I love The New Yorker. It’s as simple as that. But when the Food Issue comes around, I get giddy like a 10-year-old schoolgirl … butterfly in my stomach and the whole nine yards. Yes, I am a little late to the party…considering the latest food-related issue come out last November. Nevertheless, good writing never gets old.
My favorite piece is the profile of April Bloomfield, chef and co-owner of New York’s The Spotted Pig. Bloomfield is fierce and fearless, unapologetic and kick-ass. In Burger Queen, Lauren Collins captures the chef’s eclectic career and uncompromising confidence: burgers in her restaurant are only made one way, her way – “char-grilled, on a brioche bun, topped with crumbled Roquefort.” Who can say no to that? Apparently, only Lou Reed, the sole customer who has it his way (and not per Bloomfield’s choice). In the end, I love a good story.
And something I didn’t know, she passed the Mario Batali test – Bloomfield has a missing fingernail, a sign of her disinterest in keeping a well manicured hand, and most importantly, a signifier of her willingness to go the distance with ingredients. Even Top Chef Host extraordinaire Tom Colicchio saw something in her, something humble and free of Page Six gossip. Well, that’s definitely an accomplishment in my book.
Because I am a history buff, I enjoyed reading Eleanor Roosevelt’s food misadventures in the White House. The First Kitchen is a snap shot at the politics of food, the good, the bad and the “abominable.”
And how about Family Dinners, a collection of essays and stories from the 2007 Food Issue. I told you, I go bananas for it. Among the many, Lunch, by Cristina Henriquez, is my favorite: a take on lunch as family dinner in Panama with a myriad of relatives and close-enough friends at grandma’s two kitchen tables.
I always go back to my personal stories of family dinners. What I love most about Italian cuisine is its social aspect. Since I can remember, every time I had a plate in front of me, I was surrounded by family, loud and mouthy. Growing up, my parents had one rule and one rule only: dinner was a family affair – every night, no matter how much fun I was having chasing lighting bugs in the fields, I had to come home for dinner. As an adult, it stuck with me: I would not have it any other way. Dinner was and still is a sacred time.