Dining News

Empty Tomb Rolls Ressurection Rolls

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Empty Tomb Rolls are the perfect treat for Easter. Whether you have them for breakfast, brunch or dessert, they will be a huge hit!

These rolls are amazing anytime, but we love them for Easter morning! For more sweet and savory breakfast ideas try these cinnamon rolls, donut holes or German pancake.

Empty tomb rolls in a basket, opened with gooey center.Resurrection Rolls

Empty Tomb Rolls are also known as Resurrection Rolls. These rolls are popular at Easter time because of their symbolism, and because they taste so delicious. The outside is covered in a buttery cinnamon and sugar coating and the inside has a ooey gooey caramel-like cinnamon and sugar syrup. They are perfect to make with the kids and while you dip and roll you can teach them the meaning of the symbols.

Whether or not you make them to celebrate Easter, you need to make these just because they are so fun. The kids will love rolling the marshmallows in butter and cinnamon and sugar and folding it up in the roll dough. Then as they cook the marshmallow disappears leaving behind the sweet spiced syrup inside that make them so fantastic to eat. Kids of all ages will love making and eating these special treats. You have to try them!

Ingredients for Tomb Rolls

Use large marshmallows that soft and fresh for best results.

  • Sugar: Sweet white sugar.
  • Cinnamon: Adds the spice that compliments the sugar.
  • Rhodes Rolls: You can use refrigerated crescent rolls or biscuits as well.
  • Marshmallows: Big fresh squishy jumbo marshmallows.
  • Butter: Do not substitute, butter is best.

How to Make Easter Tomb Rolls

Yes, these are a bit messy to make, but it is so worth it and so much fun!

  1. Prepare: Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 12 muffin tin and set aside.
  2. Sugar and Spice: In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Dough: Flatten out each roll into a small circle
  4. Dip: Dip the marshmallow into the melted butter.
  5. Dunk: Then dip the marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar.
  6. Encase: Place the marshmallow into the center and fold over the marshmallow and seal.
  7. Roll: Take the dough ball and roll it in melted butter.
  8. Dip: Then roll in the cinnamon and sugar again. Place into the muffin tin.
  9. Bake: Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or till cooked through. Remove and let cool.

Spreading out the dough, dipping the marshmallow in seasonings and wrapping it in the dough.

Tomb Roll Symbolism

These incredible treats are the perfect way to teach the true meaning of Easter. As you assemble the rolls with your kids you can explain what the different ingredients symbolizes. And then when you take them out, do not forget to explain the best part, the hollow inside representing the empty tomb. It is the best part. The kids and adults all love it.

  • Large Marshmallows: This represents the body of Jesus.
  • Roll Dough: Represents the wrapping of Jesus’ body or the tomb.
  • Melted Butter: Symbolizes the  oils of embalming that were used.
  • Cinnamon and Sugar Mix: This represents the spices used to anoint Christ’s body.
  • Oven: Symbolizes the tomb.
  • Hollow Inside Bun: These means the empty tomb or the empty cloths.

Dipping the roll in butter and cinnamon sugar and placing in muffin tin.

Tips for Easy Empty Tomb Rolls

These are absolutely delightful both to make and to eat. Here are a few tips to make them exquisite.

  • Dough: You can use different kinds of dough for these, from Rhodes Rolls, to homemade dough. There are lots of options. Try refrigerated biscuit or crescent dough. For extremely flakey rolls use frozen pastry or phyllo dough.
  • Thaw: If you use Rhodes Rolls and want to make in the morning you can thaw the dough in the fridge overnight and they’ll be ready to make in the morning. Let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes at least.
  • Seal It: You will want to make sure to seal the dough so the ooey gooeyness doesn’t ooze out. Pinch the ends securely and dip your fingertips in water to help seal the edges if needed.
  • Muffin tin Must:  Using a muffin tin to put the rolls in actually will help the rolls seal. If any of the marshmallow leaks out, it will be contained and absorbed into the tomb rolls.
  • Dipping: I love to use my kids to help with this part. They love it. I encourage them to use one hand for the butter and one hand for the cinnamon and sugar mix. Then it is best if someone different seals the rolls without cinnamon and sugar or butter on their hands. This will increase the chance of them not coming apart.
  • Grease it or Parchment:  No matter how sealed the rolls are there will be some leakage. Be sure to grease the muffin tin or use parchment paper in each tin.

Opening an empty tomb roll to reveal the melted marshmallow goodness.

How to Store the Best Empty Tomb Rolls

These Tomb rolls are best eaten right from the oven, after it has cooled slightly. The melted marshmallow can harden as it cools. If you do have leftovers keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. You can reheat these in the microwave for 8-10 seconds. These will keep for up to 3 days.

Empty tomb rolls in a basket ready to eat.

More Easter Inspired Recipes

Holidays are wonderful because they mean exceptional food,  traditions, and family. Sometimes holidays mean the one time of year that you get to make that one of a kind food or have a special tradition. These tried and true recipes can help you create some amazing menus and even better memories.

Empty Tomb Rolls

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 12 Rolls

Empty Tomb Rolls are the perfect treat for Easter. Whether you have them for breakfast, brunch or dessert, they will be a huge hit!

  • 1/2
  • 1
  • 12
    Rhodes Rolls
    thawed (can use refrigerated crescent rolls or biscuits)
  • 12
    jumbo marshmallows
  • 1/2

Serves: 12

Calories184kcal (9%)Carbohydrates30g (10%)Protein1g (2%)Fat8g (12%)Saturated Fat5g (25%)Trans Fat1gCholesterol20mg (7%)Sodium88mg (4%)Potassium7mgFiber1g (4%)Sugar23g (26%)Vitamin A238IU (5%)Vitamin C1mg (1%)Calcium10mg (1%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.



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How Cookbook ‘Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown’ Got Chinese-American Food on the Page

In the two pages set aside for acknowledgments in Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown, the cookbook’s chef-author thanks Tienlon Ho “for writing this book with me, for qualifying our ideas and for pouring your heart into enriching these pages with Chinatown’s fascinating history.” His name — Brandon Jew — appears on the cover, as you’d expect. But Ho’s does too, which you might not. Jew is the headliner; it’s his restaurant, his story, his cookbook. But at least we know Ho had something to do with writing it. The ghostwriter, or the named writer whose contribution is never really spelled out or fully credited, might be the most exploited of all the talent in the publishing process. But you rarely read about that: A finished book doesn’t tell you the story of its making, and how hard-won the triumph was (or if it even felt like a triumph at all).

I was thinking about this when I received the pre-publication copy for Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown. It’s a sumptuous, archival book that provides a panoramic portrait of one of America’s most vital, storied communities — but it does so through the eyes of a Chinese-American chef who is part of that community and has synthesized its influences and history into both his cooking and his restaurant. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without Ho, who I became friends with when she contributed an essay to the anthology I edited. She is a deeply and precisely thoughtful person, something you can see in her breathtaking prose and hear in any conversation you have with her.

So as soon as the galley arrived, I emailed her. She had lots to say, and I asked if we could pick up our phones for a conversation about how cookbooks get made and, more specifically, what that experience is like from a co-writer’s point of view.

Eater: We can start with the obvious: How did you come to work on this project?

Tienlon Ho: Connecting with Brandon was all thanks to his agent. There were a couple other people who she thought of … I’m pretty sure I was the only Chinese-American person. And then it turned out our whole team (chef, photographer, recipe developer, and me) ended up being Asian American, which is really rare in cookbooks these days.

What really resonated for me was [Brandon] was one of the first young chefs I’ve talked to who takes this idea of grounding his work in tradition really seriously … I’m always worried about this idea of trying to present yourself as this pioneer, and that chef-hero thing that’s like, “I’m the first one to ever do this.” In one of those early conversations, he said something like, “I’m part of this really long lineage. I see myself in this long line of history and I want to somehow get people to understand that.”

At the same time, one of the things that struck me, that was important to both of us, was this idea that you can be grounded in tradition, but also be really innovative. People who cook haute cuisine, [there’s an idea that] they’re inventing things out of nowhere, leading the way with all these new ideas. In the same way that, as a writer of color, I have to ground everything in a personal story, chefs of color are asked to do that all the time, like, “Oh, this had to come from your grandmother. This is exactly how your mom made it.”

I wanted to make sure to protect that aspect of him, which was that he is a creative person, and just because you respect tradition doesn’t mean you’re not thinking of new things and coming up with things that are inspiring and expressive of yourself.

Why do you think he chose you?

We connected in terms of this idea of telling the truth about Chinese-American cooking. We struggled with this and debated, “Is it Chinese food still?” which is what Cecilia Chiang said it was. Or is it just American food? Because we’re all Americans. Brandon’s a third-generation American. There was a way to make this very Chinese — Chinese Chinese. But what he does isn’t Chinese Chinese. It’s Chinese American, and we wanted to make sure that was clear.

But we wanted to show, in a way that maybe only people who are connected to old countries and very old cultures can understand, that you can be American but know so much more about another culture and have that be so much a part of your identity, as well.

What happened with Chinese-American food is that the first people that were able to come here and cook for everyone were from a very teeny, tiny place, Toisan. So what they cooked didn’t represent all of China. In fact, it didn’t even represent all of the province [Guangdong] they were in.

When they got here, and when they were cooking their style of food with the equipment that they had and the ingredients that were available, which were very limited, that whole menu became representative of Chinese-American cuisine. It still is today. It was defined by outsiders and they drew these borders where they didn’t need to. It became called “Cantonese” because it was [from] Canton, they said. So Cantonese food came to represent everybody. There was no other way to try other food because so few people were allowed to emigrate from other parts of China for so long because of Chinese exclusionary laws. … Brandon is Toisanese. His background is a mix, but he remembers a lot of his Toisan roots through his family’s cooking. (I’m a mix of southern, like Brandon, and northern in the same way Cecilia Chiang was, and western — so between us, we’re representing a lot of Chinese cultures.)

We wanted to make sure we described the diversity [in Chinese food] in the way people look at even the same dishes, how they would approach them very, very differently depending on where they were born in China or in the diaspora. There’s no way to represent 200 dialects and so many regions, and the diaspora and all the creativity that’s happened even within [San Francisco] Chinatown itself. But we want to at least show that reality that there’s so much more than you (and we) ever imagined.

What was the initial vision for the book?

We wanted to document this moment in time in Chinese-American food. This is the first book out of Chinatown that focuses on San Francisco’s Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in North America. It’s the first book in [almost] 60 years, as far as I can tell.

What was the cookbook that came before it?

Eight Immortal Flavors. [It was by] Johnny Kan and his co-writer, Charles L. Leong, a pioneering Chinese-American journalist. Kan was this wonderful chef-entrepreneur who basically revolutionized Chinese-American food as we know it. He died in 1972. He grew up with James Beard, in Portland, but he was a poor Chinese kid, and his mom actually cooked for James Beard, and that’s how he got to know James, [who] wrote his intro to this book.

[Kan] came up with the idea of delivery. Before, around Chinatown, the way you would get food delivered is the waiters would carry these heated trays. Kan was like, “You know what, we should take credit cards and have a fleet of cars that are refrigerated. We’d keep everything warm.” He set up delivery all around San Francisco really early on, so he was the takeout revolutionary. And then, he was the one who said, “We should have kitchens open for people to see with windows,” because, at the time, Chinese food was considered really mysterious and people still made jokes (they still do) about rats’ tails and mystery meats and things that they just didn’t understand. [Kan] said, “Why don’t we just show them how we do a technique, show them how clean we work, show them how much goes into this,” and so his restaurants were the first that had open kitchens.

Wow, that’s so cool!

I know, he did so many things … he also was a huge influence on Cecilia Chiang. His whole thing was about service … people who never would have gone to Chinese restaurants flocked to his restaurant. It was a place to be seen.

That was something that we wanted to capture: to talk about the heyday of Chinatown, and all the triumphs, because so much of it is about suffering, because there was so much suffering. But there was so much celebration, too, and innovation, and things that aren’t really remembered because of how history gets written down.

Can you talk a little bit about how you originally planned to structure the book?

Brandon really wanted to have this feeling of understanding where Mister Jiu’s fit into the community of Chinatown. In the proposal, we said we wanted to have all these stories of these people we know, who in some cases did make it into the book.

How much would you say the manuscript resembles what was laid out in the proposal? Is it completely different or is there a through line?

The proposal actually was very much unlike how this book turned out. But the through line is there: It is definitely, like, this is a restaurant in Chinatown and it couldn’t have existed anywhere else because it’s inspired by and rooted in the Chinese-American experience, and that’s what Chinatown is all about.

You basically have three different narrative strains or themes: Chinatown, the restaurant, and Brandon as a chef. How do you make them all fit into a unified whole?

I was thinking about what I had in front of me and how I could see each dish. It was like, “What is the Chinese-American story behind each dish?” And then, “How did Brandon build on that?” Then I started realizing what it really was, was that he’s a representative of his Chinese-American experience and his Chinese-American food is his own Chinese-American food. That is the individual lens through which to look at this larger story of how Chinese food became American food and how we call him a Chinese-American chef, because people before would have just called him a Chinese chef. But we’re in an age now where people recognize a little bit more, I think, I hope, this difference.

Did you receive any pushback from Ten Speed along the way?

The cover. We really didn’t want it to be a dish. We wanted it to be a setting, something that represented the aesthetic of Mister Jiu’s within the context of Chinatown. And we had lots of ideas for that. I mean, what’s more iconic of Chinatown than the window with the barbecue hanging in front of it? … They really wanted a dish. And even then, it was funny. They wanted the fried chicken wings, which is a snack. And it’s a delicious dish, but Brandon was like, “That does not represent in any way.” To him it seemed so cliche and obvious when there were so many other dishes that are slightly more complex. … And chicken wings just wouldn’t cut it. The publishers totally understood that.

And we had some pushback on recipes, on how you cover the “greatest hits” of Chinese-American cuisine. The publisher really wanted to make sure we had potstickers and maybe egg rolls and things like that … these dishes that exist in America but are not cooked by Chinese people, or just wouldn’t be cooked at home. [Brandon] didn’t want to do that either. He wanted to just really represent the food of his restaurant. It might not be stuff that you would normally make at home, but now you can.

If you look at what is most ordered around this country, its General Tso’s. It’s kung pao chicken. It’s sweet-and-sour chicken and sesame chicken. … [Brandon] doesn’t make General Tso’s chicken. But he makes another orange chicken where he boils the gastrique down for two or three hours and it’s that way in this book. You start with, like, a gallon of it —

Oh my gosh.

Yeah. At one point I challenged him on it. I said, “This is not for home cooks. This is really intense.” And he’s like, “Well, that’s why it tastes so good.” I couldn’t really argue with that. To cheapen that would be …. like nearly every other book [written in America] about Chinese food and Chinese-American food.

But isn’t this the paradox of every restaurant cookbook that’s ever been written, which is that one of the reasons you go to a restaurant is to eat food that you wouldn’t make at home, or that’s better than it would be at home? And then here’s this restaurant being like, “Hey, here’s the recipe if you want to make it at home.” I get frustrated when a cookbook isn’t cookable, because I think it’s no longer a cookbook, it’s a book about cooking.

I think we talked about this early on, and I remember you being like, “I’m pushing back because so many of these things you wouldn’t cook at home.”

We decided on a certain percentage. There’s a group, and they’re not labeled this way, but they’re master recipes. He does them at the restaurant exactly [the same way]. … Some of them take at least 10 days.

Oh my god.

Yeah. Well, that’s how long the [roast] duck takes. … I was like, “How should we explain why we’re doing this? Why do you have these master recipes in here?” And he said, “It’s my mission in some ways just to show you the technique that went into this so that there’s an audience for this food in the future.” Because if we all think we can make whatever … you become accustomed to [riffing and taking short cuts], or you find that acceptable, then we lose what little support we have for artisanship in this country. He’s very much a believer of that.

[Brandon’s] role in this restaurant is to keep minds and palates open. [These techniques] don’t have to be lost because no one finds them useful or palatable or there’s no market for them at all. What he fears for Chinatown in general is that people only expect the greatest hits. And it’s impossible, on these small margins, anyway, for these little restaurants to keep going so that they all just make all the same things. People complain about that. They’re like, “Chinatown is just for tourists.” But it’s the tourists who made it that way.

What’s great about this book is that it shows you there’s more to it than the just-for-tourists part. It’s there, if you want to find it. But there’s stuff in here that doesn’t take days to make, right? It’s not all major-undertaking recipes…

The vast majority [are not] … [there] are things that you can do in 10 minutes. I felt like that was really important. He did start to understand too. Sizzling fish is a really good example of an easy recipe that is totally legit … it represents Southern Chinese cooking so well, and yet it’s not that complicated, even though some people might find it intimidating, because it’s a whole fish, but that’s what Chinese cooking is. There’s such a beautiful picture of it; [Brandon] wanted to put that on the cover. [But the publishers] were like, “No, one will buy it, because it has a fish.” Is that true? Did you hear that too?

Yep! It’s a thing. I know you guys worked so hard to make sure you were telling a different story from what we usually see in cookbooks and food media, in correcting the narrative of the colonial hero figure who comes swooping in to “save” or “ennoble” a cuisine and reveal its hidden greatness. But then, the emailed PR text that accompanied the PDF of the galley kind of reduced it to exactly that. It literally included the phrase “realizing its untapped potential.” This happens so often, the disconnect between how the publishers market the book and what’s going on in the book itself. Were you able to have any input there?

We were asked to review it and I did. And I marked it up, and not all the changes were made so I don’t really know.

That seems in keeping with the opacity of the publishing process. There’s a lot authors aren’t privy to, or that isn’t really explained. Related to the marketing stuff, who was your target audience? And how do you imagine people will interact with and use the book? You guys were clearly going for something that isn’t necessarily just like, we want people to take this book home and make all the food in it.

Right. No. And I’ve been thinking about your distinction between cookbooks and a book about cooking. And I think some of these recipes fall squarely in the cookbook idea, but you’re right. It is a book about cooking and I’m not really sure that’s a bad thing.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all.

Part of the problem is that there’s so little context for Chinese-American food. People don’t know a lot of this history and why and what the Chinese American experience has been, and by having cookbooks that just have the recipes over and over and over, it becomes so much easier to have those problems that we are all trying to be so careful about, like cultural appropriation and this whole idea of disconnecting a food from the people who care about it most and disrespecting that connection. I think we have that connection.

We wanted to offer a foundation for understanding the food as well as making it. That’s why it was important for [Brandon] to have the complexity, and the things that might not work out the first time but that require attention and experience and detail.

At some point, Brandon mentioned some of his chef friends who are extremely skilled but don’t understand Chinese food. And he said, “If they could read this and get something out of it too, I’d be so pleased.” Because he’s tired of having to explain it. And also was just tired of defending it. … He wanted it to be very plain to people who care about what goes into food. To really delight and enlighten at the same time.

Ultimately, we struggled, because … [the publisher wanted] to really try to make this for home cooks. I mean, we did make it for home cooks, but for enthusiastic home cooks who would be the same people who would come to eat at his restaurant.

Something else that you touched on before — there’s the idea that [Brandon] wanted to reach Chinese Americans with the book as much as he wanted to reach people who are not of Chinese heritage, because for a lot of Chinese Americans, a lot of this stuff has been lost. And most of the time, the expectation is that you’re doing a cookbook so that people who aren’t like you can understand your food. So I love this idea that it’s very much for exactly people like him.

Yeah, for posterity, for his children, for people who were disconnected for whatever reason from their past or their roots. There’s a weird thing that happened in Chinatown after the earthquake and the fires: All the records were lost. We usually talk about the records in terms of citizenship papers, but all the newspapers were lost and all the books and all the things that were published in Chinatown.

It’s really hard to find records of the early restaurants that aren’t written by outsiders, by English writers, or non-Chinese Americans or Chinese people, because those are the only ones that survived. That was one of the challenges of doing this too: How do you have these histories that are clearly written by outsiders rather than the people who lived in it, and how would it have been different?

For me, it was important to capture this moment in time. And I wanted to write that down from our perspective of being in Chinatown, rather than wait for someone to write about it.

Yes, and it has an added significance now that Chinatown is once again in danger of disappearing.

Yeah. Already, last January, Brandon and all the restaurants and businesses there felt a change when people stopped coming to Chinatown. By Chinese New Year, it was very clear that there were no crowds and people were not coming — unless they were Chinese American or lived in the community. And then by March, it was shelter in place. The Chinatowns all over the United States have been hit much harder than any other community in terms of impact on their businesses. Some 233,000 Asian-American-owned small businesses closed between February and April, when everything had only just started, at a much higher rate than similar white-owned businesses.

But Brandon was really trying to be optimistic. So for a while, he didn’t want to add anything [about the pandemic] to this book. And then as it became clear that there’s a disparate impact on Chinese Americans in Chinatown, and as more anti-Chinese rhetoric came out, we really felt it was even more important to acknowledge the total change that the neighborhood and restaurant were experiencing, in a short note at the end of the book. But it didn’t make sense to write everything.

But that’s okay too, because then it becomes a record of pre-COVID.

Exactly. We were all so glad that we had this snapshot in time … I mean, his restaurant, the vibe is so energetic. Under normal circumstances, it’s packed. And that’s the whole point of the Chinese banquet meal: to have a big room full of people with lazy Susans, everyone shares these dishes. So, it was a bit of a mourning thing, because [we could] imagine that it could be lost for a long, long time.

That’s the problem with all this white supremacist rhetoric: You forget in all the ways that we are connected and how in being connected, the world’s new ideas come out. Chinatown isn’t just Chinese. But it was because there were so many outside influences, people coming in and wanting a certain dish and Chinese chefs adapting and saying, “Oh, I thought you would like this.”

Can you imagine a world where we didn’t have this connection? And we thought that everything that we did in our own individual silos was good enough? Finishing the book when we did, I thought, this is a record of how great people are when they are together. Not when they’re apart.

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Who Runs TikTok’s @CheeseDaily Account?

Unique Miranda runs one of TikTok’s most mysterious, and entertaining, accounts.
Photo: Maggie Shannon

This article was featured in One Great Story, New York’s reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly.

For months, TikTok has been overwhelmed by videos of people baking whole blocks of feta cheese into beds of cherry tomatoes, the combination cooked down until it becomes a fatty, acidic, creamy sauce of sorts. The trend got its start in Finland, but the most intriguing of these videos by far comes from the account @CheeseDaily. “Last night, I found this rubber band in my husband’s car covered in brown hair,” says an unseen narrator. “Clearly, my hair is red.” She speaks in the kind of dulcet tones usually reserved for ASMR hosts as a hand examines a gnarly discarded hair tie. “I did not make a fuss over this — instead, I whipped my husband up this amazing meal,” she continues, the hands now coating tomatoes with olive oil and basil. “I wanted to cook him up something delicious. I knew he’d take one bite and swallow it.”

A surprise comes when she spoons the baked mixture into a wrap, instead of the pasta that’s typically used in the recipe. Then, another surprise: “I added black olives, to disguise the fact that I had diced up this bitch’s rubber band.” The hands saw through the pieces with commendable precision. “My grandma said never to wear rubber bands like this because they give you split ends, and I imagine this bitch is covered in split ends. Anyway, let’s just hope this gives this motherfucker constipation.”

I am one of the millions of viewers who have been riveted by @CheeseDaily’s videos since they started to appear on the platform in 2019. There are now just over 70, and they last about 40 seconds each. All pandemic long, we’ve followed this saga as the videos have evolved into a daily soap featuring a loving wife and the man who wronged her — the 2021 version of a pulpy, serialized Victorian novel about a great betrayal that leads to delicious revenge.

Each video is flooded with comments from fans who demand to see justice served: “Drop him sis, you deserve better,” they advise. “Is this a true story?” they wonder. “Cook the husband,” they command. The person behind @CheeseDaily doesn’t engage. Instead, she posts another video. “My grandma taught me I should obey my husband at any cost,” our narrator intones as she mixes cinnamon (and some broken eggshells) into banana French toast. “But I have not been giving a fuck because I find things like rubber bands.”

The woman who runs @CheeseDaily is Unique Miranda. It’s a Saturday in late February when we meet over Zoom. The East Coast is dreary and snowed in, but it’s bright and airy where she sits. Unique — it only feels right to call her by her first name — lives in Fontana, California, about 45 miles east of L.A. Her Day-Glo red hair is tied into a low ponytail, and her voice during our Zoom call is as soothing as it is in her TikTok narration.

I tell Unique how thrilled I am to actually meet her. And then I ask — there’s no gentle way to ask — is the husband real?

“Yes, I’m really married,” Unique says, laughing. She and her husband have been married for 18 years. After watching so many videos of Unique preparing meals ostensibly made for him, I’m surprised to learn that he’s actually a chef, one who doesn’t engage with the mystery surrounding his own existence — which is to say, he doesn’t watch Unique’s videos. “He’s just very private,” she says. Unique tells me she “took over” the kitchen in the house and handles most of the cooking at home.

I’m almost certain she doesn’t really dose any food with the remnants of a tawdry affair, but as we talk about Unique’s life, it nevertheless feels like learning the backstory of a beloved TV character. She tells me she grew up in East Los Angeles with her brother and sister, all three raised by a single mother. “My mom didn’t cook,” Unique recalls. “We ate out a lot. You know, a lot of Top Ramen. She struggled as a single mom.”

Unique says she mostly learned to cook as an adult and from her grandma. “She’s just a classic good cook,” Unique says. To this day, she turns to her grandmother’s fideo and sopita recipes when she needs comfort; the sopita was the first thing she made after her family recovered from COVID-19 in December.

In the videos, Unique’s narration constantly calls back to advice her grandmother passed along, advice that plays to such outdated housewife tropes (“I did not make a fuss about my husband being late because my grandma taught me from a young age to pick and choose my battles”) that it at first made many people wonder whether the @CheeseDaily videos could possibly be serious.

Unique insists that this isn’t an act and that she aspired to be “a very old-fashioned housewife” like her grandmother. “I really love that about my grandma, and I love to be like that. I love to serve my husband — that’s all true,” she tells me. “I love to make sure he has food when he walks through the door for work. I love to keep a tidy house for him. I love to wake up before him and make sure he has breakfast and coffee. That’s my love language. I know some people find it unbelievable.”

At first, followers weren’t sure what to make of the account’s videos.
Photo: Maggie Shannon

She has a day job as a caretaker for special-needs adults, she has three daughters and a son, and recently adopted a rescue kitten named Finn (“We’re just so happy he’s alive”). All four of the kids make appearances on Unique’s YouTube channel, Unique Daily, which is completely different from her TikTok and focuses mostly on her love of Mini Brands, the incredibly popular miniature grocery toys, which Unique unboxes with her viewers.

Unique started using TikTok in 2019. Her youngest daughter was on the platform, and one day, while cooking, Unique announced that she would be joining too. “I told my kids, I’m going to make a TikTok just about cheese — ’cause I love cheese,” she says. “I grew up eating government cheese, and I put cheese in almost everything I make.” I ask Unique to name her favorite cheese, and she tells me it’s whatever is sold in bulk: “I must spend $70 every week at Costco on cheese.”

At the time, she says, her kids were skeptical: “They were like, ‘That’s so weird. Nobody’s going to watch that.’”

Unique’s earliest videos make good on her promise of an all-cheese channel. Instead of a voice-over, she soundtracked them with a TikTok feature that pulls popular audio clips. In her first video, characters from Parks & Recreation chant “Don’t be suspicious” while Unique demonstrates the proper way to doctor a bag of Doritos in a convenience store (add cheese and pickled jalapeños from the nacho station). In another video, Unique stuffs burger patties with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos under the sound of a child singing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” (Gordon Ramsay featured the video on his TikTok account; Unique says she’s honored to have been called a “doughnut” by the chef.) Eventually, she ditched the TikTok audio and decided to layer her videos with her own voice and tell stories about her life, most notably about her grandmother and husband.

As Unique spreads mayonnaise onto white bread, chapter one of the @CheeseDaily chronicle takes shape: “When I was younger, my grandma said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And can I just say, this woman has been married for 50 years. Happily married. So of course I took her advice and learned how to whip up a bomb-ass sandwich. And you guys,” she says, layering the sandwich with a sheet of pepperoni, slices of avocado, and ample submarine dressing, “literally, my husband will choose this over any other meal that I can make him. And he’s happy. And we’re happy.”

Controversy soon spun out in the comments section: “This sounds so old fashioned, no thanks,” reads one. “My mom has gone through 2 divorces if only she’d known how to make a sandwich,” goes another. Other commenters defended Unique: “Instead of making it about you just be happy she loves her husband of 17 years.” And then, some skepticism: “Is the husband real?”

The tone of Unique Miranda’s videos is subversive, but her talents as a cook are plain to see.
Photo: Maggie Shannon

As a rule, Unique rarely replies to comments. “I love that people have all different opinions. I understand that. It’s okay,” she says. What’s more, she’s not interested in arguing with her followers, and she’s not trying to be coy. “It’s there. It’s in the public records. I’m really married. I’m not going to defend myself or prove anything. I’m never going to do that.”

As her popularity grew, Unique doubled down on the theme of domestic bliss. “Today, my only goal was to please my husband,” she says in a video featuring pulled-pork sandwiches. “It was a very special day because he received his PlayStation 5.”

Even though Unique doesn’t reply directly to her followers, the dramatic progression of her videos makes it feel as if she’s having a conversation with us. Even as @CheeseDaily blurs fact and fiction, the warm monotone of Unique’s voice is a poker face. She riles us up as she discusses her husband’s rules and her daily chores; she placates us with shots of perfect birria and breakfast sandwiches that bleed egg yolk. Other creators grow their audiences through wide-eyed, earnest enthusiasm; the appeal of @CheeseDaily is its gentle subversion of followers’ expectations, of algorithmic timelines that favor fleeting trends, and of TikTok in general. Yes, you can watch Unique make a textbook example of TikTok’s viral tortilla creations, but instead of a pop-music soundtrack, she will tell you a story about setting an ex’s car on fire.

Recent videos have begun to suggest marital trouble. In one, the voice-over describes a false eyelash found in the laundry: “I knew it wasn’t mine because I’m not allowed to wear false eyelashes.” So it gets cooked into a grilled cheese. In another, a pair of pink panties she found is chopped up and rolled into a carne asada burrito: “I would never wear panties like this because they are just so tacky. And cheap. I imagine this bitch was itching in them.” The video ends abruptly: “Hopefully, he chokes.”

The panty video has been viewed 28 million times, and the drama has resonated with followers — sample comments: “I AM LOVING THIS NEW PLOT OMG.”; “CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!” but Unique doesn’t consider herself a storyteller. (“I’ve never thought about that,” she says.) I ask about the shifting, ever-more-sinister tone of her videos, the chopped-up rubber band, the pink panties. The characters aren’t fictional. Are the stories real? And if they are, are they cathartic?

Unique’s videos have veered into a David Lynchian look at the darker side of marriage.
Photo: Maggie Shannon

Unique smiles. “Everything I talk about I’ve been through at some point in my life,” she says. “Yeah. I’ve had it tough at times, you know? But I don’t think I have it tough anymore. Like, I’m good.”

She talks about her toughest time in a YouTube video posted three and a half years ago called “My Baby Died Inside Me One Day Before Her Due Date.” In it, Unique sits on a park bench. It’s overcast and breezy. She lifts her blue pendant to the camera’s frame; her late daughter’s ashes are inside. “I get to carry her everywhere with me,” she says, before explaining how her doctor told her and her husband that the baby had no heartbeat. She describes how she got rushed to the hospital in an ambulance without sirens. Once there, she says, “They took me to a room where people are giving birth. Babies are crying all around you. Women are screaming from giving birth. And here I am, taking five different ultrasounds, with a baby who has no heartbeat in me. I think that was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.”

The hospital cleared the room for Unique and her husband. She pushed three times: “I held her. My husband held her. We stayed with her until her little lips dried.”

Unique made the video, she says, to connect with and help families experiencing the same kind of loss. “You’re going to smile again, and it’s going to be real,” she says. “Because when you’re in it, you don’t feel like that. You feel like you’re going to — you don’t want to live anymore, just because it hurts so much.”

She returns to the earlier question of catharsis. She doesn’t see the TikTok videos as that, exactly. The pain she went through makes her impervious to other pain. Forget the rubber bands, the eyelashes, the chopped-up underwear. “After I lost my baby,” she says, “I just see things differently now. Things that used to affect me before don’t affect me anymore. Does that make sense?”

Over Zoom, Unique has agreed to show me how she makes a sandwich, and her kitchen counter is arrayed with the fixings. She takes out two slices of wheat bread with oats baked onto the crust. “I always go with bread that’s fancy on top,” she explains. She applies a fine layer of mayo to each one.

A great sandwich, you see, is about layering. After the mayo, you layer on the cheese. You fold each slice of meat over itself, deli-style; laying it flat takes away from the volume and texture of the sandwich. Unique then lays down a blanket of pepperoni. “I don’t want a bite of just pepperoni, so I take my time with that,” she explains. Next, she adds the briny elements: olives and peperoncini go on one side, followed by pickles.

Careful layering is key. Maggie Shannon.

Careful layering is key. Maggie Shannon.

“I don’t have a specific brand,” she says. “I get what’s on sale. That’s how I shop. Whatever’s on sale, we can make it work.” She adds tomato, bell-pepper rings, and spinach. She shakes a bottle of submarine dressing and applies it artfully to the halves of her sandwich. “This will take your sandwich to a whole other level,” she advises.

She adds Mom Cave spices in the flavor Queen’s Dressing, which feels fitting. Little jars from the brand feature prominently in many of her videos, so much so that at first I thought the entire account might be some kind of social-marketing gimmick. Unique assures me that’s not the case; she just likes the product.

When she says this, she sounds as she always does — unremittingly earnest. I think that’s what has kept me so fascinated. Even when the drama is opaque, she is transparent. Her videos aren’t a pitch for a Netflix show or a brand trying to adopt the language of the internet to sell frozen food. They are by a woman working through real emotions and misgivings, then turning those feelings into something messy and new and fascinating.

With Finn slinked around her ankle — “He thinks I’m his mom” — Unique cuts the sandwich in half, and I want to reach across the laptop screen and take a bite. Instead, I wonder if she’s going to give it to her husband. If she does, I’m sure, for once, that she doesn’t actually hope this motherfucker chokes on it.

Unique’s YouTube account is a more earnest social diary with a focus on popular Mini Brands toys.
Photo: Maggie Shannon

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Central Texas Farmers Share the Impact of the Texas Winter Storm

The historic freeze, electrical-grid failure, and loss of water in Central Texas had devastating effects for farmers. While some people may think of the winter storm as a threat that has passed, farmers are still dealing with its effects — one farm was out of power for two weeks. From dead plants to frozen livestock to busted irrigation systems, local farmers suffered significant losses and are hastily trying to revitalize damaged crops.

Still, Central Texas farmers are resilient and optimistic. While losses were significant, many farmers expect to have enough time to replant to make up for their losses. Eater asked six Central Texas farmers to share how the freeze affected their farms, in their words.

The farmers also shared additional ways to help their businesses. Pre-purchasing boxes of vegetables from community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs provides essential cash flow to the farms to help them rebuild.

Dead cauliflower at Johnson’s Backyard Garden
Scott David Gordan

Ada Broussard, CSA and marketing manager, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, Garfield, Texas

“We lost a large majority of our crops in the field. All the greens (collards, kale, chard, herbs, lettuces), as well as brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, mustards, kohlrabi, romanesco) are looking especially dead. Our carrots, which were insulated by the soil, might come out okay. Our onion crop may recover. We were about a week behind planting half of our potatoes — had we been ‘on schedule,’ we would probably have had 100 percent loss.

“We are grateful that all of the transplants we had in our greenhouse survived. Our employees moved thousands of transplants from our greenhouse into our warehouse and office in the days before the storm. We triple-covered the rest of the transplants that wouldn’t fit in the office/warehouses, and everything looks perfect.

“Our farm has been hit by several tornadoes and floods and droves of very hungry hogs that have inflicted some serious crop damage, but this is certainly the most pervasive crop damage we’ve ever experienced. In addition to crop loss, there was some damage done to our irrigation systems. Despite all this, we are feeling very determined and resilient to figure it out and plant on. We are no stranger to the variability inherent in vegetable farming, and over our 17-year history operating a farm, we have become well-versed at how to adapt, pivot, and get creative. Things could have been worse, and we are very grateful that all of our employees and farm family are healthy and able to help us with the recovery.

“We will be able to replant. We will have to get creative in these coming weeks on ways to keep all of our 80 full-time employees busy. The vegetables that usually drive the labor at the farm (picking, washing, packing, delivering) won’t be available in the usual quantities we need to provide all these jobs, but we are committed to keeping everyone employed. Before the storm, we were also able to harvest a lot of our ‘root’ or ‘storage’ crops like daikon radishes, turnips, carrots, and bulk beets. Luckily, we did not lose power at our barn where these were tucked away in the cooler (they would have frozen otherwise), so we’re hoping that these bulk crops will keep things going, to some degree.

“I have been blown away at the outpouring of love and support we’ve received from the community. So many of our CSA members are calling to check on us, sending us letters and cards, and upgrading their subscriptions. Several CSA members have also simply offered to buy our crew lunch. The community has been overwhelmingly helpful, and also eager to help more.”

Johnson’s Backyard Garden is selling transplants of its vegetables at the farm every Saturday through April (or until transplants run out). It also offers a CSA, CSA gift certificates, and farmers market bucks to spend at a participating farmers market.

Becky Hume, owner and operator, VRDNT Farm, Bastrop, Texas

“The storm wiped out all my mature crops. Some very young crops will bounce back, but I am left with a steep revenue drop for a month or two. Honestly, I have barely slowed down to process everything. During the storm, I was hustling to keep what I could alive. Now, I’m just slamming plants and seeds in the ground as fast as I can.

“My business is only a year and a half old, so I haven’t experienced anything like this before. That being said, I’ve been working in agriculture in Central Texas since 2015 and I’ve never seen such an extreme weather impact so far. Since I am only a year and a half in, I don’t have much of a safety net in place. A total revenue loss or one to two months of revenue loss was not something I was planning for.

“I am already replanting. Thankfully, it is early in the season so I still have a shot to make up for some lost ground.”

VRDNT Farms is preselling CSA boxes for when vegetables are ready this spring.

Cloth covered hoops crushed by snow

The collapsed hoop house at Urban Roots
Urban Roots [Official]

Montana Stovall, farm manager at Urban Roots, Austin, Texas

“As far as crops go, we are still assessing that damage. We lost all of our kale, collards, rosemary, and the lemongrass was hit hard. The leafy parts of the alliums are dead, but some of the bulbs are still viable underneath. The wind blew back the frost blanket in some areas, exposing our salad mix, but luckily a good portion of that stayed protected.

“We feel incredibly grateful for a committed crew of volunteers. Just as the cold was about to set in, volunteers installed frost blankets, moved flats of transplants into the temperature-controlled cooler, and helped winterize the irrigation system. Still, we ended up with some structural damage to our hoop house, which completely collapsed under the weight of the ice.

“The farm has experienced some losses on par with or worse than this one in years past. For example, the farm has flooded not once but twice in a year, which meant damage from the rain and from the pests that inevitably show up in warm, wet conditions. Any loss is tough, but we are grateful knowing it could have been worse.

“Right now, we’re just sticking with our crop plan. We have cleared out any loss and will pick back up on planting. We had a good supply of seeds, so we’ve already seeded more flats that will be planted soon.”

Urban Roots is always looking for volunteers, and accepts donations (including through Amplify Austin on March 4-5).

Kale covered in snow

Frozen kale at Steelbow Farms
Steelbow Farms [Official]

Rows of wilted green kale

Wilted kale crops at Steelbow Farms
Steelbow Farms [Official]

Finegan Ferreboeuf & Jason Gold, farmers and owners at Steelbow Farms, Austin, Texas

“Going into the storm, we were expecting a total crop loss in the field. After the snow melted and the ice thawed, we were pleasantly surprised that a lot of our crops pulled through. That said, there was a substantial amount of crop loss — around 30 percent — and we had to suspend sales and pause the weekly veggie box subscription.

“We are young farmers, and have only been running our own business for four years, but we have never experienced a loss this substantial. In order to make up for lost income, we are feverishly planting and we are planning on upping production for the spring and summer. The good thing about growing food in Central Texas is that we have a large window for most crop production. The good thing about farming is there is always another season, another chance.”

Steelbow Farms offers a vegetable box program, which will be back up and running again in early or mid-March.

Dorsey Barger, co-owner, Hausbar Farms, Austin, Texas

“It will be a long time before we recover emotionally from the challenges and trauma of 77 hours without electricity and the desperate need to keep over 200 animals alive. We thought that the whole garden would be a pile of mush. But amid the brown and mushy and frost-bitten dead, there are pockets of vibrant life.

“While we don’t have a vast variety of herbs and vegetables, we do have enough to stay in business.

“I’m not sure why our farm was spared to such an extent. Is it because we don’t till the ground, don’t spew gas from motorized equipment, don’t use any pest control at any time in our garden, feed with our own compost tea? I don’t know, honestly. But I feel like the love we give our earth came back to us in a miraculous way.”

Hausbar runs a farm-to-neighbor store program where people can purchase produce and eggs directly from the farm.

Katherine Tanner, co-owner, Hat and Heart Farm, Fredericksburg, Texas

“We’re feeling hopeful and exhausted. We lost roughly 80 percent of our field crops and roughly 25 percent of our greenhouse crop. Our alliums (onions and garlic) took a hit, but will make a comeback with irrigation.

“As I write this we are on day 13 without power. Without power, we have no water. We finally secured a small generator for our well pump that serves the livestock and greenhouse. A large generator arrived from North Dakota last night that’s powerful enough to run the big well pump in the field. Our county was hard hit and crews from all over the state are helping to restore power here. There are many downed poles and lines yet to fix.

“Before the generators, we hauled water in tanks and buckets from town to the farm (on icy, snowy, tree limb blocked roads), and manually hauled water for the animals. During the freezing temperatures, we broke ice on tanks multiple times a day and ultimately resorted to melting snow with propane burners — and then finally gave the hens snow when propane became scarce. We only lost four birds out of 700 and did not lose a single goat. Our tractor’s hydraulics froze, so we moved bales of hay by sliding them across the ice with a chain.

“We were supposed to have about 90 newborn goats and 500 week-old chicks on the farm last week. But the billie goat got out of his pen many months ago, moving our kidding time up two months earlier than planned. Because of that one loose gate, all of our kids were older and stronger during the winter storms. We also delayed ordering chicks. We would’ve had 500 week-old chicks in a house with no heat lamps and frozen water. In those conditions it might have been a total loss of life. But it wasn’t, because things didn’t go as planned.

“As we look to put the pieces back together, we decided to accelerate our egg production and order more chicks ASAP to start making back our losses — only to learn the USPS has placed a shipping embargo on all live animals through the mail for the last two weeks. Many of our hatcheries have been in a state of turmoil. So many people throughout the state and throughout the country are going through their own version of chaos. Purely Poultry in Wisconsin moved mountains for us and we getting us chicks in two weeks (instead of two to three months).

“Our family has been farming near Fredericksburg for 166 years, and has seen many historic weather events over the generations. Since we have been farming full time as Hat & Heart Farm, this has been our first and hardest setback due to natural events. What makes this more significant is how many small and large farmers all across the region have been affected by this storm. A hail storm is usually localized, pests are typically focused in a specific area, and we learn how to work within drought conditions around here, but this storm was widespread and we were not prepared for it.

“We absolutely will replant. We are starting seeds by hand-watering from a portable water tank to replace the loss. We’ve already started reseeding beets, more carrots, Swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi, three kinds of turnips, along with quick-turnaround things like radishes and microgreens. We plan to grow more after this than we ever have before to ultimately make up for the losses. We expect to start getting back to ‘normal’ around the beginning of May. The hardest part is making sure we can keep all of our employees on through the next two months of replanting and farming. This is when we need them most but when we have very little cash flow to support that effort.”

Hat and Heart Farm recommends donating to Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Farmer’s Relief Fund, or donating directly on its website. The farm is also looking for a camper or travel trailer to move into during the replant/rebuild.

Fields covered in snow with a dog looking over them

Boggy Creek Farm’s fields covered in snow
Boggy Creek Farm [Official]

Carol Ann Sayle and Tracy Gibson Geyer, stewards of Boggy Creek Farm, Austin, Texas

“We are actually feeling pretty grateful at this point despite the fact that power was out for 80 hours and then water, as pipes started to break. Our team did an amazing job of covering what we could. We didn’t have enough row cover, so we prioritized and covered a variety of crops.

“Some things fared remarkably well, like our napa cabbage, baby kales, and other brassicas. The spinach, leeks, onions, cilantro, carrots, and beets look like they will be okay. Things in our hoop houses like lettuces and flowers did well too. The hens all survived and we only lost only about 25 percent of our seedlings. We are planting new starts into the field and hoop houses already. In two weeks, we will begin to plant out seedlings of eggplant and tomatoes and peppers.

“This is a hit, but we will climb out of it. We did not lose a crumb of our soil and the failed crops, like the five to six beds of various pea varieties on the brink of harvest, will be tucked under the tarps as cover crops to nourish the soil. After all, we are a regenerative, no-till farm. Farmers know to expect these random losses and must always do what they can to minimize them and be ready to hit the ground running; that’s what we plan to do.

Long line of people with a dog observing

Line at Boggy Creek Farms
Boggy Creek Farm [Official]

“In 2011, we lost virtually everything to the heat and drought. Okra and eggplant shriveled up and died, but we replanted and had a successful fall crop.

“Tracy was stuck at home in South Austin worrying about her mom, Carol Ann, the crops, the greenhouse babies, the old pipes, and my sweet hens. Tracy was comforted knowing that our greenhouse had a propane heater and that Carol Ann was carrying out boiling water to the hens’ water troughs multiple times a day. During the brunt of the weather crisis, our field manager, Monica, walked 45 minutes to and from the farm a few times a day to check on the greenhouse propane tanks, pipes, chickens, and Carol Ann, keeping her stocked with firewood.

“On Saturday, 63 of 120 transactions were new customers. I love this photo [seen to the right] of Buddy the dog and the atypical long line to the farmstand on Saturday morning. It gives an idea of how essential local farms and markets are when the ‘sh#t hits the fan’ and large food systems are unable to serve the community.”

Boggy Creek Farm offers gift certificates and sells produce on-site on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

4008 River Rd, Cedar Creek, TX

3210 Govalle Ave, Austin, TX 78702

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How to Make Michael Twitty’s Country Captain Recipe

Like The Cooking Gene before it, the newest book from historian Michael Twitty provides lessons on African-American culinary history in the South, and excitingly, its insights into the region’s food culture come through a laser focus on one ingredient: rice.

Rice: a Savor the South cookbook is the latest in UNC Press’s series of deep dives on single subjects essential to Southern cooking. “For many of us southerners, no other ingredient tastes this much like home,” Twitty writes in the book’s introduction. But rice is also global, and “bonds the Lower South with much of the rest of the planet, for whom a meal without rice is, frankly, not a meal at all.”

After tracing rice’s journey to the South through Asia and Africa, Twitty lays out 51 recipes for rice dishes from the South and around the world. In the “Deep Origins” section of the book, you’ll find recipes for African rice dishes like jollof, Liberian rice bread, and thiebou niebe, while the “Diverse Approaches” chapter features the Cuban rice and beans dish Moros y Cristianos, Sephardic pink rice, and a recipe for “unforgettable rice” from Mexican chef Pati Jinich, among others. Throughout the book, Twitty calls on chef friends like Jinich, as well as culinary experts; legends, including Edna Lewis and Princess Pamela; and family members for a collection that demonstrates that of all the Southern grains, rice, as Twitty puts it, is “without question the most versatile.”

From the “Southern Classics” section of the book, here is a recipe for country captain, a Southern curried chicken and rice dish. This version comes from Twitty’s “Alabama grandmother,” Hazel.

Country Captain à la Hazel

This is my Alabama grandmother’s recipe for country captain, a Southern curry-flavored rice dish popular in the Carolina Low Country and other parts of the Lower South. You can also taste the influence of West Africa, India, and Great Britain in the rural South all at once.

Makes 6–8 servings


8 pieces skin-on, bone-in chicken (thighs, legs, drumsticks, breasts cut in half)

For the chicken rub:
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kitchen Pepper (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the country captain:
3 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
1/4 cup canola oil or bacon fat
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 large red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
2 teaspoons Kitchen Pepper (see subrecipe below)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with juice
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups no-salt-added vegetable stock, homemade or store-bought
1 cup vegetable or canola oil, or 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil mixed with 1/2 cup bacon fat
1 cup all-purpose flour

For garnish (optional):
Carrot shavings
Chopped fresh parsley
Chopped tomatoes
Sliced green onion
Slivered almonds
Unsweetened coconut flakes


Step 1: Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and seasonings and rub them all over the chicken, coating it well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Step 2: When you’re ready to begin cooking, place the rice in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and add enough water to cover the rice by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, until the rice is fluffy and the liquid has evaporated, about 20-25 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and then replace the lid to keep it warm. Set aside.

Step 3: While the rice is cooking, in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until the onion has softened and become translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, kitchen pepper, and salt, then add the crushed tomatoes with juice and the tomato paste. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add the stock and bring it to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Step 4: While the sauce cooks, prepare the seasoned chicken for frying. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when it can brown a cube of bread. Place the flour in a shallow bowl, dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, shake off the excess, and place the piece of chicken on a plate. Working in batches to avoid over- crowding the pan, shallow-fry the chicken for about 4–5 minutes per side, until the chicken is golden brown on both sides. As you finish each piece of chicken, place it on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Step 5: Add the fried chicken to the pot of simmering sauce and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer for about 35 minutes to allow the chicken to finish cooking and the liquid to thicken into a stew. Turn off the heat and let the chicken rest for about 10-15 minutes. Serve with the rice and any or all of the suggested garnishes.

Kitchen Pepper

Kitchen pepper is an old-school spice mixture that was very popular in early American cooking, especially in the coastal South. While it takes its main cues from quatre épices, a spice mix of pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and ground ginger common in French cooking, it also helped to preserve both medieval and Silk Road flavors in southern foodways, as well as the flavors of West Africa, where indigenous and Middle Eastern spices had long influenced the cuisine. This is my take on this classic. It has the complexity of garam masala without quite the punch and heat.

Makes about 1⁄2 cup

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground mace
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months.

From RICE: a SAVOR THE SOUTH® cookbook by Michael W. Twitty. Copyright © 2021 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher.

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Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata | The Recipe Critic

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A quick and easy one pot meal that is on the dinner table in 30 minutes! Tender breaded chicken in a creamy lemon sauce that the entire family will love!

Chicken is a favorite protein around here with its mild flavor, you can do so many delicious recipes! You have to try these favorites, Lemon Chicken, Fried Rice and Noodle Soup!

Creamy lemon piccata chicken in a cast iron skillet.

Easy Lemon Chicken Piccata

One of our favorite meals of the week was this Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata. My favorite part was that it was a one pot meal and ready on the dinner table in 30 minutes!  It is just like the classic chicken piccata dish, but with the added lemon tang. It gives it such a fresh and delicious taste to this creamy sauce. The chicken has a delicious breading on the outside and it is perfect served over some pasta. Everyone in my family loved this meal. It had such a delicious flavor and will be one that we make again and again!

This American Italian favorite is so creamy and delicious. Piccata literally means, pounded flat and cooked in a sauce of lemon, parsley and butter. Done in one pan and in 30 minutes means you can have an incredible meal on the table in no time. Do not be scared of the capers. They really make the dish amazing. If you have never had them, this is the perfect dish to try them with. You have to try this creamy lemon piccata!

Ingredients for Lemon Chicken

Super simple ingredients come together to make an irresistible meal. Serve this with a nice green salad and some rolls and you have dinner made!

  • Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat if needed.
  • Salt and Pepper:To taste.
  • Flour: Creates a nice breading on the chicken.
  • Butter: Adds flavor besides a frying agent.
  • Olive Oil: Also used to cook and add flavor.
  • Chicken Broth: Flavoring and adds to the sauce.
  • Lemons: Fresh whole lemons
  • Heavy Cream: Can substitute half and half, but won’t be as creamy in texture.
  • Capers: Look for these with the pickles and jarred pepperoncinis
  • Parsley: this is optional.
  • Angel Hair Pasta: Can substitute spaghetti noodles if you would like.

Making Perfect Lemon Chicken Piccata

Take the time if you need to, to pound your chicken the same size or at least thinned out. You won’t regret it. They will cook faster and more evenly.

  1. Chicken: Heat 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Salt and pepper each side of the chicken breasts
  2. If They Are Thick: If the chicken breasts are overly thick, pound them to be thinner. Cooking time will be shorter.
  3. Flour: Dredge the chicken in the flour
  4. Brown: Put the chicken breasts in the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked throughout and no longer pink. Remove from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
  5. Sauce: Turn the heat to medium low. Add broth juice from both lemons, heavy cream, and capers. Bring the sauce to a boil and return to medium low heat. Test the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. Allow the sauce to cook and bubble for about 3 minutes.
  6. Dish: Serve the chicken over cooked pasta and spoon the sauce over broth. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Chicken breasts seasoned, breaded and cooked, and the creamy sauce being made.

What are Capers?

If you have never had capers before, this is the perfect introduction. Typically served alongside of chicken and salmon dishes, they add a ton of flavor. Capers are under ripened flower buds of plant known as the caper bush. The capers are picked and dried. Then they are pickled to create this tangy, salty, and briny flavor that is out of this world yummy.

These little pea sized condiments produce big flavor. A little goes a long way. Use them in salads, pasta and chicken. Because of their lemony like flavor they are favorite with fish. Give these other recipes a try that spotlight the wonders of capers. Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce, Pasta Puttanesca with Chicken and Lemon Salmon Piccata. 

Upclose picture of creamy chicken piccata with lemons.

Tips and Variations for Creamy Chicken Piccata

There are a few tips and variations you can do with chicken piccata, but this recipe is perfect just the way it is.

  • Noodles: Truly any kind of pasta can be used to serve this scrumptious lemon piccata dish with. You can also serve it over steamed vegetables, rice, zucchini noodles, or anything else that seems delicious.
  • Chicken: Make sure your chicken is thin, you can pound it thin or slice it in half, either way will create the size you are looking for.
  • Flour:  You need the flour to create the great crust on the chicken and for the sauce to stick to.
  • Fresh Lemons: Do not use bottled lemon juice. It will not taste the same and could actually ruin your dish. In this recipe, keep it to the real thing.
  • Capers:  Some find the capers to salty, if you are afraid of that, just rinse the capers before adding.

How to Store Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata

Keep this in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Warm leftovers in the microwave. It is best to store it seperate from the pasta or whatever you are serving it with if you can.

A chicken breasts with lemon piccata sauce on a bed of noodles in a bowl.

More Chicken Recipes to Try

Chicken is so versatile. It can be used in all sorts of cuisines. American, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and everything in between. Chicken is relatively cheap protein making it an economical family friendly dish. You can boil it, fry it, grill it, bake it and roast it. And don’t forget the latest ways of cooking, instant pot and air fryer. All incredible ways to prepare chicken, so when you need a new recipe to try, look no further than here. I have you covered.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 4 Servings

A quick and easy one pot meal that is on the dinner table in 30 minutes!  Tender breaded chicken in a creamy lemon sauce that the entire family will love! 

  • 4
    Chicken Breasts
    Whole Boneless Skinless
  • salt and pepper
    to taste
  • 1/4
    all purpose flour
  • 2
  • 2
    Olive Oil
  • 1
    chicken broth
  • 2
  • 3/4
    Heavy Cream
  • 1/4
  • parsley
    for garnish, chopped
  • 1
    Angel Hair Pasta

Updated on March 4, 2021

Originally Posted on April 6, 2015

Serves: 4

Calories994kcal (50%)Carbohydrates98g (33%)Protein66g (132%)Fat37g (57%)Saturated Fat17g (85%)Cholesterol221mg (74%)Sodium855mg (36%)Potassium1244mg (36%)Fiber6g (24%)Sugar4g (4%)Vitamin A914IU (18%)Vitamin C36mg (44%)Calcium86mg (9%)Iron3mg (17%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.


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The Best Chili Crisps, From Lao Gan Ma to Momofuku

These days when I open my fridge, a stack of chile crisp jars greets me. I’ve been collecting them for months now; I currently have at least 10 different chile crisps and oils, ready to turn up the volume on anything I make. I don’t think I’m alone. From Sze Daddy sauce from 886, a Taiwanese restaurant in NYC, to the classic Lao Gan Ma, which started the chile oil boom in America, chile crisp — which, put simply, is a condiment with oil and chile flakes — is so hot right now.

There are two things to consider when trying a new chile crisp: the oil-to-crisp ratio and any flavoring ingredients. Most often, the name suggests whether it will be more like an oil or a crisp; the latter contains more chile flakes and other flavoring ingredients — like garlic crisp, fennel seeds, anchovies, or preserved black beans — that add more textures to the mix. Some options are so powerful that they should be used as a dominant flavor profile when cooking: Think of chile oil-drenched noodles with fresh cilantro and cucumber, which usually feature an oil with intense, spice-forward flavors. Other varieties are more like condiments, mostly used as a finishing touch that’s mild, not overpowering, creating a perfect balance with other ingredients.

I love using both the oil and crisp parts from chile oil as a flavor boost for toast, pizza, fried eggs, and fried chicken (my personal favorite). I often combine softened butter and chile crisp and slather it all over roast chicken, to fantastic results. I add a spoonful of chile oil to water to make a quick broth for soup. And I mix and match different chile crisps to add a complex finishing note to my noodles.

There’s so much you can do with this powerful condiment beyond drizzling it on dumplings. Here are the ones to know:


Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp

This crisp is by far the best known, a pantry staple for many households, and the one that opened my eyes to the world of chile crisp. There are other varieties under the iconic Lao Gan Ma brand, including fried chile in oil and chile oil with black bean, but the spicy chile crisp is god-tier. Flavorful without being assertive, it’s my choice when I’m cooking with chile crisp, and excels when tossed with noodles or added to a marinade. Eat with: A buttery biscuit and crispy fried chicken from Popeyes.

Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch

This chile crisp may not be spicy, but it adds a ton of crunchy texture: toasted dried onions, dried garlic, dried red bell peppers, and other crispy bits are bound with olive oil, resulting in a mild flavor. You can use it on anything without overpowering it; it’s a great topping for salad and toasts. Eat with: Congee, which is a perfect canvas for texture-forward toppings.

Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp

If there’s one jar of chile crisp that I’ve used more than any other, it’s this one. The spicy, delightfully numbing, savory condiment, which is crafted in Chengdu, China, has an ideal ratio of oil to chile flakes. It makes a great introduction to Sichuan cuisine, known for its numbing spice. Plus, the little bits of savory preserved black beans soaked in spicy oil will leave you wanting more. Eat with: Use a spoonful (or more) with your store-bought scallion pancakes and dumplings.

A squat jar of S&B Umami chile oil.

S&B Crunchy Garlic with Chili Oil

As the name suggests, the first thing you’ll notice after you open this Japanese crisp is an abundance of dried garlic chips. The spice level is fairly mild and extremely subtle, making it ideal for dishes that need more texture, such as risotto, rice, and ramen. Eat with: Salads and fried eggs.

Momofuku Chili Crunch

Developed by David Chang’s Momofuku culinary team, this crunchy crisp is full of umami. What sets it apart from the rest is the use of shiitake mushroom powder, which contains naturally occurring MSG. It’s garlicky, oniony, deliciously spicy, and quite similar to a seasoning powder of Shin ramen. Eat with: Dairy products: Serve this with baked brie, and you will be hooked.

Su Chili Crisp

If you love a numbing peppercorn-forward taste, this Taipei-batched, Sichuan-style crisp is for you. It’s flavorful but not overpowering, yet strong enough that you can use it as a key cooking ingredient: The mala tingles you get from this crisp makes a particularly great mapo tofu. Eat with: Toast or dumplings.

Don Chilio Chile Crisp

This Mexican chile crisp, made with serrano peppers, has a different kick: a spoonful tastes like taking a bite of spicy, crunchy dried serrano pepper (which means it can be very spicy). Think of it as a dried chile salsa with a bit of oil. Eat with: Cheesy nachos; it works well as a replacement for jalapeno peppers.


A jar of SZE Daddy chile oil.

Two small jars of black garlic chile oil.

Sze Daddy Chili Sauce

Unlike any other chile oil I’ve tried, I couldn’t really distinguish what’s in this sauce — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. All the ingredients, such as scallion, garlic, star anise, and more, are ground into fine textures, making it extra silky and spicy without hurting your taste buds. Chef Eric Sze from 886 in New York City proudly serves this flavorful chile sauce that’s used in almost everything at the restaurant, including its much-beloved beef noodle soup. And, as the chef suggests, it’s more than just a finishing touch, and can be used as a major component in flavor-packed dishes like mapo tofu, bacon ramen, and spicy dumplings. Eat with: Your next Popeyes order. Thank me later.

Momiki Black Garlic Chili Oil

Black garlic, which has a surprisingly sweet, molasses-like texture, is blended with chile peppers, creating a one-of-a-kind chile oil that’s more savory than spicy (the presence of kombu and shiitake mushrooms adds to the effect). A spicier version of the oil exists for those who are seeking more heat, but this too is less mouth-tingling and more jalapeno-spicy. Eat with: Poached chicken breast, as a dipping sauce.

NoWon Chili Oil

Chef Jae Lee adds a Korean twist to chile oil, which is typically made with Sichuan peppers. But by mixing peppers with Korean gochugaru, known for its subtle, fruity spice, this chile oil achieves balance without being overly spicy. There are lots of sesame seeds in it too, adding crunch. Eat with: Avocado toast, as at Lee’s NYC restaurant.

Boon Sauce

Created by chef Max Boonthanakit, this condiment is a product of his love for Chinese chile crisp and his Thai roots. What’s unique about this sauce is the usage of crispy anchovies, which soak up extra flavors from ingredients like shallots and fennel. Because of the anchovies, it’s better for cooking, so use it as a part of your noodle sauce or broth. Eat with: As the chef suggests, it pairs well with Shin ramen.

Mostly empty jar of Umamei Chile Oil.

Umamei Chili Oil

Developed by 2014 Eater Young Gun and Top Chef Season 12 winner Mei Lin, this chile oil is packed with spice and umami, as the name suggests. The first whiff reminds me of a combination of deeply savory oyster sauce and XO sauce, and as you stir up the jar, the beautiful seeds of dried peppers float within. Eat with: Chicken porridge, allowing the oil to seep into the bowl of comfort.

Junzi Kitchen Chili Oil

If you want to experience true mouth-tingling, burning, very spicy chile oil, this is for you; just a small amount can add some serious heat to your dish. Developed by chef Lucas Sin from Junzi Kitchen, this fiery condiment punches your taste buds in the best way. I used a heaping spoonful of it for some noodles recently, and I was a sweaty mess. Eat with: Compared to other varieties, this is a more oil-heavy condiment, so use it to make dishes like dan dan noodles.

CY Eats MaLa 麻辣 Chili Oil

Created by Christine Yi, known as @cy_eats on Instagram, this mala chile oil has cultivated a following. With more oil than mala pepper flakes, it’s smoky, savory, mouth-tinglingly spicy, and great for cooking vegetables and proteins, especially steak. Eat with: Dumplings, as Christine does.

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NYC Restaurants Weigh Implications of Mandatory Vaccine Policies

As restaurant workers have become eligible for the COVID vaccine in NYC, the city’s restaurants are starting to explore whether to implement mandatory vaccination requirements for their staffs. Such a measure is currently legal according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but in practice, it opens up a minefield of potential ethical and human resources issues, as demonstrated by the recent debacle at Red Hook Tavern in Brooklyn. Still, it could eventually become a tool restaurants use to protect their staff and convince customers that dining at their establishments is safe.

The prospect of requiring a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment first came under public scrutiny in New York when former Red Hook Tavern server Bonnie Jacobson said in mid-February that she was fired after she refused to get the vaccine immediately. The restaurant has since come out with an official mandatory vaccination policy specifying that all employees are required to get fully vaccinated within 60 days of becoming eligible, except in the case of a medical condition or a sincerely held religious belief, in accordance with current federal EEOC regulations.

Red Hook Tavern’s push to implement a mandatory vaccination policy weeks after restaurant workers became vaccine-eligible in the city makes it an outlier among its peers, according to multiple employment lawyers who are currently discussing such policies with restaurant clients across the city. Vaccine appointments are still difficult to secure in the city, which could make an early requirement look particularly ham-handed, they say. Plus, city or state legislators could still weigh in with separate regulations on vaccination requirements in the workplace, which may eventually supersede the federal EEOC ruling. But perhaps the biggest challenge is how restaurants can respectfully go about mandating a policy that can leave staffers feeling like they have no choice on a matter many consider to be deeply personal.

Red Hook Tavern implemented a mandatory vaccine requirement for its staff in February
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater

“I think people are smart enough to realize, at the very least, [they] shouldn’t have a knee-jerk reaction and implement something this drastic without speaking with [counsel],” says attorney Brian Klein of NYC-based employment law firm Weinstein + Klein. “But there is definitely a lot of curiosity” about exploring the issue, he says.

Zero Hour Health and Zedic CEO and epidemiologist Roslyn Stone is not currently recommending that her clients implement mandatory vaccine policies. The company — which provides clinical guidance and support on various health issues to the restaurant and hospitality industries — works with nearly 500 NYC restaurants and collects self-reported health data for more than 10,000 employees at those locations. It has generally observed that about 50 percent of employees want to be vaccinated now; 30 percent are waiting or undecided; 10 percent don’t want this vaccine; and 10 percent don’t want any vaccine.

“I know I’m preaching to the choir when I tell you that this is an industry that’s been severely financially stressed this year,” Stone says. “We never, ever want to see one of our clients have a test case. You’ve got to do the right thing, and there are ways to do the right thing without making the vaccine mandatory.” Supply is currently one of the biggest hurdles to securing more staff vaccinations, according to Stone.

Jacob Bernard, a bartender at King Tai in Crown Heights, says he believes making refusal to vaccinate a fireable offense “is just shameful.” Bernard — who recovered from COVID-19 last year and has since received a first dose of the vaccine — says that while people should get the vaccine, and “almost everyone” at King Tai has, making it mandatory now will only add more stress to the job by forcing staffers to scramble for appointments, and it’ll further push away people who already distrust the vaccine. “Until supply and trust catch up, and we get more people immune, we can’t make essential workers’ lives and jobs even harder than they already have been,” Bernard says.

Right now, many restaurants are eager to help staffers secure appointments and otherwise offer informed support in the vaccination process, in the hopes that many staffers will voluntarily get the vaccine.

Union Square Hospitality Group is helping employees schedule appointments, offering both English- and Spanish-language support. It offers paid time off for staffers to get vaccinated, but vaccinations are not mandatory, according to a USHG spokesperson. At Korean seafood spot Haenyeo in Park Slope, 30 to 40 percent of the restaurant’s 25 staffers have voluntarily gotten a first round vaccination with support from the restaurant, but it does not require the measure, according to general manager Chieun Ko-Bistrong. Dear Mama, a cafe with two locations in Harlem, has seen 15 to 20 percent of its approximately 25 employees get vaccinated voluntarily so far, founder and CEO Zachary Sharaga says.

Fast-casual chain Xi’an Famous Foods is also lending appointment scheduling support to employees, according to CEO Jason Wang, and it’s also not requiring vaccinations.

“At this time, with the limited vaccination appointments available, it’s simply not yet practical for employers to mandate vaccines, with deadlines to get them,” Wang says. But that doesn’t mean the company won’t reconsider a mandatory vaccine policy at a later date. “I think once we have enough appointments to go around and enough doses in the city, it seems like a smart policy for us to consider,” he says.

Attorney Klein says that he has mostly fielded inquiries from restaurant owners asking whether they should implement a mandatory vaccine requirement, rather than owners who have already made up their minds and need help putting a policy together. By the end of February, Klein hadn’t finalized any mandatory vaccine policies yet among the firm’s roughly 50 restaurant clients, he says, but “there are several right now that are essentially teed up,” pending some additional information and final client sign-offs.

Similarly, labor lawyer Carolyn Richmond and her team at Fox Rothschild haven’t drafted “more than two” mandatory policies for city restaurants at this point, she says. More often, they have been tasked with putting together letters to employees that strongly encourage vaccination. Richmond — who also advises the NYC Hospitality Alliance’s member restaurants — estimates that the firm has put together letters encouraging vaccination for 20 to 25 NYC restaurant groups so far. Richmond works with about 1,000 restaurants in NYC.

In general, this practice doesn’t appear to be a top priority yet for restaurants, Richmond says. Owners are more interested in preparing for the next round of Paycheck Protection Program loans and asking for help on how to implement quarantine policies if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Plus, “very few restaurants are really open right now,” Richmond says. “Even with outdoor dining, or at 25 percent indoor capacity, it’s a bare-bones number of employees. Until we start seeing 50 percent or more of the staff being hired and brought back, a lot of these questions are being pushed down the line.”

Still, it will become a more serious question as operating restrictions lift and restaurants can more clearly weigh the potential benefits of implementing such a measure. Klein says that, among the firm’s restaurant clients who are discussing mandatory vaccine requirements, they are primarily interested in exploring the option in the name of staff and workplace health safety — but they’re also being regarded as a potential marketing boon. It may be normal in the future to see restaurants publicly promoting that their staff is majority or fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the same way that Department of Health letter grades are currently displayed in front windows, Klein says.

Fox Rothschild’s Richmond has seen similar interest among her clients. “Guests are reluctant to come back,” Richmond says. “And restaurateurs want to be able to have everything in their arsenal to say we’re doing everything we can for you to come back and enjoy your time here.”

Haenyeo’s Ko-Bistrong cautions that the process for receiving a vaccine in the city needs to become a lot easier — and more blatantly free, especially for those without health insurance — before the restaurant would consider making vaccination a requirement. She also says that she could “absolutely” see the subject of vaccination becoming a part of the interview process in the future. If someone chooses not to get vaccinated, it has to be clear that they are taking other COVID-19 safety precautions seriously, including wearing masks and gloves at all times.

“Safety is really the most important thing,” Ko-Bistrong says. “We are in the service industry, and we want to make sure that our guests are safe as well as ourselves.”

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Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Alamo Drafthouse, the independent theater chain known for its dine-in meal service, including food and drink specials inspired by films, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Austin-based chain’s assets will be sold to private-equity firm Altamont Capital Firms, a previous backer of the company, and affiliates of investment management firm Fortress Investment Group, Variety reports. Tim League, co-founder and executive chairman of Alamo Drafthouse, is among the group of buyers and will continue to be involved with the company.

“We’re excited to work with our partners at Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group to continue on that path of growth on the other side of the pandemic, and we want to ensure the public that we expect no disruption to our business and no impact on franchise operations, employees and customers in our locations that are currently operating,” CEO Shelli Taylor said in a statement.

The size of Alamo Drafthouse — with estimated assets valued between $100-$500 million, and an equal amount of estimated liabilities— makes this one of the “highest-profile casualties of the pandemic,” per Deadline. Coronavirus-related closures and capacity restrictions have decimated parts of the entertainment industry, including cinemas. At the beginning of the pandemic, Alamo Drafthouse closed its theaters and furloughed employees; many of those furloughs became permanent layoffs in July.

The first Alamo Drafthouse opened in Austin in 1997 and soon became a haven for film geeks. It hosts premieres and Q&As, and its screenings have strict no talking policies (except for specific screenings where talkback is encouraged). Among its themed menu items have been beef bulgogi pizza inspired by Parasite and an Avengers: End Game burger,

Despite its popularity, the company has also been the flash point of controversy, facing multiple accusations of “sexual harassment and abuse, racist attitudes toward customers, unsafe (and often illegal) work environments, and even stories about ticket sales being shorted to add to Drafthouse’s own coffers,” according to IndieWire.

As states continue to re-open amid the pandemic, Alamo operations are mostly expected to continue normally. A few of the chain’s 41 locations across the country will shutter as part of this restructuring process.

Alamo Drafthouse Movie Chain Files For Chapter 11, Selling Assets To Investor Group, Closing Three Theaters [Deadline]

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The Best Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes

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Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes are going to be your new favorite side dish. They are fried to a golden brown and the flavor is amazing!

Air fryers and potatoes just go together, everything just turns out divine. Try these other air fried potato recipes,French Fries, “Roasted” Potatoes and Baked Potatoes.

Hasselback potatoes in the air fryer with herbs and salt.

Air Fryer Hasselback Potatoes

With just a little extra time and effort you can turn ordinary baked potatoes into something extraordinary. Perfect for holidays and special occasions or just because, these garlic butter potatoes will be the hit of the dinner. The little cuts open up beautifully as they cook in the air fryer and the garlic butter oozes into every nook and granny. Topped with herbs and salt these potatoes are insanely delicious. Your whole family is going to love them.

Hasselback potatoes are simply an ordinary potato thinly slices in such a way that when they bake the slices separate and create a fan like appearance. This allows for butter, herbs and seasonings to sink deep into the cracks and throughout the potatoes. They are crispy, flavorful and super impressive! Serve them up with Slow Cooker Beef Tips, Cast Iron Pork Chops or Instant Pot Chicken.

Ingredients for Garlic Butter Potatoes

I love the extra freshness that comes from the fresh herbs, if you don’t have them you can used dried. Use half the amount of dried as you would for fresh, as dried will have concentrated flavor.

  • Potatoes: About 4-5 Russets.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add more or less to taste.
  • Butter: Butter and potatoes just go together.
  • Fresh Parsley, Thyme and Rosemary: Incredible fresh flavor.
  • Garlic: Mince the garlic for best flavor.

Making Air Fryer Hasselbacks

The hardest part of these potatoes is waiting for them to cook!

  1. Potatoes: Wash and scrub the potatoes. Slice the potatoes thinly leaving a half inch base at the bottom.
  2. Season: Salt and pepper the potatoes as desired
  3. Butter: In a small bowl combine melted butter, parsley, thyme, rosemary and garlic.
  4. Baste: Place the potatoes in the bottom of your air fryer basket. Brush the garlic herb butter along the tops of the potatoes.
  5. Bake: Cook at 360 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

Preparing potatoes for the air fryer with butter, herbs and salt.

How to Cut the Perfect Hasselback Potatoes

There are a couple of different ways to achieve this classic look, and there are a few tips to make it easier.

  1. Sharp knife: Make sure your knife is sharp and do not use a serrated knife. They’re not the right tool for the job
  2. Hasselback Cutter: Yes there is such a thing, and I use this one here found on Amazon.
  3. Spoons: If you don’t have a hasselback cutter never fear. Take two wooden spoons and place them on either side of your potato as you slice them. This will create a natural stop for your knife so you don’t accidently cut all the way through.
  4. Chopsticks:  These will do the same thing as the spoons. Place on either side of the potato and again it will create a natural stop for your knife.

Tips and Toppings!

These take a bit more time than regular baked potatoes but the taste and appearance is totally worth it.

  • Potatoes: Russets are the go to potatoes for this side dish. You can use golden or red potatoes too, but they will be softer, and the outsides will not crisp up as nicely.
  • To Peel or Not to Peel: It a total preference. We love the way the skin adds flavor, texture and crisps so nicely. It also houses a good portion of the nutrition in potatoes, but you can definitely peel them if you are not a potato skin person.
  • Flavor: Experiment with flavors and seasonings. You can use chili powder, Italian seasoning, and ranch or create your own mix of flavors.
  • Top it: Top these with cheese, sour cream, bacon, any of your favorite toppings or just a little bit more butter. You can eat them straight from the air fryer as well.
  • Baste it: For more intense flavor save half of your seasonings and reapply half way through the cooking time. The potatoes will have opened up some and allow for more butter goodness to seep down it.

Crispy air fryer hasselback potatoes on a plate.

More Air Fryer Goodness

Air frying is hands down one my most favorite ways to cook. When I can I cook it in the air fryer i will. Air frying uses circulating air to perfectly cook your food. It creates crispy golden crusts and tender juicy centers. It usually cooks food faster than in the oven or fryer. Air Frying is also more healthy than conventional methods. When “frying” in the air fryer you use less to almost no oil. It is a total win win. If you are need of some scrumptious recipes to use in yours, you have to try some of these tried and true.

Air Fryer Garlic Butter Hasselback Potatoes

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 4 Potatoes

Air Fryer Garlic Butter Hasselback Potatoes are going to be your new favorite side dish. They are fried to a golden brown and the flavor is amazing!

  • 4-5
    size russet potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2
    butter melted
  • 1
    fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1
    fresh thyme finely chopped
  • 1
    fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 3
    garlic minced

Serves: 4

Calories341kcal (17%)Carbohydrates31g (10%)Protein4g (8%)Fat23g (35%)Saturated Fat15g (75%)Trans Fat1gCholesterol61mg (20%)Sodium211mg (9%)Potassium725mg (21%)Fiber2g (8%)Sugar1g (1%)Vitamin A711IU (14%)Vitamin C10mg (12%)Calcium33mg (3%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.


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