Dining & Drink

Cheesecake

Seemingly it's been around forever—even the ancient Greeks enjoyed it.Virtually every culture that makes cheese makes some kind of cheesecake.I remember my own first encounter with what I was sure would be a yucky dessert.It was at Sam's Subway, a delicatessen in Indianapolis and I was in second grade.Cheese here to for was something I was only accustomed to seeing on a sandwich. I only tried it because my mother told me I wouldn't like it.

Super Snack

Oven-barbecued chicken drummettes for the big game

Grazing on the Internet

It doesn't seem that long ago—probably because it wasn't—when the Food Network premiered online along with many similar sites.Suddenly, a wealth of recipes and cooking advice was readily available without spending a dime on nary a cookbook. But did anyone really comprehend the revolution the internet would have on cooking and eating?Or that even in the hinterlands suddenly the most exotic bounty of the world would become just a click and Fed Ex delivery away? Or that restaurants big and small, grand and humble would open virtual locations in cyberspace?

Parade of King Cakes

Mention January 6 and some people think the Feast of the Epiphany or Twelfth Night.For many, it's time to take down the Christmas decorations.For me, it's time to start the party. It's Carnival time.

An Old Start to a New Year

It's difficult to think about New Year's without champagne.There was a time, though, when punch was the drink of choice for most celebrations.Champagne wasn't as readily available or as affordable as it is today—at least in this country.In the U.S., there is a much older tradition of making whiskey—whether legally or illegally.No matter the quality or proof, diluted with fruit juice and sugar it became very palatable.

All Systems Go

The IFM is a Dane County-led effort linking large food buyers like hospitals, hotels, and others in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors with local growers and producers of local foods.

Top Trio

The greatest blend is an old one: Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre grapes.

Home's Bounty

Pilgrim pork chops are perfect for when winter's chill keeps you at home

Cowboy Up

Gettin' rowdy with the Wild Wild West

Chili Today

And still cold tomorrow.Come winter, this diverse and spicy dish—often more a stew than a soup—moves to the front burner. Perhaps Mexican in inspiration, what we know as chili today evolved in Texas. Some claim that the "Chili Queens" first ladled it up on the streets of San Antonio in the late 1800s. Women would come to the plaza in that city at the crack of down, set up their makeshift stalls, and cook the thick beef and pepper soup over open fires.Others insist it was chuck wagon fare born on cattle drives as early as the 1850s. Regardless, chili con carne is the official dish of the Lone Star State.Purists there assert that the real thing contains exclusively meat and chile peppers and never beans or tomatoes.

Gloria in Excelsis Brownies!

Forget the frumpy Christmas cookies—you'll get more than your fill at the office anyway. This time of year, glitter and glitz run rampant. It's time for brownies.Homely they may be but they never fail to satisfy. First and foremost, they are chocolate.I was one of those people who liked chocolate even before the medical community began touting its health benefits. I always feel better knowing that something I crave is good for me, but of course I would eat it anyway.

Not Home for the Holidays

Songs and movies extol it—being with the family at Thanksgiving.But exactly whose family—yours or his? And in whose home—where? Going home for the holidays is not always possible for whatever reason.Since these annual observances take on ritualistic significance, depression can ensue. Concentrate on what you won't miss. Uncle Fred complaining about the mashed potatoes being cold.The Jell-O salad with carrots and pineapple your mom always makes ‘just for you'—that you never liked! Your sister-in-law asking (again), "Haven't you put on a little weight?"

City Slicker

Mill on Main is a big-city place in a small town

Minty Fresh

Make the Mint Espresso Martini part of your New Year's Eve plans

Twist on Tradition

ots of families have food traditions that are important to them this time of year. Whether it is our mom's stuffing recipe or Grandma's cookie dough, the recipes themselves are links to our past. They bring back memories of holidays and the people who are near and dear to us. The recipes connect us to our family roots and comfort us as we remember family gatherings.