Archive: Culinary Education

A Passion for Purple Hull Peas

A Yank like me didn't know much 'bout fresh field peas growing up; many years would pass until I even felt a pod in my hand, zipped it open on its seam and smelled its earthiness. In fact, as a kid, I hardly ate beans at all, with the exception of the occasional can of chickpeas that my father would include on his antipasto platter of cured meats and cheese. (I can see that plate in my mind's eye, iceberg lettuce as a liner, salami and provolone cheese rolled up, toothpicks at the ready.) A close up of purple hulls, inside and out. (Kim O'Donnel) It seems that as an adult, I'm making up for lost time because now I can't get enough of beans. I can't imagine my life without them -- dried, canned, fresh, black, white, speckled -- they're all good in my book. Not until I became...


By Kim ODonnel | September 17, 2007; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

The School of Curds and Whey

Earlier this summer, Washington got a dose of serious cheese, when California-based Cowgirl Creamery set up shop in Penn Quarter. The "coursework" at Cowgirl Creamery's cheese class this week. (Kim O'Donnel) With a few months underfoot, the Cowgirls are expanding their in-store offerings, including sandwiches, wine and cheese-tasting classes. Last night was the first in a series of Thursday evening classes focused cheese tastings, led by cheesemaker and CG co-founder/owner Sue Conley. Our small group gathered in a back food prep area, cheerfully set up with all the tasting trimmings -- cheese, bread and wine glasses. Yesterday's focus was the basics of cheesemaking, with an overview on simple, fresh varieties such as fromage blanc, chevre, ricotta and mozzarella, with tasting notes on the milk of four different animals (cow, goat, sheep and water buffalo) and what happens along the way, from farm to cheese board. Conley steered the conversation towards...


By Kim ODonnel | September 8, 2006; 12:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Food for Thought

In times of war and terrorist alerts, perhaps this quote, from culinary historian Barbara Haber, will turn the corners of your lips in an upward direction: "Food is a way to remember normal life." Haber spoke on Friday at an event hosted by the Library of Congress. Among the books on display was the first known published cookbook, written in 1475 by Italian humanist Bartolomeo Platina. Latin is the lingua of the text. A glimpse of the historic culinary titles on display at the Library of Congress.(Kim O'Donnel)...


By Kim ODonnel | August 14, 2006; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Culinary History for Lunch

How does Friday lunch at the Library of Congress sound? A unique culinary event takes place tomorrow in the LOC's Madison Building, where 200 books from the general collection will be on display, all food related, and much of it historically significant. In addition, says librarian Connie Carter, a selection of rare books will be made available, including the first known published cookbook, dating to 1475, and an important work written and illustrated by Bartolomeo Scappi, the private cook to Pope Pius V, in 1574. The ingredient to tie this soup together is culinary historian Barbara Haber, who will give a talk entitled, "Women's History and Food History: New Ways of Seeing American Life." Haber, the former curator of the Schlesinger library of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, will also be available to sign copies of her book, "From Hardtack to Home Fries: An Uncommon History...


By Kim ODonnel | August 9, 2006; 10:33 PM ET | Comments (0)

This Is Your Brain on Brainfood

Yesterday, I made peach cobbler - with Cristian and his brother, Francisco; their pal, Brandon, Quanisha, LaLa, Herman, Jessica, and at least seven other teenagers in a church kitchen in the District neighborhood of Columbia Heights. With recipe in hand, the teens measured out dry ingredients for biscuit topping, peeled and chopped fresh ginger and blanched peaches to loosen their skins. They smelled freshly grated nutmeg for the first time and sampled crystallized ginger. As a group, they tasted the filling and agreed that it could use a little lemon to bright up the flavor. Rather than sleep late and watch television, these kids are spending their summer learning how to shop for food, plan a meal on a budget and cook for others instead. The culinary muse is Brainfood Summer Institute, a project of Brainfood, a non-profit youth development organization, also in Columbia Heights. Since 1999, Brainfood has been...


By Kim ODonnel | July 13, 2006; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (0)


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