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Food

Winter 2006

What color is your potato?

Remember when picking a potato was easy? You had your choice: bake or boil?

Today there are dozens of decisions. Waxy? dry? fingerling? yellow? red? blue? banana?

That world of choice started the early 1980s, when the Yukon Gold emerged from a breeding program in Canada. The yellow potato’s creamy texture and buttery taste made it an instant hit. Chefs roasted it with garlic, mashed it with Gorgonzola, and paired it with the likes of duck and filet mignon.

But while our potato palate was expanding in one direction, it was narrowing in another. Shortly after Yukon Gold’s debut, the Russet Norkotah sprouted on the … » More …

Fall 2006

In watermelon heaven

If sublimity is a perfectly ripe watermelon, then where do 101 varieties take you?

I used to think watermelon was pretty much watermelon. Aside from some variability in ripeness and sweetness, you taste one, you taste them all. I am pleased to report that, as with a select few other things, I was wrong.

Last August [2005] I was fortunate to be in Vancouver on the day that Carol Miles hosted her watermelon tasting. That summer, as well as the previous, Miles had conducted variety trials of small “icebox” watermelons, in order to determine their suitability for organic production by small farmers in western Washington.

» More …

Summer 2006

Cherries—The sweet fruit of worry

In March, Don Olmstead Jr. (’70 Hort.) watches over his cherry trees night and day, ready to activate a heating system or switch on the wind machines to protect the tender buds from a killing frost. It’s a task he shares with his son and business partner, Don Olmstead III (’98 Hort.).

In April, the Olmsteads worry about pollination, which only works if pollen is on the blossoms and the weather is right for insect activity. Since most cherries can’t self-pollinate, there must be another variety close by and in bloom. To facilitate cross-pollination, the Olmsteads hire one beehive per acre, inviting a few million … » More …

Chef Betsy's Chipotle Shredded Pork Burritos

Ingredients

2 tbs. oil   1 onion — diced 1 chipotle pepper 2 pounds  pork shoulder — cubed 1/2 tbs. chili powder 1 tsp. cumin 1/4 tsp. dried oregano — Mexican 1/4 tsp. ground coriander 1/2 tsp. dried thyme 1/8 tsp. ground clove 1/8 tsp. allspice 3 cloves garlic – minced 1 tbs. tomato paste 1 14 1/2 ounce can diced canned tomatoes — w/green chilis 1 c. beef broth 1 bay leaf — medium 1/4 c. fresh cilantro — chopped 8 flour tortillas 6 ounces Fontina cheese – shredded

Heat oil in a four-quart pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add onion and chipotle. Cook … » More …

Spring 2007

Foraged foods: Serving up a traditional meal from the Columbia plateau

In a wooded spot a half-mile from Washington State University’s Pullman campus, an older woman with long braids and an apron emblazoned with the words “got buns?” tended an alderwood fire. Geraldine Jim, a salmon expert from the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, used the back of a pickup truck as her staging area. She threaded the salmon halves lengthwise onto long, stripped sticks of dogwood and ironwood. While the fish roasted, she circled the fire, running her hand up the skin side to feel for doneness. She pointed out how a half-section of the fish is threaded down the stick, the thin tail end … » More …

Winter 2004

Training Table

Cougar Etiquette Dinner

Skillfully sidestepping the busy wait staff, Mylene Barizo circulates among the 100 diners attending the Cougar Etiquette Dinner in the Todd Hall atrium. She stops, chats casually with student-athletes seated around tables for eight, then moves on. Members of the athletic department, other University units, and Pullman community leaders are table hosts.

Barizo encourages questions, offers advice. Trying to catch people between bites is tricky. The three-course meal includes grilled Coho salmon, mai-fun noodle lace, oven-roasted game hen, garlic potato puree, and sautéed seasonal vegetables. Dessert is raspberry sorbet.

Barizo is regional human resources manager for dinner sponsor Enterprise Rent-A-Car. As a … » More …

Summer 2007

It's rhubarb pie time!

Barry Swanson, professor of food science, and I see eye to eye on at least one significant issue. We like our rhubarb pie to be made exclusively with rhubarb. NOT strawberries. Just rhubarb.

However, Swanson actually prefers his rhubarb as sauce, over ice cream. Although Swanson does no research on the tart vegetable, he is an avid enthusiast and considers it an acidic parallel to his work with cranberries. And obviously, given his rhubarb enthusiasm, Swanson is from the Midwest, where every old farmstead has a rhubarb patch. “Mom always made rhubarb pie in the spring,” he says.

Rhubarb is also known by Midwesterners as … » More …