Family, Tradition, and Modena’s Black Gold: Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know About Balsamic Vinegar

A long, narrow driveway leads straight into fields of freshly tilled soil. At the end, there's an enormous lemon-yellow house with green trim. Two giant, all-white sheepdogs fall over themselves to greet you. There's a friendly donkey named Lola who roams around the backyard garden full of flowers, a fountain with goldfish, and fruit trees … Continue reading Family, Tradition, and Modena’s Black Gold: Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know About Balsamic Vinegar

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Hecho en Venezuela: Storytelling with Chef Valentín

“He loves talking to people about his food,” another MFR volunteer told me as I arrived to Saturday’s brunch event at Restaurante Elektra. “He has a story for every different type of arepa.” Chef José Valentín was standing behind the buffet table on Elektra’s shady terrace, serving a wide variety of his favorite dishes: a … Continue reading Hecho en Venezuela: Storytelling with Chef Valentín

On Bulgaria, Communism, and the Making of a National Cuisine

I had barely set my bags down in my first apartment in Madrid before packing up and boarding a plane to Bulgaria. I was visiting my friend Helena, who is on her second year of teaching English on a Fulbright fellowship. I knew very little about the country apart from what she’d told me. I … Continue reading On Bulgaria, Communism, and the Making of a National Cuisine