Tag Archives: food history

Cur-ATE: Vegan Japan

Cur-ATE: Vegan Japan

Sunday at 12/8 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm


Enjoy a special evening dedicated to the love of food and art while exploring the museum.

Start  with a tour of the exhibition Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art with Maite Gomez-Rejon. The exhibition celebrates one of the most distinctive aspects of Japanese art: the depiction of animals. Underpinned by Japan’s spiritual heritage of Shintō and Buddhism, the Japanese reverence for nature—and the place of animals within that realm—is expressed in a variety of artworks. Learn about the various roles animals have played in Japanese culture. Then move to Ray’s & Stark Bar to enjoy a vegan meal by executive chef Phillip Martin inspired by the Buddhist ritual of releasing captured animals.

First Course:
Vegetable Yakitori (Winter Squash, King Trumpet, Asparagus, Yuzu Kosho, Sudachi Air, Lime Gel)
Wine Pairing: Domaine de Cala, Rose, 2018, Provence, France

Second Course:
Hand Made Buckwheat Noodles (Shiitake, Scallion, Nori, Yuzu, Sesame, Pickled Shaved Vegetables)
Wine Pairing: Alvear Fino, Pedro Ximenez, Montilla, Spain, N/V

Forbidden Rice Curry (Tofu, Radish, English Peas, Salsify, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Opal Basil)
Wine Pairing: Xion, Alberino, Spain, 2018

Green Tea Cheesecake (Yuzu Curd, Almond Crust, Blueberry, Raspberry Sorbet)
Wine Pairing: S.A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr,  Riesling Auslese, Mosel, Germany, 2009

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Image credit: Kanō Eitai, Hōjō-e Ritual of Releasing Captured Animals, Birds, and Fish (detail), late Edo period (1615–1868), early 19th century, private collection

A Pot of Chili and the Invention of Tex-Mex Cuisine

A Pot of Chili and the Invention of Tex-Mex Cuisine

The story was first published in Life & Thyme.

“This is not Mexican food,” said my Mexican-born parents anytime they got a whiff of chili. A mere plateful inspired disapproving gestures as they sensed the dish wafting the aroma of cumin in a San Antonio Mexican restaurant. Growing up on the Texas/Mexico border, life was more Mex than Tex. But a mere 150 miles north, it was a different story.

They were right—sort of. Chili is not Mexican, but its history is complicated. Chili is Texas Mexican, one of the country’s oldest regional cuisines. The term Tex-Mex first appeared in the culinary lexicon in 1972 when English-born cookbook author Diana Kennedy made a clear distinction between the food served in Mexico and everything served north of the border. By doing so she inadvertently defined a centuries old cuisine—one that’s heavy on meat and cheese, features flour tortillas over corn, and highlights cumin—a spice not commonly used in central Mexico.

Why Are So Many Different Drinks Called Horchata?

Why Are So Many Different Drinks Called Horchata?

The story was first published in Atlas Obscura.

An ancient medical elixir is the ancestor for a family of drinks. 

Mexican horchata is the agua fresca that dreams are made of. While sweet and slightly creamy, it usually isn’t dairy-derived. Instead, it’s made by soaking white rice in water and cinnamon for several hours, straining, and adding sugar. Vaguely reminiscent of a delicate rice pudding, there’s nothing more refreshing than a cold cup of horchata on a hot summer day.

But long ago, horchata was more than just a refreshment. While the Mexican version of the drink first appeared in the 16th century, its roots date back to an ancient Roman medical elixir made from barley. In fact, the word horchata comes from the Latin hordeum (barley) and hordeata (drink made with barley). From its role as medicine in antiquity, the beverage took a circuitous route across Europe and across the Atlantic to Latin America. Along the way, horchata became a whole family of drinks made from various grains, nuts, and seeds.


Beyond the Barista

Beyond the Barista

This essay was first published in the inaugural issue of Life & Thyme Post , a limited edition printed newspaper for members. Join Life & Thyme.

Four individuals work across a spectrum of platforms to bring positive change to the coffee industry and its people.

Illustrations by Melanie Loon

When coffee made its splash in Europe during the seventeenth century, it was a mysterious and fashionable drink. Introduced to Europe from the Middle East via its native Africa, the warm caffeinated beverage provided a much-needed jolt from the daze Europeans had been under during the Middle Ages. Unlike ale, the beverage of choice at the time, coffee provided clarity of thought and quickly became the preferred new drink among scientists, philosophers, businessmen and politicians.

Coffeehouses that sprung up in cities like London and Paris provided fertile ground for revolutionary thought. Later in New York City and Boston, they continued as places to debate current events, and even shape the future. Thomas Jefferson is even rumored to have drafted the Declaration of Independence in a Parisian coffeehouse.

But as forward-thinking as coffeehouses and the people in them were said to be, women were not allowed entry.

Perhaps the strongest example in the twenty-first century of a woman securing a spot at the coffee counter is Norwegian-born Erna Knusten, who in 1974, founded the “specialty coffee” industry and coined the phrase. But centuries after the Age of Enlightenment, and decades after Knusten’s time, gender inequality remains the norm in the industry.

Today, some of the strongest voices within the specialty coffee industry are not founders or CEOs. They are women and members of the LGBTQ community who are working to make profound changes from within. We had the opportunity to speak with a few of those leading voices. Collectively, Laila Ghambari, Michelle Johnson, Umeko Motoyoshi and Ximena Rubio join countless others in forcing the industry to look inward and confront issues of inclusion, diversity and equity.