A Sustainability-Minded Cookbook Supporting the United Nations
Not too many cooks, but just enough: There are 75 of them — chefs, farmers and Indigenous home cooks — that have contributed recipes to this collaboration between the United Nations and Kitchen Connection Alliance, a nonprofit that seeks to improve systems for growing and distributing food worldwide. Sustainability and healthy eating are front and center. There are five recipe sections covering food systems, biodiversity, sustainable consumption, food and climate change, and food waste. Among the stellar recipes in the generally vegetable-forward collection are Moroccan chorba with eggplant and sweet potato; a simple squash soup from the American Black Créole Community; Austrian potato goulash; and venison carpaccio with watercress salad, suitable for a party buffet. The carbon footprints are given only for the recipes in the climate change chapter; though they have them for the other recipes. And as comprehensive as this book might be, there is no recipe index and almost no reference to buying organic, though “sustainably sourced” is advised for seafood and eggs. Proceeds from sales benefit the development of a children’s version of the book and support the U.N. Bookstore and projects with Indigenous communities.
“The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations: For People & Planet,” Under the Direction of Earlene Cruz at Kitchen Connection Alliance (Kitchen Connection, $29.00).
Amp Up Your Thanksgiving Gravy
There are myriad methods for turning pale, thin turkey gravy into a lustrous, nut-brown, velvet-textured sauce. Commonplace thickeners include cold water slurries of flour or cornstarch stirred in and brought to a simmer, the latter resulting in a more translucent result. For color, you can resort to a splash of Worcestershire or soy sauce. But there is another way, which adds umami in addition to richer texture and deeper color: red miso. Use about a tablespoon for two cups of gravy, perhaps made from degreased pan drippings and homemade turkey stock, but taste as you go; the miso can be salty. Red miso is handy to have on hand for enriching sauces, soups and stews. Keep it in the refrigerator — it will long outlast the appliance’s warranty.
A History of the ‘Vous
For more than 70 years in Memphis, Tenn., the Rendezvous, a restaurant familiarly known as the ‘Vous, has been a magnet for barbecue lovers. It was founded by Charles Vergos, who was Greek, and is still family-owned, now into the second and third generations. It was notable not just for pit-smoked ribs, but for its longtime waiters, their personalities and excellent service. It’s now the subject of a compelling new documentary, “The ‘Vous,” narrated by several members of its mostly Black staff, including Percy Norris, Jack Dyson and Calvin Bell, who tell the story of the restaurant and its owners from its inception through the Jim Crow era, the civil rights movement and up to the present. The film was made, in part, to preserve memories of the staff, many of whom have retired or soon will.
“The ‘Vous,” directed by Jack Porter Lofton and Jeff Dailey, a Mudroom film produced by Ruth Whitney and Pat O’Brien, streaming through Sunday on DOC NYC, www.docnyc.net, $12.
A Boozy Taste of Autumn
Adding a little of Heimat New York’s new Barrel-Finished Bosc Pear Liqueur to a premeal glass of bubbly gives it a touch of rustic fruit flavor that suits the season. Small pours of the liqueur, straight, become a lovely digestif worth considering for Thanksgiving dinner’s finale. The liqueur, at 22 percent alcohol and macerated from Hudson Valley pears, is aged for 13 months in bourbon barrels from Brooklyn’s Kings County Distillery. The result is a pale russet-toned liqueur, a little cloudy on purpose, with a mouth-filling viscosity. The bouquet captures the fruit, the essence of which lingers on the palate.
Heimat New York Barrel-Finished Bosc Pear Liqueur, $25.99 for 375 milliliters at Wine Bazaar in New Rochelle, New York, winebazaar.com.
A Holiday Cooking Roundtable
Rose Levy Beranbaum’s latest baking book is “The Cookie Bible,” and in the run-up to the holidays she will be giving a virtual talk and a demonstration of one of her favorite treats, tahini crisps, for the Roundtable series at the 92nd Street Y. She also plans to discuss baking ingredients in general, the properties of different flours, using weight versus volume measurements and how eggs have changed.
Tahini Crisps by Rose Levy Beranbaum, Roundtable by the 92nd Street Y, New York, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m., $35, roundtable.org.
A Sleek Flask With Its Own Shot Glass
A number of practical innovations have been built into the latest model from High Camp Flasks, the sleek Torch Flask. It’s made from kitchen-grade stainless steel with an insulated double-wall construction, and it features a bottom screw cap to easily fill the flask; you can even fit ice. It has a six-ounce capacity and comes with a magnetically attached three-ounce shot glass. Indulge for yourself or consider it a stocking-stuffer. It comes in copper, gunmetal, stainless and British racing green.
High Camp Flasks Torch Flask, $99, highcampflasks.com.
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