Summer Entertaining with the Salonnière

[…]It’s summertime, dolls – time for an outdoor soiree. So says Carla McDonald, Austin hostess, former marketing executive, television host, and founder of the entertaining website The Salonnière. With a tone aptly self-described as “conversational and frolicsome,” McDonald and her associates dish details on how to throw fabulous fetes, illustrating the articles with vintage photos that toss a saucy wink to parties of the past.

Playfulness aside, McDonald believes in the power of parties in a very serious way. “Social gatherings and parties are certainly fun, but they’re more than that,” she says. “They’re a very important part of human existence and life and culture. We have an innate need to connect with one another.”[…]

Socializing Under the Texas Sun
“Salonnière” Carla McDonald knows how to keep summer parties cool. .
Austin American-Statesman
July 9, 2014
by Beth Goulart

 

Published in print edition and here. (Pay-wall requires subscription or digital pass. Email me to request a full copy.)

Cathy Strange, Whole Foods Global Cheese Buyer

[…] Zooming around the world tasting cheese sounds like a dream, but these contests can be grueling. Objectively judging 42 cheeses in a four-hour span, as she was required to do in Madison, requires mental focus and physical endurance. Strange puts every cheese she tastes in her mouth to get a feel for the cream on the tongue, then chews it to a liquid to release the flavors and “taste every little nuance.” Then she spits it out and rinses with an acidic fruit juice, like pineapple or apple, to cleanse her palate in preparation for the next cheese. “I have to be very careful not to have palate fatigue,” she says.[…]

The Big Cheese
Whole Foods Market Cheese Maven Cathy Strange Shows Us Her Knives.
Austin American-Statesman
April 30, 2014
by Beth Goulart

 

Published in print edition and here.(Pay-wall requires subscription or digital pass. Email me to request a full copy.)

The Emerald Restaurant

[…] Take the beef. Our entrée that night was prepared as Marge intended it. She named the entrée the Kinsale for a seaport village in Ireland that she loved to visit. The dish centered around a Châteaubriand, a classic cut of tenderloin associated with romance because one piece is cooked for two people, then sliced apart just before eating. A tender red potato, carrots cooked in sugared water, and just-tender broccoli accompanied it.[…]

Irish or Not, Lucky at the Emerald
The Bee Cave restaurant serves up Old World hospitality, family-style.
Austin American-Statesman
March 13, 2014
by Beth Goulart

Published in print edition and here. (Pay-wall requires subscription or digital pass. Email me to request a full copy.)

Lenten Pretzels

[…] They combined water with flour and salt in accordance with fasting rules that prohibited the use of animal products, then rolled the dough into shapes reminiscent of arms folded across the chest in prayer – the bodily form of prayer commonly practiced then. They named them bracellae, “little arms” in Latin. Their first evidence appears in a 5th century manuscript now housed in the Vatican library. […]

Pretzels represent prayer to Christians in the season of Lent, a tasty snack to everyone, anytime
by Beth Goulart
Austin American-Statesman
March 4, 2014

Published in print edition and here. (Pay-wall requires subscription or digital pass. Email me to request a full copy.)

Even Meatballs are Better with Bacon

[…] Creativity points went to Winflo Osteria, itself, for its Thanksgiving-themed meatballs. Executive chef and co-owner John Pennington said the concept was his wife’s idea. To execute it, he ground turkey breast, mixed it with bread crumbs he had soaked in milk for extra moisture, and seasoned with cranberries and a bunch of different spices — dehydrated onion, basil, oregano, granulated garlic, and more. […]

Bacon makes these holiday-friendly meatballs marvelous
by Beth Goulart
Austin American-Statesman
December 17, 2013

Published in print edition and online here. (Pay-wall requires subscription or paid digital pass. Email me to request a full copy.)

High Price for Pecans

Slate.com

[…] The cost of pecans is fully exposed to the economic push and pull of supply and demand—the government doesn’t support pecan prices the way it does sugar prices, for instance. So when the most populous country in the world suddenly developed an insatiable and totally unprecedented hunger for pecans, demand skyrocketed. The price of pecans did, too. […]

Why Pecan Pies Have Gotten So Expensive
It’s China’s fault.
by Beth Goulart
Slate.com
November 26, 2013

See full story here.