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News about Ham, Grape Nuts, and Michelle Obama

Today’s New York Times food section has a nice echo of my previous post about culatello. The science-and-food writer Harold McGee covers the renewal of American-made dry-cured hams. Producers in Virginia and elsewhere are now making hams to rival those of Italy and Spain.

“Have you ever placed a vanishingly thin morsel of rosy meat on your tongue and had it fill your mouth with deepest porkiness, or the aroma of tropical fruits, or caramel, or chocolate? Or all of the above?” he asks.

Monday’s Wall Street Journal had a fascinating piece on the history of Grape Nuts. The breakfast cereal was a staple around the house when I was a kid. I enjoyed its crunchy taste, especially with a few spoonfuls of sugar on top, but my favorite memory of it concerns my father. He loved the stuff, but would sometimes get him very agitated. It was the vitamins or the minerals or the fiber that irked him. His problem with it was that it took too long to chew. He was always in a hurry in the morning.

On Sunday, also in the Times, Amanda Hesser wrote a brilliant op-ed about Michelle Obama’s relationship to the kitchen. According to the Times, the First Lady said, “I don’t miss cooking. I’m just fine with other people cooking.”

Hesser clarifies her message. “Though delivered lightheartedly, and by someone with a very busy schedule, the message was unmistakable: everyday cooking is a chore.”

That’s the truth. But Hesser doesn’t stop there. The best part of her column points out what we lose when we don’t cook at home: A connection to food and each other.

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