Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I’ve often wondered whether it’s a myth that local honey can reduce allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, according to University of Connecticut Health Center researchers, it is a myth. However, I’ve learned from my friend Jimmy Chalmers, a honey beevangelist, that there are many other advantages to buying local honey. It may not cure your allergies but you’re getting a better and safer product while supporting your local economy.

Eel may gross you out, and that’s a shame because it’s a delicious meat. I was first introduced to eel in Portugal where it’s stewed with tomatoes and garlic. I also had a dish of baby eels in olive oil and garlic, served in the pan they cooked in; it looked and tasted like spaghetti aglio e olio, except the spaghetti had tiny little eyes. Oops, you’re grossed out again, aren’t you, sorry. Nowadays I only get to have eel when I order unagi sushi. No matter your thoughts about eel, you’ll enjoy this story from Saveur about a boy, his eel-hunting mentor, the long journey of America’s first fish and delectable eel dishes around the world.

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Aw, what a cute fella, an American eel. (photo by Clinton & Charles Robertson)

This news from Oceana, an ocean advocacy group, stinks. “Citing DNA tests of 1,000 fish filet samples from dozens of U.S. cities over the past four years, only 50% of the fish tested were the species listed on the label. Fish labeled as red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod are actually other fish 25% to 70% of the time, with rockfish and tilapia often substituted for snapper, farmed salmon for wild, and pollock for Atlantic cod.”

Who wants to join me in predicting the next food trend – vintage butter. No? Well, you heard it here first. Seriously, here’s a story about very old butter, almost 28 pounds of 2500 year old butter found in a timber vessel in a bog north of Galway, Ireland. I wonder if anyone will be brave enough to see what it tastes like.

Good news for fruit lovers, Georgia is expecting record crops for peaches and blueberries. How can I lose weight when all I want to do is bake fruit desserts?!

We’re still in the midst of strawberry season here in North Carolina. If you’re looking for some new strawberry recipes to try, Saveur has many possibilities, including a strawberry and balsamic onion focaccia that looks interesting. My friend Ilina shares her recipe for one of my favorite strawberry season drinksstrawberry sangria. Or you could try one of my strawberry desserts – strawberry dumpling or glazed strawberry pie.

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Photo by John Hritz

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