WFAEats

Once a backyard staple, the vegetable garden gave way to swimming pools and manicured lawns in recent generations. Growing one's own food was replaced by the quick convenience of super markets. Now, with growing environmental concerns and a return to self-reliance the vegetable garden has become a new addition in many Charlotte neighborhoods, and schools have found them to be an educational aid as well as a supplier of tasty additions to the lunch line.

YourCastlesDecor / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Just when we think coffee can’t get any more miraculous, here comes the coffee nap.

It sure seems like an oxymoron. How is it possible to pair up getting wide-eyed with getting shut-eye?

It works like this: In the afternoon when fatigue sets in, you drink a cup of coffee, set your alarm for 20 to 30 minutes, then doze off. That's the perfect amount of time to let the caffeine kick in. You'll wake up alert and refreshed. Science says so.

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, and here at The Salt, we wanted to celebrate with a selection of the sauciest, most scrumptious verses about food.

A Birthday Wish With 'Mussel': A Daughter's Tribute

Apr 14, 2016
Courtesy Dan Saul

The “Soup’s on at the Soup Kitchen” blog began in 2010, when my then-75-year-old dad started posting recipes. To date, he’s posted over 2,700 entries. His blog is short on commentary; it’s more of a log of the recipes he has handcrafted for the soup kitchen on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest, where he has volunteered for over a decade. It includes home-cooked meals he made for my Mom, family and friends; including Mom’s garden club and book group members, dinner club friends, neighbors, and his nephew’s Christmas tree farm crew. In January, Whidbey Island’s first Slow Food cooking workshop featured Dad’s Stone Soup recipe.

Welcome to the “largest literary celebration in the world,” otherwise, known as National Poetry Month. April also marks the birthday of William Shakespeare.

What does any of this have to do with food? We’re glad you asked. Read on.

Sonnet 75: So Are You to My Thoughts as Food to Life

In Good Taste: When To 'Table' Political Talk

Mar 29, 2016
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Dear Etta Kate: As if dinner conversations weren’t difficult enough, now we're in the throes of the political season. How can I deflect and deal with inappropriate remarks people make at the table? These range from merely irritating to downright inflammatory. My digestion is suffering. Please help. Sincerely, “Peas” at Any Price 

Dear Peas: The struggle is real when you want peas at the dinner table but others do not carrot all. This election year seems particularly heated, rendering what is coming off the front burner cool by comparison.

Oven Fresh / commons.wikimedia.org

While we suffer in the South under piles of pollen, the trees up North are behaving in a much more tasteful fashion. That’s because March is Maple Month, when the sap starts to flow.

Mac And Cheese: A Second Helping

Mar 15, 2016
Amy Rogers

Sometimes corporate America smiles back when you step on their toes.

Consider the case of me and the giant Kraft noodle. Back in January, I was busted at the Kraft Foods plant in Champaign, Ill., by a security guard who caught my son photographing me by the company icon. It was a privacy issue, she said, regarding the large noodle behind a company fence on a public street corner.

I know. I didn’t get it either, so I blogged about the incident on WFAEats.

Pat Conroy: A Memory

Mar 7, 2016
Amy Rogers

People were in line before the bookstore opened. Hundreds more were arriving to stand on the pavement for hours and wait their turn to enter the cozy shop jammed with easily 100 more. Pat Conroy talked and laughed and reminisced with just about everyone who came to get a book signed.

Amy Rogers / WFAEats

Nobody wants to hear food writers complain about their jobs, and rightly so. But given the recent experience of WFAEats contributor Tamra Wilson -- more about that later --  this is a good time to bust some myths about what food writers actually get to do.

Busted By The Mac And Cheese Police

Feb 22, 2016
Tamra Wilson

My adventures as a foodie took a wrong turn when I ran into the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese police last month.

It happened this way.

I was visiting family in Champaign, Illinois, when I spotted a pasta lover’s nirvana: a giant Kraft noodle. There it sat behind a chain link fence along Mattis Avenue: a supersized yellow macaroni fit for Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Menemsha Films

Like its namesake mixture of flour, water, and yeast, “Dough” is a film with a simple story that rises to transform itself into something wonderful. 

 

Take Heart

Feb 9, 2016
DWilliam's / https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

Just when we think our poor hearts can't take another pounding (we still love you, Panthers), here comes Valentine's Day. 

And like a game where it feels like the whole world is watching, the stakes are high. There’s not much margin for error. A fumble can get you sidelined. A couple of bad plays and you could forfeit the game entirely. Worst of all, the penalties can continue to accumulate even after the players have left the field.

Text and photographs copyright © 2013 by Jeffrey Taylor Mathis. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.

No one predicted the Carolina Panthers would go to the Super Bowl – certainly not when Charlottean Taylor Mathis wrote The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South back in 2013.

That's A 'Crock,' Part 2: Eating My Words

Jan 25, 2016
Amy Rogers / WFAEats

The gift card read: “Because I had to make a believer out of you.” Inside the heavy box sat a shiny, new slow-cooker. Less than a week after I’d confessed my deep distrust of them here, my friend Renée Joslyn, down in sunny Miami, sent me one of my very own.

PHOTO/arts Magazine / flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who believe in the magical power of the slow- cooker, and those who don’t.

This writer has always been in the second camp. While I have no problem with the concept of cooking things slowly (hello, barbecue), the thought of setting out food to cook itself unsupervised has always seemed a little too futuristic, not to mention downright dangerous (hello, salmonella).

Every now and then, a Julia Child or Michael Pollan come along and changes the way we eat.

Could Jean Kristeller, America's leading mindful eating researcher and the author of a new self-help book, The Joy of Half a Cookie, published Tuesday, be next? I'm of a mind to say maybe.

Hold The Lettuce: A Thought For Food

Jan 11, 2016
rick / flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As I pushed the cardboard tomato aside I shoulder-squirmed to myself: “Icky.” And that quarter-inch-thick Vidalia onion (take note, close-talkers): “Do I intend on talking to anyone for the next 8 hours?” Iceberg leaf; well, I don’t do iceberg.

The point? I blew it. I didn’t tell the server (nor did he ask) to hold the “OLT.” I just committed vegetable murder at the expense of cross-country fare masquerading as local.

Of New Year's Feasts And Fortune

Dec 30, 2015
Amy Rogers / WFAEats

Luck: We crave it, savor it, and fear we’ll never get enough. In kitchens around the world, there are plenty of ways to invite good luck to the table, and never a better time to explore the possibilities than at the fresh start of a new year.

At the stroke of midnight on December 31, revelers in Spain eat twelve grapes for luck, one for each month of the coming year. The practice began a century ago when growers sought a creative solution to an overly plentiful grape harvest. The custom has since spread to Venezuela and other Spanish-speaking countries.

hello-julie / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It's going to be O.K. Everyone forgets a gift or two. Here's a handful of locally-made delectables that are easy to find and nice to share at holiday gatherings.

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