Food & Drink



The Chesapeake Table

Renee Brooks Catacalos
There was a time when most food was local, whether you lived on a farm or bought your food at a farmers market in the city. Exotic foods like olives, spices, and chocolate shipped in from other parts of the world were considered luxuries. Now, most food that Americans eat is shipped from somewhere else, and eating local is considered by some to be a luxury. Renee Brooks Catacalos is here to remind us that eating local is easier—and more rewarding—than we may think. There is an...

The New Chesapeake Kitchen

John Shields
photographs by David W. Harp
Captain John Smith, upon entering the Chesapeake, wrote in his diaries that the fish were so plentiful "we attempted to catch them with a frying pan." That method sums up classic Chesapeake cooking—fresh and simple. In The New Chesapeake Kitchen, celebrated Maryland chef John Shields takes the best of what grows, swims, or grazes in the Bay’s watershed and prepares it simply, letting the pure flavors shine through. Honoring the farmers, watermen, butchers, cheese makers, and...

Before the Refrigerator

Jonathan Rees
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans depended upon ice to stay cool and to keep their perishable foods fresh. Jonathan Rees tells the fascinating story of how people got ice before mechanical refrigeration came to the household. Drawing on newspapers, trade journals, and household advice books, Before the Refrigerator explains how Americans built a complex system to harvest, store, and transport ice to everyone who wanted it, even the very poor. Rees...

Bound to the Fire

Kelley Fanto Deetz
In grocery store aisles and kitchens across the country, smiling images of "Aunt Jemima" and other historical and fictional black cooks can be found on various food products and in advertising. Although these images are sanitized and romanticized in American popular culture, they represent the untold stories of enslaved men and women who had a significant impact on the nation's culinary and hospitality traditions even as they were forced to prepare...

The Beer Cheese Book

Garin Pirnia
The ingredients are simple—beer, cheese, and spices—and the result is delicious. Still, beer cheese is a rarefied dish not common in cookbooks or on menus. Since the 1940s, this creamy appetizer with a kick, traditionally served with pretzels, has quietly found its way into pubs and restaurants throughout the South and Midwest. The original recipe is cloaked in a mystery nearly as deep as the JFK assassination. Ask most makers and they'll act demure about the contents of their dip. Some refuse to disclose what kind of...

Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon

Albert W. A. Schmid
Burgoo, barbecue, and bourbon have long been acknowledged as a trinity of good taste in Kentucky. Known as the gumbo of the Bluegrass, burgoo is a savory stew that includes meat—usually smoked—from at least one "bird of the air," at least one "beast of the field," and as many vegetables as the cook wants to add. Often you'll find this dish paired with one of the Commonwealth's other favorite exports, bourbon, and the state's distinctive barbecue. Award-winning author...

A Year Right Here

Jess Thomson
Armed with "The Here List" and a Type-A personality, Seattle-based writer and cookbook author Jess Thomson sets out to spend a year exploring the food of the Pacific Northwest with her family. Planning to revel in the culinary riches of the region and hoping to break her son, Graham, of his childhood pickiness, the adventures into the great nearby include building a backyard chicken coop, truffle hunting in Oregon, and razor clamming on the Washington coast. Her...

Flavors from Home, revised edition

Aimee Zaring
Each year, the United States legally resettles tens of thousands of refugees who have fled their homelands. Refugees, unlike economic migrants, are forced to leave their countries of origin or are driven out by violence or persecution. As these individuals and their families struggle to adapt to a new culture, the kitchen often becomes one of the few places where they are able to return "home." Preparing native cuisine is one way they can find comfort in...

The Trouble with Tea

Jane T. Merritt
Americans imagined tea as central to their revolution. After years of colonial boycotts against the commodity, the Sons of Liberty kindled the fire of independence when they dumped tea in the Boston harbor in 1773. To reject tea as a consumer item and symbol of "taxation without representation" was to reject Great Britain as master of the American economy and government. But tea played a longer and far more complicated role in American...

The Deepest Roots

Kathleen Alcala
As friends began "going back to the land" at the same time that a health issue emerged, Kathleen Alcalá set out to re-examine her relationship with food at the most local level. Remembering her parents, Mexican immigrants who grew up during the Depression, and the memory of planting, growing, and harvesting fresh food with them as a child, she decided to explore the history of the Pacific Northwest island she calls home. In The Deepest Roots, Alcalá walks,...

Kentucky Bourbon Country, second edition

Susan Reigler
Like wine lovers who dream of traveling to Bordeaux or beer enthusiasts with visions of the breweries of Belgium, bourbon lovers plan their pilgrimages to Kentucky's bourbon country. And what a country it is! Some of the most famous distilleries are tucked away in the scenic Bluegrass region stretching between Louisville, Bardstown, and Lexington. Locals and tourists alike seek out the world's finest whiskeys in Kentucky as interest in America's only native spirit continues to...

More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails

Joy Perrine
Ninety-five percent of the world's bourbon whiskey is produced in Kentucky, and the drink is as distinctive to the state as Thoroughbred horses and Bluegrass music. As America's native spirit enjoys booming popularity worldwide, award-winning bartender Joy Perrine and celebrated restaurant critic and drinks writer Susan Reigler return to offer new recipes that will delight both the cocktail novice and the seasoned connoisseur. Following up on their best-selling The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book, the...

The Birth of Bourbon

Carol Peachee
Whiskey making has been an integral part of American history since frontier times. In Kentucky, early settlers brought stills to preserve grain, and they soon found that the limestone-filtered water and the unique climate of the scenic Bluegrass region made it an ideal place for the production of barrel-aged liquor. And so, bourbon whiskey was born. More than two hundred commercial distilleries were operating in Kentucky before Prohibition, but only sixty-one reopened after...

The Manhattan Cocktail

Albert W. A. Schmid
Alongside other classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, the Mint Julep, and the Martini, the Manhattan has been a staple of the sophisticated bar scene since the late nineteenth century. Never out of style, this iconic drink has seen a renaissance in the contemporary craft cocktail movement, its popularity boosted by TV's Mad Men. In theory, the recipe is simple: a mixture of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters stirred with ice, strained, and presented in a cocktail...

Flavors from Home

Aimee Zaring
Each year, the United States legally resettles tens of thousands of refugees who have fled their homelands. Refugees, unlike economic migrants, are forced to leave their countries of origin or are driven out by violence or persecution. As these individuals and their families struggle to adapt to a new culture, the kitchen often becomes one of the few places where they are able to return "home." Preparing native cuisine is one way they can find comfort in...

Kentucky's Best

Linda Allison-Lewis
To many, Kentucky means the greatest thoroughbreds in the world. To others, it is the home of the finest bourbon. But the obvious success of burgoo, Owensboro barbeque, and Harlan Sanders's Kentucky Fried Chicken carries the state's reputation for excellence to a wider audience. From the perfect mint julep to benedictine, from a classic hot brown to cheese chutney, Kentucky's Best captures the full range of the state's culinary delights. Linda Allison-Lewis combines traditional and...

Swallowing Clouds

Anthony Zee, afterword by Linda Rui Feng
Physics professor Zee writes about how to understand the menus in Chinese restaurants, explaining the characters, what they mean, and the colorful stories behind the names of various dishes. Anne Tyler (in the Washington Post) called Swallowing Clouds "a study of the very nature of Chinese culture. Zee has a quirky, personal style that draws the reader in."

Bourbon Desserts

Susan Reigler
The flavor of bourbon adds flair and sophistication to every occasion. Celebrations in the Bluegrass State—or any state, for that matter—are never complete without the unique richness of this signature drink. Every holiday party is made warmer with bourbon balls and velvety bourbon eggnog, and no respectable Kentucky Derby party is complete without ice-cold mint juleps. Bourbon Desserts features more than seventy-five decadent desserts using America's native spirit. Celebrated food writer and home chef Lynn Marie...

Kentucky's Cookbook Heritage

John van Willigen
Food is a significant part of our daily lives and can be one of the most telling records of a time and place. Our meals—from what we eat, to how we prepare it, to how we consume it—illuminate our culture and history. As a result, cookbooks present a unique opportunity to analyze changing foodways and can yield surprising discoveries about society's tastes and priorities. In Kentucky's Cookbook Heritage, John van Willigen explores the state's...