Salt-baked chicken and chocolate mousse: What was the best recipe from the year you were born?

Food & Wine magazine is turning 40 this month, and to celebrate, the magazine compiled 40 recipes that have stood the test of time. They call them the best-ever recipes, but they also reflect how food culture and food media have changed over the past four decades.

I was born in 1983, when they featured a salt-baked chicken inspired by a dish from the Hakka region of China. I’ve never had a dish like this, but I can see that it reflected Americans’ love of Chinese cuisine in the 1980s and its budding interest in regionalism, even within what we then called “ethnic food.”

Many of you might have been born before 1978, but I think you’ll still enjoy this list that tracks the evolution of what we’d call American cuisine, which has always been a compendium of global cuisines.

1978 — Jacques Pepin’s Grand Marnier Souffle, an “ethereal recipe” that is “just as good today as it was 40 years ago.” At 82, Pepin has been a longtime contributor to Food & Wine magazine and he is still involved with it today.

1979 — Potato and Egg Pie with Bacon and Creme Fraiche from Andre Soltner, the chef-owner of an upscale Manhattan restaurant, Lutece, which was open for 40 years before closing in 2004.

French Chef Paul Bocuse, seen here in 2011, died earlier this year. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

1980 — Poulet au Vinaigre from the famed French master chef Paul Bocuse, who died earlier this year at 91.

1981 — Soboro Donburi, a Japanese meat-and-rice dish from Elizabeth Andoh, who has lived in Japan since 1967 and written several cookbooks on the cuisine.

1982 — Poached Eggs with Red Wine Sauce, a French spin on an American breakfast from culinary school founder Anne Willan.

1983 — Hakka-style Salt-Baked Chicken, a dish from southeast China in that a whole chicken is baked in a pot of salt.

1984 — Craig Claiborne’s Ultimate Chocolate Mousse from the esteemed New York Times restaurant critic, who took over as the newspaper’s food editor in 1957 and expanded its coverage of chefs and restaurants. He died in 2000.

Before Emeril Lagasse was a TV star, he was the head chef at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, a restaurant that has been open since 1880. In 2000, he invited Julia Child to be a guest on his Food Network TV show. She died in 2004. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)

1985 —Shrimp Creole from Emeril Lagasse, the former Commander’s Palace chef who was not yet a Food Network star when this recipe published.

1986 — Garlicky Braised Lamb Shanks with Sweet Peppers from Jeremiah Tower, the California chef behind Bay-area restaurants Chez Panisse and Stars, where he served this dish. Tower, Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck are credited with establishing and popularizing California cuisine.

1987 — Deep Dish All American Cinnamon Apple Pie from baking expert Rose Levy Beranbaum, who macerates the apples in sugar before making a syrup from the apple liquid that releases from the fruit.

1988 — Grilled Korean-Style Short Ribs from Linda Burum and Linda Merinoff, Los Angeles food writers who shared this recipe with Food & Wine readers, most of whom weren’t yet hip to Korean cuisine.

1989 — Sizzling Pancakes, a savory Vietnamese pancake the Connecticut-based chef Binh Duong.

Alice Waters has owned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., since 1971. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

1990 — Baked Goat Cheese Salad, Alice Waters’ iconic salad from Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

1991 — Mom’s Citrus Meringue Pie from African-American foodways historian Jessica B. Harris.

1992 — Seared Salmon with Summer Vegetables from Michael Romano, the chef behind Union Square Cafe in New York City.

1993 — Swordfish Sicilian-Style from Marcella Hazan, the legendary Italian cookbook author who was a Food & Wine contributor in the 1990s.

1994 — Julia Child’s Ham Steaks in Maderia Sauce, a recipe that celebrated the humble cut of pork that America’s best-known food personality called a “fast entree for fancy people.”

1995 — Jerk Chicken from Paul Chung, a “self-taught cook of Chinese-Jamaican descent who worked in the Food & Wine mail room.”

1996 — Vegetable Hot-and-Sour Soup from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, a columnist who covered low-fat cooking for the magazine during the height of the low-fat diet era.

1997 — Catalan Tomato Bread, a Spanish recipe from cookbook author and TV host Steven Raichlen, who continues to write grilling books today.

1998 — Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken from Charles Phan, chef/owner of The Slanted Door in San Francisco, who said this was one of his favorite (and easiest) dishes to make at home.

1999 — Pizza with Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche and Caviar, a very Wolfgang Puck recipe from the Austrian-born, California chef who became known as the Oscars chef.

2000 — Fried Chicken with Tomato Gravy and the Best Biscuits from the legendary Southern chef Edna Lewis, who died in 2006, and her longtime assistant Scott Peacock.

2001 — Shrimp and Corn Chowder from Ecuadorian chef Maricel Presilla, who continues to run a restaurant in New Jersey called Zafra.

2002 — Pasta with Sausage, Mustard and Basil from British cookbook author Nigel Slater.

2003 — Chicken Tikka Masala, “the perfect gateway dish to Indian cooking” from Grace Parisi, a Food & Wine recipe developer.

2004 — Breton Butter Cake, a spin on the famed french pastry kouign-amann from cookbook authors Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford.

2005 — Antipasto Salad with Green Olive Tapenade, a recipe from former Best New Chef winner Nancy Silverton.

2006 — Crispy Okra Salad, which calls for thinly sliced strips of okra, a technique from Indian chef Suvir Saran.

2007 — Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette, a “Queer Eye”-worthy dish from “Chopped” host Ted Allen, who was on the original season of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”

2008 — Tiki Snack Mix, a nod to the revived tiki cocktail movement, from Food & Wine recipe developer Melissa Rubel Jacobson.

2009 — Kogi Dogs from Roy Choi, the Los Angeles-based chef who got his start in a food trailer and was the first to win a Best New Chef award without running a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

2010 — Mom’s Chocolate Cake, a moist layer cake whose recipe had been passed down through several generations and ultimately landed in the lands of longtime Food & Wine test kitchen supervisor Marcia Kiesel.

2011 — Kimchi Creamed Collard Greens from Hugh Acheson, the Georgia-based chef who in 2002 was named a Best New Chef for the magazine and has since appeared as a judge on “Top Chef.”

2012 — Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes, a recipe from TV host Andrew Zimmern that has become the most popular dish on Food & Wine’s website since it was published six years ago.

2013 — Farro and Green Olive Salad with Walnuts and Raisins from Heidi Swanson, one of the early food bloggers who turned her website, 101 Cookbooks, into a thriving food writing career.

2014 — Almost-Instant Soft Serve, a recipe from Justin Chapple, who oversees the magazine’s Mad Genius series, which includes videos and articles about smart food hacks.

2015 — Spaghetti with Clams and Braised Greens, a new spin on an old classic from Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in North Carolina.

2016 — Tomatoes with Herbs and Almond Vinaigrette, whose dressing from Dan Kluger of New York City’s Loring Place is what caught the eye of Food & Wine editors.

2017 — Chickpea and Kale in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce, another new spin on an old classic, this time from Missy Robbins, a former Best New Chef winner known for her restaurant, Lilia.

2018 — Miznon’s Whole Roasted Cauliflower, the signature dish at Eyal Shani’s restaurants from Tel Aviv to Melbourne and now New York City.




Narrated, co-produced by Natalie Portman, ‘Eating Animals’ hits Austin theaters this week

“Eating Animals” was the name of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2010 non-fiction book about vegetarianism and industrial agriculture.

‘Eating Animals’ profiles several farmers and ranchers who raise animals outside the industry norm of CAFOs, or concentrated animal feeding operations. Contributed by Eating Animals

This summer, a documentary inspired by the book — co-produced and narrated by Natalie Portman and directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn — is hitting select theaters. After a special screening on Thursday, the movie will be in Austin’s Regal Arbor 8 and Violet Crown theaters starting on Friday.

Quinn will be in Austin on Saturday for two post-film Q&A sessions, one after the 6 p.m. screening at Violet Crown and another after the 7:20 p.m. screening at Regal Arbor.

MORE ONLINE: Nominate your favorite people and places in Austin for our inaugural Best of the Best Awards

At 6:45 p.m. Thursday at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller, you can watch a screening of “Eating Animals” and listen to a panel discussion afterwards with  Brittany Illescas of Central Texas Pig Rescue, naturopath vegan doctor Lauren Sanchez, Britty Hamby of ATX Vegans and Jessica Morris, co-author of “The Taco Cleanse.”

Seating is first come, first served until all the seats are full. You can RSVP at this link, but that doesn’t guarantee a seat. If you want to catch the movie later this week, it opens for regular showings at Regal Arbor 8 on Friday.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but Tamar Haspel has already seen it and fact-checked the movie for the Washington Post.


Joanna Gaines’ daughter has a summer baking business — what would be yours?

Joanna Gaines’ daughter, Ella, is already has a summer job.

Looking for an easy-to-gift treat to keep in your pantry? You can bake pound cake in jars that will last for up to a year. Contributed by Lucy Shaeffer

The former “Fixer Upper” star posted a photo on Instagram today of the young baker and her goods, which she’s selling at the Magnolia headquarters in Waco.

Joanna Gaines says she has been baking some of her family’s favorite recipes, some of which appear in her mom’s cookbook that came out this spring.

RELATED: 15 healthy and portable mason jar breakfasts, lunches and dinners

Making day-off baking plans? Try these pound cakes in jars

Ella made her Aunt Opal’s banana pudding and the chocolate chip cookies from her mom’s cookbook this week, which got me thinking, which recipes would I make and sell — in jars or otherwise — for a summer business?

The world’s best chocolate chip cookies (or at least I think so). Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I’d make iced lemon cookies or my sister’s world’s best chocolate chip cookies. Or these Snickerdoodle bars from “Bravetart” by Stella Parks.

Cake pops! For an even easier project, you could make “deconstructed cake pops in a jar” and net a pretty penny in sales.

These gluten-free chiffon cake and chocolate ganache recipes would be perfect to serve inside a small Mason jar. You could even take a cue from Ella and tie some twine and a spoon around the top to boost sales.

My very favorite summer cake recipe is that upside down peach cake, which I’m sure I could figure out how to bake in the jars, for easy transport and presentation. Maybe I could even figure out how to bake it in an Instant Pot

That cherry cheesecake from earlier this week could also easily be baked into small jars or containers.

Cake pops are a fun treat to make, but you could use the concept of crumbling cake and serving it with icing to make a deconstructed cake pop in a jar. Contributed by Aimee Wenske


One ‘Fixer Upper’ star celebrates new cookbook; the other proceeds to put foot in mouth

Former hosts of the wildly popular “Fixer Upper” series, Joanna and Chip Gaines stopped by “Today” this morning to talk about two firsts: her first cookbook, which comes out today, and his first marathon, which will also be Waco’s first marathon, slated for May 6.

Joanna and Chip Gaines were guests on the “Today” show on April 24, the release date for her new cookbook. Contributed by “Today”

Joanna’s book is already a bestseller, and it features dozens of recipes from the family cupboard and some from the couple’s new Magnolia Table restaurant in Waco. “The Magnolia Table” feels like a mash-up of Ree Drummond, Deb Perelman and Lisa Fain, featuring the Pioneer Woman’s unapologetic enthusiasm for family cooking and the farm life, the Smitten Kitchen blogger’s mastery of filtered light and elegant food styling and the Homesick Texan’s passion for Lone Star foodways.

Joanna said she wasn’t always an avid cook, but that’s changed as her family has grown. “The kids aren’t wanting to go out to eat these days, so it’s nice that they want to appreciate having us at home,” she said. “I love the idea of cooking. It’s like design, getting to create beautiful memories in your home. I’ve enjoyed creating these moments around the table with our family and friends.”

RELATED: Joanna Gaines shares three easy (and two-ingredient) Christmas treats

Contributed by “Today”

Chip’s upcoming race came from a desire to run a marathon, but when they realized Waco didn’t have a marathon, they decided to host one. The Silo District Marathon on May 6 already has 5,000 registrants, he said during the live interview this morning, but when the conversation turned to Joanna’s fifth pregnancy, the beloved “Fixer Upper” star nearly ruined the segment with comments about how he “always dated slightly bigger boned girls” before marrying her. Amid awkward laughter and a “How did we get to this?” comment, the hosts, Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin, changed the subject, but Chip loved the body comparison so much he made it again at the close of the interview.

Fodder for his next book on doing “stupid stuff.”

You can find the recipes for Joanna’s chicken pot pie, biscuits, scalloped potatoes on the “Today” show’s website. You can watch the segment here.

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Silo Baking Co. is one of several businesses from “Fixer Upper” couple Chip and Joanna Gaines. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman


A new year, a new need for donations to help pay off school lunch debt

Remember when paying off school lunches became something of a viral form of activism last year?
Austin ISD serves about 80,000 meals a day, including about 700 to students who are far enough behind in paying for their lunches that they receive a “courtesy” meal that the district absorbs into its operating costs. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Students who can’t pay for their lunch has always been an issue, but it’s on Americans’ minds as school funding and other assistance programs are cut. In the Austin school district alone, the nutrition and food services department serves 80,000 meals per day, including about 700 meals that the students receiving them can’t pay for.
hose courtesy meals, as they are known, cost the school $350,000 each year. In late 2016, AISD opened a crowdfunding campaign that went viral and eventually raised more than $20,000 to help with students’ lunch.
Austin Independent School District provides healthy, nutritious lunches to thousands of students, even if they can’t afford to pay for it, but the courtesy meal ends up coming out of the nutrition and food services budget. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman
Anticipating a similar need this year, AISD launched another crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $10,000 to help students during this school year.
Right now, 24 backers have donated $1,735.
If you’re feeling generous with that post-holiday glow, you can donate here to help alleviate even more student lunch debt in Austin.
Here’s how you can help other Austin-area schools with lunch debt.

Sorry, coworker dude: That’s not how you make mac ‘n’ cheese

Mac and cheese took over Twitter today.

A Twitter user @coolstoryjanis posted a photo on Thursday morning of a macaroni and cheese that her coworker brought to potluck.

It doesn’t look like the mac and cheese that you might have been expecting.

Of all the mistakes you could make when preparing mac and cheese, this one is pretty common. Technically, it *is* macaroni and cheese, but the cheese hasn’t been heated enough to melt and — even more critically — hasn’t been melted into a sauce that will coat the pasta.

RELATED: DIY macaroni and cheese mix, just in time for back to school

You’re gonna want this recipe for crab cake mac and cheese

This poor coworker got roasted on social media, but I think we’ve all been there (minus the internet shame).

So how do you make proper homemade mac and cheese? Well, you could just buy a frozen container of Luby’s and serve it in a casserole dish — just don’t fib about it when you get to the potluck.

Luby’s makes some of the best mac and cheese around, and you can buy it in the frozen section of many H-E-B stores. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

For traditional homemade cheese, you’ll need to make a standard bechamel sauce with flour/butter/milk/cheese, similar to this Chowhound recipe.

It’s not difficult to cook the flour in the butter and then add the milk and cheese, but it does take more effort than opening a box.

That’s not to say I don’t serve the Kraft blue box, too, but it’s nice to know how to make a cheesy sauce that you can use on plain ol’ macaroni or in a casserole.

RELATED: A sweet potato mac and cheese casserole for when boss ladies make lunch

WATCH: Luby’s hits with frozen mac and cheese, misses with square fish

Are pasture-raised chickens better than cage-free? Let’s watch dueling ads to find out

Vital Farms’ new ad campaign doesn’t mince words: Most egg advertising is (expletive.)

But a new Sanderson Farms ad says the same thing: Don’t fall for marketing gimmicks when it comes to eggs.

These are companies with different chicken-raising standards, different products (eggs and chicken meat), different farmers and different customers, but the ads look surprisingly similar. Same visuals. Same tone (silly meets warm agrarian life). And, for some viewers, the same WTF reaction that I had.

“With common sense here and some hearty food here, here a chicken, there a chicken, everywhere a happy chicken,” is one of the lyrics from that Sanderson Farms ad, which has a whole satirical website — — to support the campaign that pokes fun at the feel-good environmentalists who want to see the entire industry take better care of chickens.

Vital Farms, the Austin-based company that sells a dozen eggs for more than $5, is playing hardball for organic grocery dollars. It has expanded quickly in the past few years, signing on lots of smaller farms that can get top dollar for their free-roaming chicken eggs.

The latest Vital Farm commercial touts all that room while calling out other companies for using labels like “cage-free,” which can be confusing to customers. “Our chickens get 108 square feet per hen. How much room does a cage-free hen get? About one. One square foot per hen,” the farmer in the Vital Farms ad says.

A rep from Vital Farms: “‘Cage-free’ eggs are laid by hens that are restricted to giant indoor barns, with little more than 1 square foot per hen. Vital Farms pasture-raised and Certified Humane hens, by contrast, enjoy at least 108 square feet of open space each and can roam and forage outside whenever they please.”

In the ad, Vital Farms doesn’t specifically call out anyone for using “free-range,” which is now a different category of eggs that falls between “cage-free” and “pasture-raised.” It’s a third category that consumers need to know about it they are assessing all the options. These birds get only two square feet and access to the outside, but they aren’t primarily housed outside.

RELATED: Natural, organic and cage-free: Decoding labels for meat, dairy, eggs

What’s a consumer to do? My answer: Think critically about all advertising, not just the ones from the companies you already like or dislike. Yes, it’s important to know that cage-free doesn’t mean that chickens are frolicking around in a field, but it’s also important to know that conventional farming might not look like the horror stories you’ve seen in activist documentaries.

I don’t think that either of these ads are winners — the Sanderson ad is too dismissive of the environmental concerns about raising chickens in confined spaces, and the expletives make the Vital Farms ad seem off brand for a company that has gone for wholesome imagery — but I mostly thought it was interesting how similar they are and how marketing firms are using the same advertising techniques, no matter which side of the story they are trying to tell.

CORRECTION: This post originally misstated the number of square feet per chicken at Vital Farms. The number is 108 square feet per chicken.



Check out the latest lifelike cake from ‘Texas Cake House’ before it flies away

The cake artists who run Sideserf Cakes and star in the Food Network show “Texas Cake House” have made cakes that looks like a bleeding heart, a chimp, LeBron James and the human-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.

But earlier this year while filming for the show, Natalie and Dave Sideserf made a cake for the Umlauf Sculpture Garden that will make you look twice.

This blue heron cake will be featured on Saturday’s episode of “Texas Cake House.” Contributed by Food Network

Inspired by a blue heron that occasionally visited the sculpture garden off Barton Springs Road, the cake artists made a life-sized heron with realistic feathers and two legs sturdy enough to hold up the edible bird.

It’s a sugar sculpture in a sculpture garden and an impressive one at that. You can catch the whole episode with the blue heron cake — “Fly Me to the Moon” is the name of the episode if you want to record or search for it — this Saturday at noon on the Food Network.

ICYMI last week, the Sideserfs made this two-headed dog cake for Roky Erickson’s 70th birthday.

RELATED: New generation of cake artists push the limits of edible art

Making magical cakes without much wizardry

Below, you’ll find a few photos of the Sideserf’s amazing cakes.

Photos from

WATCH: Austin woman turns FedEx truck into food truck for hospitalized kids

Becky Nichols has long been a hero of mine.

Back in 2011, I interviewed her about her daughter, Libbie, who had died a few years earlier, and the nonprofit she started in her honor.

Becky Nichols is keeping the memory of her daughter, Libbie, alive by donating mac and cheese, chicken and dumplings, and birthday cakes to area children’s hospitals. For years, she ran the Bountiful Bakery Cafe in Westlake, but now she runs a food truck called Libbie’s Funtime Food Truck. Laura Skelding/American-Statesman

At that time, Nichols was leaving cases of mac and cheese and chicken noodle soup in the refrigerators around Dell Children’s Medical Center, but in the past few years, she opened a food truck to extend the reach of the Loving Libbie Foundation.

I was delighted to hear this week that Nichols and her Loving Libbie truck were featured on “NBC Nightly News.”

I ran into Nichols a few months ago at H-E-B, and, as always, I was moved by her presence. If you see Libbie’s Funtime Food Truck around town, be sure to ask her about Libbie. She loves talking about her daughter and carrying on her legacy all these years later.

Libbie’s Funtime Food Truck opens at various locations around Austin, but it’s most frequent home is near Dell Children’s Medical Center. Contributed by Loving Libbie Foundation



Bon Appetit snags the recipe for Bob Armstrong dip

Bob Armstrong is having a moment today.

Well, in Austin, the former land commissioner and state representative is always having a moment because he’s always on the menu at Matt’s El Rancho, one of the most popular and iconic Tex-Mex restaurants in the city.

USE THIS PHOTO ON JUMP ZACH RYALL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN. 4/24/79. Bob Armstrong strums the banjo and sings to Marry Anne Wooten, a volunteer with the Natural Science Association as they paddle downstream in Town Lake near the Zilker Nature Trail. Noel Dolce is also in the boat but has his back to the camera. Noel Dolce is the Natural Science Association president. This was a promo for the annual Zilker Safari.
Bob Armstrong strums the banjo and sings to Marry Anne Wooten, a volunteer with the Natural Science Association as they paddle downstream in Town Lake near the Zilker Nature Trail. Zach Ryall / 1979 American-Statesman file photo

The Bob Armstrong dip, which Armstrong himself had been known to enjoy before his death in 2015, has the holy trinity of queso, guacamole and ground beef.

Lisa Fain, aka The Homesick Texan, recreated the recipe on her blog in 2014 — you’ll remember she has a whole queso book in the works — but last month, Bon Appetit published the official recipe from Bon Appetit’s Rick Martinez along with a video of how to put it together.

Love queso? Don’t forget to check out Matthew Odam’s Queso the Mondays series.

We’ve polled readers several times over the years about their favorite queso, and Torchy’s always seems to top the list. Here’s the most recent guide to the best queso in Austin, according to our readers.

10/24/2002 Staff Photo by Peter Yang AMERICAN-STATESMAN Matt's El Rancho. (left to right) Chile Relleno, Carne Guisada and the Bob Armstrong dip.
Matt’s El Rancho on South Lamar serves the famed Bob Armstrong dip, right. Peter Yang/American-Statesman file photo