Culinary thrill seeking: Vegan party gets photogenic

Published 7:57 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Turns out the Field Roast loaf of bread stuffing with mushroom gravy was a much-photographed aspect of a party I attended. It’s a good thing I’d pre-cut the loaf into smallish-pieces so that everyone got a taste.

I was invited to bring a vegan or vegetarian dish to a house potluck and this baby that looks a lot like a scored meatloaf went over well. I figured it would, so I brought the box and guests took out their phones to snap photos so they could look for it later.

I snapped a photo of a box of stroopwafels, which I learned were flat rounds of soft waffles designed to be warmed up over your mug of tea and enjoyed. Don’t you love it when your food offerings are the conversation starters?

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‘The Fondue Bible: Second Edition’

When should a woman kiss the man to her left? When she’s dropped her morsel into the fondue pot. It’s just a suggestion, as is dipping mango slices, ladyfingers or shortbread into your homemade rum and butter fondue.

Ilana Simon is still melting, stirring and dipping in “The Fondue Bible: Second Edition,” with 200 “best” recipes. I’m overwhelmed. In a good way. It’s the pairings that stand out:

  • Sweet Brie with pound cake or angle food cake cubes, apple wedges or orange sections.
  • Maple Beef Fondue served with zesty mayonnaise or Thai peanut sauce.
  • Cajun Pork with blue cheese dip or honey mustard.
  • Hemp seed-encrusted shrimp with salsa verde.

There are modern twists and classic ones, like the following, which my mom made in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Cocktail franks made with an 8-ounce jar of grape or seedless black currant jelly, 1/3 cup prepared mustard and a pound of cocktail franks or hot dogs cut diagonally into bite-sized pieces.

There’s fun stuff to read in this book meant for entertaining hearts. Of course, your big night can have other foods besides fondue. Try something with Zesty Mayonnaise.

Zesty Mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon paprika

1 half teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, paprika and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Tamale stamps!

When my sister’s seasonal greeting arrived, I was doubly excited by the stamp, featuring a dish of tamales. Making and enjoying them is a Christmas treat in my husband’s family and his friend’s mom makes amazing empanadas, which is on another in the postal tribute to Latin foods. More tempting favorites are featured on other stamps and there’s one I had to look up. Don’t worry, there’s flan for dessert.

Darragh Castillo is a Port Arthur area foodie who is loving all the holiday celebrations of good cheer and good food. Reach her at