Food news roundup

Andrea Weigl in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) today gives us the news that David Mao, chef and co-owner of The Duck & Dumpling in Raleigh has retired. Mao got into cooking when his family ran restaurants in Vietnam. A Raleigh resident, who had gotten to know Mao and his food while serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, helped Mao to leave the country in the early 1970s. Asian food was still new to Raleigh residents then, so Mao opened a traditional Chinese restaurant, Mandarin House, in Cameron Village. He served moo goo gai pan, egg drop soup and other Americanized Chinese recipes for about 25 years. Then, as Mao told me a few years ago, he decided it was time to cook the kind of food he had always wanted to prepare. The Duck & Dumpling was the delightful result. The column I wrote with more about Mao is here. I’ll be interested to see what the new chef devises, as long as he keeps those dumplings and that great sea bass dish that I have to stop myself from ordering every single time. And I wish Mao every happiness in the next stage of his life. The N&O story is here.

The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer has a story on a woman who has built a simple message – cook and eat with your family – into a big business. Learn about it here.

There’s a connection between a participant in TLC’s “Ultimate Cake Off” show and the Wilmington, N.C. Azalea Festival. Find out what it is in Liz Biro’s blog at The Wilmington Star, here.

I love winter greens, especially kale, and I try to persuade those less fond of the assertively flavored leafys that they aren’t green monsters. The Dallas Morning News has some intriguing recipes using kale as a pesto base. Read about them here.

My scores on the Wii ski jump game are impressive, but since I’m not at the Olympics this year, I’ll just eat. The Vancouver Sun offers  “Top 25 treats for a foodie in Vancouver,” including a Bulgarian savory pie. Get your gold medal in snarfing by going here.

Olympic eating

My friend Elizabeth is a fan of the Olympics. Well, of the opening ceremonies. Well, of commenting on the athletes’ uniforms during the opening ceremonies. Anyway, she has a tradition of holding a party at which friends watch the opening, comment on the outfits and discuss the ceremonies in general. (We’re still trying to figure out what that Barcelona show was all about.)

Guests bring dishes that reflect the host country. The years that the Summer Olympics were in Greece and Italy, thinking of good food was a breeze. This year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, which open Friday, is more challenging. What’s Canadian besides maple syrup and Canadian bacon? I assume that those two ingredients will be amply represented on the buffet, so I’ve been looking for alternatives.

I found a reference to a Vancouver bar that has created a special drink for the event called the Silver: Clam and tomato juices, chile peppers, horseradish and beef jerky-infused vodka. That drink should get a gold medal for Drink Likely to Create the Most Violent Hangover Ever.

I also found a mention of something called Poutine, which seems to resemble chili-cheese fries. Except with beef gravy and cheese curds. Combine that with the Silver and you’re going to do several triple-quads around the porcelain god.

Vancouver, like the Pacific Northwest, is salmon country. My party contribution will be some simple appetizers using slices of smoked salmon and cucumbers. No gravy.