Archives for posts with tag: Map

My heart is going to explode with happiness.  Food52 just released an infographic (by Jordan Sondler), map, and list with some of the world’s best cookie recipes.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about cookie recipes in preparation for holiday gifts, and now I’m overwhelmed with the urge to retire early and spend the rest of my life baking these iconic desserts.  Who needs a PhD?  But cookies – oh cookies.

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Even better, you can pin your own recipes to a Google Maps archive they’ve started here.

As an American Studies digital humanities/food studies scholar I love this project.  The project and subsequent digital discussion speak to the ways that national identity is wrapped up in food.  By baking and eating these cookies you can play food tourist at home and consume other national identities.

And all too often many Americans forget how typically American food traditions are not the norm elsewhere.  Sascha, a graduate student in Purdue’s American Studies program from Germany, was astounded when attending the first professional development workshop on campus where he tasted a gooey, buttery, M&M-speckled grocery store cookie.  “THEY’RE SO SOFT.  HAVE YOU TRIED THESE COOKIES?  COOKIES DO NOT TASTE LIKE THIS IN GERMANY.”  Is it the vegetable shortening Americans add?  Or the rainbow of chocolately morsels that makes their taste and texture so delicious?  I have no idea.  Needless to say, he’s requested cookies or candy at almost every event since.

Here’s a list of 46 recipes Food 52 posted on their site.  Where am I going to begin my baking???  Maybe #9 – because who doesn’t want to bake with Tequila!?

Here’s to celebrating a little differently this year.

  1. Nanaimo Bars (Vancouver, Canada)
  2. Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Cookies (Pennsylvania, U.S.)
  3. Rainbow Cookies (New York, U.S.)
  4. Potato Chip Cookies (Saratoga Springs, U.S.)
  5. Benne Wafers (South Carolina, U.S.)
  6. Prune & Chocolate Rugelach (New York, U.S.)
  7. Black & White Cookies (New York, U.S.)
  8. Bizcochitos (New Mexico, U.S.)
  9. Mexican Wedding Cakes (Mexico)
  10. Brigadeiros (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  11. Alfajores (Argentina)
  12. Serinakaker (Norway)
  13. Swedish Rye Cookies (Sweden)
  14. Polish Apricot-Filled Cookies (Poland)
  15. Pfeffernuse (Germany)
  16. Austrian Vanilla Crescents (Vanillekipferl) (Austria)
  17. Vanilice (Serbia)
  18. Koulourakia (Greek Sesame Twist Cookies) (Greece)
  19. Pain d’Amande (France)
  20. Brandy Snaps (U.K.)
  21. Maltese Lemon Christmas Cookies (Malta)
  22. Spanish Butter Wafers (Spain)
  23. Tehina Shortbread (Israel)
  24. Samsa (Almond-Orange Triangles) (Northern Africa (Morocco, Tunisia & Algeria))
  25. Chin Chin (Nigeria)
  26. Nigerian Coconut Cookie Crisps (Nigeria)
  27. Halawa (Halva) Truffles (Egypt)
  28. Mbatata (Sweet Potato Cookies) (Malawi)
  29. Chocolate Pepper Cookies (South Africa)
  30. Basler Leckerli (Waldshut-Tiengen, Southern Germany)
  31. Elisenlebkuchen (Nuremberg, Germany)
  32. Buccellati (Sicilian Christmas Cookies) (Sicily, Italy)
  33. Ukrainian Curd Cheese Cookies (Ukraine)
  34. Rice Cookies with Cardamom and Rose Water (Kermanshah, Iran)
  35. Springerles (Germany)
  36. Dorie Greenspan’s Stained Glass Cookies (Paris, France)
  37. Struffoli (Italian Honey Ball Cookies) (Southern Italy)
  38. Alice Medrich’s Buckwheat Thumbprint Cookies with Cherry Preserves (Russia)
  39. Chickpea Flour (Besan) Laddu (India)
  40. Coconut Milk Fudge (India)
  41. Chinese Peanut Cookies (China)
  42. Matcha Butter Cookies (Japan)
  43. Polvorón (Philippines)
  44. Tangerine Pies “Kuey Tarts” (Singapore)
  45. Mint Slices (Australia)
  46. Mango Melting Moments (Australia)

 

Tell me how your global cookie baking experiences have gone this winter!

Traveling to Italy resulted in one dramatic realization – the names of Italian foods and wines are geographically significant.  The caprese salad, for example, (a simply delicious layering of fresh mozzarella, large tomato slices, fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar) is named caprese because it’s from Capri.  Like the classic Margherita Pizza, the salad’s freshness embodies the island’s warm Mediterranean climate, while its colors mimic the tri-color configuration of Italy’s flag.

The salad is usually served as an antipasto (or starter) and therefore is not really considered a salad but an appetizer in Italy, since they usually eat leafy salads after the main meat entree.

This is a photo of blogger Whitney’s version of her caprese salad (click for a link to her blog).

As food writer Nigel Slater explains, salad is as simple as reading from left to right.  The key is collecting the best-tasting ingredients in their prime:

Shopping rather than technique is paramount. This is not the moment for parsimony – only the most expensive buffalo mozzarella will hit the spot (it should be soft, quivering inside with a texture that is almost jelly-like. It should smell of cool, fresh milk). The tomatoes are more difficult to get right, but in a summer like this there are many good ones to be had. Keep them until they are so ripe they feel heavy with juice and have a deep herbal scent. Although cool tomatoes are most refreshing, they won’t be at their best straight from the fridge. And while good olive oil is important, it is the ripeness and flavour of the tomatoes and the quality of the mozzarella that matter most. Use the largest basil leaves you can find. The larger they grow, the more peppery and aromatic they will be. They should, legend has it, be torn gently into pieces by hand, not shredded with a knife, as this will breed scorpions.

Most American versions of Italian classics result in terrible train wrecks when TV chefs are at the wheel trying to make a quick buck on an updated variation.  A quick Google search turned up more than 800,000 hits for “caprese salad recipe,” Perhaps the simplicity of this culinary classic has helped preserve its roots.

Now back from the Italian coast with my souvenir balsamic vinegar from Modena – the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, with some aged varieties so expensive, tastes cost hundreds of dollars – I decided to try a little farm to table version.  I currently live in Muncie, Indiana, famously known for the Middletown sociological study conducted in the 1920s and now home to about 140 meth labs and thousands of acres of soy beans and corn.  My house, however, is a haven for homegrown veggies and herbs.

The mozzarella was freshly made in Cincinnati, the tomatoes from my aunt’s garden in Hahira, GA, the basil grown fresh on my back porch (where this photo was taken), the cucumbers harvested fresh from a coworkers’ garden two blocks away, and the drizzled balsamic vinegar transported all the way from Modena.  Here’s a map I made using Google maps, which you should definitely check out to see behind-the-scenes details and photos: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zJOHE5yzytcA.kRbVXmGH1-lU&usp=sharing

Mapping my Middletown Caprese Salad

Mapping my Middletown Caprese Salad, from ancient Rome to Muncie, Indiana, using Google Maps

And here’s the final product!  It was definitely a transatlantic culinary success (although I still prefer the classic).

Photo Jul 06, 1 38 46 PM

In a spark of pure wonderful coincidence, I stumbled across the concept visualization of Expo 2020 in Dubai – and boy does it look amazing, so I wanted to share.

To begin, Dubai’s Expo abstract theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” is organized into three main sub-themes: mobility, sustainability and opportunity that are visualized by three main plazas at the center of the park, shown here:

In contrast to Shanghai’s Expo park which was organized similar to the block patterns of New York City, and Milan’s Expo park which was generally organized chaos, Dubai’s Expo is organized with a strong center complex that serves as the heart of the park, housing shared pavilions for entertainment and commercial and diplomatic networking.

As demonstrated by the visual, these three plazas are supported by a dynamic structural architecture that directs airflow and traffic to the three corners of the park.  (This is really going to come in handy when tons of people are saturating the park’s core in search of shade on those scorching summer days in the desert sun.  Dubai Expo, if you’re listening, you should have some walk-through misters like Disney World.  That’s all I’m saying….)

The map of Shanghai’s Expo, 2010, which reveals how the park was organized along main lines of circulation

Expect more details in the future breaking down the map, design, and concept of Milan’s Expo for 2015.