Gin is hot. Gin is golden. “Gin is resilient,” Dave Brown writes in Gin: The Manual. “It knows that people will eventually come to their senses and appreciate it for what it has always been—a spirit of extraordinary complexity and depth. Brown’s is one of at least a dozen volumes published in the past three years devoted to the juniper-infused spirit that had a heyday in the 1920s. It fell out of favor during the vodka and sweet cocktail craze of the 1990s, but it’s making a decided comeback.
The culinary wizards behind the curtains (as well as those cooking in open kitchens) in coastal restaurants from Newburyport to Portsmouth to Kennebunkport are working their magic with all kinds of meats. Offerings appeal to both conservative and adventurous carnivores alike. The ocean certainly has the glorious seafood bounty our region is known for, but area chefs pay homage to land-based animals with dishes that secure their restaurants a mandatory stop along the meat eater’s must-try list.
Artisans transform milk in new and traditional ways Cheesemaking is one of the oldest culinary crafts, and today it is enjoying what might be called a cultural revival throughout the country. During much of the 20th century, America was not known for its cheeses, with just a few varieties available, plus European imports. In the 1980s, a movement away from packaged efﬁciency foods began. Local, farmstead, artisan became sought-after buzzwords, and cheesemaking returned to its small farm roots.
New Way Old Way to Cut Meat Dennis Belleville of Carl’s Meat Market in Kittery, Maine, remembers the first box of beef that came into the store. It was around 1979, when the shop was on Government Street. He recalls there being probably seven meat cutters standing around. Staring at it. Poking it. Opening the cardboard first, and then the plastic bag inside. All the pieces were the same. “It was space age meat to us at the time,” he says.