13 October 2009

Rules to Eat By, by Michael Pollan

Lettering by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson

Rules to eat by. Sounds great, but few people even care about them, except three rules, if a food or meal doesn't have lots of salt, sugar and fat, it's not food. And it's even better if it's loaded with high fructose corn syrup, or if on a "diet", and it contains sucralose or aspartame, to make you feel "better" about consuming the chemical glob.

"Deciding what to eat, indeed deciding what qualifies as food, is not easy in such an environment. When Froot Loops can earn a Smart Choices check mark, a new industrywide label that indicates a product’s supposed healthfulness, we know we can’t rely on the marketers, with their dubious health claims, or for that matter on the academic nutritionists who collaborate on such labeling schemes. (One of them defended the inclusion of Froot Loops on the grounds that they are better for you than doughnuts. So why doesn’t the label simply say that?) Making matters worse, official government pronouncements about eating aren’t necessarily much more reliable, not when the food industry influences federal nutrition guidelines. But even when the “best science” prevails, that science can turn out to be misguided — as when the official campaign against saturated fat got us to trade butter for stick margarine loaded with trans fats, a solution that turned out to be worse than the problem."

View the entire article, Rules to Eat By, and the concise Food Rules: Your Dietary Dos and Don'ts, at The New York Times.

07 October 2009

Closing the Book on Gourmet

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

For anyone interested in food and wine, and all things related to food and wine, the announcement of the closing of Gourmet Magazine will end a wonderful era in the field of gustatory reporting. A much better publication than Bon Apetit in my opinion, but with less advertising revenue, Conde Nast, has chosen to go the way of mass appeal, rather than quality content by keeping Bon Apetit rolling instead of its more respected sister publication.

More from The New York Times:

"The magazine, founded in 1941, thrived on a rush of postwar aspiration and became a touchstone for readers who wanted lives filled with dinner parties, reservations at important restaurants and exotic but comfortable travel.

Although it was easy to paint Gourmet as the food magazine for the elite, it was a chronicler of a nation’s food history, from its early fascination with the French culinary canon to its discovery of Mediterranean and Asian flavors to its recent focus on the source of food and the politics surrounding it."

View the entire article, Closing the Book on Gourmet, by Kim Severson.

02 October 2009

New York Cooks, by Joan Krellenstein and Barbara Winkler

A new publication to hit the bookshelves, New York Cooks, by Joan Krellenstein and Barbara Winkler, is worth highlighting. From the publisher:

"There’s something in the air in New York City today: the delicious aromas from an unprecedented number of trendsetting restaurants. Here, direct from Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Café, Blue Smoke, Picholine, Barolo, Café Des Artistes (to name a few) are some of the best recipes around. They include such mouthwatering original creations as Bacon Wrapped Muscovy Duck Breast, Blackfish with Spaghetti Squash, Cara Cara Orange and Bibb Salad, Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, and dozens more. Illustrated with gorgeous full-color photography and featuring interviews with superstar chefs, New York Cooks offers cooks from coast to coast a chance to experience the latest culinary masterpieces—just the way they serve them in New York."

And a review in the Wall Street Journal is also worth reading:

"In addition to offering tasty recipes and useful lore, "New York Cooks" is about glitz and trendiness. (For "New York" read "Manhattan": Chefs from humbler boroughs need not apply.) The book thus can be read as a food-fashion snapshot, letting future foodies know what dining in 2009 New York was like. Given the nature of the restaurant business, many of the 38 eateries included here will be gone before long; one, the venerable Café des Artistes, closed even before the book went to press. Authors Joan Krellenstein and Barbara Winkler also provide profiles of the chefs, who list some of their pet peeves and preferences..." WSJonline

New York Cooks: 100 Recipes from the City's Best Chefs
by Joan Krellenstein, Barbara Winkler
Pub. Date: September 2009
Publisher: Sixth&Spring
Format: Hardcover, 224pp
ISBN-13: 9781933027784
ISBN: 1933027789

Available online at Barnes and Noble.