Best Food Writing 2000

Best Food Writing 2000

by Holly Hughes
     
 

A major new annual publication is born. It's a Zagat world, where everyone who isn't trying their hand as a food critic is at least talking about food writing: William Grimes' reviews and R.W. Apple's special reports in the New York Times, Jeffrey Steingarten's monthly Vogue missives, Jim Harrison in Esquire, and Ruth Reichl's revitalized Gourmet. Now is the

Overview

A major new annual publication is born. It's a Zagat world, where everyone who isn't trying their hand as a food critic is at least talking about food writing: William Grimes' reviews and R.W. Apple's special reports in the New York Times, Jeffrey Steingarten's monthly Vogue missives, Jim Harrison in Esquire, and Ruth Reichl's revitalized Gourmet. Now is the perfect time to bring together essays, reviews, articles, and other miscellaneous pieces from a wide range of sources: food, travel, and general interest magazines, national and local newspapers, foodie newsletters and even Web sites. Because writing about food turns up in so many disparate places, food lovers will now have the opportunity to enjoy these stellar pieces, all in one place. Selections from writers including R.W. Apple, Alan Davidson, Fran Gage, William Grimes, Jim Harrison, Madhur Jaffrey, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Nigella Lawson, Paul Levy, Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, Cheryl Mendelson, Catherine Reynolds, Michael Ruhlman, John Thorne, Calvin Trillin, and many others, are included.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although this debut addition to the annual "best of" books offers some fine writing about food, its most likely audience--foodies who subscribe to cooking magazines and purchase cookbooks--will have already read at least half of these essays when they originally appeared in Gourmet, Bon App tit and similar publications (e.g., R.W. Apple Jr.'s ode to high-quality bacon first appeared in the New York Times, and in a piece from Vogue, Jeffrey Steingarten--the self-described "man who ate everything"--writes of his search for pig's blood). However, as Hughes points out, she culled her selections from a variety of media including culinary memoirs, social histories, profiles of chefs, essays on trends and techniques, and odes to individual foodstuffs such as Marlena de Blasi's nostalgic tribute to an especially satisfying plate of pasta. In one of the more engaging articles entitled "Bottom-Drawer Blues," Kim Severson of the San Francisco Chronicle interviews Chuck Williams of Williams-Sonoma about kitchen gadgets (e.g., egg separators and Williams's three-pronged hot-boiled-potato peeler) that just don't sell. Other successful pieces are Anne Mendelson's Gourmet essay against celebrity-chef cookbooks and Laura Fraser's rationale from Salon.com for quitting vegetarianism after 15 years that initially appeared on Salon.com. (Dec. 1) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In her search for "really great pieces of food writing," the editor of this new annual collection scoured books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and web sites. The result is a delightful assemblage of tempting literary treats, ranging from musings on a particular food or ingredient to an essay on the joys and agonies of hosting a dinner party. Selections are divided into five groups: "Stocking the Larder," "Home Cooking," "Someone's in the Kitchen," "Dining Around," and "Personal Tastes." Among the authors featured are those both well known to the gourmet crowd, such as Anne Willan, Ruth Reichl, and Betty Fussell, and other writers normally not thought of as being connected with food, such as Jhumpa Lahiri. Recipes are not a part of most selections, since the focus of this series is on culinary writing, and another collection, The Best American Recipes 2000 (Houghton, 2000), already covers this angle. But in a few instances, such as the extract from Amanda Hesser's The Cook and the Gardener, the recipes were considered such an integral part of the writing that they were left in. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The debut of a planned annual collection, this stellar selection of mostly American food writing has everything but the unexpected. Among the top-drawer usual suspects featured here, R.W. Apple Jr. delves into bacon; Jeffrey Steingarten spends a whole lot of pages on his quest for pig's blood; Calvin Trillin tries to tempt his daughter home with bagels; and James Villas goes on about pimento cheese. No doubt M.F.K. Fisher, Jane Grigson, and Waverly Root would be here too if they hadn't died before Y2K. Less trafficked names still recognizable to those who read food magazines comprise the remainder. Highlights include John Thorne, who is not only a deep thinker and lovely writer but actually seems to be living his material rather than simply remembering it; Ann Hodgman, who as always provides an intelligent, comic breath of fresh air; and wild Jim Leff, the chowhound, in whose heart a fire for authentic food burns bright. English cuisine is resurrected by playwright Jonathan Reynolds, who recently subbed for and upstaged the dreary Molly O'Neill in the New York Times Magazine, and novelist Jhumpa Lahiri offers an elegant, fragile food memory. But former Fodor's editor Hughes didn't extend her reach much beyond the New Yorker, the New York Times, the food glossies, and a few heavily publicized books. It would have enhanced this collection if she'd made an effort to include some of the fresh, surprising writing that appears in letters distributed by wine shops and single-malt societies, newspapers issued by such stores as the Vinegar Factory and Zingermann's, the rogue material on the Internet, or anything at all from the Slow Food movement, whose magazine Slow is in a class byitself.Plenty of satisfying entrees here, but next year the editor should try to provide some more adventurous fare as well.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569246160
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
11/04/2007
Series:
Best Food Writing
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.27(h) x 1.01(d)

Related Subjects

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >