remembers when only the aristocracy drank wine. But Coverdale, who fronted Deep Purple before starting White Snake in 1978, grew up as English society was growing up too, and being in massively successful rock bands that toured the world by private jet, stayed in the best hotels, and ate at the best restaurants, he soon discovered that otherwise ordinary people could well appreciate the extraordinary pleasures of wine. And in his case they could make it, too.
In 2010, Coverdale released Whitesnake Zinfandel…

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Image: Foreground, popular bottles from the Wines That Rock vineyard; background, Blenheim Vineyards, founded by Dave Matthews outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. 


 Photos:   Courtesy Wines That Rock, Blenheim Vineyards

Rock Stars Who Make Wine

In an age when so many celebrities are peddling clothing lines and fragrances, for a rock star to put his or her name to a range of wines seems positively old-school —maybe even borderline punk-rock. Artists as diverse as Sting, Madonna, Mick Fleetwood, Boz Scaggs, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, and Maynard James Keenan of Tool (along with many others) all have interests in vineyards, and although I think you’re unlikely to find these people stomping grapes à la Lucille Ball, in most cases we’re talking about more than just an endorsement deal. For a growing list of rock stars (some of whom may surprise you), winemaking has become a surprisingly legit second act.

As a winemaker, David Coverdale, of Whitesnake—which, in case you didn’t know, is very much still a band—has addressed the aspirational, status-making nature of wine connoisseurship head-on in interviews about his own extracurricular activities. In Wine Spectator, he explained that he sees wine drinking as an issue of social mobility, perhaps even class warfare (and what’s more rock ‘n’ roll than that?). Born to a humble household in the north of England in the 1950s, he remembers when only the aristocracy drank wine. But Coverdale, who fronted Deep Purple before starting White Snake in 1978, grew up as English society was growing up too, and being in massively successful rock bands that toured the world by private jet, stayed in the best hotels, and ate at the best restaurants, he soon discovered that otherwise ordinary people could well appreciate the extraordinary pleasures of wine. And in his case they could make it, too.

In 2010, Coverdale released Whitesnake Zinfandel…

keep reading

Image: Foreground, popular bottles from the Wines That Rock vineyard; background, Blenheim Vineyards, founded by Dave Matthews outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.

To Decant or Not to Decant
Do wines really need a special vessel for breathing? We asked sommeliers, winemakers, and other wine experts to weigh in on the pros and cons of decanting—the verdict may surprise you
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To Decant or Not to Decant

Do wines really need a special vessel for breathing? We asked sommeliers, winemakers, and other wine experts to weigh in on the pros and cons of decanting—the verdict may surprise you

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anthonybourdain:

The Mind of a Chef

This project of Anthony Bourdain’s is called: The Mind of a Chef and it premieres on PBS November 9, exploring the inner workings of Chef David Chang.

Chang makes connections between food and science in this new PBS show. We’ve been waiting for something like this to come along.

Watch the preview. We can’t wait for this show!

A Handy Guide for Pressing Your Own Cider
This timeless tradition gets some fresh attitude from Ian Knauer and Alan Sytsma, formerly known as Gourmet.com’s 2 Guys, in this column originally published in fall 2007
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A Handy Guide for Pressing Your Own Cider

This timeless tradition gets some fresh attitude from Ian Knauer and Alan Sytsma, formerly known as Gourmet.com’s 2 Guys, in this column originally published in fall 2007

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Libido-Killing Food
If oysters and chile peppers supposedly make people feel frisky, what foods have the power to turn them off sex altogether? Lexi Dwyer looks at anti-aphrodisiacs, or recipes for disaster in the bedroom
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Libido-Killing Food

If oysters and chile peppers supposedly make people feel frisky, what foods have the power to turn them off sex altogether? Lexi Dwyer looks at anti-aphrodisiacs, or recipes for disaster in the bedroom

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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.

keep reading
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