6/12/11

The things I learned from Jose Andres

This past Friday I attended a talk with Jose Andres at the National Archives for the opening of the America Eats exhibit.

Here's the description of the program:

AMERICA EATS OPENING PROGRAM:  Chef José Andrés
Friday, June 10, at 7 P.M., William G. McGowan Theater
Join us for the inaugural program of "America Eats," a series developed in conjunction with José Andrés, who is Chief Culinary Advisor for the new exhibit "What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?" This opening program features the James Beard Award–winning chef himself. Chef Andrés will discuss the history of American food and cooking, science and cooking, and why food is the solution to many of the challenges we face as a nation. A book signing of Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen will follow the program; the book is available at a discount from the Archives Shop (202-357-5271) before and during the event.
If you weren't able to attend the program, I thought you'd like to hear a few snippets of information I learned from Jose Andres:

  • There is a tree native to America called paw paw with fruit that incredibly resembles mangoes. {From Wikipedia: The fruit is a large edible berry, 5–16 cm long and 3–7 cm broad, weighing from 20–500 g, with numerous seeds; it is green when unripe, maturing to yellow or brown. It has a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango, varying significantly by cultivar, and has more protein than most fruits.}
  • Cows arrived to the United States in 1624, leading to the addition of milk to soups such as clam chowder
  • On the issue of children & healthy eating: just because you provide kids with apples, you are not guaranteed the children will want to eat those apples. What you need to do is teach the kids the history of apples, make them interested in the fruit, and then they would want to eat it
  • 1st printed cookbook in the US was America Cookery by Amelia Simmon in 1796
  • Quick breads is truly an American invention
  • 1st description of macaroni and cheese was  vermicelli prepared like pudding
  • 1541: citrus arrives to the US from Spain {Of course Jose was quite proud of this fact, he's after all from Spain!}
  • This made me laugh: Jose Andres spelled out shrimp to make sure people understood him {because you know, he has an accent. As someone who has an accent, I can quite understand this strategy.} What he did not spell out, however, was ketchup. It took me 5 minutes to figure out he wasn't talking about cat soup.
  • 1805: refrigeration is invented in the US
  • 1809: canning is invented in France as the means to feed Napoleon's troops. This shows how much more advanced the US was!
  • People in Kentucky used to consider Burgoo, a dish prepared with possum, an aristocratic delicacy.
If you've attended this talk, please chime in with the facts you've learned. I can't wait to check out the exhibit and dine at Jose Andres' new America Eats Tavern

9 comments:

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

Thank you so much for sharing this very interesting information!

Beth @ Kitchen Minions said...

where can someone get the fruit from the paw paw, looks interesting!

Belinda @zomppa said...

What a great lesson!! So fascinating.

wendy said...

Thanks for sharing! I was sorry to miss his talk.

juliaelmer at hotmail dot com said...

These are interesting tidbits! Thanks for sharing.

I'm intrigued by the "paw paw" tree because a "paw paw" is a papaya in Australia and parts of the Pacific. I'll have to track down one of the paw paw trees at some point so I can see what it tastes like...

And, as a native Kentuckian (albeit a vegetarian one!), I'd like to add that burgoo is more typically made with mutton these days. There's a massive burgoo festival in Owensboro (western Kentucky) each year where you can see teams stirring big barrels of burgoo. Not my cup of tea, but a very typical dish! And a lot of Kentuckians (my family included!) still call ketchup "catsup," pronounced just as you describe in your post! My great-grandmother canned many a batch of "cat soup" in her lifetime, and we all fought over the jars of it.

I'll have to try to head down and catch that exhibit. I'm sure it's interesting!

Alicia said...

I was out of town and therefore missed this fascinating event. Thanks for bringing the goods to me! I'm really enjoying your writing.
Cheers,
Alicia

Melissa Jones said...

Fun! Can't wait to get to this exhibit. Probably not going to try cooking possum anytime soon though!

Debbie B. said...

Can't wait to eat there too!! So exciting!

Erin said...

Such fun information! Thank you for sharing. I so wanted to attend the event, but my family was in town. It sounds like it was great!