Cinnamon
Ingredients

Cinnamon

Cinnamon, the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree, was used by wealthy Romans as perfume and others as an aphrodisiac. During the rainy season, when the bark is pliable, it is harvested for cinnamon production. As the bark dries, it forms long quills that are either cut into sticks or ground into powder. Two […]

Olive Oil
Ingredients

Olive Oil

Olive groves line the rocky hillsides of Italy and the Mediterranean coast. For millennia, the region has produced gorgeous olives (they were a favorite street snack in ancient Rome) and olive oils (tools for making olive oil that date back 4500 years have been found in Crete). The average age of southern Italian olive trees […]

oaxacan mole cooking
Ingredients

Mole

Photo by Edsel Little The justly famous mole is a complex sauce made from toasted seeds, soaked and puréed chiles, ground raisins, spices, herbs, and a bit of semi-sweet chocolate. Throughout Mexico, the chocolate, seeds, and chiles remain constants, but their types and the rest of the ingredients fluctuate wildly according to the cook. Oaxacan […]

Rice
Ingredients

Rice

Rice, the main source of sustenance for half of the world’s population, comes in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Rice grains can be long, like those of basmati rice from India and jasmine rice from Thailand; tiny, like mochi-gome from Japan, which is similar in shape to Italian arborio rice; or somewhere […]

Lemongrass
Ingredients

Lemongrass

Photo by odonata98 (Kimberly Reinhart)  This herb, which is native to Malaysia and grown throughout Southeast Asia and California, is one of the most important in Southeast Asian cooking. With the great popularity of the food of that region, lemon grass has made its way onto countless ingredients lists for all sorts of dishes. It has […]