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Publishers WeeklyMourning the demise of Gourmet magazine, series editor Hughes asks "is food writing a dying art?" Readers of this year's anthology will offer a resounding "nowhere close." Ethical concerns of organic and locavore movements and free range meats are tidily summed up by now-famous vegetarian Jonathan Safran Foer. Whereas MIT grad J. Kenji Lopez-Alt shares a recipe for making French fries as good as what McDonalds makes: "salty, crisp, light, and not greasy." At the other end of the spectrum, New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton offers a version of Nora Ephron's meat loaf recipe to die for. Pulitzer prize winner Jonathan Gold tracks the shifting locations of Los Angeles' street vendors and Tod Kliman hunts down Peter Chang, the elusive "perfect chef" who moves between Chinese restaurants, from D.C. to Atlanta, to avoid celebrity. Along the way Kliman learns that innocuous Chinese restaurants can have secret menus for the cognoscenti and experiences the exquisite pleasure of hot peppers that scorch and even numb. And travelling to Tokyo, Kevin Pang discovered to his great surprise that eating a bowl of ramen "satisfied every taste sense man is blessed to experience." A sparkling collection.
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