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

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

Tour de Gall by A.A. Gill

Restaurant reviews are – like recipes – an easily found form of foodwriting. Small-town newspapers usually have a writer ready to fawn over the ‘latest new place’ in well-practiced tones blending boosterism, civic pride, and desperation for a good meal. Then there are world-class restaurants . . . who draw writers capable of world-class criticism to be published in high-profile global magazines and journals. One of the best (and most biting) (yum, yum) is A.A. Gill, here writing of L’Ami Louis in Paris:

In all my years as a restaurant critic I have learned that there is a certain type of florid, blowsy, patrician Brit who will sidle up and bellow, with a fruity bluster, that if I ever happen to find myself in Paris (as if Paris were a cul-de-sac on a shortcut to somewhere else) there is this little place he knows, proper French, none of your nouvelle nonsense, bloody fantastic foie gras, and roast chicken like Bridget Bardot’s tits, and that I should go. But, they add, don’t bloody write about it. We don’t want Monsieur Yank and his good lady wife turning up in droves. It’s called . . .

Continue reading Tour de Gall at Vanity Fair.