Five #Foodreads We Recommend This Week

Top view of delicious Ravioli and vegetable salad, half placed in a takeaway paper box, half placed on a real plate - with knife and fork on a wooden dining table.
Getty Images / Oscar Wong

From a closer look at the future of food delivery at Eater to a thoughtful roundup of food-writing advice at Chapter 16, these five longreads about or related to food are our recent favorites.

Welcome to Invasivorism, the Boldest Solution to Ethical Eating Yet, Matt Hongoltz-Hetling, Popular Science, December 7, 2021

What can we do about invasive species? Well, we can eat them. Imagine starter of cannonball jellyfish from coastal Georgia, main courses of Asian shore crab from Chesapeake Bay and dumplings stuffed with wild boar from Texas, and ice cream flavored with mugwort, whose aggressive roots push aside native plants. In this Popular Science story, Matt Hongoltz-Hetling introduces us to the invasivore movement.

Roman decided to make his appeal for invasivorism another way. That year, he started a website, EatTheInvaders.org, to try to convert foodies with an appetite for the unusual into believers. His weapon? Visions of plates piled high with periwinkle fritters and European crabcakes.

Is the ‘Future of Food’ the Future We Want?, Jaya Saxena, Eater, January 5, 2022

“Is the American dream never having to go outside?” For Eater, Jaya Saxena asks key questions in this deep dive into the future of the food delivery industry, as she recounts her experience at the Food on Demand conference in Las Vegas.

Walking out at the Bellagio, looking across the fountains at the faux Eiffel Tower sitting on top of the Cabo Wabo Cantina, I couldn’t think of a better place to sell the concept of everything you want, all the time, immediately. This is what the Food On Demand attendees want to build — celebrity concepts, national brands, and anything you could think to want brought to you with no time to second-guess your choices. If they’re bringing the world to the block, the block they’re modeling it after is the Vegas strip.

Much Needed-Reckonings, Kim Green, Chapter 16, January 10, 2022

Last month, we picked Kim and Chantha’s Hippocampus essay for our Best of 2021: Personal Essays list.

“Accidental food writer” Kim Green, who’s co-writing Chantha Nguon’s memoir-in-recipes project, Slow Noodles, turned to Tennesee food writers and colleagues for food-writing guidance. The result is a lovely collection of advice (and recommended reads) from writers like memoirist Lisa Donovan, Knoxville author John Coykendall, and historian and social justice activist John Egerton.

“So many people are food writers but don’t call themselves food writers,” explains Nashville Eats author Jennifer Justus. She ticks off recent examples: Erica Ciccarone’s Nashville Scene story about the Nashville Food Project (where Justus now works); Steve Cavendish’s feature on the evolution of Porter Road Butcher; and, I would add, Justus’ elegy for the storied Hermitage Café. What those pieces have in common is humanity: They’re insightful, conscientious profiles of the people who create, and are enriched by, our local foodways, from businesses to food justice nonprofits.

Because food writing — or for that matter, all writing — is really about people.

The (Other) French Chef, Mayukh Sen, Hazlitt, January 3, 2022

Recently at LitHub, Mayukh Sen also shared great food-writing advice: “Tie food to feeling above all else.”

French cook and author Simone “Simca” Beck was a friend and cookbook collaborator of legendary chef Julia Child. But while Child became a household name, Beck never rose to stardom. As Mayukh Sen explores in this Hazlitt piece, she likely never wanted to.

People in Child and Beck’s orbit took note of friction between the two. “It became clear to me, in working so closely with Julia, that her relationship with Simca was growing more and more strained,” their editor Jones wrote in her 2009 memoir, The Tenth Muse. The two women “were like sisters who had long nourished each other but were ready now to go their separate ways.”

Tend, Ayla Samli, The Rumpus, December 9, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about various slow movements, and was reminded of this meditative personal essay about the time-consuming, careful, yet transformative process of making rich, thick bone broth. As Samli stirs a pot of bones, she recalls growing up in North Carolina and how her grandmother tended fire, and reflects on other examples of tending, like one’s evolving language or growing and raising a child.

Back then, for me, everything was fast: dinner came from the drive-through, friendships blazed like matches, and love hit hard and quick. But, now, in my forties, I want to be a part of the making. I want to build something from its most elemental parts as my thoughts swirl in tandem with a wooden spoon. I would join the ranks of those who heated up water and waited, who dedicated their time, their hours, toward care. Learning a new task, like cooking or chanting a mantra, hems you in with humanity, and you take your turn, your moments or decades, in the timelessness of tending. Electric burners have replaced open fires, but work remains the same; we labor, and we wait.


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