Thursday, October 22, 2009

What I've Been Reading

This photo has nothing to do with this post; I took it yesterday and like looking at it.
On my blog's sidebar you'll find a couple of widgets guiding you to articles that have interested me lately.  One lists recent shared items from my Google reader; the other lists the most recent articles bookmarked on Delicious.

But I thought it might be fun for you (or, more likely, a good exercise for me) if I occasionally posted something about the blogs, books, and newspaper articles I've been following recently.

I just finished reading Novella Carpenter's Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer.  I'd started it during the summer, and then, for what seemed like a good reason at the time,  put it aside.  What a wonderful book--you should run out and get it.  I bought mine--I would have gone to the library, but here in Portland there are 228 holds on 8 copies. I couldn't wait.

I wish people who call all of us interested in food 'elitists' would read it. Carpenter is anything but that--unless you consider curiosity, compassion, hard work (seriously hard work), and humor elitist.

Anyway, thoughts of Farm City fresh in my mind informed everything else I read recently.  The main thought is one that's been simmering for a long while now, and was brought back to a full boil with Gourmet's closure, and talk of it having becom 'irrelevant', or, worst of all, 'for the elite.'

Marion Nestle's blog, Food Politics,  got hold of the letters between Cal Poly's president, Dr. Warren Baker, and David Wood of Harris Ranch Beef, about the uproar over Michael Pollan's appearance at Cal Poly.  Wood throws around the 'E' word quite a bit, making Elitists sound a bit like terrorists.  Worth reading.

One way to deal with the 'elitist' label is to join it.  I like what Ed Bruske has to say on his post, 'I'm an Elitist' at his blog, The Slow Cook:
" markets are certainly “elite” in the same sense that the Green Berets are considered an “elite” fighting force, the very best our military (or U.S. Army, at any rate) has to offer. And that would make me an elitist, too, since that is precisely the kind of food I prefer for myself and my family. But rather than shrink from the elitist label, I embrace it. I have no problem at all admitting that when I put food on the table, I want it to be the best."
Then there was the New York Times Magazine (Oct. 8) Questions page about Lisa Lillien of Hungry Girl (have to admit I'd never heard of her). 
The question: "Do you see your career as a backlash against food snobbery?" 
Her response:  "I am not a food snob. When I was younger I would read cookbooks, and when I got to an unfamiliar ingredient, like parsnips, I would turn the page."
 What are we supposed to make of that?  That it's snobbish to be curious, and open to new tastes (ideas, thoughts)?

But there's been fun reading as well.  The Telegraph did a two part story, having two writers trade  (eating) places. Lucy Cavendish ate Bryony Gordon's prepared foods for a week, and then Bryony followed Lucy's more work-intensive menu.

My father wrote about the Futurist Banquet at SFMOMA on his blog, The Eastside View, including links to Tablehopper's account and their photos/videos (complete with warnings for the faint of heart and vegans).  Since I couldn't be there, I read about the bicycle transported roasted steer (through the streets of San Francisco) and its subsequent carving, beeting (yes, beet-ing) hearts, desserts dropping from the sky.

I will get to attend Portland's Livestock (November 4th, cow; November 11th, pig) evening of readings and butchery demonstrations at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Portland (503-827-6564), a promising local meat happening.  That is, if I hurry up and buy my tickets!

Finally, this New York Times article makes me ready to run out and buy Italian food historian Oretta Zanini De Vita's new book, The Encyclopedia of Pasta, a social history of pasta. Looks fascinating!  And can I have her name (that's saying a lot; mines not bad!)?

1 comment:

Grace said...

Okay, that whole thing about skipping unfamiliar ingredients... to me somehow that makes the person seem MORE like a food snob. You know, sticking up their nose at certain ingredients. Another term for it, seems to me, would be "picky eater"... but maybe that's just me?

Related Posts with Thumbnails