SMORGASBORD: Don't DIY mayo . . . Twain's feasts . . . Future of fish
Don't DIY mayo It seems everyone wants to "do it themselves" these days -- from installing a kitchen backsplash to growing basil -- but sometimes, it's nice to sit back, relax and let the pros do their thing. Enter Kraft's Sandwich Shop Mayo. Cou...
Don't DIY mayo
It seems everyone wants to "do it themselves" these days -- from installing a kitchen backsplash to growing basil -- but sometimes, it's nice to sit back, relax and let the pros do their thing.
Enter Kraft's Sandwich Shop Mayo. Could you mix your own flavored, composite mayonnaise? Maybe, but it sure is faster and easier to pop the cap on a squeeze bottle of their chipotle, horseradish, herb-and-garlic or hot-and-spicy mayo and dig into a suddenly enlivened sandwich or plate of sweet potato fries.
Buy a 12-ounce bottle for about $2.50 at grocery stores nationwide.
Mark Twain understood the tragedy of lost flavors. And so does Andrew Beahrs, who walked behind Twain -- metaphorically speaking -- and listened to the great man's rapturous speeches about the flavors that so intoxicated him.
In "Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens" (Penguin ($25.95), Beahrs uses Twain's gustatory passions as a map with which to explore the nation.
Much of what Twain loved to eat is no longer around, Beahrs discovered.
Inspired by Twain's writing about food, Beahrs becomes a sort of fork-wielding Lewis and Clark, pushing his way through a wilderness of bland, processed, packaged foods and one-size-fits-all cuisine to discover the rich, wild flavors of 19th-century America, including prairie chickens in Illinois and raccoon stew in Arkansas.
Future of fish
'Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food," by Paul Greenberg (Penguin, $25.95), is a highly readable book that addresses the undeniable fact that if humans continue to eat fish, we will have to come up with alternatives to catching them in the wild. Aqua culture, the obvious alternative, tends to wreak havoc on its surrounding environs and can use more edible resources than it produces.
The book is organized into four sections, each using a different species to illuminate a facet of the debate.
Salmon, once abundant in the wild, now ubiquitous in its farmed incarnation, is not, it turns out, an ideal candidate for farming. Sea bass, in the guise of branzino, has become the holy grail of aquaculture. Cod, once so numerous they named a cape after it, is no longer plentiful enough to make all the world's fish sticks, spurring a search for a dependable, sustainable white-fleshed fish (think tilapia). Tuna, a marvel of strength and speed, forces us to confront the intersection of seafood and wildlife: Do we continue to fish the king of sushi into extinction? Or is it time to protect bluefin tunas like we do bald eagles and whales?