To say that food writing is as versatile as Gene Simmons’ taste in women is a slight exaggeration but an accurate one nonetheless. Food writing comes in many forms–from reviews to recipes, exposition to personal narratives. Sometimes it appears in the most unlikely of places–like sports–as Food Republic searches for the best new food in baseball stadiums or Bleacher Report professes their love for Dodger Dogs and 30 other ballpark foods.
It’s frilly and fun, sunshine and rainbows and Jonathan Gold-isms: “Some restaurants you leave smiling. Other restaurants you leave burning with the fury of a thousand suns.”
At its best it tears at deeper issues as Colum McCann did in his September 12, 2011 piece:
“The sky would always be this shade of blue. The towers had come down the day before. Third Avenue on the Upper East Side was a flutter of missing faces, the posters taped to the mailboxes, plastered on windows . . . Everything felt honed down to the necessary, except for one woman who sat alone at an outdoor table in a restaurant on Seventy-fourth Street. She had just ordered a piece of chocolate cake. It arrived in front of her, and the waiter spun away. A slice of two-layer cake. Dark chocolate. A nipple of cream dolloped on top. A sprinkling of dark powder. The woman was elegant, fiftyish, beautiful. She touched the edge of the plate, brought it toward her.”
In my food writing class we were asked to bring in a food article that we liked. I of course went for the sassy, colorful writers likes Jonathan Gold and Todd Kliman. I’m not one for boring, pretentious food writing–I think its about time to squish it like the black widow that just left your puppy crying in the corner (don’t worry, the vet will save it). Below is a list of what my classmates brought in, I’ve highlighted a few that I think you shouldn’t miss:
She Simmers: Thai Home Cooking web site“Ozaki Wagyu Farm: The Quest to produce the World’s Best Beef!”“Asparagus for the Quotidian” By Melissa Clark in The New York Times
Fire in the Hole From The Economist
Dar Salam Restaurant Owners Are Educating Oregonians About Iraqi Culture, One Plate at a Time,” From Oregonlive.com
Jewel of India restaurant review From Washingtonian magazine.
Ode to the Slimy Hagfish By Jonathan Gold
“Fried Egg I’m In Love” By Martin Cizmar in Willamette Week
“Generation X Report: Men Spend More Time in the Kitchen” From Time
Pork Belly, Lobster, and, Yes, Music From The New York Times
The First Served From The New Yorker
Banana Bread Crepe Cake with Butterscotch“Hanoi emerging as a destination for foodies”A lager crowd Thousands of brew lovers flock to Sasquatch to sip and mingle
Eggs, Over Easy, Scrambled or Smiling“Two Classes Divided by a Kitchen Door” By Anand Giridharadas in The New York Times.
I’ll leave you with this quote from journalist Mark Kurlansky:
Food is about agriculture, about ecology, about man’s relationship with nature, about the climate, about nation-building, cultural struggles, friends and enemies, alliances, wars, religion. It is about memory and tradition and, at times, even about sex.