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Best Food Writing 2005 Paperback – Oct 6 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
In this literary feast's sixth year, Hughes has assembled a fine collection of works by chefs, authors, critics, a cookbook editor and a few bloggers: people who write about food "because they love food." Devotion is evident throughout, whether in David Ramsay's "Some Like It Extra Hot," a hilarious love letter to "hot chicken," with which Nashville—and Ramsay himself—is obsessed; or Evan Rail's "One-Room Wonder," which pays homage to a tiny Prague restaurant that provides "a meal for the emotions" as well as superb food. Food's business aspects are explored in Cynthia Zarin's report on Murray's Cheese Shop in Manhattan and Nancy Grimes's exposé of the seamy underside (or "overweight kvetch" side) of being married to a restaurant critic. Idlewords.com's overrated-pizza rant is provocative (and useful), and Monique Truong's "Many Happy Returns" is a beautiful chronology of a restaurant's role in her life. Readers will marvel as Eric Asimov recounts the taste of a special bottle of wine and nod at Judith Jones's wisdom as she reveals what constitutes a good cookbook. Food lovers of all stripes will devour, and savor, this book; its recipes will help readers create their own kitchen alchemy, but the book's real magic is in the writing. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This newest volume in an annual anthology of food writing gathers 46 contributions chosen from last year's books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and Web sites. Subjects include a history of apples, a recipe for Barista burgers (from a restaurant in the small town of New Martinsville, West Virginia), a profile of a cheese shop in Greenwich Village, and instructions on the art of butchering. And there are articles on not-so-nice British dining critics who love to "roast restaurants," one from Tuscany on harvesting and pressing olives, and ones on growing your own food, on wine tasting, and on guarding a favorite recipe. In her introduction, Hughes posits that these contributors know food, and when they write, they share a special expertise with readers. The finished book will contain a recipe index. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Okay, so Best Food Writing is not part of the Best American series, but I'm going to compare it to them anyway. It's better. I especially like the Best American Essays and Travel Writing, but every year Best Food Writing is my favorite. Is food writing inherently superior? Easier to write? As with a delicious meal, I don't analyze the preparation, I just savor the food.
The 2005 edition includes articles from magazines such as Gourmet and Bon Appetit, from the food sections of newspapers including the New York Times, and from books such as Garlic and Sapphires. Hughes has divided the essays into chapters that are more or less about baking, drinking, the restaurant business, etc. She could have included a chapter called Extreme Foods, because there were several entertaining essays about spicy or otherwise intimidating food.
Some of my favorites of the 2005 bunch were Mort Rosenblum's Nutella adventures, Nancy Grimes's whine about how tough it is to be the wife of a food critic (boo hoo), Gabrielle Hamilton's memories of killing her first chicken, Dorie Greenspan's revelation of the French host's secret to perfect desserts, Diana Abu-Jaber's story of her immigrant family's disastrous failure to keep the old traditions alive, and David Ramsey's account of some extremely spicy chicken.
This year Hughes has devoted an appendix to food blogs, because there are just too many to ignore. I guess she missed Julie Powell's blog chronicling her year-long project of preparing every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Powell turned her blog into a terrific book called Julie & Julia, and I wouldn't be surprised to see an excerpt from it in next year's Best Food Writing.
Diane C. Donovan
Let me give you examples:
1. Apples come from Kazakhstan. Not many people know it. Gina Mallet (As Asian As Apple Crumble) does.
2. The book talks about places I have been to and am nearby right now. It makes me want to go places.
3. Most importantly, it talks about chickens - killing a chicken (Killing Dinner), making an omelette baveuse (The Count and I), fried chicken in Georgia and Tennessee, (A Sonnet in Two Birds), Nashville's hot chicken (Some Like it Extra Hot), roast chicken at Zuni Café in San Francisco (Quintessential Californian), and chicken feet dim sum, which I love (Appendix: A Taste of Blogworld).
It's too bad it's only 317 pages long.