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Archive for Food Fun

FOOD FUN: Convert Canning Jars To Drinkware

If you’ve been to restaurants or parties where the drinks are served in canning jars, you can be just as trendy at home or on the go.

And you can do it with an improved approach: a spillproof drinking lid adapter.

The Cuppow is a new invention that lets you up-cycle a canning jar into an eco-friendly beverage travel mug or sippy cup—although since glass is breakable, even extra-thick Mason jar, you’ll have to judge the portability based on your own habits.

“The canning jar already makes an awesome platform for a travel mug,” say the manufacturers. “It’s easy to clean, made of heat-resistant glass, cheap, durable, and when sealed it doesn’t leak. The only problem is that with their large openings, canning jars are not great for spill-free sipping while on the move. So we adapted it [into] a simple, eco-friendly alternative to poor-performing and messy disposable hot cups, and over-built and expensive travel mugs.”


Turn your canning jars into drinkware. Photo courtesy Cuppow.


The plastic circles, that insert into the metal rim of the canning jar lid, are available in clear, blue and pink for regular jars and clear, mint green, and orange for wide mouth jars. The adapters enable you to drink sippy-cup-style or insert a straw.


Photo courtesy Cuppow.


At $7.99 each they are pretty expensive for the plastic inset only: You BYO jar and metal lid. For a one-off, the price is affordable; but if you want to use them for the whole family or for entertaining, you have to trade off cost versus fun. One hopes that the company will find a way to bring the price down.

The Cuppow is made in the U.S.A. from 100% recycled BPA/BPS-free rigid plastic. It is dishwasher safe (top rack only).

They are available at retailers nationwide and at

The manufacturer is committed to diverting as much waste as possible from landfills and contributes 5% of profits to domestic charities and social initiatives.



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FOOD FUN: “Rose” Vegetable Tart & Apple Tart

A gorgeous vegetable tart. Photo courtesy


Is this food fun or food art? Perhaps this colorful, spiral vegetable tart is both.

The masterpiece was created by a U.K. blogger, Vicky (no surname provided) of

“Carrying on from my Rose Apple Tarts [see below],” says Vicki, “I decided to make a similar savoury version using bright coloured vegetables—courgettes [zucchini], carrots and aubergines [eggplant]. It turned out to be very pretty, but it did take a lot of work and patience! It’s a good one to make if you have a glut of vegetables in the summer, and a bit of time on your hands :).

“For this tart,” Vicky continues, “you could equally experiment with different fillings (e.g. an egg/quiche filling) and a variety of other vegetables (butternut squash, beetroot, etc.)


“There are so many exciting colour, flavour and texture combinations you can play around with for this tart….I think miniature [tartlets] with beetroot and goat cheese would be great as a starter. Some of the tougher vegetables like beetroot, you may need to blanch/par cook.”

Ready to create your own “art tart?” Here’s how Vicky did it: the recipe.


The vegetable tart was inspired by Vicky’s Rosey Apple, Custard & Jam Tarts, miniature tartlets which she adapted from a recipe in The Great British Bake Off.

So let’s take a closer look at the lovely rose tarts—actually, apple, custard and jam tartlets (a tart is a multi-portion dish; a tartlet is an individual portion).

“In truth, they were a little tricky to make and there was a lot of apple slicing involved!” says Vicki. I did harbor some doubts as I surveyed the enormous mound of apple slices in front of me.

“However it all worked out in the end and my work paid off. These tarts are definitely worth the effort if you fancy something a little bit special.”

You can tell from this photo exactly how special they are. Here’s the rose tart recipe.


A rose-inspired apple tart. Photo courtesy



Check out the different types of pies, tarts and pastries in our delicious glossary.


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FOOD FUN: “Who” Made This Owl?

We found this owl on the Facebook page of Euforia Cake, but there was no attribution. If you know who should be credited, let us know!

If only we had the talent to sculpt fruit and vegetables into fantastic creatures! Instead, we’ll take pleasure in sharing the ones we find.

We’ve counted up the ingredients:

  • Head: cantaloupe
  • Eyes: grapes
  • Neck: chicory
  • Body: watermalon
  • Wings: spinach and zucchini
  • Legs: broccoli stalks
  • Tail: green onions and chilis

    We love it, but we don’t know who made it…or shot it.



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    FOOD FUN: The Turducken Of Sausage

    Today’s Food Fun involves a word new to most people, engastration; a food familiar to many, turducken; and a bratwurst-hot dog riff on turducken.


    Turducken consists of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a de-boned turkey. The dish is a form of engastration: a preparation method in which one bird is stuffed inside the gastric passage of another to create a bird inside a bird inside a bird. The term is derived from Greek words meaning “in the belly.”

    Some recipes also have stuffing between each layer. The entire bird/bird/bird could also be covered in pastry.

    The method of engastration supposedly originated during the Middle Ages (here’s more engrastration history). A popular dish in 19th century England was Pandora’s Cushion, a boned goose stuffed with a boned chicken, which was stuffed with a boned pheasant, itself stuffed with a boned quail.”


    The Beast: a sausage stuffed with a hot dog, the cousin of turducken. Photo courtesy


    The engastration most often consumed in the U.S. is the turducken. While Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme claims to have invented the idea, there is an Empire Kosher Poultry recipe book that long pre-dates Prudhomme’s recipe, although the recipe wasn’t called turducken. So Prudhomme may be credited with coming up with the portmanteau (see below).

    But turducken might easily have remained unknown outside Louisiana for a long time. Fortunately for turducken lovers, American football commentator John Madden promoted the dish on Fox Sports by feeding it to the Thanksgiving Bowl winners.


    Turducken: turkey stuffed with chicken
    stuffed with duck. Photo courtesy Louisiana
    Crawfish Co.



    Schlitz claimed it was “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.” But with all the food fans online these days, that claim is waiting to be updated.

    In the 21st century, the contender to make Milwaukee famous is The Beast, a grilled bratwurst sliced in half and stuffed with a grilled hot dog. The brat/dog is then wrapped in bacon and grilled.

    At The Plaza Pavillion in Miller Park, it’s served with sauerkraut and grilled onions on a Pretzilla pretzel roll, with house-made potato chips and a pickle.

    What, only one item stuffed into a second item? If the bacon doesn’t work for you as the third layer, just split the grilled hot dog in half and stuff it with cheese.


    The word turducken is a portmanteau of turkey, duck, and chicken.


    A portmanteau (port-MAN-toe) is a combination of two or more words or morphemes, and their respective definitions, into one new word.

    The term derives from portmanteau luggage, a British term for a piece of luggage with two compartments, which in turn is derived from the French porter (to carry) and manteau (coat). A porte-manteau is a coat tree.

    The term was first used in the combined-meaning context in 1871 by Lewis Carroll in “Through the Looking-Glass.” Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of the unusual words in Jabberwocky: “slithy” means “lithe and slimy” and “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable.”

    Humpty Dumpty explains: “You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.”


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    FOOD FUN: A Wall Poster For Pasta Lovers

    Gaze at 250 different styles of pasta! Photo


    Passionate about pasta? How many shapes have you eaten?

    If you want to dream about having it all, this wall poster features more than 250 shapes of pasta, broken down by those that are formed by machines and dies (like fusilli, penne and rigatoni) and those that are traditionally crafted by hand (like gnocchi, pappardelle and tagliatelle).

    All pasta is made from flour, eggs and water; it’s the artistry that makes them different*. Both dried and fresh pasta are made in numerous shapes, with 310 specific forms known variably by more than 1300 different names†. But why are there so many different pasta shapes?

    For hundreds of years, what we know as Italy was comprised of warring city-states‡, under different foreign controls.

    The city-states were only united into the nation of modern Italy in 1861. Over the prior centuries, each of the city-states developed its own, insular cuisine, and there wasn’t much sharing with the others. Everything, including pasta, was made by local artisans who pursued their own culinary muses. Similar shapes (bells, flowers, corkscrews) made in different city-states have different names (yes, it’s confusing).


    Marco Polo is credited with bringing “pillow pasta” to Italy—the stuffed, fried dumplings of China that evolved into Italian ravioli. The Chinese also made noodles for soup. But credit for the invention of boiled pasta is given to the Arabs. Traders from Arabia packed dried pasta on long journeys over the famed Silk Road to China. It didn’t spoil and could be easily cooked over a fire.

    According to culinary historians, the Arabs first adapted Chinese noodles noodles for long journeys in the 5th century, the first written record of dry pasta. Durum wheat (semolina) was introduced by Libyan Arabs during their conquest of Sicily in the late 7th century and 8th century (source: Wikipedia). So it’s ironic that Italy, not Arabia, became the world’s pasta capital—and that pasta faded out of favor in the Arab world.

    With the Plethora Of Pasta Permutations chart, you can decorate your wall with 250 varieties of pasta, from obscure variations found only in hilltop villages in Italy to those stocked on supermarket shelves around the world.

    Each 24″ x 36″ poster is signed and numbered by the artists, from an edition of 500. The unframed poster is $26, with framing options available, at

    Or, you can see all the different pasta types in our Pasta Glossary for free!

    *Superior qualities of flour, different minerals in the local waters, and different artisan techniques can make the flavors of fine pasta noticeably better from mass-marketed varieties.

    †According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta by Zanini De Vita, Oretta, University of California Press.

    ‡At the start of the 14th century, Italy was a patchwork of independent towns and small principalities whose borders were drawn and redrawn by battles, diplomatic negotiations and marriage alliances. During the 14th and 15th centuries, many of these petty principalities consolidated into five major political units that precariously balanced power on the Italian peninsula: the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, the Papal States and the three major city-states of Florence, Venice and Milan. The other minor city-states which co-existed with these larger powers made political stability in Italy even more tenuous as their loyalties shifted from one main force to another. The most powerful were Ferrara, Florence, Genoa, Mantua, Milan, Pisa, Siena, Verona and Venice. (Source: University of Calgary)


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