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Lauren Keene

The perfect date

In California’s desert at this time of year, there’s a blessing of the dates. The ceremony opens the Riverside County Fair, since dates are a large part of the agricultural industry in Coachella Valley, and includes prayers for the date palms, and for the safety of the workers and equipment as they prune, pollinate and harvest […]

‘Southern Provisions’: The creation and revival of a cuisine

I’ve just read Novella Carpenter’s book “Farm City,” in which she quotes from late Chef Edna Lewis’ essay “Morning-After-Hog-Butchering Breakfast,” an elegy about traditional Southern hog butchering. In Kim Severson’s end-of-the-year New York Times food column about the Southern field pea, he mentions a field pea tasting organized by David S. Shields, a University of […]

January 06, 2016 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,

A visit to France’s Alpes-de-Haute Provence

In the rocky, craggy hill-topped country along the Durance River in southeastern France, one finds the occasional quince tree growing alongside small roads at the back of someone’s land. Feral quince straddle the line between wild and domesticated, like much of the land in this rural department of Provence designated the Alpes-de-Haute Provence. After taking […]

December 02, 2015 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,

From Paris with love

“Every country possesses, it seems, the sort of cuisine it deserves,” wrote Waverly Root in his 1958 tome “The Food of France,” “which is to say the sort of cuisine it is appreciative enough to want.” The French, and those to travel to its shores to eat with them, want good food. Food eaten in […]

November 05, 2015 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,

The Alaskan bush — a first fly-fishing trip

Salmon fishing is just a sport, isn’t it? I recently flew to the Alaskan bush to fly-fish for the first time. I thought, surely there are so many fish, I will cast my line and catch some. I had beginner’s mind. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are […]

October 07, 2015 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,

At my table: Checking out Southern California’s food heritage

Santa Monica, the progressive Southern California beachfront city of 93,000 in western Los Angeles County, has one of the great California farmers markets, where chefs shop alongside 9,000 other weekly shoppers. The Los Angeles region in general — with its 3.8 million people, museums, public markets and entrepreneurial culture in food — is an urban […]

September 02, 2015 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,

Smoking meat for maximum flavor

Connor Fung told me recently over lunch he hadn’t smoked in a while. I laughed. I knew he meant smoking meat, like brisket, pork or ribs over low heat for a long time for maximum flavor. A native son of Davis, recently home from college and settling into the next phase of life, he and […]

August 06, 2015 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,

French Provisions: Summer reading about La Belle France

There’s nothing like a summertime read late into the night, on the beach, by the lake or prior to an afternoon nap. This is lazy time. Travel time for the imagination to the tables and cultures of a favorite country. I like to peek into the peculiarities of French rural culture with its distinctive characters, […]

July 01, 2015 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,

Portland — a culinary utopia

The City of Portland was named “Best Food Town” and called a culinary utopia by Sunset Magazine in its June issue. I flew up to Portland recently, on the hunt for good food. The question I came away with was, what makes a city so creative and entrepreneurial at every level of the food scene? […]

June 03, 2015 | Posted in Food & Drink | Tagged ,
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