Thursday, June 09, 2005

Food

It’s an obsession, but I haven’t yet figured out how to write about food. Andrea Strong has, and I gobble The Strong Buzz every Monday. Full of typos and long, windy digressions about her cool friends and bad dates, she also has great ideas about food and good taste. It is true, as someone else noted, that she is an easy grader, but it’s delicious fun to read her enthusiastic weekly review, giving us the whole picture of what a night out at a certain place is like. There’s always a great, odd line, too, like this one:
Things got off to a terrific but teary start with a platter of fantastic deep-fried Frog’s Legs ($13). Just pretend they are chicken if you are squeamish about the Kermit issue, and eat them.

“The Kermit issue.” I love that.

Then, Gawker pointed me to this great review over at The Black Table, comparing high end Chinese with regular old ordinary Chinese. It’s funny and ends up making the same point Calvin Trillin made in a recent Gourmet: good dumplings are worth traveling for and often exist in humble spots.

In 1929, Woolf chastised novelists for neglecting the role of food in our lives. They may still do so, but M. F. K. Fisher is no longer our only great food writer. Everyone raves about Johnny Apple (that’s R. W. Apple to most of us—I only just figured that out) and many tease Frank Bruni. What makes good food writing?

I like a nice balance of knowledge and enthusiasm with no Puritanism and minimal orthodoxy. You?

2 comments:

genevieve said...

We have an extraordinary food writer here who ran a haute cuisine establishment in the 80s and 90s and now has a provender store. Her name is Stephanie Alexander, she has made at least one TV series and her cookbook is into its revised edition after only two years in print ( I think). Big on freshness, simple flavours, communicating technique naturally without giving people panic attacks and sharing food with friends. She is a nonpareil.

Anne said...

A great tip. Grazie!