Grub Americana

food histories

America’s Favorite Condiment

One of my all-time favorites is a tuna salad sandwich–canned Albacore tuna packed in water with minced celery and onion, hard-boiled egg, a touch of garlic, and lots of America’s favorite condiment, mayonnaise. And though some of you may dislike, even hate mayo, I’m among the majority who wouldn’t think of having a ham and […]

The Club

My first exposure to a club sandwich was at the Rexall drug store next to the supermarket, where I worked after school and weekends. One Saturday the lunch counter waitress (yes, back then drug stores had lunch counters), a young hottie with whom I was totally infatuated suggested I buy the "daily special" to help […]

Icons of Summer: Kool-Aid and Popsicles

While my childhood was one of humble existence, we were not without some of the middle-class niceties of the times, thanks to a an extremely hard working father and a mother with the uncanny ability to stretch a dollar further than anyone I’ve ever known. Growing up, I loved just about everything that summer had […]

Homemade Cake Mix

Why buy boxed cake mix when you can make your very own using simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry?

Cake Mix: Redefining Baking in America

Growing up in the mid-twentieth century, I observed first-hand a number of food innovations and convenience products that directly affected how the American housewife prepared the family meal. Arguably, the one product that brought about the biggest change was the invention of boxed cake mixes. I can remember when every pie and cake my mom […]

My Favorite Breakfast Food – Pancakes

A lady recently asked me, “Chef, what’s your favorite food?” My reply was, “Breakfast foods. Bacon, eggs, omelets, biscuits and gravy–you name it.” Then, after a brief pause, “And pancakes. I love pancakes!” I’m not sure when my affinity for pancakes began. You’d think it would have been as a young child, but I don’t […]

Jell-O! The Jiggly, Wiggly American Icon.

Growing up, I was exposed to Jell-O in just about any way and every way one can imagine–molded, sliced, cubed up, chopped up, plain or mixed with fruit, cottage cheese, and all sorts of vegetables. It seems that every grandmother, mother, and daughter had their favorite Jell-O dish and an extreme compulsion to bring it […]

The Reuben: New York or Omaha Born?

I’m not exactly sure when I had my first Reuben sandwich, although I believe it was at the lunch counter of a Skillern’s Drug Store when I was about 17 years old. What I do know is that it was love at first bite–the nuttiness of toasted rye, the sweet and sour sauerkraut mixed with […]

An American Favorite – Carrot Cake

Several years ago, I did a stint as executive chef at a busy Texas hotel. Once or twice a month, usually after a busy Friday night, the kitchen staff and I would meet at Evelyn’s Café for a late-night breakfast before going home. Evelyn was known miles around for was her delicious three- layer carrot […]