2012: The Year in Food Words

Dictionary2012wine apart·ments (noun): A Tokyo property developer broke ground this year on the Shibuya Shinsen Wine Apartment Project, an upscale apartment complex aimed at wine lovers that will feature a wine bar and bistro on the ground floor, along with a 10,000-bottle underground wine cellar. The apartments are due to be completed in 2013.

sour·dough ho·tel (noun): Stockholm’s Urban Deli charges 300 Swedish Krona ($43) per week at its surdegshotell (sourdough hotel) where sourdough starters are maintained with daily "feedings" of flour and water while their owners leave town for vacation.

broc·co·li man·date (noun): During oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia famously invoked the concept of the "broccoli mandate" to dispute the constuitutionality of the law: "Everybody has to buy food sooner or later," he argued. "Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli."

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am·bi·ent ice cream

am·bi·ent ice cream (noun): An environmentally-friendly version of ice cream that can save energy by being distributed and sold at room temperature (and then frozen at home).

Ice cream cone The Times of London reported on August 24, 2009, that Unilever, the owner of Ben & Jerry’s and other ice cream brands, was developing a “low-carbon” product:

Unilever hopes that a product sold at room temperature will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ice cream is one of the company’s more energy-intensive products because of the need to keep it frozen during transport and storage. . . .

A spokesman for Unilever said that warm, or so-called ambient, ice cream was a “very interesting idea” but one that posed tough challenges that its scientists were trying to solve. “The key question which has yet to be fully answered is: how do you ensure that, when the ambient ice cream is frozen at home it will have the right microstructure to produce a fantastic consumer experience?”

However, Unilever denied it was developing any such product in an article published today on FoodNavigator.com: "A spokesperson for Unilever told FoodNavigator.com today that ambient ice cream is “something we are aware of, but we have no plans to develop this kind of product”. He declined to give details of any research or progress in the industry at large, but said the R&D ice cream specialists are “aware of all sorts of ideas."


The Book on Greek Cuisine


The latest in Phaidon's series of "culinary bibles" of European cuisines is Vefa's Kitchen, a compendium of recipes by cookbook author Vefa Alexiadou, who is apparently known as the "Julia Child" of Greek food. The new book comes on the heels of Phaidon's publication of the mammoth cookbooks 1080 Recipes, covering Spain, and The Silver Spoon, on the food of Italy. This door-stopper of a book (700 recipes, 704 pages), due out in June 2009, is currently available for pre-order at amazon.com for $29.70.


French Balk at Changing How Rosé Is Made


Winegrowers in Provence are angered over European Union plans to allow vintners to make rosé wine by mixing together red and white wines.

Rosé is traditionally made by leaving the skins of red wine grapes to macerate with the juice for a short time, which tints the wine pink. The solids are then removed.

Provencal vintners are lobbying President Nicolas Sarkozy's government to try to block the EU move, claiming that allowing producers to make rose by any other method would destroy a local tradition. The proposal will be put to a final vote by EU members on April 27.


Hamantaschen: It's All in the Stirring


I won't bore you with the story of Purim (though it is a good one). What's more relevant to this site are the holiday's traditional cookies, Hamantaschen. Sometimes they're huge and sometimes their small, but they are always shaped in triangles and typically filled with either jam or a poppy seed concoction not to my taste.

I never made them before, but decided to give them a try this year. It was also an experiment in baking with my daughter (which is all the rage these days). She seemed to have fun helping me, except her attention span only lasted for about two cooking steps (the high point being anything involving filling measuring cups and emptying them). After that, she pretty much wanted to strip off her apron and get in a Cinderella dress.

I hunted for recipes and settled on one from cookie authority Maida Heatter (see below for recipe) and made two batches: One with the filling in Heatter's recipe (a combination of apricots, prunes, walnuts, and honey) and another batch filled with Amy Scattergood's recipe for homemade Nutella.

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A Teapot Just for Teabags


Unlike other teapots, the 12 ounce Teabag Teapot is designed not for loose tea, but for teabags. To prevent oversteeping, the vessel is designed with a small "shelf" inside which holds the teabag away from the tea once it has steeped (see diagram below). Available in a range of colors for $16 at Harney and Son.



Less is More? Five Ice Cream


Häagen-Dazs has launched five, a new series of ice creams marketed around the fact that they contain no more than five ingredients: each is made only from milk, sugar, cream, and eggs, plus one of seven flavors (milk chocolate, vanilla bean, coffee, brown sugar, ginger, mint, and passion fruit).

Now you know what to serve Michael Pollan when he comes over for dessert.

[Via PSFK]


Ode to Trader Joe's, With a Bossa Nova Beat

A brilliant ode to Trader Joe's -- the soy milk, the yoga moms, the "cage free eggs that aren't free range" -- set to the sounds of Antonio Carlos Jobim's Águas de Março.

Found via The Knife.


Agenda: Sugar Blues, Umbrian Harvest Dinner, and the Educated Eater



Overcoming Sugar Blues
The 92nd Street Y (Lexington Avenue and 92nd Street) presents, "Overcoming Sugar Blues: A Holistic Approach." Through this discussion, you will be able to identify hidden and addictive sugars in foods, plus their affect on your body, including their affect of mood swings, weight management, and more. You'll also learn ways to battle sugar cravings and discover sweet alternatives for your diet. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $18/person.

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"Julie & Julia" First Look

If you stayed up until the bitter end of the Oscar broadcast last night, you may have caught a brief glimpse of "Julie & Julia," the upcoming film adaptation of Julie Powell's book of the same name (which was, of course, an adaptation of her blog, The Julie/Julia Project). Scenes (well, nine seconds, to be precise) from the film were briefly shown as part of a montage of movies due out in 2009, and thanks to YouTube, a fuzzy clip is already online.

According to IMDB, the film is slated to open in theaters in the U.S. on August 7.