is a culinary stage adventure
that explores our primal connections to food
and its power to unite.

Through an entertaining encounter
with established novels,
colorful poetry,
historic essays,
personal letters and other literary works
serves up the joys of food and eating.

goes beyond the mere palate,
revealing how human beings
relate to and obsess
over food
from as far back as the Bible to today.

In this era of myriad reality television shows
devoted to virtuosic food preparation
and vast amounts of newsprint
concerned with the latest cooking innovations
and restaurant reviews…
Now is the time for

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1. What’s your favorite (comfort) food?

2. What food do you refuse to eat (not because of allergies — because you hate it!)?

3. Beef, fish, fowl, or veggie?

4. Sweet or savory?

5. Cake or pie?

6. What’s in your fridge right now?

7. What’s the most extravagant meal you ever had?

Judith Barcroft

Judith Bancroft headshotI’m from the south originally so I grew up with my favorite soul food: turnip greens, blackeyed peas, stewed tomatos, Virginia ham,  deviled crab, and my grandmother’s home-baked rolls with butter and molasses. I’ve also lived in Europe so I have eclectic tastes; saurkraut, pasta pesto, truffles, warm french baguettes are great joys.

If I’m sick and need comfort I like ginger-ale and a baked potato with horseradish sauce. I also love hot (I don’t like any bread cold) seeded health bread with butter, and garlic-cheese grits.

I don’t hate any foods but I find eating at vegan restaurants particularly repulsive, especially when they try to imitate meat (why would they want to do that?), and call it seitan, pronounced satan, which I never want to eat again! I remember being turned off by creamed asparagus as a child. I object to these reality shows forcing people to eat raw worms which I consider real cruelty to creatures!

My allergy to seafood is unpredictable (I had a bad reaction to caviar last New Years Eve) so I never eat clams, sushi, or tiny shrimp. I love moules et frits and crabmeat is my favorite seafood. Although I object to vegan restaurants, I love fresh vegetables and fruits, but would rather have corn on the cob, tomatoes, arugula, beets, and watermelon right out of the garden at home.  I never order chicken at a restaurant because I can cook it at home, and steak is usually too expensive (the best steak I ever had was Carmines porterhouse with garlic and parsley). My favorite meat is duck confit, followed by lamb chops, and calves liver (with bacon, onions, and mashed potatoes). The most sinful thing I like is a Big Mac and a real coca-cola.

Except for the occasional coke, or the rare butterscotch sundae, I don’t like too much sugar, so I’m more the savory type. My favorite dishes right now are Chinese turnip cakes that my friend, Stephanie Chang brings me from Queens, and the little fried artichokes (of the Italian/Jewish ghetto tradition).

My favorite pies are rhubarb (do NOT add strawberries to that!), mince pie, and lemon tart, if it is very tart (Landmark and Paolas make good ones). One of my favorite desserts is my answer to a person who never orders dessert and has a cappucino; I order an Affogado, which is one scoop of vanilla ice cream with hot espresso poured on top. I miss my Mother’s white cake with chocolate icing, served hot, but can’t find anything that tastes that good. The best cake I’ve had lately was the extraordinary coconut cake at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, where I also had my most memorable meal of crabmeat atop fried tomatoes and fois gras sou vide and fast grilled (poule).

My most extravagant meal was an assortment of delicious cheeses, creamy, stinky and nutty, with an assortment of full-bodied red wines, my favorite is zinfindel! I love interesting cheese and red wine.

What is in my fridge right now? Edwards virginia ham, butternut squash, rutabaga, leeks, apricot juice, v8, romaine lettuce, and salad dressing /french vinaigrette (La Mirabelle and  Chez Napoleanmake the BEST!), balsamic vinegar glaze, raspberry jam, frozen croissants, biscuits, and Tomcat rolls, hot and sagey sausage, frozen shrimp and steaks from Costco. My granddaughters visit and they like calamari, asparagus, broccoli, cracklin’ oat bran, raspberries, almond butter, and grape juice so I am often stocked with those foods, plus the occasional dinosauer chicken, and hot dogs, always good, and so New York!

Lebne –  plain Greek yogurt in blender with walnuts, dill, and clove of garlic; tasty dip for warm pita bread or cucumbers.

Candace Lawrence

candace lawrence head shot

1. Pierogies or any form of mashed potato
2. Meat, eggs, and milk…yuck.
4. Savory!!!
5. PIE!!!
6. A lot of condiments, soy milk, and barely any food.
7. The buffet at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas.

Jaclyn Mitgang

Jaclyn Mitgang headshot

1. I could eat french fries all day.
2. You will never find me ordering fish, nor will you ever see me eating the ginger that comes with japanese food…and definitely no pumpernickel bread.
3. Fowl.
4. Savory.
5. I’ll take either with a cup of coffee.
6. Orange juice and half and half.
7. It most likely happened at 4am at the Tick Tock Diner :)

Peter Husovsky

Peter Husovsky headshot1. Pasta, Red sauce with  some sausage and mushrooms and a few other assorted veggies. But frankly any Italian pasta dish will do the trick.
2. I will try anything once. I will say after this Thanksgiving’s Turkey Debacle 2012 under cooked turkey is not high on my list. Turkey tar tar ugh.
3. Beef all the way. A steak the size of my head. Cooked Rare. Very rare. As a matter of fact the steak should just be shown a picture of the fire and then slapped on to my plate. mmmmm.
4. My cravings are savory. I could eat a whole bag of potato chips in 2 1/2 minutes.
5. Pie: Triple berry pie from this little roadside stand up near Camden Maine. Can’t remember the name of the woman who bakes them but each slice weighs a metric ton. add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream and tears roll down my cheeks with each bite.
6. Chicken, eggs, egg salad, salmon salad, pasta sauce, assorted take out leftovers. (Indian and Thai food.) Assorted frozen dinners in freezer. Yogurt, assorted vegetables, beer…something that I can’t quite identify…oh my god Jimmy Hoffa!
7. Here is a great irony. I love food. I love amazing rich delicious food. But as much as I enjoy the meals that I eat I have virtually no memory of the meal after I eat it. Poof. Gone. I remember that I loved it but that’s it. Two experiences that stand out: I had the tasting menu at One If By Land to celebrate my first anniversary with my wife, and to celebrate my mother in laws birthday we had the tasting menu at Telepan. Both meals were amazing, creative, fun, mouth wateringly delicious. Have absolutely no memory of what we ate but it sure was great.

8. Steamed Clams, Followed by Steamed lobster, french fries, rolls, corn on the cob, and a tall glass of Shipyard Ale. This meal must be eaten on location. Preferably in Maine. On the water. There is a little place called Robinson’s Wharf just outside of Boothbay Harbor right on the water. I went there the first time when I was about 6 years old (no beer at that time.) Makes me cry just thinking about it.

Crock Pot Chili- This is a combo of several chili recipes and a bastardization of Cincinnati’s skyline chili.
1 lb Ground turkey (or beef or chicken)
1 onion, chopped
1 (4 ½ ounce) can chopped chilies
1 (14 ounce) can black beans undrained
1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans undrained
1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas or other favorite bean
1 (28 ounce) can fireroasted diced tomatoes
3 red peppers ( or yellow or orange or green or combo)
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp red pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 ½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1.  Cook Turkey and ½ onion in fry pan over medium heat until no longer pink.
2. Drain off fat and transfer to crock pot.
3. Cut peppers in half, remove seeds and stems. Flatten halves out on baking sheet. Broil 15 min until blackened. Remove from heat place is plastic bag for 15 min until cool. Remove blackened skin. Chop peppers up and transfer to Crock pot.
4. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.
5. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
You can skip step 3 if it’s too much trouble and just add the chopped peppers to the crock pot raw. But cooking them does give a little extra layer of flavor.

Gwen Eyster

Gwen Eyster headshot

1. Corned beef hash with over-medium eggs.
2. Licorice.
3. Yes, please.
4. Depends on my mood
5. Pie!
6. Homemade soup, leftover roasted parsnips and carrots, Chinese takeout
7. A meal I had in Paris: escargot, coq au vin, cheese course, salad, creme brulee and a bottle of wine!  C’est magnifique!

Cranberry Upside Down Cake
I make this cake a lot – I am a huge fan of fruit in dessert, and people always end up asking me for this recipe when I bring it to a gathering: 

Robert Allan
Robert Allan headshot
1. Creme brulee – expensive, but very comforting.
2. Escargot. (That is, snails – like chewing rubber dipped in butter.)
3. All – I simply love all food, all kinds, all types. Except escargot.
4. Oh, both – there is nothing like having just tasted something sweet to then follow it immediately with something savory.
5. Cake, but I would never turn die pie.
6. Fruit, milk, apple juice, two water pitchers, and various dinner leftovers.
7. A ten-course tasting at a 4-star restaurant in a 4-star hotel, along with wine pairings – happily I didn’t have to pay for it as it was an extravagant, generous gift from friends.

My favorite recipe to make is Salmon in Saffron Sauce, with smashed potatoes and glazed carrots, but the recipe is two pages long!

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