Food Porn by Molly O’Neill

304px-Baker_BananaOriginator of the term ‘food porn’, Molly O’Neill describes the world of food as it stands today. This article was written in 2003 in the Columbia Journalism Review, but it clearly is as thorough and as true as it was on the day it was written.

On a balmy May evening in 1997, I was at a bookstore in Santa Barbara, California, signing copies of my third cookbook. It wasn’t my best book, and nearly every chapter of it had previously appeared in my food column in The New York Times Magazine. Nevertheless, nearly two hundred people waited to pay me homage — as well as $26.95 for the book.

The magazine was one of the most powerful platforms for food writing in the nation and, to the people in line, I was a rock star. My mother, a sensible Ohioan, was with me that night and she was appalled. She stood near as fans gushed admiration for my prose and recipes.

Finally, as if unable to contain herself another second, my mother interrupted one woman’s compliments and asked: “Do you actually cook that stuff?”

“Of course not,” replied the customer, who looked like my mother, tall, lean, with a white cap of stylishly coiffed hair. “Every week I cut them out of the magazine and promise myself I will cook them. Don’t we all?”

 

Continue reading this story at alternet

A Bite with Joan Rivers

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Joan Rivers, loved by so many. In memoriam, here’s an article in Gourmet Magazine where she chats about food in her inimitable style ~

Gourmet Live: Do you cook?

Joan Rivers: I don’t cook. My big joke is that the B on the oven stands for “burn.” I can’t cook, and it makes me terribly sad. I would love to be all things to everybody, but I can’t. My big threat to Melissa (her daughter) as a child was, if she was really bad I’d say, “You’re going to bed with dinner!” She’d cry and cry and cry. I have a chef now.

GL: So when did you hire your chef?

Joan Rivers: I was doing the Carson show as a guest and I came home afterwards and cooked a meal for my husband and some friends. After dinner we took a walk and all my guests stopped at a deli and got sandwiches. And my husband said to me, “You know, you can’t cook. You can write a joke. So hire someone that can cook and you write the jokes.”

 

To continue reading please go to Gourmet Magazine 11/17/10

Picnics from Summer Cooking by Elizabeth David

Eugen_Klimsch_Das_Picknick_1894On picnic addicts and warm-weather food . . . with Elizabeth David, there’s always a story and the recipes . . . . well, you’ll have to know how to cook because her recipes are narratives and she has no intention of coddling anyone!

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 9.58.19 AMTo read more, go to google books, Elizabeth David’s “Summer Cooking”, here.

The Best Divisions for Knowledge of the Regions by Al-Muqadassi

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The bluntness of the author is not unusual for the times he lived in, but it can still be startling to read.

About this book: “Written 1000 years ago, this geographical treatise was based on some 20 years of experiences undergone and observations noted in the author’s survey of the realm of Islam, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. He presents his observations on its topography, vegetation, religion and culture.” (google books)

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 9.15.22 AMTo read more, go to archive.org

 

Critics in the World of the Rising Souffle by Nora Ephron

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The food world can be a terribly gossipy place, particularly when the people in it start to look at themselves as Players. Before “foodies” there was “The Food Establishment”, way back in 1968, and here’s Nora Ephron to tell us all about it.

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To continue reading, please go to New York Magazine for September 30, 1968

Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

10534566_10203461627252777_4272517643691263686_n“Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.” – Judith Olney

But sometimes things which taste sweet offer unexpected challenges – depending on who you are, where you come from, your history and culture . . . as we read in this excerpt from “Woman Warrior”:

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.31.36 PMRead more here . . .