Sure, the recipe for hotdog fried rice your mom passed along to you may have been brought over from Ireland by your grandfather but, tasty as it is, it can’t come close to touching the lineage of a 4,000-year-old stew recipe scrawled onto an ancient cuneiform tablet that dates back to the heyday of Babylon. No, not even with green onions thrown in for good measure. Respect where respect is due.
From Open Culture:
While cookbooks containing Mesopotamian fare do exist, to be really authentic, take your recipes from a clay tablet, densely inscribed in cuneiform.
Sadly, there are only four of them, and they reside in a display case at Yale. (Understandable given that they’re over 4000 years old.)
When Agnete Lassen, associate curator of Yale’s Babylonian Collection, and colleague Chelsea Alene Graham, a digital imaging specialist, were invited to participate in a culinary event hosted by New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, they wisely chose to travel with a 3D-printed facsimile of one of the precious tablets.
At the competition, the Yale team cooked up three different one-pot dishes from ancient Mesopotamian as described on the tablets they brought with them. Apparently, the weight of ages didn’t make them taste none too great. One of the dishes, Broth of Lamb, uses blood as a thickening agent, which doesn’t sound too appealing — and I like blood pudding. Unwinding Stew, a vegetarian dish, apparently looked as bad as it tasted, let along what its name implies it might do to the imbiber’s bowels. Read the rest
In this video, three reputable Italian chefs are subjected to severe moral injury by being forced to watch the top five 'how to cook carbonara' videos on YouTube. Their emotions range between outrage, disappointment, dour amusement and absolute horror in under 13 minutes. Be sure to turn subtitles on for this one before settling in.
The most interesting thing for me was how disappointed they were in the final video that they watched, which features Jamie Oliver showing off his carbonara chops. According to the chefs, they ain't great. Their chief complaint was that he failed to show the meat being properly sanitized before chopping it up and throwing it in a hot pan to fry. I'm sure the pig processing poop adds flavor, but Yuck.
Image via Wikipedia
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Maximize flavor, minimize cleaning. Read the rest
In some parts of America's hinterlands, older folks call green peppers "mangoes." Turns out it goes back to a recipe substitution from the 1700s. Read the rest
Hellen Die admits that her recipe for Alien facehugger pudding-cups "isn't easy": you have to make egg-molds that you cover with pastry and decorate to resemble HR Giger-esque Alien eggs, then use more pastry to sculpt the facehuggers, make a custom pistachio pudding mix with ground up Vitamin B-2 caps, assemble, paint (with food-safe pigments), mix a slip of vodka and B-2, pipe the eggs full of yellow custard, and dust with pop-rocks just before serving for that wonderful fizzing effects. Read the rest
In 1978, Random House recalled the Woman's Day Crockery Cuisine cookbook because one of the recipes could apparently "cause a serious explosion." According to a statement from Random House, "If the recipe (for Silky Caramel Slices) is followed, the condensed milk can could explode and shatter the lid and liner of the crockery cooker." (Please, no Boston Marathon bomb jokes.) From a May 1978 article in the Chicago Tribune:
Because of an unfortunately elusive line that should have instructed folks to fill the pot with water, following the recipe appears to have resulted in some unintentional pop-top cans and badly damaged crockpots...
The conditions that have made this underground recipe successful and therefore popular, especially with children, are water and temperature. By being heated in boiling water, the temperature of the can and milk do not exceed the boiling point. After a few hours of this, the sugared milk turns to a caramel pudding. In the Crockpot, however, especially without water, the temperature can build up rather like a pressure cooker. That was the most immediate cause of the problem.
"The Exploding Recipe" (Weird Universe) Read the rest
A frozen Independence Day treat that’s a whole lot healthier than a Bomb Pop.
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In her spare time, University of California, San Diego engineer Janelle Shane trained a neural network to generate recipes for new dishes. Informed by its reading of existing recipes, the neural network did improve over time yet it's clearly not quite ready for Iron Chef. Here are two recipes from her Tumblr, Postcards from the Frontiers of Science:
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Pears Or To Garnestmeam
¼ lb bones or fresh bread; optional½ cup flour1 teaspoon vinegar¼ teaspoon lime juice2 eggs
Brown salmon in oil. Add creamed meat and another deep mixture.
Discard filets. Discard head and turn into a nonstick spice. Pour 4 eggs onto clean a thin fat to sink halves.
Brush each with roast and refrigerate. Lay tart in deep baking dish in chipec sweet body; cut oof with crosswise and onions. Remove peas and place in a 4-dgg serving. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator until casseroles are tender and ridges done. Serve immediately in sugar may be added 2 handles overginger or with boiling water until very cracker pudding is hot.
Yield: 4 servings
This is from a network that’s been trained for a relatively long time - starting from a complete unawareness of whether it’s looking at prose or code, English or Spanish, etc, it’s already got a lot of the vocabulary and structure worked out.
This is particularly impressive given that it has the memory of a goldfish - it can only analyze 65 characters at a time, so by the time it begins the instructions, the recipe title has already passed out of its memory, and it has to guess what it’s making.
Ironman champion Lentine Alexis has developed a recipe for a She Persisted energy bar: pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, bee pollen, dates, coconut oil, cacao powder, vanilla extract, poppy seeds and rolled oats. Bake, bag and eat while you march. Remember: talking with your mouth full isn't cool, but protest chanting is totally OK. Read the rest
I can’t cook.
A few years ago though, I had the semi-crushing revelation that it’s not that I don’t know much about cooking, it’s that I legitimately can’t cook. I’m terrible at it. No piece of chicken would go uncooked to a leathery dryness that couldn’t even be passed as “jerk.” No meat sauce could be made properly spiced, just prepared with the desperate hope that crushed red pepper and more tomato paste could cure anything. It was my wife that graciously brought me the knowledge that I wasn’t just not-so-great at cooking, but I legitimately cannot cook to save my life or the lives of whatever poor group I was cooking for. I thank her for coaxing out this revelation of myself (and for being an amazing cook).
I do, however, like cartoons. And the good news is that Bob’s Burgers isn’t a show about cooking, it’s a show about family and it’s quickly grown into one of the best shows on TV. Bob’s Burgers treads an amazing line between strange and sweet, highlighting the ridiculous exploits of the Belcher clan, a family of oddballs who love each other and are continually misunderstood by the rest of the world while running a small, boardwalk burger shop. Over the past few seasons each character has been fleshed out into people more real than anything you’ll find on your average lawyer or cop show. And it’s a lot funnier than most episodes of NCIS.
The show’s success has prompted a good sized following, and when one member of fandom created a Tumblr dedicated to creating or recreating the fanciful burgers listed in each episode as The Burger of the Day fans were naturally interested. Read the rest
Over at the Japanese culture website Tofugu (where my wife Carla is on staff), there's a great article by Kanae Nakamine on Japanese bug eating traditions, complete with tasty recipes like bee larva omelets, baby ant minestrone, and rice grasshopper granola bars. There are also vending machines in Japan that sell edible bugs.
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If you’re too lazy to hunt for bugs and cook them, don’t worry! There are other options. Japan is a land of convenience, and this extends to their tasty, tasty insects.
You can buy edible bugs anytime 24/7. In Tokyo’s Inokashira park, there’s a vending machine with two kinds of bugs that come in cans: Rice Grasshopper Kanroni and Hanakuyouniis Brand Bee Larvae. Both of these products are kinds of tsukudani, which is the traditional way of cooking with soy sauce, sugar, and sake. Kanroni is similar to tsukudani, but has more sugar and tastes sweeter. Hanakuyouni is a certain brand of tsukudani food in Japan. It uses its original recipe to stew the bee larvae for this product. So next time you’re going for a jog in this Tokyo park, swing your sweaty self over to this vending machine and start guzzling bee larvae. Nothing prepares you for long distance running better than a belly full of insect babies!
I paid $22 for my FryDaddy electric deep fryer, but it's on sale on Amazon for $17 (free Prime shipping) right now. This thing is awesome -- I use it a couple of times a week to fry sweet potato, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts chips. (Here's the coconut oil I use with it.)
Lately I've been frying very thinly cut slices of butternut squash. It's a bit tricky, because for five minutes it doesn't look like anything is happening, then suddenly the slices begin to brown, and about a minute later, they start to burn. There's a 30-second window where they are perfectly browned and on the edge of being crispy and chewy. With a little salt, they are one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. I'll shoot a video soon.
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Prepare a turkey as usual, but add a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with spaghetti teeth into the just-split chest cavity of the bird, garnished with dye-enhanced gravy and cranberry sauce -- YUM! Read the rest
All through 2016, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) has sent us a stream howtos for of amazing, artistic pies -- an HR Giger pie, a James Bond pie, and a Predator pie. Now she's kickstarting a set of pie templates to help you make perfect pop-culture pastry in your own kitchen. Read the rest
Long story short: start with a reliable chocolate chip cookie recipe (this one has chia!), bake and decorate with sugar pears, slivered almonds, food coloring markers (I didn't know that these were a thing, but these are a thing!) and some sculpting tools. (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest
By Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous)
The tables have turned, now here’s your chance to “dig in like an Alabama tick” when you serve up this Pie-redator apple-strawberry pie at your next movie marathon night.
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Within days of our move to Los Angeles last summer, John Edgar Park and family came over with a bottle of his homemade bitters. It's been a year of astounding cocktails, thanks to him. Read the rest