Grub Americana

food histories

Ranch Dressing: America’s Favorite

Although it first began showing up on supermarket shelves in the early 60s where I grew up, I really don’t recall its popularity soaring until some twenty years later while I was cooking in New York City. It was there in the “big city” that I started to think, “Folks are so crazy about this […]

A St. Louis Original: Ooey-Gooey Butter Cake

A few weeks back, I was watching Martha Stewart Bakes during which she made something I had never heard of in my forty-plus years as a chef–a Gooey Butter Cake. It seems this cake was invented during the Great Depression in the 1930s by a German-style bakery located on the St. Louis South Side. And […]

Eggnog: The Yuletide Drink

A couple of weeks ago while putting away the grocery order, my wife discovered the market had included two bottles of eggnog without her knowledge. When contacted about the error, the store manager explained they were given as apology for the unusually large number of out of stock items in our order. So later that […]

Deviled Eggs: A Heavenly Dish

Some of my fondest childhood memories are centered around helping my mom in the kitchen. She was a terrific cook whose dishes, although simple country fare, were always flavorful and extremely well prepared. Among some of my favorite foods were those she made for holidays and other special occasions such as birthdays and church potluck […]

The Spear or The Chip?

I was out with some friends at a popular fast casual chain restaurant that had just opened in Dallas when I first saw them on the appetizer menu–fried pickles. "FRIED PICKLES! Who the hell ever heard of fried pickles?" "You gotta try them," one member of the group said. "They’re great!" So being a curious […]

Grits: Cuisine of the South

My wife, Maria, just loooves grits. Normally this wouldn’t be such a revolution, but she’s a born and bred Italian New Yorker. And, New Yorker’s do not eat grits. They eat farina, that creamy, smooth, rather bland breakfast portage known by many of us as cream of wheat. My wife Maria was certainly no exception. […]

Cheeses of the South

I’ve always been a lover of cheese. Any kind of cheese–hard cheese, soft cheese, and numerous in-between varieties. While I certainly have my favorites, I can’t remember a cheese I’ve ever tasted that I wouldn’t eat. And I’ve tasted a lot of cheese. But last evening, my wife, who was reading a new cookbook, asked […]

And Then There Were S’Mores

As a youth of about eleven or twelve, I was somewhat coerced by my best friend Billy to join the Boy Scouts. Although this experience was extremely short lived by both of us, we did manage to stay in the troop long enough to go on our first (and Billy’s last) camping trip. As I […]

Dublin: 120 Years of Bottling America’s First Major Soft Drink

Some months ago while passing through Waco, Texas on a business related road trip, I couldn’t help but think about some of the historic events surrounding this small city named after Native Americans who once lived in the area. One of the most significant of these events is that Waco is the birth place of […]