How to cook the perfect hot dog

Caution! Preparing a hotdog can be fraught with danger – so should you grill, bake, fry, or steam your sausage? And is the best banger made from pork or beef?The hot dog is as much a part of American Independence Day celebrations as fireworks and the Star-Spangled Banner, a holiday that sees this humble snack elevated to star turn at celebratory barbecues and picnics throughout the land. Indeed, Coney Island’s annual Nathan’s Famous Hotdog Eating Contest bills itself as “a physical manifestation of the concept of freedom”, representing “the spirit of July 4th itself”. And there were we thinking it was all about the bangers.Amateurs like me might think there’s not much debate about the best way to cook a hot dog – frankfurters come ready cooked or cured, and simply require heating up, which is why they are such a popular snack at that most American of places, the ballpark. Baseball fans like them poached, movie theatres favour the heated roller approach, while Eleanor Roosevelt preferred to grill them for George VI. Hell, you could probably fry a passable hot dog on the bonnet of your car in Death Valley if you wanted, but what gets the best results? Continue...

Fried chicken and doughnut recipes directly from the deep south | Cook residency

The food of the American south is still a nascent cuisine. We begin a four-week exploration with some quintessentially southern fried delightsThe “Deep South” that we think of today is an area of the US that stretches from New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico into Arkansas’ Ozark mountain range, across to Charleston on the Atlantic Coast and as far north as Kentucky and southern Virginia, and also includes adopted bits of Florida, but (let’s be clear) has nothing to do with Texas. Yet it is only a couple of hundred years old. So, wide ranging as it is, the food of the south is still in its infancy. The southern writer David Shields notes that: “to speak of southern food before there is a conscious South risks incoherence.”But in a short span of time, southern food has rooted itself as the definitive cuisine of an entire country. It is the most distinctively “American” of any food I can think of. And, over the past few years, it has become the cuisine du jour. “Slow and low” cooking, “potlikker” (a stock used for braising greens), and “yardbird” (chicken) are becoming recognisable terms associated with the region and its food, giving us a sort of etymological terroir. We have a recognisable culinary identity, and it includes all of the lovely stereotypes we’ve earned – mostly that we love our food fried in fat. Continue...

Scotch egg company claims to have cracked problem of eggshell waste

An egg mayonnaise supplier has partnered with scientists at Leicester University to turns leftover eggshells into a filler for plasticsLeicester-based egg processing plant Just Egg hard boils and peels 1.5m eggs a week for snacks such as egg mayonnaise and Scotch eggs, creating mountains of shells to dispose of. It’s a dilemma the company’s owner, Pankaj Pancholi, has been keen to crack since he launched the business 14 years ago. Continue...

Why do we eat lunch at our desks? Because capitalism

Lunch as we know it today has evolved from its humble origins, but efficiency has always been its true calling card. Get ready for a future of sad desk meal-replacement beverage lunchesWhat are you having for lunch? A store-bought sandwich that crumbles all over your keyboard as you digest the latest depressing world news? A $10 salad, eaten in front of your computer, as you toggle mindlessly between Facebook and your work?If you’re like the majority of American office workers, whatever you’re having for lunch, you’re probably dining al desko. Some 80% of employees don’t take a regular lunch break. Rather, we cram in our calories solo, and swiftly: on average it takes just 15 minutes to eat lunch. And while it may seem sad that so many of us are masticating alone, with only the glow of our screens for company, a lot of people actually prefer it that way. In one study, a quarter of millennial employees agreed with the statement “I eat alone to multitask better”. Continue...

Nuno Mendes’ summer recipes: asparagus migas with sorrel, fennel and garlic

Make the most of the season’s asparagus glut with a fresher take on a traditional Portuguese dishI’m curious about all aspects of food: where dishes come from, the social context in which they’re eaten, how certain recipes came about and how they have changed over time. I was born in Portugal, a country whose citizens have been travelling and trading foods for centuries. Our culinary presence is felt all over the world, and our cuisine is rich with influences from the South Pacific, Japan and Asia to Central and South America and Africa. Having been lucky enough to travel myself, I’ve found some spectacular local dishes and techniques and apply them to British seasonal ingredients; these migas make use of the last of the asparagus glut. Migas or “crumbs” is a dish from the Alentejo region, traditionally made from leftover bread for breakfast. Here, they’re much fresher, more fragrant and healthier than the originals, which are cooked in pork fat. If you can, get hold of wild sorrel, it’s abundant in parks and alongside canals all over the country, but pay attention to picking and consuming safely. Continue...