This week's guest claims that without fruits we'd still be swinging from trees eating bugs. Fruit-obsessed journalist Adam Leith Gollner joins us for a look at the fruit leggers and their stories as told in his book The Fruit Hunters: The Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession. The Sterns experience a religious moment at the church of heavenly barbecue - Louie Mueller's in Taylor, Texas. Wine maverick Joshua Wesson talks cool wines for steamy days, and food scientist Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, explains what's really going on with those color-enhanced steaks in the meat case.
Here's an old method for preserving fruit with a very fresh taste without cooking. The juicy crushed berries make a nice spread with bread, and a delicious filling for cake. But this kind of sweet preserve also has a place on the dinner table. Miss Lewis gave me a jar of sugared raspberries-the first I'd ever seen-when I visited her one springtime soon after we met. The following December, at my birthday dinner, I served them as an accompaniment to roast chicken and yeast rolls-very Southern and very delicious. Get the full recipe.
Jane and Michael Stern: Louie Mueller's BBQ, Taylor, TX.
It's all about beef and smoke at this central Texas barbecue joint. Jane says the
brisket - smoked long and slow and seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper and bastings of flavorful drippings - is the best she's ever had
It's strictly utilitarian here, nothing fancy. There are no plates and no sides. Your order is simply piled on a cafeteria tray lined with pink butcher paper and accompanied by slices of squishy white bread for mopping up the delicious juices and a little cup of natural beef drippings. The Sterns warn against ordering a lean cut of brisket. It's dry and you'll be disappointed. Go for the fattier, well marbled cut. Michael says it's barbecue heaven.
When those steamy dog days of summer set in, wine wizard Joshua Wesson says look to thirst-quenching young wines from cool climates. You want balanced, high acid, tangy, low alcohol (12% or less) ones that are refreshing on their own without food. Now is not the time for old, low acid, high alcohol wines that were aged in wood and are complex and costly. Here are some types to look for. Serve them all chilled.
Sparkling: go for a Prosecco such as Zardetto.
White: a Riesling from Germany's Mosel region with "QBA" noted on the label is a good pick.
Pink: look to France's Loire region for a Rosé or Gamay.
Red: a Chilean Pinot Noir from the Casa Blanca Valley is a good choice and many are bargains.
And don't forget spritzers. Pour one of these wines over ice, add a splash of seltzer and a slice or two of fresh fruit and you have the perfect quaff when you're wilted.