Editor Holly Hughes brings us another delicious and diverse collection of food articles, essays and stories from around the world that will stimulate your senses with mouth-watering details, mind-expanding facts, and laugh-out-loud encounters with exotic dishes.
Best Food Writing 2011 collects 45 stories divided into seven sections which each contain approximately six tasty and thought-provoking stories.
The first section, entitled Foodways, explores the rich and often internationally woven heritage of various cuisines, from Colman Andrew’s take on Venetian seafood to Jessica B. Harris’s history of Soul Food and Francis Lam’s ironic ending to his fried cheese epiphany in Little Italy.
Home Cooking presents the often-hilarious trials and tribulations of the hands-on experience of cooking, including recipe testing and mishaps. The stories featured in Stocking the Pantry demonstrate the power of a name and include Thomas Livingston’s history of Broccolini (a trademark of Mann Packing Company), and its status compared to the less elite vegetables; as well as Mike Madison’s piece about growing the kharbouza melon that made him a big hit in the Ukrainian population around California.
Food Fights presents the more political aspect of food. Two of the stories included in this section are Jonathan Kaufman’s article about how a ban on shark’s fin was perceived as an attack on the Asian culture, which views eating shark’s fin as a status symbol, and Ike DeLorenzo’s article about social media systems wanting a piece of the action that the restaurants get from the online referrals by social media users.
The fifth section, Guilty Pleasures, reveals the palatable and sometimes not so palatable aspects of decadent and often unhealthy cravings and gluttony. Someone’s in the Kitchen takes us to the person behind the prepared plate, giving an insight into preparation that chefs put themselves through in order to succeed at or simply be able to work in their craft.
The final section, Personal Tastes, presents some personal considerations on food. Tim Hayward recounts a very detailed and painful memory of his gastronomic disaster with an oyster; David Leite tells of the empty feeling that he is left with even after he thought he had, through his magical and motivational food, inspired his niece to pursue her GED; and Michael Procopio writes an ode to toast.
Best Food Writing 2011 offers up an extensive and delectable menu of gastronomic delights. A must-read treat for anyone who loves food. Five stars.