Category: Culinary Classics

Culinary Classic: Meat Pies

It’s said that the word pie comes from magpie, a type of bird known for collecting and hording small items. In that way, a pie can be thought of as a collection of ingredients, secreted away inside a crust.

A pie is technically a dish with a baked filling topped with a crust. The top crust is usually pastry but can be another topping, such as biscuit or mashed potato (as in a shepherd’s pie).

Traditionally a pie, whether savory or sweet, has just a top crust. However, it can have a bottom crust, as in most American-style pies. And on the other hand, in Britain a sweet filling baked in just a shallow bottom crust is called a tart.

But our interest lies in those all-in-one meals, those warm-you-to-your-toes dishes, those comfort-food favorites: savory meat pies.


Grilled Pork Hand Pie. Photo courtesy of the National Pork Board. For more information visit


Culinary Classic: Chicken and Dumplings

From Maine to California, chicken and dumplings has found its way onto the menus of roadside diners and urban bistros, as well as those of edgy white-cloth restaurants offering haute interpretations of this old standby. Some argue that chicken and dumplings is the ultimate comfort food. Yet, every dish is as personal and unique as a fingerprint, having as many variations as chili or gumbo.



Culinary Classic: Pulled Pork

Rendering an otherwise tough pork shoulder into fall-apart bliss through hours upon hours of slow, low-temperature cooking is one way to elevate the humble to the exalted.



Culinary Classic: Club Sandwich

A great sandwich is a thing of beauty. There’s something special about the perfect balance of bread, meat, vegetables, and condiments—that melange of crispness, juiciness, and chewiness coming together in each and every bite. And few sandwiches provide that blend quite as perfectly as the club sandwich. clubsandwich


Culinary Classic: Gratin

Gratin Dishes: C’est Cheese

In common use, the phrase au gratin has become synonymous with a meat, vegetable, or other dish that has cheese in it (macaroni and cheese being the most ubiquitous gratin dish of all).

But that’s not always the case.



Culinary Classic: Cordon Bleu

Contrary to what you might think, Chicken Cordon Bleu and its relations are not of French origin. French-inspired, yes. But as near as anyone contends, this preparation is a rather recent invention. Some trace its origins to 1940s Switzerland, although the first mention of Chicken Cordon Bleu in print, specifically, turns up in the New York Times, circa 1967.



Culinary Classic: Shepherd’s Pie

Tracing its 18th century origins to the British Isles, Shepherd’s Pie is a humble dish, born of frugality.

Early on it was called Cottage Pie, consisting of stewed ground meat (usually left over roast), potatoes, carrots, and peas combined in a rich gravy, topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes, then put in a hot oven to warm the contents and brown the potato topping. (more…)

Culinary Classics: Mother Sauces

A Mother Sauce is a basic recipe that can be used on its own or as a starting point for far-flung variations.

The fundamental components of any sauce are liquid, thickener, and flavoring agents. Each of the Mother Sauces is distinguished by the combination of the basic ingredients. In turn, when the basic ingredients are substituted or enhanced, the result is called a small sauce.

Filet mignon    (more…)

Culinary Classic: Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are just fine when simply and classically prepared for the purists among us. However, you can take them off the chart by combining them with some tempting add-ins and just a tad more effort.

1399901_68395478 (more…)

Culinary Classic: Chinese Barbecued Pork

Though variations of this dish abound throughout Eastern Asia, particularly the many regions of China from Szechuan to Singapore, barbecued pork’s lacquered-mahogany sheen makes it one of the most readily recognizable dishes in the pantheon of Asian cuisine.

BBQ ribs (more…)

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