• Colder weather calls for comfort foods, not extravagant creations

     Many of our comfort foods once considered “ethnic” have actually become mainstream and are now accepted as American fare. Some of my favorite ethnic comfort foods are lox and bagels, matzah ball soup, Polish dill pickle soup and Hungarian beef goulash.

    Comfort food is typically inexpensive, uncomplicated and easy to prepare.

    Many people turn to comfort food for familiarity, emotional security or as a special reward. Most of us adults eat comfort food for a sense of continuity.

  • Few foods are as prevalent in our culture as the apple


    At one time or another, we’ve all used the phrase, “She/he is the apple of our eye.” When exalting the health benefits of the apple, we say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” When wanting to ingratiate ourself with a teacher, we give her the gift of an apple.

  • When thinking Italian cuisine, it’s more than just pasta

     One of my favorite ethnic foods, if not the favorite, is Italian. We had many family-owned Italian restaurants to choose from back in Akron, Ohio.

    You could go to any of those Italian restaurants and choose from chicken Parmesan, pasta Alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, or maybe even a pizza. It was easy to think some type of pasta, a good marinara sauce, a piece of crusty Italian bread and a glass of red wine was the beginning and the end of Italian cuisine.


    Italian cuisine is regional

  • Cold temperatures outside call for warm, hearty chili inside


    Find winter’s warmth in a big bowl of easy-to-prepare chili. This quick and easy recipe is a hearty meal that we have enjoyed at our home for many years. It tastes like it’s been cooking on the stove for hours, but can be eaten in about 30 minutes.

    I must confess this recipe is strictly my wife’s, and since she has been making it for us for a long time, I asked her if she would share it with our readers. Not a problem— until I asked her for the recipe!

  • Fennel is a classic flavoring for fish, soups and vegetables

    A member of the dill family, fennel has a sweet anise flavor, which is due to a chemical known as anethole, which is 13 times sweeter than sugar. This compound is also found in star anise. Its flavor is strongest when eaten raw and declines slightly as it is cooked. Both the feathery leaves, which resemble dill, and its seeds, are commonly used.

  • For entertaining friends and relatives, try these holiday appetizers


    Are you planning to go out on New Year’s or stay home with many of your friends and relatives? We used to go out a lot, but lately we’re just comfortable staying put and maybe having a few friends stop by during the day to enjoy the new year.

    If you’re going to be staying at home and are expecting guests to pop in, why not have some scrumptious holiday appetizers for everyone to munch on while downing a favorite beverage of choice? These are not only good on holidays, but just about any other time of the year.


  • Christmas dinner traditions are celebrated throughout the world

     We all look forward to that customary Christmas dinner of roast turkey (or ham) garnished with chestnuts, vegetables and cranberry sauce. Afterwards, all those homemade cookies and other delectable sweets await.

    Most every country has its own Christmas dinner traditions, but the food served differs from country to country.

  • After all these years, I still enjoy writing this column


    I have been writing this food column for more than 10 years now, and recently a friend of mine asked me how I came up with all my ideas to write about each week. I told him I had this long checklist made up of possible food articles and I just checked them off week after week. I probably had enough for 10 years! “Really?” he asked.

  • Don’t forget about the great tradition of holiday drinks

     Entertaining for the holidays? Make that gathering a little more festive and special by extending the holiday spirit to the drinks and refreshments you offer your guests.

    Think about preparing some of the more popular traditional holiday cheer, and maybe a few more. I’ve included spiriteddrinks and a few non-alcoholic drinks and punches for those less rowdy.


  • After Thanksgiving, cookies will be king for the next few weeks


    ‘Tis the season of home baking, be they cutouts, bars, slice-and-bake, spritz or drop cookies. Whether you’re like me and dig through a stack of yellowed recipe cards to find that favorite heirloom or prefer trying out some new exotic version of peanut butter cookies, it’s time to dust off those cookie sheets and preheat the oven.

    And what aroma better captures the fragrance of the season?