Best Food Writing 2000 Paperback – Nov 1 2000
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What's more fun: eating food or reading about it? Justifying the latter proposition in style, Best Food Writing 2000 offers an enticing selection of the year's best book, magazine, newspaper, newsletter, and Internet food prose. It culls the work of a wide range of authors, including Maya Angelou, Madhur Jaffrey, Calvin Trillin, and John Thorne--writers associated with food and not. Foodies and nonfoodies alike will welcome Best as a rich source of literary snacking.
Within its five parts, which include "Stocking the Larder," "Dining Around," and "Personal Tastes," the book offers delights such as Eric Asimov on America's most expensive restaurant; Grace Young exploring wok cookery; Anthony Bourdain recounting a chef's day in the life; and Anne Willan on the Burgundian table. Readers will also enjoy Vince Staten on barbecue, Jim Quinn's "Recipes for Dummies," Laura Fraser on giving up vegetarianism, and Trillin on the perfect bagel. What emerges finally from the book is a sense of how we feed ourselves, in every way. A look at this compelling question, plus a host of other food-related matters, makes this collection a small joy. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Although this debut addition to the annual "best of" books offers some fine writing about food, its most likely audienceAfoodies who subscribe to cooking magazines and purchase cookbooksAwill have already read at least half of these essays when they originally appeared in Gourmet, Bon App?tit and similar publications (e.g., R.W. Apple Jr.'s ode to high-quality bacon first appeared in the New York Times, and in a piece from Vogue, Jeffrey SteingartenAthe self-described "man who ate everything"Awrites of his search for pig's blood). However, as Hughes points out, she culled her selections from a variety of media including culinary memoirs, social histories, profiles of chefs, essays on trends and techniques, and odes to individual foodstuffs such as Marlena de Blasi's nostalgic tribute to an especially satisfying plate of pasta. In one of the more engaging articles entitled "Bottom-Drawer Blues," Kim Severson of the San Francisco Chronicle interviews Chuck Williams of Williams-Sonoma about kitchen gadgets (e.g., egg separators and Williams's three-pronged hot-boiled-potato peeler) that just don't sell. Other successful pieces are Anne Mendelson's Gourmet essay against celebrity-chef cookbooks and Laura Fraser's rationale from Salon.com for quitting vegetarianism after 15 years that initially appeared on Salon.com. (Dec. 1)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is set up in five sections: Stocking the Larder, Home Cooking, Someone's in the Kitchen, Dining Around and Personal Tastes. This works nicely as you get various views and ideas regarding similar topics. You also get the various topics listed as sections: a full section of articles on choosing foods, one on cooking at home, etc.
There are articles by such food luminaries as Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin, Phyllis Richman, John Thorpe, and Micheal Ruhlman among others.
The book serves as a good introduction for those interested in food and like topics. If you like the article "Natural Born Keller" by Michael Ruhlman, you'll probably enjoy his full length book "The Soul of a Chef." Enjoying Anthony Bourdain's humorous excerpt from his "Kitchen Confidential" will suggest you go find a copy of that to get the rest of his story. I enjoyed John Thorpe's article enough to visit his website, and plan on purchasing at least one of his 3 or 4 books of article collections.
The other above mentioned food luminaries have full length books, or collections, in print that you can decide to try or plan on avoiding based on the 5 to 10 page selections by Ms. Hughes.
The other introduction you are given is to the various magazines that are out there: Gourmet, Wine Spectator, etc. are represented here. Again, by reading articles that are representative of these magazines, you get a feel for your tastes in writing.
If you have any interest in food, restaurants, chefs, etc., you need to check this book out.
By collecting material from a variety of sources (books, magazines, webzines, newspapers), Hughes has given us access to more, and better, food writing than we would have hunted down ourselves. The result is fabulous.
I was so impressed with Laura Fraser's piece on why she stopped being a vegetarian, reprinted from Salon.com. The topic is unexpected, the writing seems effortless, and she really made me think about the subject in a different way. Then I had to find what else she had written and was captivated by An Italian Affair. I also started reading Salon.com.
Read all the Best of Food Writing series, but be sure to read this one first!
And in that pile of pulp is the article on the foraging of truffles that you were meaning to read, the pullout explaining the proper way to stuff a Christmas goose, and the latest column from the ever laconic curmudgeon Jeffery Steingarten. The only problem is you can't remember exactly where. So it's either flipping through enough pages to turn thumb turns black with ink or picking up BEST FOOD WRITING 2000.
All the articles you remembered reminding yourself to read (and plenty others of equal quality) are all there. Let's hope they keep this up every year; my apartment is closing in on me.