If you love food and love Delaware-inspired food even more, Wednesdays should be your favorite day of the week.
That’s when Delaware Eats would land in your inbox if you sign up for this weekly newsletter just bursting with fresh ideas about dining out, cooking in (or ordering in, because there’s no shame in that).
Award-winning reporter Patricia Talorico recently revamped her newsletter and it’s stuffed with bite-sized goodness – not just highlights of our recent and always robust dining coverage, but lots of exclusive-to-the-newsletter tips about eating, drinking, cooking, ingredient hunting, and much more.
This week’s newsletter has great suggestions for treating mom right on her special day. Patricia also dishes about a favorite guilty TV pleasure, how to score fresh strawberries at the farmers market, that first really great lobster roll of the season, and how best to enjoy the Wilmington Flower Market.
We caught up with her recently to learn more about what inspires Delaware Eats:
Q: Share with us some of your background covering food in Delaware.
A: I grew up mostly in Delaware. We moved here when I was a child, and I went to school here, and have been at the paper for more than 30 years. I’ve been covering food since ’97 — maybe even before then, in the 90s as the Food Network was starting to gain steam. I have met nearly all the major players in the business, everyone from Julia Child to Jacques Pépin to Rachael Ray to Anthony Bourdain.
Q: You’ve been recognized by the James Beard Foundation for your food journalism …
A: I have two James Beard Award nominations, and I lost to a writer from the New York Times and to the San Francisco Chronicle, so that’s not too shabby.
Big week for local journalism:Delaware Online rakes in 30 regional journalism awards. Read the winning work for 2022.
Q: What makes covering food in Delaware so special?
A: Well, it’s the Mid-Atlantic region, so you are getting this great seafood. If you are in Wilmington, you are only an hour and a half form the beach, great crab. There’s a great agricultural community in the state, so a lot of chefs here have really been taking advantage of that for more than 10 years, more like 20. There’s great farmers markets … It’s small, and it’s one of its greatest strengths, as you can get to know the owner and the chef, and not everybody but it’s pretty accessible I would think. And the President of the United States is from Delaware, so you can’t get much better than that.
Q: What’s your favorite type of food story to tell?
A: Really, just like the chef/owners, the mom and pops, the pizza guy I wrote about today … a young guy or woman just getting started in their craft, and sharing something new. If you think you know it, maybe you don’t know it all. So sharing something that people don’t know, all these little, hidden gems.
Q: You write a lot about cooking at home. Are you more of a favorite recipe cook or an improvisational cook?
A: I do both. I like to study a cuisine and then really try to perfect it. For a while, it was Indian food, then it was Mexican especially moles, and always Italian food. I’ve traveled to Italy a lot, and I can make a pretty mean risotto. From there, you can do your own improvising.
Q: What is your favorite cookbook you go back to again and again?
A: “How to Cook Everything’’ by Mark Bittman … it’s like falling apart, I use it so much. He has recipes for the best blueberry muffins and the best brownies. I still use “The Joy of Cooking.’’ Sheila Lukins — I still use that a lot.
Q: Your newsletter includes a lot of juicy tidbits about food on TV. Do you think you like those shows more because of your job?
A: I don’t know if it’s just my job. I see it and I think, “Can I use that?’’ Nora Ephron said everything is material, you are always looking for inspiration and I’m always going to zero in on the food. But when it comes to food TV, I don’t like yelling and that kind of stuff. I still watch “Top Chef’’ and I watch (“Lidia’s Kitchen’’) once in a while. I watch Jacques Pépin on Instagram or Facebook.
Q: What is the most Delaware meal you’ve ever had?
A: That’s a great question. Maybe a Capriotti’s Bobbie. … Definitely, a crab cake and corn on the cob in the summer. Any kind of crabs especially that someone caught themselves and served up like a backyard crab fest. And in Sussex, definitely the BBQ chicken by the firefighters That’s very Delaware. And chicken and slippery dumplings … in a butter bean gravy.
Q: Summer’s on its way. What fresh ingredient are you most looking forward to?
A: Tomatoes, and then corn.
Q: What do you most want people to know about your newsletter?
A: With Delaware Eats, we’re trying to give them something extra, something you are not already reading on Delaware Online.
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