Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Pan dulce, por favor

Check out this infographic from NYT today. What’s not surprising is that the US out-consumes the world in packaged foods, but would you please look at Mexico and the pounds per capita of “bakery goods” consumed?? Me gusta panaderia! I’m going to go open a bakery south of the border. Lots of competition, but the pesos I’ll make will likely be a lot more than my weekly pay here as pastry cook. Plus there’s cheaper health care.


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Once, I was in the same room as Paris Hilton, and I’ve shaken hands with Jessica Simpson and some other A to C list celebs for beauty events when I used to be a beauty editor. But while I was waiting for the phone call from the PR person for this Bon Appetit interview, I was actually pretty nervous. At that point, I hadn’t gotten around to seeing “Julie & Julia,” and only knew that he was the trusty sidekicks in movies I’d care not to see but came across on HBO anyway, like “The Devil Wears Prada,” though his acting CV is much broader than what’s covered by my narrow perception. I still have yet to see “Big Night,” but it is on my Netflix queue, but not before my Mad Mens. (This must tell you what a terrific journalist/interviewer I am.) He was perfectly pleasant and knew a lot about Italian food, and when we were done with the interview, he said, “Nice talking to you.” I don’t hear that everyday.

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Hurts so tasty

I read this passage from a story by David Foster Wallace a couple of weeks ago. The protagonist is talking about his childhood “voices” he’d hear and the accompanying unendurable fun and delight:

Sometimes the experience of the voices was ecstatic, sometimes so much so that it was almost too intense for me—as when you first bite into an apple or a confection that tastes so delicious and causes such a flood of oral juices that there is a moment of intense pain in your mouth and glands…

For me, this sensation feels like my tongue is at full salivating capacity, all tastebuds are mobilized, and my jaw twitches and aches a little. Then I was trying to remember the last time when I ate something so delicious that it hurt. Certainly, the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, and the brown butter rhubarb bars, too. During my childhood, though, it was these treats blogged about some months ago on Seriouseats.com. They’re essentially like a very thin and airy toffee cookie: they’re made of caramel and baking soda and squished into a disk with shapes that you can crack around. In Seoul, they were sold by little old ladies in blue tents in the street, conveniently not too far from the exit of the piano school my sister and I attended. The consummate dinner-ruiner, my mother would yell at us if she found any sticky crumb traces on our faces or jackets. But I endured her pain and parental grief at this addictive cookie, because it was worth it for the pain of delicious pleasure, so strong that I almost couldn’t bear it after the first bites. That’s how good those were.

So, please share with the rest of the class: What have you eaten that made your mouth hurt in a good way?

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Dear Santa

I am cross-referencing these two lists to see what cookbooks I could ask for: The Craft of Baking, mayhaps, and How to Roast a Lamb pop up in both. But what I really want is The Blackberry Farm Cookbook, mentioned in a short blurb in the Times review. The Farm has blipped about in my radar since my lowly days as an intern at Conde Nast Traveler, when I would call well-traveled readers and ask them their opinions for the Zagat-like “Gold List” issues, and this place is supposedly like the Smoky Mountains version of Blue Hill except you can sleep there and partake in recreation. No one had anything bad to say about it, from the picnic lunches (packed just for your trip with vegetables that stay crunchy!) to the amenities (locally made soap, no Prell).

So my list is as follows:

* Cookbook, and/or

* A personal chef who will make the culinary delights in book, and/or

* A butler who will serve the said delights, and/or

* A trip to the farm so I can experience everything first-hand

Really, I’m flexible, Santa!

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Cook it!

A guide to “cool” cookbooks from Utne Reader, one of those magazines I should probably subscribe to if it weren’t for the piles of oppressive New Yorkers and Harpers growing like healthy beanstalks all over the apartment. Did you know cookbooks, too, have a season (as per the article)?

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Gourmet, 68, not dead

Stop by and check out how Gourmet has affected the tastes and lives of its readers here at thankyougourmet.com, or submit your own story.

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…for Gourmet magazine, which is folding. I wasn’t a subscriber, but I have tried many of its recipes I got off epicurious.com (keepers: farinata with sage, olive and onions; spiced pumpkin bread…). While I’m glad that Bon Appetit came off unscathed from the chopping block—this article points out that it may have been an either/or situation—(and frankly, I have some standing freelance assignments for BA, whew) my habits of gleaning the small bits and pieces of information and how-to off the web illustrate how McKinsey, and maybe many others, too, view how information should be allotted: through bite-size chunks sans the whole scope and the culture of the food world.  And it’s quite meta that I’m sitting here, giving you another small bite-size chunk about small bite-size chunks taking the place of the big picture. I am going to stop while I’m ahead.

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