Grub Americana

food production

Hot Pack Method of Canning Peaches

While limited attempts were made by some households to preserve foods using the Appert Method, it was the creation of the Mason jar and its sure-on lid that made home canning popular .

Okra: Ladies’ Fingers of the South

Okra, or ladies’ fingers as the pods are sometimes referred to because of their long, tapered, finger-like shape, is thought by many historians to have originated in east Africa.


The fig was believed to be one of the earliest plants cultivated by the human race.


Persimmon fruit, when ripe, is delicious eaten fresh. But they make wonderful pies, cakes, cookies, and breads.

Yam or Sweet Potato?

Almost all reddish-orange fleshed tubers eaten in the good ole’ US of A are sweet potatoes—not yams.

TV Dinners

Although it was the Swanson Company of Omaha who coined the name “TV dinner,” they were not the inventor of the frozen meal.

Why Turkey?

Exactly when and how turkey came to be the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving table remains a time-lost food mystery.

Coffee Snob

Okay I admit it, the “best part of waking up” is not Folgers in my cup. It is not that I don’t like coffee, nor do I have anything against Folgers. Quite the contrary. Not only do I love coffee, but I am an official Starbuck’s Gold Card carrying coffee snob. And I rarely, if […]

Mayhaws: The Revival of a Once Forgotten Fruit

A few months ago, while visiting with some ladies at a local retirement community, the discussion turned to homemade jellies and the fruits from which they’re made. One of the women, born and raised in Louisiana, mentioned that her all-time favorite jelly was mayhaw, a fruit that until then I had never heard of. By […]

Corn: The Grain That Built America

Corn–born in the Americas, domesticated in the Americas, first cultivated in the Americas, and most of its uses developed in America. No other food exemplifies this country like corn. In its honor, this is the first in a series of short articles exploring the history and culinary aspects of this versatile native grain. The origin […]

Maple Syrup: The Original American Sweetener

Like with so many foods invented in this country, the question of when and how maple syrup was first discovered is surrounded by legends and folklore. Probably the most popular of these stories is that an Iroquois Chef named Woksis threw his tomahawk at a tree releasing a clear sap that his wife used for […]