Foodies on the Holiday Gift List? Give Best Food Writing 2011
May the fates bless Holly Hughes, editor of Best Food Writing 2011. It’s not a cookbook, but an anthology of the best articles that written about the subject most dear to the foodie’s heart in 2011. Those looking for recipes won’t be totally disappointed, four are included: Phanouropita Cake, Mock Turtle Soup, Persimmon Bars with Lemon Glaze, and Ma Po Tofu (not a dish for vegetarians). I’m not sure how many readers will be rushing to prepare Mock Turtle Soup, though, since it requires a calf’s head.
What do you love? Tater tots (don’t laugh, some of us do)? Wild boar? Vienna sausages? Do you even remember when Vienna sausages were the toast of middle-class suburban get-togethers? Maybe you’re more of an eat-out or take-out personality. Whatever your taste in foods, preparation, or presentation, Best Food Writing 2011 has at least several articles that you will find palatable.
The work of forty-four food authorities are represented, including Brett Anderson, Colman Andrews, Barry Estabrook, Gabrielle Hamilton, Jessica B. Harris, Pete Wells, Francis Lam, Chang-Rae Lee, Lisa Abend, and so many more. The first section, “Foodways,” introduces readers to ethnic choices (which, of course, can be found in other chapters as well) and the high priest of frying (“I Believe I Can Fry,” Katy Vine). The glories of street food, including new discoveries, are there, too (“Fried Cheese Epiphany at a Street Fair,” Francis Lam).
Sections on “Home Cooking,” “Stocking the Panty” (a broccoli/asparagus hybrid?), and food fights follow, but the controversy begins with “Guilty Pleasures” where one finds the aforementioned Vienna sausages and tater tots, burgers, fried foods, depraved tastes, and—best of all—“In Defence of Shite Food” by British writer Bryce Elder. “Guilty Pleasures” is for those who know the absolute satisfaction that comes from eating meals with absolutely no nutritional value. Best Food Writing 2011 winds up (or down) with “Someone’s in the Kitchen” (not me, I’m too busy vicariously savoring food experiences) and “Personal Tastes” from toast to oysters.
Best Food Writing 2011 isn’t only about food, but—more importantly—our relationships with food, how it serves us, how we serve it. For those who have developed the fine art of eating, whether it’s fried Twinkies or the incredibly-difficult-to-prepare fried lettuce, Best Food Writing 2011 is the gift to receive this holiday season.