Culinary Anthropologist

people who make stuff

  1. Real fast food

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    We came across warka being made the old-fashioned way by Khadija in her home in Essaouira.  Warka is the ultra-thin pastry used to make lots of classic Moroccan dishes, such as pastilla and briwat.  It looks a bit like the Turkish yufka and Greek filo, but is made completely differently: there’s no rolling, just a […]

  2. Barrelled alive: Feta with a capital F

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    Did you know that 2008 is the official year of Feta cheese? Neither did we, until we read it in the in-flight magazine on our way from Thessaloniki to Crete for a conference on ‘the Eastern Mediterranean diet’.  This strengthened our resolve to find a Feta-maker and learn all about this crumbly white cheese, which […]

  3. Granny knows


    “Bunică ştie” is something you might find yourself observing on numerous occasions while spending time in the villages of Transylvania.  For every grandmother you would have the good fortune to meet would know an awful lot, about everything.  And everybody knows that granny knows (best). She knows about looking after animals, and bringing up the […]

  4. Wine of kings?

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    Louis XIV is said to have called the sweet wines of the Tokaj region of Hungary “the wine of kings, and king of wines”, and they’ve been used as diplomatic sweeteners at the highest levels for hundreds of years.  We went to find out what makes them so great, and discovered that they are still […]

  5. A Pole apart? Thinking outside the goat-shed

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    Luckily, by the time we’d reached the remote Bieszczady Mountains we’d learnt enough Polish to recognize that ‘kozie sery’ meant ‘goat’s cheeses’.  (It’s great being married to a linguist.)  So when the hand-painted wooden sign appeared by the side of the road we slammed on the brakes – and then tentatively approached the farm gate, […]

  6. A bakery with a view

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    In the basemenent of Maciej Rzankowski’s bakery, Cukiernia Samanta, there’s a 100-year-old poppy-seed grinder that’s been in the family since 1927 – much like the business itself.  It started with his grandparents, in the southern Polish town of Zakopane, up in the Tatras mountains.  And it’s still there over 80 years later, and still going […]

  7. Wine fit for an archbishop

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    I’d known the Czechs liked their beer, but I’d had no idea they were so good at making wine.  Until we happened to visit Kroměříž, an unpronouncable old market town in southern Moravia, Czech Republic.  In the centre of town there is a huge archbishop’s palace, complete with peacocks in the gardens and hundreds of […]

  8. Beer from the Middle Ages

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    The Czechs certainly like their beer – in fact, they drink more of it than anyone else. One of the world’s best-known beer styles, pilsner, is named after the Czech town of Plzeň; and the name of one of the most famous brands (deservedly or not) derives from the brewing centre of České Budějovice (or […]

  9. The three wise women of Weinbach

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    When we knocked on the heavy wooden door at Domaine Weinbach we weren’t sure we were in the right place.  Having had it recommended to us by our friend Jono at Chez Panisse in Berkeley (who knows a thing or two about wine), we were confident their wines would be good, but only if we […]

  10. Traditionally cheesy

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    It’s not easy being an Alsatian cheesemaker.  Yes, you get to live in a beautiful valley in the foothills of the Vosges mountains.  And yes, you get to produce the traditional Munster Fermier, one of France’s tastiest (and smelliest) cheeses. But tradition brings rules, regulations and responsibilities as well as tastiness (and smell) – not […]

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