September 23, 2004
Food Section Digestion, September 23, 2004

paragon of journalistic excellenceThe United Nations was in session in New York this week, and The New York Times discovers the best international cooks in the city may not be at Babbo or Nobu or Jean-Georges; They may be dishing up ethnic specialties from street corner carts and car trunks. Dana Bowen's article captures one of the most positive aspects of New York City's street life. Meanwhile, Michael Luo tracks the Chinese restaurant's development in America as shown in an exhibition at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas. Julia Moskin tracks the scandal at the James Beard Foundation, and Alan Feuer tracks the arrival of the IHOP in Harlem.

It's not Chinese food, but a Chinese Box - "La Caja China" - that the Salt Lake Tribune of Salt Lake City, Utah calls on Michael Yount and Dan Nailen to write about. How else are you going to cook a whole pig for a tailgate? The paper claims to have more family friendly recipes, but at least one features a chicken breast. Put that on a CBS cooking show and it'll cost you $550,000.

Frank Mentesana of the Washington Post encourages us to eschew time-consuming sandwich shops and make our own pantry sandwiches. Karen Lincoln Michel is interested in preserving Native American food. I think there's a successful restaurant idea there for the enterprising. The featured book follows the Native American theme. Michael Franz argues Spanish wine has joined the top of the wine producing world and Ribera del Duero is among the best of Spain's wine regions.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune features food in Sarah Brown's latest from the deep deep south - as in Honduras. Marcell Bienvenu took her husband the other direction, up to the coast of Maine and brings back some recipes. Send letters of gratitude to Judy Walker for defending the necessity of anchovies in Caesar salads. Yeah, yeah they may not have been in the original Caesar salad, but we didn't walk upright long ago, either. Heck, I still slouch.

Peter Berley believes vegetarian cooking needn't take forever, he tells the Chicago Tribune's Carol Mighton Haddix. Great recipes are included. Bill Daley observes a wine tasting and discusses how tastings expose people to wines they might not otherwise try. Daley follows up with tips to help you maximize your tasting experience.

The Houston Chronicle's Dai Hunyh hopes to help you minimize your caloric intake when dining out.

The Boston Globe's Sheryl Julian and Julie Rivera know beans and how to prepare them. Joe Yonan focuses on a different set of beans and compares espresso makers. Boston. Beans. Makes sense.

Russ Parsons at the Los Angeles Times finds a gem of a restaurant close to the farmers in Fresno. Laurie Winer provokes the following rant by me when she tries to write about food blogs, but seems to miss most of the best ones. She points to one excellent page on when condiments go bad, but.. IT'S NOT FROM A BLOG, it's from a personal website which is quite different. She also found an amusing story about a man with a goose egg and a hair dryer but it's from a GENERAL blog, not a FOOD blog, which is what the story is supposedly about. Somehow, she did find The Food Section and Chocolate and Zucchini, but why she didn't just follow the links on these sites to discover the larger food blogging community, I don't know.

Ms. Winer believes bloggers hate mainstream journalists ("Here, bloggers bring the simmering antipathy between print journalists and themselves to full boil."). I don't see it. I like most of the people I cover in this news summary every week, which is why I try to make sure I attach the writers' names to their articles. I think professional food journalists provide a valuable service and often do quite excellent work - even that magnificent bastard R.W. Apple, Jr.

I do, however, object to writers who dip a toenail in the blog community for ten minutes and assume they understand it or that they've found the best or most representative samples of the blog world's work and then misrepresent bloggers to hundreds of thousands of readers. Best piece of advice for journalists trying to write about food blogs - http://foodpornwatch.arrr.net/. Read every site updated during the week at least once. Enough said.

Well maybe not enough said. If Laurie Winer wants to see how its done, she should take a look at Natalie MacLean's latest in the San Francisco Chronicle where she looks at wine on the web. A few blogs are included along with some more commercial sites. At the end of the article is a good hyperlinked list of the URL's to some great web wine resources. Also in the Chronicle - San Francisco is known for having amazing Italian food, but Oakland is recreating Calabria according to Janet Fletcher.

Summer makes a graceful tasteful exit in the garden of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Ann Lovejoy. John Owen is retreating to the comfort of a mini-Thanksgiving dinner. Rebekah Denn profiles one widow's path to pie-baking glory. It's a great story.

The South African Independent Online breaks the story of massive fraud at this year's Oktoberfest in Munich. Over 30,000 fake tokens were involved. That's a lot of bier.

In the Prague Tribune, Libor Ševčík is focusing on wine from the sole of Italy, you know - Oakland.

The conventional supermarket may be on the way out - caught in the middle of a squeeze between small specialty stores with fresher goods and big mega-store discounters like WalMart, according to Aideen Sheehan of the multi-paper Irish Unison.ie. You might like their brief tips on roasting game birds. Look at the grouse, look at the grouse!

In the Sydney Morning Herald Keith Austin gives a look at the highs and lows of five years of stuffing his face for a living. Clotide will probably like the next recipe for zucchini carbonara. I'd thought the zucchini would substitute for the noodles, but no, it's in to take the place of bacon.

New Zealand's multi-paper stuff.co.nz has Stephanie Alexander poke at a sorrell spot. Bakeries in Hong Kong are busy producing mooncakes for the late September Mid-Autumn festival. New Zealand's Greenshell mussels are rated the most ocean-friendly seafood in the world.

That's it this week. With luck, we'll have more Oktoberfest-related stories next week. I'll make my usual plea for leads to online English-language newspaper food sections from outside the U.S. If you know of any please contact me at barrett@toomanychefs.com, and I'll include them the next week in the digestion.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at September 23, 2004 10:36 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
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