Traditions Across the U.S.: Kombucha

On a sunny November day, Bjarke and I wound our way through Tennessee woods to reach the home of Sandor Katz. Walking into his kitchen was like entering an ode to fermentation—shelves are stacked high with crocks of kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and more. When your gaze reaches the tippy top, you find a stained glass window depicting bacteria.

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Traditions Across the U.S.: Feast of Seven Fishes

Often, when trying to define American food, we can get stuck searching for dishes with no distinguishable international roots—those that are purely “American.” But I’d argue that some of the strongest examples of American food culture are customs brought across oceans, adapted, and carried out here.

This week, I’m departing from the places and people we met on the road to talk about the most eastern point on our path—our endpoint—Youngstown, Ohio. It’s where I’ve celebrated most Christmas Eves of my life.

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Traditions Across The U.S.: Dulce de Membrillo

In Tucson, Arizona, a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, there is a place called Mission Garden. There, roaming the grounds allows you to experience 4,000 years of agriculture—the longest known history of cultivation in the U.S. In that garden, I met Josefina. She was teaching people how to make dulce de membrillo (quince paste) at a festival celebrating fall’s quince harvest.

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