Art or Craft? An Essay on Food by Michael Laiskonis


It ultimately comes down to the refinement of an idea, which like everything else might mean different things to different people. It continues to evolve. For better or worse, fashions and trends will continue to push us in this direction or that. In the end, I believe that good food is good food, but if it looks amazing, the same dish just might taste that much better. As long as the element doesn’t detract from the composition, every drop of reduction or smear of puree is valid. Maybe my quest is not ultimate minimalism, but rather the sense of deliberate intent to make the right choices and to make everything count. If those artfully placed dots of sauce make the dish better, then it’s all good. And if they don’t, well, I guess that’s ok too. Continue reading

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Historic Preservation: Don’t Scrap the Kitchen


In 1853 the historic preservation movement was created by Ann Pamela Cunningham – establishing the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association – to save and renovate Mount Vernon. This was an important step in recognizing the importance of preserving our history, starting with the home of the first president. This was an immensely important recognition of the need to preserve buildings and neighborhoods and the role of buildings and neighborhoods in history. They provide a context for history. Continue reading

Hot Plate Music Hour: Gravy in Music + a Dinner Party Playlist

Hot Plate Music Hour: Gravy in Music + a Dinner Party Playlist


In the eyes of the uninitiated, gravy could appear to be little more than an uninspired glop of dishwater colored slop: a flavor crutch akin to simply soaking a meal in pure lard. These unlearned individuals deserve not only the pity of all Southerners who have studied at the gravy skillet (perhaps in the form of a collective “bless their hearts”) but a proper education in how the often delicate and always intricate flavor profile of this sauce extraordinaire has fueled generations as a breakfast staple smothering biscuits, lunchtime accompaniment and dinnertime delight married with the crunch of a crispy chicken fried steak. Continue reading

Margaret Haughery: Mother to the Motherless


Margaret Haughery, was born in Cavan, Ireland (Carrigallen, CountyLeitrim) in 1813 to William and Margaret O’Rourke Gaffney. The fifth of six children, Margaret left Ireland with her parents and two siblings when she was five – setting sail for America. The year, 1818, was a time of high emigration from Ireland as the country was plagued with destitution, political turmoil and oppression under British rule. Eventually landing in Baltimore, the family struggled to find work and save enough money to bring the remaining children over from Ireland. After four years of hard work and the loss of their youngest child, William and Margaret were almost ready to send for the rest of their family when disaster struck. In 1822 a yellow fever epidemic hit Baltimore, claiming the lives of both parents. Continue reading

Tom Gianfagna and Aficionadi


Having spent over two decades as an internationally award-winning creative in the design and advertising industry, Tom Gianfagna focuses now on the creation of his limited edition prints and commissioned artwork. He has long been a fan of vintage advertising posters for their simple graphic style and humorous charm. With this appreciation often in mind, he enjoys creating images that are similarly appealing.
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