Sourdough Onion Rings

So you’ve made a sourdough starter, you’re feeding it daily and making delicious bread. What are you supposed to do with the discard you pull out to make room for the feeding? Make onion rings of course!

Using sourdough starter as onion ring batter makes for crispy, fluffy onion rings with a slightly sour flavor (like buttermilk). We really enjoyed them and will definitely be making them again. Continue reading

Wassailing: England’s Apple Tree Pep Talk

For most of my life, wassailing was just something that popped up in Christmas song lyrics, like “Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too” or “Here we come a-wassailing.” But as long as we’re talking unusual Christmas traditions, we thought that on the Fourth Day of Imported Christmas, we’d share the joy of wassailing in its ancient form. Continue reading

Kentucky for Christmas: Japan’s Festive KFC

Every once in a while, someone has a stroke of marketing genius that influences an entire generation (Ch ch ch chia, Where’s the beef?, Got Milk? etc.) On the Second Day of Imported Christmas, we are celebrating one of the most effective marketing campaigns of all time: the KFC takeover of Christmas in Japan.

In 1974, the fledgling Japanese KFC franchises needed a boost. Takeshi Okawara, the manager of Japan’s first KFC, decided to take advantage of the lack of Japanese traditions for Christmas (which was largely not celebrated at all except by foreigners, who couldn’t get their traditional turkey ). He launched a campaign called “Kentucky for Christmas” and offered a Christmas party barrel that started with chicken and evolved to include sides, cake, and optional KFC wine.

Continue reading

Iron Horse Cook-Off in Ely

A couple months ago, Gordon sent me a link to the Nevada Northern Railway’s first annual Iron Horse Cook-Off Challenge with a message that just said, “Can we enter? Can we? Can we?” Contestants would be judged on three meals: one cooked over an open fire, one on the stove in the caboose, and one on a shovel in the firebox of the engine.

We had never been in a cooking contest before, but we did make engine block quesadillas during a solar eclipse. You’d think those skills would translate pretty well to cooking on a shovel in an 800-degree steam locomotive. Plus, they offered points for dressing in period-appropriate railway attire, so we were guaranteed to get more than zero even if we burned all our food to inedibility. Continue reading

Eat Masters Food without Going to Augusta

I think Augusta National must be the Narnia of golf courses. First of all, Augusta  manages to make golf exciting at least once a year. Second, and more important to someone as terrible at golf as I am, their food is legendary. This is impressive because the sandwiches are made on white wonder bread and there is nothing on the menu that anyone with even rudimentary cooking skills couldn’t just make at home. But somehow, pair it all with the biggest golf tournament of the year and price the food like its 1969, and you’ve got magic. Continue reading

Blackout Cooking

To be fair, cooking during a power outage really isn’t that difficult. You can use any camp stove, a solar oven, your barbecue, or anything else that starts on fire (like a fire). But if you have a lantern and a pot, you can cook and light the house at the same time.

We used our lantern to cook Myzithra cheese spaghetti because all you need is enough heat to boil water. And it is made entirely out of ingredients that can last for a while outside of refrigeration. And we really like it.  Continue reading