Gourmet Station back to home
the main top image deilcious deestinations

Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

« March 2005 | Main | May 2005 »

Mother's Day History

Posted: April 22, 2005
by: T.Alexander

When the Azalea and Dogwood blooms start to transform into green leaves, it’s time to start thinking about Mother’s Day and selecting that perfect Mother’s Day gift.   I’m partial to gourmet food gifts for this occasion because I think of all those years Mom cooked for our family.  But we’ll talk about the perfect Mother’s Day gift later.

For now I must ask. Did you ever stop to think how cultures celebrate events and occasions year after year without stopping to think and discuss just how the occasion got started in the first place?  Yes, we’re all creatures of habit and habits can make for boredom.  So let’s take a little history lesson and see if we can stir up some interesting conversation about Mother's Day.

Yes Mother’s Day in this age is about Moms but ancient celebrations were about women, goddesses, and the rites of spring and rebirth. History tells us that the Greeks dedicated their spring festival to Rhea, the mother of many deities.  In Rome too Cybele, a mother Goddess, was worshipped as early as 250 BC during a three-day March festival called the Ides of March. 

In the United States Anna M. Jarvis is credited with initiating the celebration of Mother’s Day as we know it today. Anna was an Appalachian homemaker and organized a day to raise awareness of the poor health conditions in her community.  In 1905 when Anna Jarvis died, her daughter, also named Anna, took up where her Mother left off with this quote.  “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day.  There are many days for men, but none for mothers.”  Anna’s relentless work, deep devotion to her mother, and support from influencers like President Taft paid off.  In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.  And there you have it – the story behind Mother’s Day. 

Describing Wine - A Personal Perspective

Posted: April 15, 2005
by: T.Alexander

Did you ever stop to think about the highly personal terms enthusiasts use to describe their favorite wine? Seems like there’s a love affair going on sometimes – wouldn’t you agree?

The first descriptorRed_wine_bottle_glass that comes to mind is the socially outgoing wine usually referred to as “approachable” – drinkable & easy to enjoy like friendly relatives at a family reunion. A little like a cool glass of Chardonnay, perhaps? Then there’s the drama wines usually referred to as “complex”… dimensional with flavor, nuances, and aromas. Reminds me a bit of a former friend, but let’s not go there.

There’s “hard” wine, usually reds with an excess of tannin, like people you might avoid at a cocktail party. On the lighter side there’s “honeyed” wine with a hint of honey flavor or “plummy” referring to big, round, ripe reds from Pomerol, St-Emilion, Cote Du Duits and Napa.

All right, I know what you’re thinking but don’t want to ask the question. What is my favorite wine? Without hesitation, Cabernet Sauvignon! This wine requires a lot of time to age so it’s called “mature & full bodied.” It stands to reason my favorite wine descriptor is “bold.” Bold, mature, and full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.

Humm. Maybe our favorite wines and their characteristics describe ourselves, or how we wish to be perceived. OK – you’re next. What’s your favorite wine and how do you best describe it – big, beefy, earthy, full, jammy, or nutty?  Wine for thought!

Dim Sum

Posted: April 6, 2005
by: T.Alexander

Dimsumassortment Spring is filled with light…sunlight, light pastels, and light eats.  Hundreds of years ago along the Silk Road in China travelers, farmers and laborers stopped at teahouses to relax, socialize, and enjoy small eats.  Sounds like your friendly neighborhood pub wouldn’t you say?

Well in Cantonese this event is called dim sum and in Mandarin, dian xin. You can fine remnants of dim sum today around the US where Asian cultures flourish and remain true to heritage.

My first experience with dim sum was initially not as expected.  A buffet on wheels is a good description and I found the environment noisy and stressful.  Then I settled into the rhythm of the experience, learning to be a bit more aggressive in picking my favorites from the food carts as they buzzed by tables filled with chatting diners.

If you live in a large city, visit Chinatown and ask where the best dim sum is served.  If dim sum is not available in your area, then make your own.  You can do it!  Just remember that the goal is to enjoy a wide variety of small Asian style eats with your favorite tea.

If you’ve been to a tapas restaurant, you get the concept.  My favorite dim sum appetizer is Crab Ragoon but then I’m partial to crab in anything – from eggs to ice cream.  Consider Chinese Dumplings and how about Sponge Cake soaked in coconut milk.  Go for it…the world is your oyster. 

To view GourmetStation's collection of Euro-Asian food gifts, click here.

For Garlic Lovers Only

Posted: April 1, 2005
by: T.Alexander

Spring is arriving around the world and we’re all mixing and matching….in our wardrobes, in our gardens, and in our kitchens. Isn’t that what the culinary arts are all about – mixing and matching our favorite ingredients into gourmet creations?

We took a little survey here at GourmetStation to determine everyone’s favorite ingredient. I thought it might be rosemary – that’s my favorite…love it fresh from my herb garden.

Garlic_lBut no, not rosemary - garlic was the winner. Somehow I have a hard time having a love affair with garlic, but then it does have quite a personality. Want to become a garlic expert? Check out Organic Gardening where you can learn to grow your own and know the difference between hardneck and softneck. Great party trivia.

Seems garlic lovers even have their own blog! We haven’t even touched on the health benefits garlic offers. Germany is getting into legal trouble by classifying garlic as a medicine. I suppose we should ask Garlic Chef & Guru Tom Reed his opinion on the matter. The most passionate garlic story I’ve read is about a garlic heist. Yes, a thief stole $30,000 worth of garlic from a New South Wales property.

If you’re looking for the perfect garlic to marry with your marinara sauce then you might make a trek to Gilroy California from July 29 – 31 and join over a hundred thousand garlic enthusiasts at the Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. Happy spring cooking and don’t let the vampires bite!