Food Finds

Taste of the Town

Don’t even think about serving Langdon Cook wine in a juice glass.

By Leah Kraus December 8, 2009

When he’s not slogging through the Washington wilderness in search of his next meal, Langdon Cook is busy at bookstores touting his recently released Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager. (You can read an excerpt of it here.) At once witty, adventurous, and knowledgeable, Cook is one food personality you don’t want to miss. Catch him next at Third Place Books December 15.

Ingredient of the Moment
Mushrooms. They’re so meaty and emanate with umami (say that three times fast!). I use dried porcini all winter long, pulverizing it into fungal fairy dust to flavor soups, stews, sauces, risottos, and so on.

Name the one food trend you’d like to see die.
Wine served in juice glasses. Can we please get over this faux-casual affectation? Yes, sometimes I’ll use a jelly jar in my own home when I don’t feel like reaching for a real stem, but that’s not an endorsement. Some of my favorite restaurants are guilty, and while I’m no wine snob, even I know that a juice glass isn’t doing the nose any favors.

Coffee Drink
Everything goes better with whiskey, right?

Cookbook
My wife has family in Italy. The first time she cooked for me was on my birthday, so I felt bold enough to ask this health-conscious-six-a.m.-jogger-of-a-woman to make a decadent Italian cream sauce. She whipped out a copy of Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and I’ve been a fan ever since. I also love the Brits: Nigel [Slater] , Nigella [Lawson] , and Jamie [Oliver] , to name just a few. Anyone who slags contemporary British cuisine isn’t paying attention, and Old Blighty is paradise for Indian food partisans as well.

Guilty Food Pleasure
I’ll admit I order the General occasionally at Chinese restaurants when Martha is in the rest room. What can I say? I grew up with General Tso, marching to his hyper-caloric beat at our suburban Panda Pavilion where they made it tangy with a touch of orange. I’ll always be a sucker for that salty-sweet flavor.

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