Tag Archives: food

NYer: “Can Babies Learn to Love Vegetables?”

19 Nov

Full article from Burkhard Bilger.

191125_r35463On any given day, American children are more likely to eat dessert than plants. Makers of baby food face a conundrum: If it sells, it’s probably not best for babies. If it’s best for babies, it probably won’t sell.  Photo illustration by Horacio Salinas for The New Yorker

Yeah, and anything else for that fact. Just make them eat what’s on the table with no options. Watch how they’ll start to love their broccoli once that’s all there is. We’re the first civilization in history which has made such a fuss about what children like or don’t like, and have created a civilization full of adults who still eat like 10yr olds.

And in the process we’re destroying centuries of ancient culinary traditions.  See one of my first ever posts from this blog:  Chitterlings…and mageiritsa


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Times: Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.

1 Oct

Yeah, thanks.

merlin_161839362_44bfa0c3-98f0-469e-b7c5-667b5a117c56-jumboPaul J. Richards/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.”

comment: nikobakos@gmail.com


24 Jun



These are “erik,” plums, or “can erik,” as some people call them (“life” or “soul” plums?).  They’re not a particular type of green plum.  They are just completely unripe, green ones and for a couple of weeks in June Turks go mad for them.  They must be the small fruit culled off the trees so that the more promising ones can grow to full ripeness and size.  I think they’re probably the kind of plum that the Japanese pickle and are so delicious with saké.  You don’t wait for them to ripen or anything.  You eat them in all their incredible, sour, mouth-puckering glory.  They remind me of the unripe krana we used to eat in my village.

Every time I’m here I discover some new quirk in the sophistication of Turks’ aesthetic sensibility that surprises me and fills me with wonder.

I was at the bar at the Hilton the other night.  Full confession: I love the Istanbul Hilton; of all the hotels built on that ridge and gulley between Ayaz Paşa and Maçka — one of the most abused pieces of Istanbul real estate — it’s the only one that respects the terrain; it’s a modernist classic; the engagement party scene from The Museum of Innocence segment that takes place there ranks right up there for me with most the brilliant ballroom/party scenes in War and Peace and Lampedusa’s The Leopard; and I have very emotional memories of staying there with my father once in 1983.

I was sitting there at the bar one night and the bartender brought a middle-aged British couple sitting next to me a bowl of these plums.  They each bit into one and looked at each other with their faces twisted into shock at the sheer unexpected sourness of them.  The woman said: “This can’t be right; they don’t really eat these, do they?”  I looked over and nodded.  “What? You mean, like this,” she said to me, “Completely raw and unripe?”  I nodded. They actually each gave them a few more tries and then gave up.  “Interesting…”she said to me and smiled.  I nodded.

Apparently for Queens readers, they’re available in Sunnyside markets these days too.


Vintage photo of the Istanbul Hilton.  Just once glance over to the Asian side.  Now nearly impossible to believe the City actually ever looked like this.

Return to Paris: “Ode to the Classic Bistro”

19 Jun


From the New York Timesan article by Elaine Sciolino that makes me physically hurt not to be there again…


Money quote:

“None of that for me. Call me old-fashioned, but my idea of the perfect bistro is a place where the dishes are traditional, the ingredients seasonal, the service attentive, the price acceptable and my relationship with the chef close enough that I can visit the kitchen when the meal is over. Julia Child put it best in her posthumous memoir, ‘My Life in France’: ‘The kind of food I fell in love with,’ she wrote, was ‘not trendy, souped-up fantasies, just something very good to eat.'”


Bistro 220140604-LETTER-slide-JRF9-superJumbo

(All photos by Ed Alcock for The New York Times — click)

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A Reader Writes: “Athens = homogenity? = racist? = just boring?” — “…this is the state of Neo-Greek cultural awareness…”

23 May

Philopomeon writes: in response to Athens = homogenity? = racist? = just boring?

“I’ll never forget getting my cousin to concede trying a Syrian/Lebanese restaurant in Panourmou. His shock when he realized 75% of the menu was identical to taverna food. He had no idea– this is the state of Neo-Greek cultural awareness- to eat souvlaki and mezzes with tzaziki or yemista is somehow “Italian” (???).

The Chinese restaurants in Athens seem to do alright though. Everytime I go to a Bengali place in Omonia, I am definitely the only non-immigrant there.”

Yeah, if you can call that stuff Chinese food.

And WHERE is there a Bengali place in Omonoia???  Don’t think you’re keeping that a secret from me now!


Bengali foodoie_1321512gelpx9Z

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

Athens = homogeneity? = racist? = just boring…?

19 May

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere she is, the gigantic poured-grey-cement Balkan village of five million people: who all think alike, look alike, act alike, talk alike and can’t agree on anything.  Απολαύστε την.  (Double-click to take in all the rich architectural detail.)

Sorry, I was just thinking to myself about what parts of my Balkan trip I needed to post next; people who kindly gave me interviews or let me photograph them and how I have to get on it…  And, how I’ve been wasting my time engaged in a running war with everyone in Athens to prove basic things like the fact that Albanians are a tall, extremely attractive people.  People in mono-cultural societies say the most deafeningly racist crap — you can’t imagine.  If one more person smirked at me when I said: “You know, Tirane is actually kind of a nice city…” things would’ve ended badly.  If it weren’t so offensive, it’d be fun to hear ignorance trumpetted with such certainty.  But it is.  Good timing to head to Istanbul.  Where I can’t understand the racist crap people are probably saying.

And I thought to myself, what? is it going on twenty-five years now that Athenians have been freaking out about immigration?  And it doesn’t seem to have crossed the brain of even the most intelligent or open-minded Athenian’s to make that an asset for the city and not a “scary” liability.  Where is this immigrant Athens?  In all these years, malaka, not one person has said to me: “Yo, Niko, there’s apparently this great Pakistani place in Patissia; you wanna go check it out?”  Everyone knows I’m into South Asia.  “Wanna go to the laike (market) on Saturday in Kypsele and see the stuff the Afghans sell?”

Or, all these tens of thousands of single, alone and lonely Albanian men…  There must me some woman somewhere they hire to make them börek or baklavadhes for bayramia and namedays and things.  Like the Mexican women who make tamales for parties in New York.  Where is she?  Where are they?  In New York she’d have a full front-page spread on the “Metro” or the “Food and Wine” sections of the Times and she’d be taking orders from Upper East Side ladies by now and have her own thriving business.

All the cement-cave-dwellers have had sushi though — without exception mediocre and psychotically over-priced…

Provincials, vlachadera, isolationists…μικροαστά, petit bourgeois συχαşιάρεδες…

Taco stand on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, Queens, about five blocks from where I grew up, where for three to five dollars you can have a full meal of some of the freshest, most complex tastes of any of the world’s cuisines.  I know Athenians who have been coming to New York for years and who I haven’t been able to convince to try one of these places one even once.taco-cart-99th-and-roosevelt

Actually, what I’d really love to do is bring a Kurdish kid home to New York with me from Istanbul with a big tepsi of stuffed mussels and watch him become a millionaire.  I don’t know where I’d set him up first though: Astoria? Sunnyside? or straight to Manhattan? or Long Beach or somewhere?  Or get him a booth at the Italian summer festival circuit…



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On the other hand, this is some vegetarian food that is also a real cuisine

12 Apr

A Culinary Pilgrimage to Punjab

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