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Six James Beard Finalists You Might Have Missed: A Reading List

Michelle Weber | Longreads | March 23, 2016 | words

The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its 2016 food media awards last week, so it’s a great time to make a cup of tea and cozy up to some excellent food writing.

Posted inCommentary, Featured, Nonfiction, Reading List

Six James Beard Finalists You Might Have Missed: A Reading List

The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its 2016 food media awards last week, so it’s a great time to make a cup of tea and cozy up to some excellent food writing.
James Beard
James Beard, photo by Paul Child.

The James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its 2016 food media awards last week, so it’s a great time to make a cup of tea and cozy up to some excellent food writing. You might have already read some of the nominees featured here throughout 2015 — “The Brief, Extraordinary Life of Cody Spafford,” “Straight-Up Passing,” “Corn Wars,” “The Second Most Famous Thing to Happen to Hiroshima,” “The Chef Who Saved My Life,” and “On Chicken Tenders,” which features some of the most passionate writing about fried snack foods to hit the internet’s tubes — but here are six more you might have missed:

1. “Ham to Ham Combat: A Tale of Two Smithfields” (Emily Wallace, Gravy, December 2015)

Worth it for the title alone, Emily’s piece wends from 350-year-old pro-pig promotional literature to the interstate tensions at the 1985 Ham & Yam Festival — with a pit stop to visit The Oldest Peanut in the World — in service of a single question: is the ham capital of the U.S. in Virginia, or North Carolina?  (And a runner-up question: Why does it matter?)

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