Editor Holly Hughes returns with more selections of food stories to reflect the diverse nature of food choices, food trends, and delightfully tasty food-related issues written by former and new contributors.
Each of the eight chapters address various “issues and politics of food from vegan to gluten free” of our “shifting gastronomic landscape.” In the chapter entitled Food Fights, Hank Shaw’s piece ‘On Killing’ from HunterAnglerGardenerCook.com addresses the controversial issues between hunters and vegans, arguing that “we all have blood on our hands.” For Shaw, “hunting has created an uncommon closeness with the animals he pursue, the meat that I eat and my own sense of self.” Conflicting groups in the other articles include the fishing community and oil spills, and kids versus the advertising world for junk food.
In the Farm to Table section, Barry Estabrook—after enjoying Tasti-Lee tomatoes—examines the production of the perfect tomato by looking into the breeding for both taste and toughness. An article called ‘Olives and Lives’ by Tom Mueller examines the scandals involved in the international olive oil trade.
Home Cooking’s ‘How to Live Well’ by Tamar Adler compares suspicions about beans with realities and delineates their nutritional values. Adler includes information on a hearty minestrone recipe and tips on handling beans, with special attention to the Tuscan dishes. In the same chapter, we also find ‘Still Life’ by Greg Atkinson, who remembers how he learned to make mayonnaise at a young age. He evaluates mayonnaise and examines its role in his life and how he doesn’t consider mayonnaise to be a work of art, “but it is the food of the gods.”
In the chapter titled Foodways, Rachel Levin’s piece called ‘Passover Goes Gourmet’ reveals how people she knows have given up Manischewitz sweet wine for good wine and that these celebrations don’t consist of homemade meals anymore but rather stress-free meals from a Jewish deli named Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen. Included in this rundown of the Passover menu comes a humorous analysis of the tone-deaf singing at Seder. ‘Food For Thought’ by Jeff Gordinier examines the almost adversarial relationship people have with food and mindful eating to combat it.
Dude Food serves delectable articles about barbeque, such as Joel Stein’s piece on ‘Learning to Barbecue Helped Make Me a Man,’ in which he sets off to learn about the manliest form of cooking barbeque in the manliest town: Houston, Texas.
The Family Table brings us ‘The Legacy That Wasn’t: Wonton Soup’ by T. Susan Chang, revealing how she is making up for lost time as she examines her heritage and the culinary heritage she let slip by her. In ‘The Food-Critic Father,’ Todd Kliman amusingly merges his life as a new dad and food critic.
Someone’s in the Kitchen features Brett Martin discussing the pop-up restaurant phenomenon, detailing the happenings behind-the-scenes of the Ludotrack in ‘The King of Pop-Up.’ Personal Tastes offers the moving story ‘I Won’t Have The Stomach For This’ by Arina Stoessinger. She shares how much she loves food and how she was impacted by the discovery that she had stomach cancer.
Best Food Writing 2012 brings together a huge menu of deliciously provocative and thought provoking perspectives and information that is sure to whet the appetite of foodies. Highly recommended.