Bonny Wolf

NPR commentator Bonny Wolf grew up in Minnesota and has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in New Jersey and Texas. She taught journalism at Texas A&M University where she encouraged her student, Lyle Lovett, to give up music and get a real job. Wolf gives better advice about cooking and eating, and contributes her monthly food essay to NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday. She is also a contributing editor to "Kitchen Window," NPR's Web-only, weekly food column.

Wolf 's commentaries are not just about what people eat, but why: for comfort, nurturance, and companionship; to mark the seasons and to celebrate important events; to connect with family and friends and with ancestors they never knew; and, of course, for love. In a Valentine's Day essay, for example, Wolf writes that nearly every food from artichoke to zucchini has been considered an aphrodisiac.

Wolf, whose Web site is www.bonnywolf.com, has been a newspaper food editor and writer, restaurant critic, and food newsletter publisher, and served as chief speechwriter to Secretaries of Agriculture Mike Espy and Dan Glickman.

Bonny Wolf's book of food essays, Talking with My Mouth Full, will be published in November by St. Martin's Press. She lives, writes, eats and cooks in Washington, D.C.

Food
8:31 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Tea leaves will be big in entrees and desserts in 2014.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 10:44 am

At the beginning of every year, we read the tea leaves to see what new food trends we'll be tasting in the coming months. This year, the tea itself is the trend.

Tea leaves will be big in entrees, desserts and, of course, cocktails. Starbucks has opened its first tea shop.

We won't be just drinking tea; Artisan distilling keeps on growing. This could be the year of gin, made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry.

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Kitchen Window
10:03 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Cooking With A Cup O' Kindness (Beer, Cider Or Booze)

Sheri Castle's quick bread is based on popular beer bread recipes but uses hard apple cider instead.
Sheri Castle for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 4:32 am

In case you want to add a pinch of celebratory beverage to your first meal of the year, we invite you to look through the Kitchen Window. A spirited New Year's can come from the kitchen as well as the bar.

We've featured a number of stories using alcohol as an ingredient in cooking as well as in bartending — if it tastes good in a glass, it tastes good on a plate. It's also a great way to use up any leftover libations from your holiday celebrations.

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Kitchen Window
10:03 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Come Back For A 2nd Helping Of This Year's Favorites

Susie Chang's story on the versatility of buttermilk was a hit with Kitchen Window readers. Or maybe it was this mouthwatering photo of "double fluffy" biscuits that reeled them in.
T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 10:41 pm

As a Christmas gift to readers, Kitchen Window has compiled some of the most popular stories of the year for another look. As always, you were interested in a variety of subjects, from the simple procedure to the leap of faith, and showed an interest in trending topics — like gluten-free and DIY.

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Digital Life
11:13 am
Sun August 18, 2013

Kitchens Of The Future Will Really Know How To Cook

A woman checks out a smart refrigerator at a consumer electronics show in 2012.
Samsung USA

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 4:35 pm

Kitchens are getting smarter.

Some refrigerators can let you know when the door is open, or if the milk is past its sell-by date. They make ice at night during less expensive, off-peak energy hours. There are dishwashers that can contact a repairman.

It probably won't be long before you can become Facebook friends with your microwave.

The first microwave oven — the Radarange — weighed 750 pounds and was bought by a Cleveland restaurant in 1947 for $3,000. Later home models had a pull-out box for recipe cards. Paper recipe cards. So quaint.

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Commentary
2:57 am
Sun April 7, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Wrinkle Your Nose At Fermentation

Kimchi is a traditional pungent fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings.
Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 7, 2013 11:08 am

It's delicious, it's nutritious and it's basically rotten. Fermentation is a hot culinary trend, and, as Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf explains, the preservation process gives food a flavor unique to time and place.

People you know may intentionally be growing bacteria in their homes — on food, outside the refrigerator. And they are doing it to make food safe, and nutritious.

They are doing what cooks have always done: fermenting food.

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Commentary
3:37 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Oysters Rebound In Popularity With Man-Made Bounty

Along the East Coast, wild oysters have been disappearing, but the number of farm-raised oysters is exploding.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

In Colonial Virginia, oysters were plentiful; Capt. John Smith said they lay "thick as stones." But as the wild oyster harvest has shrunk, Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf says the market for farm-raised oysters is booming.

The local food movement is expanding from fertile fields to brackish waters.

Along the rivers and bays of the East Coast, where wild oysters have been decimated by man and nature, harvests of farm-raised oysters are increasing by double digits every year. At the same time, raw oyster bars are all the rage.

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Commentary
3:12 am
Sun December 30, 2012

On Your Plate In 2013, Expect Kimchi And Good-For-You Greens

Commentator Bonny Wolf expects Asian cuisine such as kimchi fried rice to become even more popular in 2013.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 3:14 pm

Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf offers her predictions of what we'll eat in the new year.

Asia is the new Europe. It's been gradual: from pan-Asian, Asian fusion and Asian-inspired to just deciding among Vietnamese, Korean, Tibetan and Burmese for dinner.

Should we have the simple food of the Thai plateau or the hot, salty, sour foods of southern Thailand?

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The Salt
3:45 am
Sun November 11, 2012

Wild Turkeys Gobble Their Way To A Comeback

European settlers almost wiped out North America's native wild turkey. But conservation efforts have proved successful. There are now nearly 7 million birds found across 49 states.
Larry Price, National Wild Turkey Federation NWTF.org

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:38 pm

Wild turkeys and buffalo have more in common than you might guess. Both were important as food for Native Americans and European settlers. And both were nearly obliterated.

There were a couple of reasons for the turkey's decline. In the early years of the U.S., there was no regulation, so people could shoot as many turkeys as they liked. And their forest habitat was cut down for farmland and heating fuel. Without trees, turkeys have nowhere to roost. So they began to disappear.

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The Salt
4:23 am
Sun September 16, 2012

To Find Truly Wild Rice, Head North To Minnesota

Joe Hoagland, left, pushes a canoe through a wild rice bed as 14-year-old Chris Salazar learns how to harvest the rice.
Jim Mone AP

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 12:43 pm

Harvest season is upon us, but in the U.S.'s northern lakes, it's not just the last tomatoes and first pumpkins. Through the end of this month, canoes will glide into lakes and rivers for the annual gathering of wild rice, kick started with the popular Wild Rice Festival in Roseville, Minn., on Saturday.

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Food
4:08 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Since When Does Summer Taste Like Doughnuts?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 12:59 pm

I get saltwater taffy. You're at an ocean that is made of salt water. But doughnuts?

I'm clearly missing something, because many summer communities have doughnut shops, often open just for the season. Critical summer doughnut mass seems to be concentrated in the north and east — maybe because it's always summer in California, where they have their own different doughnut culture.

The summer shops usually are simple shacks with awnings and screen windows, no inside seating and a picnic table outside in the hot sun.

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Kitchen Window
4:27 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

What The Well-Dressed Salad Is Wearing For Spring

You might not think of strawberries as a salad ingredient, but in-season berries, fruits and greens, along with nuts and cheeses, can turn an ordinary side salad into the highlight of a meal.
Bonny Wolf for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:51 am

I ordered a side salad with my dinner the other night, feeling the need for something green. This usually is an afterthought — for me and, it often seems, for the kitchen.

What I got, however, was the product of obvious thinking — a plate of baby greens, sprinkled with pieces of cauliflower pickled in turmeric, tiny rings of pickled shallot and tasty cherry tomatoes, all dressed with a light, creamy vinaigrette. The greens were arugula, spinach, kale, mizuna and tatsoi (Asian mustard greens). The salad tasted like spring.

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The Salt
5:08 am
Sun May 13, 2012

Bring On The 'Yabbies': Australia Ditches The Bad British Food

A fishmonger prepares her wares at the Sydney Fish Market.
Brendon Thorne Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 5:35 am

Travel often brings the unexpected. But I was unprepared to find some of the best food I've ever eaten in Australia.

On a recent trip, we stopped at a café for lunch. An Australian woman we had seen earlier at a sheep dairy ran over and recommended the marron salad. "What is marron?" I asked.

"Well," she said, "you know what yabbies are."

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The Salt
3:29 am
Sun February 26, 2012

Popcorn Gets Its Moment On The Red Carpet

Popcorn now comes candied in ruby red, indigo blue and more. And don't be surprised by the popcorn buffet at the next wedding you attend.
Bradley P. Johnson via Flickr

Popcorn and movies (or the Oscars) go together like Batman and Robin. And nowadays, options stretch far beyond plain or buttered.

Food critics call one brand the Rolls Royce and another the Prada. They are designer labels for the simplest, most American snack food.

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Food
3:57 am
Sun January 29, 2012

Moscato Madness: The Dessert Wine's Sweet Surge

Moscato was on display at the 2010 international wine and spirits show "Vinitaly" in Italy. Since then, moscato sales have skyrocketed.
Luca Bruno AP

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 2:43 pm

In the U.S., wine drinking has held its own during these hard economic times, and even grown in some unlikely corners. Moscato, for example, the Italian dessert wine, has gone from relative obscurity to the toast of the town.

Hip-hop singer Drake, in his song "Do It Now," gives it a shout-out. It's also the wine Kanye West orders for special parties. And it's the wine Real Housewife of Atlanta NeNe Leakes has just started selling under the label Miss Moscato.

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Food
3:40 am
Sun January 1, 2012

Artisanal And Authentic, The Flavors Of The New Year

Rustic and local are some of the words describing menus in 2012, Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf says.
iStockphoto.com

Come 2012, there's a new food vocabulary: authentic, craft, small batch, artisanal, rustic and, of course, local. It's the opposite of processed, mass produced and factory farmed.

What might be called urban neo-ruralism has apartment dwellers canning tomatoes, keeping bees and churning butter.

The small farmer is the new gastronomic superhero, sourced on restaurant menus. Independent butcher shops are opening across the country with unfamiliar cuts like Denver steak, petite tender, flat iron. Expect more specialty meats, too, like bison, elk, goat and rabbit.

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