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A Good Editor Makes this Compilation Great!
on October 31, 2011
If you've not read a previous year's collection by Holly Hughes let me introduce you to this great series.
Each year Holly Hughes compiles the best writing about food for that year. This year her compilation began just as she was renovating her kitchen and so for four months while she read about incredible food and food experiences; she was ordering take-out pizza and living in a house with a non-functioning kitchen.
This edition features a new section: Guilty Pleasures. Things like Tater Tots, fast food, fried food; good stuff like that.
Who could have imagined a hundred years ago that food could be so political, so divisive? A Tale of Two Dairies tells of the sad plight of small dairies and their attempt to compete with the dairies that have thousands and thousands of cows.
I was thrilled to read an excerpt from Gabriell Hamilton's book; Blood,Bones and Butter. I loved the book, and this excerpt reminded me I want to reread it.
I loved reading a piece by "Fry Girl" wherein she tells of her daily struggle to eat constantly and only fried foods from all sorts of discovered joints.
The shark fin ban in San Francisco totally passed beneath my radar until reading about it here. Cecilia Chiang, at 92 years old, reminisces of her trips to Japan and back solely to carry the top-quality shark fin back to her restaurant, the Mandarin, in San Francisco.
Deborah Madison takes a little break from the vegetarian cooking she normally writes about to write of the nostalgia, the history and memories associated with recipes hand written on 3 X 5 cards, or various scraps of menus, napkins, stationary from a lecture. The ability to read between the lines, gather memories from the menu, recall the individual because of her unique writing; all of that is lost when we cut and paste the link to a recipe on-line.
Most disgusting, and at the same time a extremely amusing, was Christopher Kimball's piece on mock turtle soup. Yes, because eating turtles with toenails removed and head pealed of skin isn't disgusting enough; someone out there in cooking la la land needed to have a mock version as well. So they use a calf head. The dilemma is: remove the brains before boiling or not? Remove the eyes and teeth first or not? Scrape the nasal cavity, by all means!
This is a book to savor, and I always love the cover art. I like to scoot around in the book and read haphazardly, first from the back then to the front and then everything between. I look forward to the Best Food Writing every year; I couldn't wait for this to arrive in my mailbox.
Holly Hughes has done a great editing job and I am certain there will be more than one piece that you will absolutely love reading about.