Branding produce

One of the things I missed upon returning to the US was being able to eat from a big “Netz” of clementines around Christmastime. We never had clementines growing up and I never remembered seeing them anywhere either. Mandarins were something that came in a can (it seems a clementine is a type of mandarin; I had to look it up since I was never sure if the reverse was true of if they were just synonyms). By the time I returned in 2008, there were clementines to be had, but they were expensive and not consistently good (though they’re not always consistent in Europe either). Continue reading “Branding produce”

Impulse buy: Syrian pumpkin jam

It's pumpkin. How bad can it be?
I should have known better.

I normally despise syrupy-sweet desserts but for some reason I decided earlier this week that I absolutely had to buy some “pumpkin jam” that was sitting at the checkout at my usual falafel spot/Middle Eastern grocery. I love every other pumpkin dessert I’ve tried, so why not? I asked the owner what it was and how you eat it. She said you just eat it as is and that it comes from her hometown. They’re having trouble getting it because of what’s going on in Syria right now, so she asked me to be sure to report back and tell her whether I liked it. Continue reading “Impulse buy: Syrian pumpkin jam”

Taking a dip

At a New Year’s party in Berlin, I was happily playing sous-chef for Tiffany. As a token North American, I was told to make “some sort of dip” for a crudité platter. In fairly short order, I assembled something passable from convenience store cheese that resembled a plasticine version of Boursin, sour cream, and sundry seasonings. In the end, two dips were served, since Kristin brought mock crab dip (Note: this is different from mock-crab dip, though both are good).

That had me thinking about the whole premise of dip and who might have invented it. Some internet searching for “dip capital of the world” only led to sites with observations about chewing tobacco. Eventually, I stumbled across a site about queso cheese dip, but still I was unsated, hungry as I was for the origins of a completely unnecessary foodstuff. Continue reading “Taking a dip”