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More on Gourmet

by in View All Posts, October 7th, 2009

In another of a series of fantastic food articles in Salon, Alex van Buren sums up what I’ve been trying to articulate over the last couple days and haven’t been able to — that sure, it’s an easy cheap shot to call Gourmet elitist and out of touch, but one thing overlooked by all the Monday morning quarterbacks is that Gourmet was the rare magazine that managed to really capture the inherent emotionality of food, which I’m phrasing poorly, but that grasped that food could bring both joy and suffering, and told the stories of both. Van Buren on Reichl:

I would suggest that Ruth Reichl was not a snob, but — at her best — an egalitarian badass. She is a lover of food in all its sensuous, unruly glory. She put haute French chefs like Daniel Boulud in line for a food cart on the street. She ran features about politics and poverty — the life of a tomato laborer, a brilliant Chinese cook serving $7 entrées in Toronto, the travails of a restaurant parking valet. She asked Dominican novelist Junot Diaz to wax poetic about his Bronx childhood and sent readers from all corners of Gotham scurrying onto the 4/5 train to eat crunchy arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas).

The brilliant Julia Langbein, writing in New York magazine, has similar to say:

But what makes me sad about Condé Nast’s decision to shutter the magazine isn’t the death of this iconic American image of the good life, but rather the end of the kind of work done behind that image.

Me, I’m just sad. I’m sad for my friends who no longer have jobs, I’m sad for the industry that saw Gourmet as unsupportable, and I’m sad for the stories that won’t get told.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

It Came From The Library: Gourmet

by in View All Posts, October 5th, 2009

This morning I’m imagining the FN Library without Gourmet Magazine. From the stacks, I’m removing James Beard and M.F.K. Fisher; Jane Grigson and Roy Andies de Groot; Edna Lewis and John T Edge and Ruth Reichl and on and on, all the authors who at one time or other called Gourmet home. I’m imagining a skeleton library, a library impoverished, emptied of nearly all of its smartest, most evocative, most literate writing, of so many of my most beloved authors. These are the thoughts running across my mind as I mourn the sudden passing of Gourmet Magazine. And they leave me feeling ill.

Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian

Chanterelle, 30 years ago

by in View All Posts, October 2nd, 2009

Gael Greene breaks out the wayback machine, reposting her original 1979 review of the legendary, and  sadly-now-closed, Chanterelle:

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From the a la carte list, a splendid mille-feuille of gently poached oysters spiked with garlic and anchovy in cream, and perfectly cooked chicken in a tasty sauce scented with morels and chives. Ripe pears in a tea sabayon… And all this from a menu written, refreshingly…in English.

Highly recommend reading the whole thing, if only for the remarkable sense of perspective it gives you about the New York restaurant world over the last 30 years.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

De la Nariz a la Cola

by in View All Posts, September 22nd, 2009

To all afflicted by the unique claustrophobia of small kitchens, from a Bogota fritangeria comes a design solution:

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Nice, though nicer still in red:

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The shop pictured specializes in fritanga, a Bogotano specialty akin to Brazilian churrasco and Ecuadoran parrillada, which is to say it’s a mixed grill of sorts.

The difference being twofold:

  1. in lieu of a variety of meats, fritanga opts for variety meat, or often does (cow lung and intestine, in my experience)
  2. in lieu of a grill, fritanga is brought to fruition in hot oil.

Yes, the whole crunchy, chewy, beastly, and glorious mess is deep fried (thus the name, which translates to ‘little fried things’), thrown onto a plate with little potatoes (also deep-fried), harpooned with toothpicks (in lieu of knife and fork), and served with a mildly spicy, cilantro-flavored chile sauce (aji).

Delectate on this!

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I was reminded of that delicious experience last week when the Food Network Kitchens had the pleasure of a visit from the master meat cutters of Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats, an independent butcher shop just up the Hudson River, in Kingston, NY. Owner Joshua Applegate, who has probably done more than anyone to revive interest in the butcher’s craft, argued persuasively for spending more for better meat and for eating the whole animal nose to tail and everything in between. But, for all his charm and oratorical skills, nothing he said so compellingly made the case for the ethics and economics of nose-to-tail eating as the lunch he and his team cooked up for us: pork skin gnocchi with wilted greens; braised and fried pork cheeks; a tongue taco bar; and sausages galore. A fritanga unto itself, indeed.

Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian (all photos courtesy Marlene Ramirez-Cancio)

A Fine Time for Wine

by in View All Posts, September 21st, 2009

Farewell, summer. Today marks the first official day of fall, which means it’s time to get jazzed about the best part of harvest season: WINE.

Red Wine

Check out these fun finds for autumn 2009.

Wine Ratings Guide iPhone App:
A one-million wine database, plus your own personal ratings list

Harvest Tweets:
Vineyard reports from across North America

From the Expert:
Screwcaps and boxed wine are in!

Wine Shop Savvy:
How to return a flawed bottle

Harvest Vine Wallpaper:
Dress your desktop for fall.

Need info and tips on vino? Let us know.

- Angela Moore, VP/Site Director

Between the Lions

by in View All Posts, September 21st, 2009

Kentucky Bourbon Fest: Day 2

by in View All Posts, September 18th, 2009

Day two in Kentucky.  Yesterday was a great day.  Kevin Smith, Master Distiller of Maker’s Mark, was our tour guide for the day.  We had about a four hour tour — about three hours longer than average.  I can now make bourbon with my eyes closed after that tour; check out some pictures.  Later that evening, we headed off to Bill Samuels’ house for dinner (so f-ing cool).  This guy is a character and a great host.  Charlie and I sat with his wife for dinner, heard stories about his family’s history in the bourbon business.  Now we’re off to Jim Beam…

Dave Mechlowicz, Culinary Purchasing Manager

An Extreme Chat with Secretary Confidential

by in View All Posts, September 17th, 2009

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Yesterday, Extreme Cuisine host Jeff Corwin told Secretary Confidential he had homemade pasta fagioli for dinner — pasta, white beans, red beans, fava beans and broth — along with crusty bread and a glass of red wine. Pretty tame, right? Tonight, tune in and join in on a much different culinary experience as Jeff and crew debut a run of all-new episodes of Extreme Cuisine. We caught up with Jeff to find out where he’s been — like Greece and Morocco — and what’s been on his plate, including one bony dish of fish.
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Kentucky Bourbon Fest: Day 1

by in View All Posts, September 17th, 2009

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This weekend is the annual Kentucky Bourbon FestivalCharlie and I are lucky to be down here as guests of Maker’s Mark — we New Yorkers stand out in this crowd for sure.  This weekend we’ll be hitting up the Maker’s distillery, the Jim Beam distillery, having dinner at Bill Samuels‘ house and much more.  Stay tuned for pictures, and some good knowledge.

Dave Mechlowicz, Culinary Purchasing Manager