About Gary Allen

Gary Allen teaches food writing and various food and culture courses at Empire State College and has been vice president, newsletter editor, and webmaster for the Association for the Study of Food and Society. His books include The Resource Guide for Food Writers, The Herbalist in the Kitchen, The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries, the anthology Human Cuisine, and his most recent title, Herbs: A Global History, a volume in The Edible Series of Reaktion Press. He’s currently at work on another book for the same series—on sausage. Visit him at his website, On the Table, and blog, Just Served.

Burrata Cheese

Burrata di Andria Cheese

All hail the queen! Of Italian cheese, that is: Burrata di Andria. A kind of cream-filled mozzarella, it rules a plate like no other cheese. Gary Allen explains.


The History of Chicken Fingers

Chicken fingers—that favorite meal of kids—have an interesting history, filled with thrift and greed. Who knew a kids’ snack could be so profitable?

Celebration Cakes

U.S. Helps in Locating U.K. WWII Celebration Cake

Victory cakes, also known as celebration cakes, were popular after World War II and were centerpieces of U.S. and U.K. parties. Gary Allen reports.


The Green Fairy Flies High

Absinthe, also known as the green fairy due to its hallucinogenic properties, is basking in the glow of a revival of interest among discerning drinkers.


A Woolf at the Table

Food history editor Gary Allen delves into the culinary world of Virginia Woolf, the Bloomsbury set, and foods of the Edwardian era.

Going Bananas for Beefsteak Stanley

Going Bananas for Beefsteak Stanley

Gary Allen dissects the classic dishes Salisbury Steak and Beeksteak Stanley and finds what may have been the 20th century’s original low-carb diet.

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Kissing Couple

The Naked Truth about Aphrodisiacs

For Valentine’s Day, food history editor Gary Allen takes a look at comestible aphrodisiacs and unravels their magic, myth, and mayhem.

Jolly Old Christmas Redux

A Jolly Olde Christmas Redux

Food history editor Gary Allen looks at the food traditions of the merriest of holidays and finds interesting ties to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Manchup Beans

Manchup: Cape Verde’s National Dish is a Savory Mix

Food history editor, Gary Allen, discovers the root of manchup, Cape Verde’s beloved dish. Manchup is a rustic dish filled with meats, beans, and grains.

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No Country for New Turkeys

Although food-crazed bloggers and over-ambitious chefs have turned out every conceivable variation of turkey, on Thanksgiving the familiar is what we want. Food history editor Gary Allen explains.


High School Chemistry Pays Off…in Ice Cream

Food history editor Gary Allen, who has a bent for all things food science, delves into the mystery of a batch of ghastly blue-grey blackberry ice cream.

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Crazy for Salt Cod

Our food history editor, and sometime science guy, Gary Allen, helps a reader understand how to keep and care for salt cod.

Bananas and Fat Lady Burritos

Readings: “Bananas” and “Fat Lady Burritos”

Gary Allen recounts the pleasure he derives from noshing on bananas while vacationing.

Red Velvet Cake

Seeing Red Over the Origins of Red Velvet Cake

A frustrating search for the origins of Red Velvet Cake leads a stymied reader to our food history editor, Gary Allen.

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