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Food Sites for February 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Female House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, well-chilled.

Well, winter has finally caught up with us. Not musch in the way of snow, but bitterly cold. The prospect of picnics and out-door grilling is not as pleasing as it was a few months ago. Sparrows, cardinals, and chickadees are the only al fresco diners around here. 

Every day, a neighbor’s cat sits patiently under the bird feeder, but—so far—there’s been no picnic lunch for him either.

Regular subscribers to our updates newsletter receive these updates from our blog, Just Served, directly—but there is much more at the blog that isn’t delivered automatically. “Doors,” a new year’s message that is sort of about food, appeared on there last month. “The Perception of Perception” also showed up on the blog (but it has absolutely nothing to do with food, so why should I even mention it?). We also posted “Rite of Passage,”  a tale of lust (for food and other things), and “Gatherin’ Mequite” at Modern Salt. 

You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner

We’ll take what comfort we can from this month’s quotes (from On the Table’s culinary quote collection): 

No dish changes quite so much from season to season as soup. Summer's soups come chilled, in pastel colors strewn with herbs. If hot they are sheer insubstantial broths afloat with seafood. In winter they turn steaming and thick to serve with slabs of rustic, crusty bread. Florence Fabricant
 The height of luxury was reached in the winter afternoons … lying in a tin bath in front of a coal fire, drinking tea, and eating well-buttered crumpets is an experience few can have today. J.C. Masterman
When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries. Kenneth Grahame
Gary
February, 2016

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites we‘ve missed—please drop us a line. It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those of you who have introduced us to sites like the ones in this newsletter (such as Dianne Jacob and Jonell Galloway), thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if youve received this newsletter by mistake, and/or don‘t wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. We‘re happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and we‘ll see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.

---- the new sites ----

AJEats
(Al Jazeera’s food section)

Bacon Goes Kosher
(Erik Ofgang, in Tablet, on treyf-less strips of crisp-fried non-pork)

Cleaver Quarterly, The
(magazine about Chinese food)

Cooking with Pulses
(recipes and nutritional info from the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council)

Medieval Mulled Wine
(Karen Schousboe, at Medieval Histories, traces the spiced libation from Apicius to today)

Michael Pollan on how America got so Screwed Up about Food
(hint: it’s the bizarre intersection of science, industry, and politics)

Noble Idea, A: Beer Without Hops
(James Sheehan, at Molotov Cocktail, on ancient beer styles that incorporated other botanical bittering agents)

Note on Peppers, A
(Hari Balasubramanian on peppers, Piper spp; and peppers, Capsicum spp.)

Problem of the House, The: Past, Present and Future
(Jack Self, in The Architectural Review, looks at kitchen design from several theoretical vantage points)

Sacred Khao
(an introduction to the foods of northern Thailand)

Science of Craving, The
(Amy Fleming, in The Economist, on the difference between desire and pleasure)

What is Bourgeois Cuisine?
(Jonell Galloway on the history of French cooking that is not so haute)

Why (Almost) Everything You Know About Food Is Wrong
(Julia Belluz analyzes the difficulty of getting accurate nutritional information)


---- inspirational (or otherwise useful) site for writers/bloggers ----

7 Book Marketing Trends Authors Can’t Afford to Ignore

10 Things We’ve Learned From Writing Cookbooks

Culinary Memoirs: What’s the Point?

How Do I Become a Food Writer?

How (Not) to Pitch

mdWordsmith

New York Public Library Makes 180,000 High-Res Images Available Online

On All the Ways to Write a Recipe

Restaurant Critic: Your Dream Job or Your Worst Nightmare?

Understanding Your Type as a Food Writer

Who Buys Cookbooks and Why?

Why Is It So Hard to Make Great Food Infographics?


---- more blogs ----

Erica Demane

Food Politics

Silphium


---- thats all for now ----

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose—ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs: 

Want to support On the Table, without spending a dime of your own money on it? 

It’s easy. Whenever you want to shop on Amazon. Com, click on any of the book links below, then whatever you buy there will earn a commission for this newsletter (it doesn’t even have to be one of our books).

The Resource Guide for Food Writers 

The Herbalist in the Kitchen

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries

Human Cuisine

Herbs: A Global History

Sausage: A Global History

Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods (pre-order)

Terms of Vegery

How to Serve Man: On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating

Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.

______________

The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #184 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author‘s prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Gary Allen.

Doors

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Janus—for whom our month of January is named—was a two-faced God who faced both forwards and backwards. Roman households often placed an image of Janus beside doorways. New Year’s Day is just such a doorway, and as we pass through it we often reflect on the past while speculating about the future.

After rising at a prudently late hour (considering the excesses of the night before), Markus, Betsy, Karen, and I decided that it was fit and proper that we go on a used-book hunt. You should understand that we never need much of an excuse, but why not invoke the holiday spirit? So, the Four Bibliophiles of the Apocalypse sped from the Valley of the Hudson to the Hills of the Berkshires. I don’t need to tell you that we found—and purchased—bulging cartons of wondrous things. 
We always do.


Book-hunting is intense, and it provokes an equally intense thirst and hunger—so we headed for Hudson, NY, where we knew good restaurants existed in pleasing numbers. Hudson, not coincidentally, also has a lovely used book store. We chose a restaurant in which we’ve eaten many times, and ordered a variety of soups, appetizers, and desserts that we could share.


Markus and I ate savory slices of chorizo, rolled into tortillas, smeared with guacamole, and festooned with jalapeños. Completely satisfied, we went out into the night and started for home with our treasures. 

A little way out of town, on one of the winter’s darkest nights, I suddenly realized that New Year’s Day was over—and that we had not eaten Hoppin’ John. This is an election year, and a slip-up like that could deprive us of not just one year without luck, but perhaps four grim years. Markus exclaimed that he, too, was risking bad luck by imprudently ignoring his family's traditional herring and lentils on this most important of days.


Of course, we don’t really believe in all this hocus pocus—but flauting tradition can’t be good, can it?



Sometime around five AM, on January second, we—at least Markus and I—learned the cost of our hubris. Unmistakable signs of food poisoning racked our bodies. Karen and Betsy were unscathed. We can’t be sure it was the chorizo, or the fact that Karen and Betsy were never as committed to the New Year’s Day rituals as we were, so were not judged as harshly. 

We do know that there is one door in Hudson that we will not pass through again.


The Perception of Perception

Friday, January 1, 2016
Waking in the morning: my eyes are not yet opened, but sounds arrive, unbidden. A distant sound, barely perceptible at first, draws my attention, and I fix my ears’ powers upon it, they go out to it, probing, turning up the volume on just it, and ignoring every other ambient sound. 
Ahhh… it’s just a squirrel trying, without success, to get into the bird feeder. The ears snap back onto the side of my head, and the sound’s volume drops to irrelevancy.
One eyelid lifts reluctantly, allowing light to stream in, and slams shut. I open both eyes. At once, my senses stop being passive receivers of messages from the parts of the universe that aren’t me. My eyes stop being mere recipients of reflected light waves. They flit about the room, going out to caress and minutely examine tiny bumps on the ceiling, a spot of dappled light on the dresser. They do not idly collect visual data that just happens to be flowing toward them. They actively seine it in, picking through it for meaningful details. They ignore everything that is routine, ordinary. It’s as if only the noteworthy bits are even visible. Eyes can’t be bothered with what they’ve seen a million times before.
Scientists tell us that none of this is actually happening. They say our senses merely respond to stimuli that surround me, but that’s not at all what it seems like. 

I never feel like a passive receiver. Rather, I am an all-powerful omniscient observer, situated at the exact center of the Universe. Attuned to its slightest variations, I am able to reach out and extract their meaning, instantly. A telescope, microscope, and microphone are merely extensions of my senses—and, like them, flow out of me to collect whatever data I require.

Food Sites for January 2016

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A lone winter apple, a treat for gleaning birds.


January is about beginning anew, returning to fundamentals, enjoying simple things after all the holiday excesses. What could be more basic than apple pie? After all, don’t we begin the alphabet with “A is for Apple?” Byron clearly associated the fruit with beginnings: “Since Eve ate apples...”

Last month we posted a couple of new articles. Roll Magazine published Moors and Christians: Comfort Food for an Uncomfortable Season,” on serving the musical fruit, indoors. “Remembrance of Shellfish Past,”  a travel reminiscence of sorts, appeared in Modern Salt.

We also completed the index and final edits to our latest book (Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods), due for publication in May. WHEW!

Regular subscribers to our updates newsletter receive these updates from our blog, Just Served,  directly—but there is much more at the blog that isn’t delivered automatically. You can, if you wish, follow us on Facebook,  and Twitter.  Still more of our online scribbles can be found at A Quiet Little Table in the Corner.

This month’s quotes (from On the Table’s culinary quote collection) are—quelle surprise!—about baked apples:

“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream... I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.” Mark Twain 
“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” Jane Austen 
“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” Carl Sagan
Gary
January, 2016

PS: If you encounter broken links, changed URLs—or know of wonderful sites weve missed—please drop us a line. It helps to keep this resource as useful as possible for all of us. To those of you who have introduced us to sites like the ones in this newsletter (such as Krishnendu Ray), thanks, and keep them coming!

PPS: If you wish to change the e-mail address at which you receive these newsletters, or otherwise modify the way you receive our postings or—if youve received this newsletter by mistake, and/or dont wish to receive future issues—you have our sincere apology and can have your e-mail address deleted from the list immediately. Were happy (and continuously amazed) that so few people have decided to leave the list but, should you choose to be one of them, let us know and well see that your in-box is never afflicted by these updates again. You’ll find links at the bottom of this page to fix everything to your liking.


---- the new sites ----

(Hua Hsu in the New Yorker)

(from the archives of The Culinary Institute of America)

(visiting nerd bars, “in search of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, an imaginary 1970s cocktail from space”)

(Matthew Giles, at Grub Street, on the current—and future—state of “artisanal-small-independent” breweries)

(a movie star’s travel/cook book pre-dated Time-Life’s Foods of the World series by three years, making ordinary Americans’ culinary options less provincial)

(Moises Velasquez-Manoff, writing in Nautilus, on what microbiologists are beginning to learn about the friendly “germs” that should be living in our guts—and what happens when they aren’t)

(lovely new magazine from Great Britain, but featuring food writers from all over; mostly online, with occasional printed editions planned)

(Helen MacDonald, in The New York Times, on foraging for fungi in the English countryside)

(Jack Turner, at Smithsonian, on the medieval pepper trade)

(Krishnendu Ray, at Huffpost, on the relationship between the food industry’s largely immigrant workforce and changing mainstream attitudes about “taste”)

(recipes from South Australian community cookbooks)

(an excerpt from a book-in-progress by Jonell Galloway)

(Andrea King Collier—at National Geographic’s blog, The Plate—hopes to “...begin a real conversation about race, culture and food in this country...”)

(short answer: racism)


---- inspirational (or otherwise useful) site for writers/bloggers ----
















---- more blogs ----





---- changed URL ----



---- thats all for now ----

Except, of course, for the usual legalistic mumbo-jumbo and commercial flim-flam:

Your privacy is important to us. We will not give, sell or share your e-mail address with anyone, for any purpose—ever. Nonetheless, we will expose you to the following irredeemably brazen plugs: 

Want to support On the Table, without spending a dime of your own money on it? 

It’s easy. Whenever you want to shop on Amazon (think last-minute holiday shopping), click on any of the book links below, then whatever you buy there will earn a commission for this newsletter (it doesn’t even have to be one of our books).

The Resource Guide for Food Writers
(Paper)

The Herbalist in the Kitchen
(Hardcover)
(Kindle)

The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food And Drink Industries
(Hardcover)

Human Cuisine
(Paper)

Herbs: A Global History
(Hardcover)

Sausage: A Global History
(Hardcover)

Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods (pre-order)

Terms of Vegery
(Kindle)

How to Serve Man: On Cannibalism, Sex, Sacrifice, & the Nature of Eating
(Kindle)


Here endeth the sales pitch(es)...

...for the moment, anyway.

______________

The Resource Guide for Food Writers, Update #183 is protected by copyright, and is provided at no cost, for your personal use only. It may not be copied or retransmitted unless this notice remains affixed. Any other form of republication—unless with the author‘s prior written permission—is strictly prohibited.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Gary Allen.





The Bottom Line

Friday, November 20, 2015

I recently took a business class. I know—that seems completely out of character, but try to get past that for a moment.
The instructor started by asking if any of the students had their own businesses. A couple of them did, and while I was tempted to join them, I held back. I suspected that they wouldn’t consider my writing to be a real business (even if the IRS does). The instructor asked each of the responding proprietors if they considered themselves to be successful. They did. He then followed up with questions that tried to better define their ideas of what constituted “success.” No matter how they responded, he managed to reduce the idea of success to just one aspect: increased revenue.
I sat back in my chair, relieved to discover that resisting the opportunity to join in had been the right move. For one thing, reducing what I do, as a writer, to the accumulation of “increased revenue” would either be laughable or severely depressing. There was no way that the class, or its instructor, could possibly think that my “business” was successful. What could I possibly gain by exposing myself to such ridicule? And yet, I do consider my writing business to be successful. How would I have been able to explain that seeming incongruity?
Perhaps (since I’m a writer) I might employ a metaphor. Consider two hypothetical travelers: both need to get from Point A to Point B. 
For one traveler, the destination is everything. Using the most efficient available means of transport makes sense for that traveler, because the trip is just an inconvenient delay that must be endured before arrival at Point B. Anything that renders the trip uneventful is preferred (because “events,” by their very nature, are distractions). We’ve seen many such travelers at airports; their tiny carry-ons allowing them to zip through TSA screening, and avoid needlessly waiting for luggage to arrive at their destination. They look straight ahead, as if their goal was almost visible, just over the horizon. If our first traveler does not reach Point B, then the trip is a failure.
Our other hypothetical traveler also needs to get to Point B, but the destination isn’t the only consideration. Instead of flying from airports, all of which are as mind-deadeningly identical as a mall, this traveler prefers to take to the road. Cars, bicycles, or hiking boots are the preferred modes of transportation. This traveler’s eyes are on the horizon too, but also along both s ides of the road, into the woods, and up and down each river that is crossed. 
Whereas one traveler wishes to deny the existence of the distance between two points, the other want to experience every bit of it. For the second traveler, the trip is not an inconvenient delay in attaining the goal, it is part of the goal. If the second traveler doesn’t get to Point B, it would not be a failure, because the trip itself had provided rewards all along the way.
Efficiency drives one traveler, experience drives the other. 
Rather than extend the metaphor far beyond its breaking point, let’s just agree that the point of most businesses is the acquisition of money—money that, presumably, can be used to pay for whatever makes the business owner happy. So, in a sense, the business itself is an inconvenience that stands between one and one’s goal.
For me, every part of the writing process makes the trip worth it: the original concept, the research, the blocking out and subsequent re-arranging of the parts, the search for the right combination of words, the surprise when a near-synonym reveals additional unexpected insight, overcoming difficulties along the way, re-working the piece’s to clarify its argument, even the dialogue with readers who find unintended meanings I hadn’t known were there—both good and bad. 

This writing “business” could, in theory, be used to fund some other desired reward—but that would just be an extra perk. Obviously, I prefer to be paid for my work but, even when I don’t get a check, the writing itself pays me. It all comes down to semantics and varying definitions of “business” and “success”—differences that would probably be nonsensical to the instructor and everyone else in that classroom.

The Libro-Emporium

Doorstops and lavatory entertainments abound in our book store.