Things You Don't Need: Funny Kitchen's Banana Slicer

Categories: Sietsema, Specials

Purchased by Fork in the Road's San Francisco correspondent Tracy Van Dyk in the Hong Kong airport, the banana slicer is one kitchen utensil you can probably do without.

How hard is it to slice a banana? It takes 10 seconds and you can do it with a butter knife. Yet there is a special kitchen utensil to accomplish it. The banana slicer will take up lots of your limited drawer space, and require a certain dexterity to align it over the banana.

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Will the Real, Macaroons or Maakarons, Please Stand Up!

Categories: Sietsema, Specials

One of these pastries is also called "macaron," but which one?

We've spilled lots of ink lately on the difference between macaroons and macarons -- the former being sticky, coconut-based cookies popular for Passover, the latter cheerless-but-colorful sandwich cookies that taste something like Styrofoam. But on Good Friday at a new Lebanese bakery in Bay Ridge, a third type surfaced.

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The Great Foodrock Trivia Quiz: Part One

Categories: Sietsema, Specials

Last week, Edible Manhattan hosted the third of their trivia nights at Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg, offering prizes as diverse as pounds of coffee, boxes of chocolates, locavoric wines, and, not surprisingly, bottles of Brooklyn beer.

The subject was rock music related to food. Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn blogger and editor Rachel Wharton was the emcee, and I wrote the questions, which came in three sections. Beginning today, and for the next two Saturdays, Fork in the Road presents those questions for your stumpification -- the answers to today's quiz will be posted next Saturday, along with the next installment. Of course, you always have the option of Googling up the answers if you can't wait. So, put a CD on the CD player and put on your thinking caps.

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Food at Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows Mildly Disappointing

Categories: Sietsema, Specials

Dragon Boat afloat in Flushing Meadows Pond.

I went expecting to find a food scene something like the Red Hook soccer fields or the Labor Day parade in Brooklyn, and indeed there were tents, pavilions, and penants galore at the north end of the lake, like some medieval jousting match. Most of the tents were sponsored by service organizations, electrical utilities, insurance companies, etc., and the majority of these featured games of chance, causing long lines in the hot sun as event-goers waited patiently to spin the wheel of fortune, for prizes displayed on tables.

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The Cafes, Honky-Tonks, Markets, and Barber Shops of West San Antonio

A thumbnail of San Antonio Tex-Mex cuisine: chilaquiles, puffy tacos, fajitas, and steak ranchera.

The West Side of San Antonio, Texas is the heartland of the city's Tejano population, a barrio whose Spanish traditions go back to the Alamo and way beyond. Nevertheless, denizens of this colorful and richly cultural neighborhood prefer to be called simply Mexicans, and their cuisine includes, not only contemporary dishes from Mexico, but the Tex-Mex cooking created by immigrants who, like new Italian-Americans, arrived to find that certain foods they depended on were missing, and others (lots of beef, white flour, and scary cheese among them), were available cheaply and in abundance. Here are some photos I took in the San Antonio barrio not long ago.

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What Can You Do With Ramps? Here Are Four Suggestions

For a change, Mountain Sweet Berry Farm had enough wild ramps to go around this weekend.

Ramps--also known as Allium tricoccum or wild leeks--are one of the most pungent plants known to humankind. They're found wild in the forest beginning in early April, sometimes extending into early May. So appealing are they to some people, that Rapunzel's mom traded her for a fistful of them, resulting in the golden-haired beauty being locked in a tower.

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Gallery of the Pagan Easter Art: Funny Bunnies

A bug inside a pink bunny, showing how art turns everyday objects to sinister purposes.

Next week, Weekend Special will continue with its series Great Barbecues of Texas, but this week our subject will be the pagan symbolism of the rabbit in seasonal Easter art. So sit back, put your smoking jacket on and your feet up, and enjoy our gallery.

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Snapper Soup, Texas Weiners, and Cheesesteaks: Things I Ate in Philadelphia This Weekend

Geno's may not be the best, but it is the most garish purveyor of Philadelphia's famous cheesesteaks.

My great good luck in chasing down eats in Baltimore a few weeks a go led me and a pal to make a brazen assault on Philadelphia this weekend.

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Great Barbecues of Texas: City Market in Luling

Originating in ther early 1950's, City Market sits on Luling's main drag opposite the railroad tracks that bisect the town.

By the time Luling was founded in 1874 as a station on the Galveston, Harrison, and San Antonio railroad, it was already one of the wildest towns in the Wild West, frequented by outlaws like Sam Bass and John Wesley Hardin, with a red-light district on the edge of the municipality known as Dogtown.

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Great Barbecues of Texas: Kreuz Market and Smitty's Market, Lockhart

The Caldwell County Courthouse, built in 1892 in the Second Empire style at a cost of $65,000, is the focal point of Lockhart. It was the scene of many gun battles in the late 19th century. Smitty's Market sits at one corner of the square.

There's no question that Kreuz Market (pronounced "Krites" by the locals) is the world's most famous barbecue. Or maybe it's the world's two most famous barbecues. I say that because, in 1999, following a disagreement between the son and daughter of Edgar "Smitty" Schmidt--who bought the market from the Kreuz family in 1948--had a falling out, and the original Kreuz split into two. The brother took the name and started a barn-like new place out on the highway that runs to Austin, which is the barbecue called Kreuz Market today.

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