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Truffle Farming, International Desserts, and More Great Reads

Seven of this week’s top food-inpired stories

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Black Truffle Harvest In Sarrion
Truffle harvesting.
Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Whip up a fresh cup of Midwestern-style egg coffee and settle in with some of this week’s best food-inspired stories. Satisfy your sweet tooth (and curiosity) with Food52’s deep dive into desserts from around the world before checking in with the Future Farmers of America and their strapping navy blue jackets. Meet some of the people behind Washington, D.C.’s favorite foods who also happen to be immigrants before taking a bite out of the brief history of your least favorite lunch meat — bologna. Are we on the cusp of a truffle cultivation breakthrough and how would holidays in the UK look without foreign influence? Read on with these seven excellent articles.

Why You Should Crack an Egg Into Your Coffee Grounds

Eater

Like so many great ideas, egg coffee was a technique born out of necessity. Lousy water, weak coffee, and long day of work meant the Scandinavian immigrants of Northern Minnesota had to get creative. According to U.S. Census data, Minnesota is home to the largest population of Scandinavian-Americans in the country, with immigrants arriving to the region in the mid-1800s; their culinary influences can now be found all over the Twin Cities and beyond. For those early immigrant farmers, the solution to bad coffee was near-at-hand and came, as one Minneapolis chef’s grandfather put it, “from the ass-end of a chicken.”

The Illustrated Biographies of 16 12 Global Desserts

Food 52

The donut that almost became the official dessert of Hanukkah — if the economy hadn’t gotten in the way.

A regional Mexican specialty rapidly fading from collective memory. And a ubiquitous Christmas cake tradition in a country that’s less than 1% Christian.

These are the dessert origins and quirky backstories that we found when we asked writers, cookbook authors, and community members to help us paint the pictures of what's baking in many corners of the world.

The Last European Christmas: On Brexit, Hodgepodge Dinners, and Finding Your Identity

Bon Appetit

Brought up in Scotland, with an Irish father and Italian mother, I’ve never felt British—“Heinz 57 Varieties” was the family joke. And despite living in England for years, it’s painfully clear I’m not English. The UK’s recent Brexit has left me feeling more out on a limb. Who even am I? For those of us who came up along with the EU these past two decades, and who have long been grateful for England’s vibrant melting-pot heritage, the vote is little short of jaw-dropping.

In good hands

The Washington Post

Their faces may not look familiar, but you know their work. They represent the heart and soul of the dining boom in Washington — and in restaurants across the country. “They do the tedious, day-to-day tasks that have to be consistent,” says Garrison chef-owner Rob Weland. “It’s an art, like a lot of things in cooking.”

And, to paraphrase a song belted out on Broadway every night to thunderous applause: They are all immigrants — they get the job done.

Meet a polish pierogi maker, tortilla trio, injera expert, lai mein master and beloved pasta mama.

How Lunch Became a Pile of Bologna

Eater

It’s a versatile foodstuff: made with pork, beef, chicken, turkey, or any emulsified combination of these so long as the meat scraps are ground (either finely or coarsely) into sausages, then cured like bologna’s Italian antecedent mortadella. Bologna might contain garlic or spices. It might come smoked, pickled, or packaged bearing a first and second name in the refrigerated grocery aisle. It’s cheap and it’s easy and, in many ways, its rise and fall has echoed social and economic transformations over the last hundred years. But what is the history of bologna in America — and does it have a future?

Has a Start-Up Found the Secret to Farming the Elusive Truffle?

The New York Times

Gig the truffle dog zigzags with her nose to the ground among hundreds of oak and filbert trees. Her goal is to sniff out the Perigord truffle, a fungus so prized by chefs it is called the diamond in the kitchen.

This is a training run: Gig is looking for — and eventually finds — a bit of truffle planted by her owner, Alyson Hart, at the behest of the vineyard’s owner, Robert Sinskey. Soon, Mr. Sinskey hopes, the English shepherd will be searching for the real underground McCoy.

The Future of the Future Farmers of America

Take Part

As long as I can remember, I’ve coveted a jacket.

Nothing that you’d find on any runway in Milan, though, or draped over the shoulders of a peacocking Kardashian. Instead, from the time I was a preteen, the piece of outerwear that has made my Kentucky-raised heart skip a beat is the signature jacket of the Future Farmers of America.

Equal parts structured and supple, rugged and genteel, the midnight blue showpiece always seemed to encapsulate what I cherished about growing up in a farming community—though I was never particularly adept at fixing tractors or birthing calves.

For years I pined after one, even tinkering with the idea of taking enough floriculture classes to maybe, just maybe, pass off getting my name looped in perfect cursive onto a jacket of my own.

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