I published a new article on MUNCHIES a few days ago: Ice Fishing Is Amazing, If You Can Stand the Frostbite. It’s more about the hardships faced by the ice angler than about food, but you’ll recognize some of the pictures I’ve used in a couple of previous recipe posts:
I will soon start a series of travel posts on my recent trip to Czech Republic, but you can get a taste of things to come with my new article on MUNCHIES: Becherovka Is Better Than Cough Syrup. The piece details the history of Czech Republic’s favorite herbal liqueur through my visit to the Becherovka museum in Karlovy Vary. Read on for some bonus material!
Here’s an interesting video that shows how Becherovka is made. And take note: what gives Becherovka its unique taste isn’t the gazillion-herb blend they put in it, or the 38% alcohol, or the 10% sugar — it’s the water!
My MUNCHIES article also came with a new and improved recipe for the ridiculously named BeTon cocktail, but I don’t think it was published, so I’m attaching it here. The original BeTon calls for one measure Becherovka and two and a half measures tonic, poured over ice in a tall glass and finished with a generous squeeze of lemon. To update this 48 year old Czech classic and tone down the bitterness and the herbal overkill, we’re adding a few ingredients. And all while keeping the silly acronym!
Yields 2 glasses
Becherovka, 2 fl. oz.
Espelette pepper, 1 pinch
Tonic, 3 fl. oz.
Orange juice, 3 fl. oz.
Nutmeg, 1 pinch
2 lemon slices
- In a shaker with a few ice cubes, pour the Becherovka and orange juice, and add the espelette pepper and nutmeg. Shake well, then pour into cocktail glasses.
- Top with tonic, and decorate each glass with a slice of lemon.
Now, if you want to see how the original is made by a Becherovka brand ambassador, watch here:
OK, OK, I promise I won’t bug you with my off-topic work stuff for a while after this, but I just published a piece about Chef Watson on MUNCHIES: I’m Happy to Have a Computer Help Me Cook Better. The article focuses on the history of cookbooks, which you might find interesting even if you don’t care about Cognitive Cooking. (Reminder: you can request access to the app here.)
Just published another article on MUNCHIES a couple days ago: “In Uzbekistan, A Bowl of Greasy Rice Will Make or Break Your Marriage”; or, “Where to eat in Tashkent, everything you need to know about plov, and what the hell is naryn?” (And so far, nobody has commented that if I’d bothered to learn two words of Russian or Uzbek, I wouldn’t mock the traditions of the good Uzbek peoples. Knock on wood.)
Some bonus material! Here is a picture of the plov in one of the giant kazans at the Central Asian Plov Center. Notice the puddle of aphrodisiac grease in the back of the kazan:
And for the anecdote…
Here’s how you pay for your lunch in Uzbekistan. It’s not that food is expensive, but the highest banknote denomination is worth less than 50 cents. People literally have to walk around with bags full of money. More on this when I start my Uzbek Adventures series!
MUNCHIES just published my article on khachapuri: “Georgia’s Cheese Bread Might Be Better Than Pizza”. It covers all the various types of cheese breads you can find in Georgia, from the classic Imeretian khachapuri to the much rarer khabizgini.
To help you orient yourself, I’ve created a map of all the Georgian regions that claim their own local variations of the dish. As you can see, they are pretty much all located in Western Georgia, which makes me wonder if there’s a connection with the historical division between the kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia in antiquity. That is, I wonder if cheese breads descend only from the former.
And as a bonus, here’s a chart plotting data from the infamous Khachapuri Index. Khachapuri ingredients are most expensive in winter, and cheapest in summer, with smaller fluctuations in the capital city, Tbilisi. I wish there was something totally earth-shattering to say about those figures, but, well, there isn’t. At best, we can wonder: what caused a spike in Batumi in August 2013. Any ideas?