Category Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT on… CHEDDAR CHEESE (#12)

Cheddar cheese, for me, encapsulates all that is great about British cuisine. Fine, it’s not creamy like Brie or Coulommiers. It doesn’t have the soft tang of Manchego, or the plump of Mozzarella. What it is, though, is versatile, dependable, and comforting. Whether it’s sandwiches, pasta bakes, or omelettes; sliced, melted, or cubed on a […]

SPOTLIGHT on… PEANUT (#11)

First domesticated several thousand years ago, probably in present day Argentina or Bolivia, the peanut is now eaten worldwide. Upon reaching the shores of Mesoamerica in the early 16th century, Spanish colonisers discovered the peanut plant (or tlalcacahuatl in the local Nahuatl language), where it had spread from South America and was widely cultivated for […]

SPOTLIGHT on… MINT (#10)

Native to the Mediterranean and Asia, mint is somewhat of a mystery – we know that several different species exist, but nobody knows exactly how many. It is estimated that there could be around fifteen, but the distinction between them is not always clear, and hybrids are common and naturally occurring. Very mint-sterious! What we […]

SPOTLIGHT on… BUTTERNUT SQUASH (#9)

You would assume the ubiquitous, ever-popular butternut squash would have a long agricultural and culinary history. It is, however, relatively new on the squash scene, bred in the 1940s by Mr. Charles Leggett, a local resident of Stow, Massachusetts who sought to develop a squash variety which was larger, sweeter, nuttier, butterier, and easier to […]

SPOTLIGHT on… CASSAVA (#8)

Cassava, also known as yuca or manioc, may be the most important food crop you’ve never heard of. A major staple food across the developing world, drought-tolerant and capable of growth in poor soil, it provides a reliable basic diet for some half a billion people worldwide. Consumed for centuries by native South Americans, it […]

SPOTLIGHT ON… BLACK BEANS (#7)

It might sound dramatic, but the history of beans is intricately woven into the history of human civilisation. Many of the earliest permanent societies, as hunter-gatherers settled and began to develop systems of agriculture, depended heavily on domesticated varieties of beans for sustenance. A reliable source of protein to complement staples such as wheat and […]

SPOTLIGHT on… SALAK (#6)

Salak, also known as snake fruit, is a crop native to Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. The fruit grows in clusters at the base of squat-looking palm trees, and is sometimes named snake fruit on account of its scaly, brown skin. The crop is now grown throughout Southeast Asia, and when in season, is most […]