Blog

Clams, clams, clams!

Facebook postings flash past one’s eyes. I didn’t catch the references, I didn’t capture the links. But one of them asked the question, Is Pacific Northwest clam chowder always made with thickeners of flour or cornstarch? Is it really supposed to have the consistency of caulking? Some people seem to think that clam chowder is…
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Top of the Cosmo Revisited

  I wrote earlier about the former Cosmopolitan Motor Hotel and its Top of the Cosmo restaurant, located in Portland’s Lloyd Center district. The hotel recently underwent a transformation, from a shabby unit of the Red Lion chain to the hip and happening Hotel Eastlund. Television news on KGW described the Eastlund as a “swanky, new building” but…
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Eating Your Way to San Francisco: 1915

The noted Oregon-born cookbook author and food historian James Beard (1903-1985) penned a very tasty reminiscence of being a teenager eating his way from Portland to San Francisco aboard the dining cars of Southern Pacific Company’s Shasta Limited, and on the luxurious steamships of the Great Northern Pacific Steamship Company. “This train was my idea of true…
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A Century Ago in Warrenton

Warrenton High School, 1965 Having spent many of my so-called formative years in and near the town of Warrenton, Oregon, I’m very interested in bits of history about it. The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of my graduation from Warrenton High School, so I have the reunion on my mind. I helped to put…
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Dining a la Oregon

Dining a la Oregon: A Guide to Eating Adventures in Oregon Restaurants, Featuring Famous Recipes for Specialties of the House appears to have been the first compendium of what might be called reviews of Oregon restaurants. It was “compiled” by John A. Armstrong, a “Sunday and feature editor” for the Portland Oregonian newspaper and an honorary member…
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Podcast: Oysters All Around

I recently did an interview with urban farmer and food journalist Chris Seigel, “Oysters All Around,” which can be heard on  Underground Airwaves at http://unairpodcast.com/2015/07/06/richard-engeman/. Underground Airwaves describes itself as a site that “collects personal food and farming stories, intimate conversations, and historical ephemera—those intangible things that regenerate a rooted food culture.” The interview was also…
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The Truth about Marijuana

On the eve of Oregon’s foray into recreational marijuana distribution, it is interesting to take a look at this piece of paper ephemera from nearly fifty years ago.“The Truth about Marijuana: Stepping Stone to Destruction” was issued in 1967, by the Essex County Youth and Economic Rehabilitation Commission in Newark, NewJersey. My copy? It came…
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A Rose for Rose and Her Sinful Deliciousness

For three decades, Rose’s Restaurant and Lounge in Portland was a clattering and rushing emporium of enormous sandwiches stuffed with corned beef, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing, of chicken soup with matzoh balls, of vats of boiled tongue, and of wooden barrels filled with Mrs. Neusihin’s pickles. Yet the standouts at Rose’s were the desserts…
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The Land of Princess Charlotte

Henry Thiele If ever a king there was of the Realm of Portland Food, it was Henry Thiele. As a celebrity chef, caterer to the social elite of Portland, spokesman for food and wine, purveyor of Princess Charlotte pudding, German pancakes, and bratwurst with sweet-and-sour lentils, Henry reigned as chef supreme from his arrival in…
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Hamburger George Fernand

Yes, that’s the proprietor of the Canyon City Café, proprietor and chef Hamburger George (or Big George) Fernand. This photo postcard, issued about 1950, shows a good representative of a restaurant type: the small-town café that filled all culinary needs. In the 1950s, the hamburger sandwich, in a basket with French fries, was one of…
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