Exploring the Intersection of Food, Culture and Identity

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Slow Cooker (never Crock Pot!) Goes Ethnic

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Tart whole pigeon peas

Everyone knows you can make a great beef stew or chicken soup or chili in the slow cooker. But fabulous Indian dhal? Moorish-flavored French meatballs? C’mon. Please check out this piece I wrote for NPR.org this week about the ethnic glories of the slow cooker. Next up: I want to make stuffed grape leaves in it. Will let you know how it turns out.

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March 9, 2012   Comments Off

Lin-Sanity and the Taiwanese Te-Bao

Eddie Huang always knew that when Jeremy Lin hit it big he’d call the player’s sandwich “The Taiwanese Te-Bao.”

The Taiwanese Te-Bao (yum!!)

“I called him the Taiwanese Tebow because I knew he was super Christian,” says Huang, a Taiwanese-Chinese American whose New York restaurant BaoHaus serves the traditional Taiwanese dumplings called bao. He’d been working on the sandwich — a curried pork chop, pickled daikon and carrot, jalapenos and cilantro – since the Knicks brought on Lin in December. “We finally we got it right with this pork chop.”

Huang says he and his friends in the Asian community have been following Lin since Sports Illustrated wrote about him in 2009. “My thing with Jeremy is that it’s such a huge breakthrough for us,” says Huang, who is a lifelong (and therefore long-suffering) Knicks fan. “There are not many of us who are physically dominant. The last one I remember is Bruce Lee. It’s a step in the right direction. We’re not all guys with glasses and pocket protectors.” (Though it’s highly likely that Harvard graduate Lin has a pocket protector stashed somewhere.)

So what happens when Lin cools off? Will the Taiwanese Te-Bao be whisked from the BaoHaus lineup, benched like just another fading player?

“The sandwich is part of the menu,” Huang says passionately, “it’s never coming off.”

It’s a Lin-stitution.

Read more about Lin-spired food and drink in a recent piece I did for Associated Press.

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February 22, 2012   Comments Off

Superbowl XLVI and Hoosier Pie

Tenderloin sandwich, the signature 'wich of Indiana

I’m one of those people who would never watch the Superbowl — or any football game for that matter — if food weren’t involved. For big, fun parties like that it’s always a kick to do “themed” items. Since the game is in Indiana, I took a look at the foods the state has to offer. Yes, Wonder Bread figures in there, but also something that was surprisingly yummy: Sugar Cream Pie. It’s not much to look at. Sugar, cream, flour. Sounds kind of bleech, looks kind of pale. But…oh….my….goodness. SO DELICIOUS. Also try the pork tenderloin sandwich. Confession: in my house we ate this like Japanese katsu, with hot, white rice and a sweet, vinegary dipping sauce. Either way, what’s to hate about something fried (don’t answer that.) Enjoy!

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February 1, 2012   5 Comments