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.)
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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
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