Click here to read reviewer Sandie Kirkland's take on Best Food Writing 2013.
Editor Holly Hughes brings together another delicious collection of book excerpts, articles and essays in the 2013 collection of Best Food Writing. This year, Hughes’ collection takes a look at the local-sourcing movement, examining aspects of food related to buzzwords such as ‘local,’ ‘seasonal’ or ‘gourmet.’ As always, Hughes’ collection reveals the diversity of food and food lovers that tickles the senses and delights the palate.
These forty-nine essays are broken up into seven different parts that examine various aspects of cuisine, with some very unique and entertaining takes on each. The Way We Eat Now features the article ‘The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater’ by Erica Strauss in a tongue-in-cheek examination of the dilemma that healthy eaters face as they try to navigate through the endless contradictory information that offers a negative aspect of every food. ‘Slow Cook, Slow Eating’ from Edward Behr’s The Art of Eating highlights that “different speeds are part of food as they are of the rest of life,” and advocates for balance. Behr points out that while technology and kitchen gadgets have made life easier, they remove your “sensitivity to the physical state of the food, perhaps especially texture.”
‘A Critical Palate offers essays from food bloggers and critics, including a humorous negative review on a Japanese restaurant and its questionable calamari. Farm to Table follows some foods from its original, natural source—apples from trees or perhaps, as Molly Watson reveals, the preparation of snails from the earth and the intriguing, colorful, in-depth work of purging them of their poo before they become delectable appetizers. Mike Sula’s article on ‘Chicken of the Trees’ examines squirrels as food—the moral arguments for hunting squirrel as well as tips on preparing the chicken-tasting meat in the section entitled The Meat of the Matter.
Home Cooking provides us with essays and excerpts on numerous gourmet experiences and includes recipes for J. Kenji Lopez Alt’s Real New England Clam Chowder and Katie-Arnold Ratliff’s Monkey-Loving Mocha Mouthfuls.
To Be A Chef features essays such as ‘The Swedish Chef’ by Joy Manning, in which Manning attempts to recreate some Swedish recipes from the cookbook Fäviken by Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson. Other essays offer some curious recipes for pork cooked in milk as well as more traditional gingerbread cookies, but always conveying the warmth of the kitchen and a refreshed experience of cooking. An excerpt entitled ‘Personal Tastes’ from Eddie Huang’s memoir Fresh off the Boat introduces the last section of these enticing essays, bringing together personal and eclectic experiences of food from Huang’s grandparents’ dumplings to Carol Penn-Romine’s sweet Southern tradition of Coke and peanuts.
Best Food Writing 2013 offers a diverse collection of articles that provide mouthwatering entertainment for foodies. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.