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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

Thankgiving Myths

The Truth about Tryptophan

Thanksgiving Turkey

© Christina Holmes

Ever wondered where that post-Thanksgiving drowsiness comes from? Many say it’s tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey. In this Sunday’s food-focused MythBusters, airing at 8 p.m. EST on the Discovery Channel, the team takes on the theory by testing the mental sharpness of MythBusters Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara through five different dining scenarios: before a meal, after ingesting a large dose of straight tryptophan, after a large turkey dinner (2,000 plus calories!), after an equally calorically impressive meat sans turkey (replaced by a gelatinous protein substance), and after a moderate turkey dinner. To find out the results tune in this weekend, but first watch an F&W exclusive preview in which Belleci and Imahara take a pure hit of tryptophan and play a sleepy game of Whack-a-MythBuster (think Whack-a-Mole but with more mustachioed men). Watch the clip here. >

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Wine Wednesday

Wine with Chicken Breasts

© Lucy Schaeffer

Fruit-based sauces like the apricot-onion pan sauce in this recipe pair well with a ripe Chardonnay from a warm region. / © Lucy Schaeffer

Admittedly, pairing wine with chicken breasts is kind of a pump fake topic, since as anyone with a nose or a tongue (or both) knows, chicken breasts on their own are about as intensely flavorful as water, or air. But it’s a fine way to illustrate one of the basic wine pairing rules, which is “Sometimes it isn’t the meat, it’s the sauce.” Since we have about nine billion chicken breast recipes on our site at Food & Wine, I’ve hijacked some favorites as examples. »

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F&W Bookshelf

Ultimate Cocktail-Book Buying Guide

The PDT Cocktail Book

The PDT Cocktail Book / Courtesy of Sterling Epicure.

In their quest to master classic and new cocktail techniques, mixologists around the country hit the books. To help you prep for the holiday season (and start a gift list), we asked top experts to reveal essential reading materials. With five passionate recommendations, The PDT Cocktail Book, by F&W contributing editor Jim Meehan, garnered sweeping praise for best contemporary release. (Meehan himself gives props to a tome published in 1930.) Here, a buying guide for every interest, from a Hemingway-inspired book chosen by cocktail genius Dale DeGroff to the oldest selection, Jerry Thomas’ Bar-Tender’s Guide, from 1862. »

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Grace in the Kitchen

Versatile Vegetable

Butternut Squash Glazed Tart // © Christina Holmes

Look for a squash with a long neck to use in this elegant puff pastry.
© Christina Holmes

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

It may seem odd to use butternut squash for a sweet tart, but it’s really just a long pumpkin. Actually, I find these squash much easier to use because they contain fewer seeds and have long, meaty necks that yield large, uniform slices or cubes. For this unusual tart, I roasted thin slices until tender and arranged them over a sweetened cream cheese mixture spread on flaky puff pastry. It’s such a simple recipe—just a few ingredients. Everything can be made ahead and refrigerated separately, then either rewarmed, recrisped or returned to room temperature. If you left out the sugar and cinnamon in the cream cheese and instead seasoned it with salt and pepper, this would  be a lovely first course, especially if you served it with a salad of tangy bitter greens. SEE RECIPE »

Related: More Butternut Squash Dishes
Thanksgiving Pies and Tarts
Dishes Using Iconic Fall Ingredients

Supermarket Sleuth

Toasted Sesame Oil: Finishing Oil for Vegetables and Fish

Courtesy of La Tourangelle

Courtesy of La Tourangelle

F&W Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki applies her incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

I’ve been buying toasted sesame oil in glass bottles for years. Even at its best, I’ve never been thrilled with the flavor, which always had a bit of a burnt aftertaste. I recently picked up a can of La Tourangelle’s toasted sesame oil—I’ve always been a fan of the company’s roasted nut oils, which are made in France and California—and I was happily surprised. The flavor is clean and toasty, not oily or bitter. It’s become one of my go-to finishing oils for steamed vegetables and roasted fish.

Here are some other great recipes to try it in:
Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles
Salmon Sashimi with Ginger and Hot Sesame Oil
Tomatoes with Sesame-Miso Sauce and Plum Vinaigrette

Related: More Alternative Oils
Fast Asian Dishes
Healthy Fish Recipes

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