real food right now

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook it (#realfoodrightnow) is our weekly series on the ABCs and 123s of seasonal food.

Real Food Right Now and How to Drink It: Whiskey

Whiskey: the water of life and sweet nectar of the gods. It's the stuff of mint juleps, the Wild West and classic cocktails. For something as American as apple pie, whiskey's roots reach back to Ireland and Scotland. Wait - is it whiskey or whisky? We'll get to the bottom of this intoxicating mystery!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Ginger

Imagine a life without the tingly, peppery, uniquely lovely bite of ginger. No worries - just rejoice in the fact that this prized spice can now be found in every grocery store across the land!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Yuca

Also known as cassava or tapioca, yuca is the fourth most important starch in the world, prepared in a wide variety of ways from South America to Asia. Fun fact: if you love bubble tea, you may have sucked up the powdered and pearled flesh of this woody root without even realizing it.

Real Food and How to Cook It Now: Maple Syrup

We may know that "pancake syrup" is the margarine of maple syrup: the cheap imitator, the industrial substitute. "Pure" syrup is as unadulterated a product as it gets, and is all-American, to boot. Its production is natural, but it requires many steps and much patience to produce, and it only happens once a year. Because maple syrup, you see, is not simply tree sap.

Treat Yourself (Greenly)

It's cold and snowy out. You haven't seen the sun for days. "Parks and Recreation" has ended. You know what that means? It's the perfect time to "Treat Yourself"! Here are a few relaxing suggestions to help you wash those winter blues away - sustainably.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Butter and Lard

Butter and lard, two of the most prevalent fats used cooking since the domestication of sheep, goats, cattle and pigs thousands of years ago, are unmatched in flavor and texture. It's actually super easy to make your own butter, and play around with lard for delicious results at home!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Rice

Three billion people rely upon rice as their staple food, and it is the primary source of one quarter of the world's per capita energy needs. Rice's captivating history is tied to ancient global trade routes and, eventually, to the slave trade. Read more about and learn how to cook this fascinating grain!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Chocolate

While you may agree with our Food Program director, who said Valentine's Day (the holiday responsible for the sale of 58 million pounds of chocolate) is "mostly a lamentable shakedown perpetuated to promote superfluous consumption," we also know you probably care a lot about chocolate. So here are the details.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Kumquats

Everything is adorable about kumquats. From their diminutive size to their cheery color, and even their name - all as cute as a button, and a welcome sight in the dead of winter when there is little fun to be had at the market. Pick up a basket of these wee fruit and get cooking.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Seaweed

What exactly is seaweed? The name is blanket term that's been attached to a vast group of sea vegetables, some varieties of which are invasive algae, hence the suffix "weed." There are thousands - if not millions - of distinct weeds from the sea, and many can be farmed sustainably on coasts around the world, improving the environment as they grow.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Jicama

Jicamas look like giant, round potatoes, with light brown, almost flaky skin. Peel the skin off to reveal a creamy white interior, with crispy flesh that has the same texture as an apple or pear, crossed with a potato - and it's delicious.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Turmeric

That ingredient responsible for dyeing everything from cauliflower to your fingertips yellow-orange is turmeric, a quintessential seasoning in many cuisines, particularly throughtout Asia. But where does turmeric come from? How does it taste? And how can you grow or cook with some of your own? Look no further for an introduction to this incredible spice.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Coconuts

The coconut palm is incredibly important as a foodstuff across the globe. From the coconut fiber that lines your window box planters to the coconut milk in your curry and coconut water in your fridge, the coconut palm, aptly called "The Tree of Life" for its usefulness, is a truly remarkable plant.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cooking Oils

Like salt and black pepper, you probably reach for cooking oil for just about every meal you make. But have you ever wondered about the history of your canola oil, or what makes fancy extra virgin olive oil so expensive? Or what the heck margarine really is? Read on for all of this and more.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Yams

Sweet potatoes are often colloquially referred to as "yams" - but they're not. Let's take a culinary world tour and unravel this mystery together, shall we? Bottom line: you might have to hunt down a true yam, but they sure are worth it!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cardoons

You're unlikely to find cardoons at your local grocery store, but check farmers' markets in late fall and you might get lucky. Like a cross between artichokes and celery, these spiky, silvery stalks can add delicious new flavor to old recipes, though you may want to wear gloves!

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