Food (Section) Fight! is my weekly look at The Washington Post's Food section and The New York Times' Dining section with my verdict on which section had the better content for the week.
1) "Raising food that wags its tail," part 1 of 3-part feature by Tamar Haspel. Here's my nominee for the best food story I've read so far this year in the Washington Post. Or maybe just in any publication. This deeply personal account begins a series chronicling the author's experience raising--and presumably slaughtering--pigs for her own consumption. Its purpose is to better understand our relationship to the animals we eat. Some people will find this difficult to read, but I think it is essential. Those of us who choose to be omnivorous--I count myself among them--should not be afraid to pull back the veil of ignorance and understand what that decision entails. In fact, I think we have a duty to learn how to best raise the animals we eat and understand what we put them through. Ultimately, it will benefit us. Buying a plastic-wrapped pork chop at the grocery store makes the animal anonymous. This series will help fill in the blanks. I look forward to reading the other parts that will unfold over the next 5 months.
2) "Acid, heat, temperature. Seviche." The Immigrant's Table column by Tim Carman. Seviche isn't something I've tried. Frankly, I'm a little off-put by the idea of a raw fish soup, although I'm sure at some point I'll sample it. As usual, Tim takes a subject I've thought little about and turns it into an interesting feature story, with a focus on Peruvian notions of seviche, since that's where the dish originated.
3) "2 slices of bread, 1 thought," Cooking for One column by Joe Yonan. Always nice to hear from Joe, who is still on sabbatical up north working on his cookbook, and apparently also helping on his brother's farm. This week he talks about how he likes to satisfy the appetite his morning farm work creates with interesting sandwiches. He offers two recipes: Grilled Kimcheese, a clever grilled cheese sandwich made with kimchi (inspired by Southern pimento cheese), and Ricotta, Zucchini and Radicchio Sandwich, which sounds like another good use for homemade ricotta.
4) "Street food gets a little latitude, a lot of attitude," First Bite column by Tom Sietsema. Tom turns his attention towards El Chucho, the new Columbia Heights Mexican restaurant I've been hearing about. The taqueria is the new project from the people behind the too-cute Jackie's in Silver Spring, Md.
5) "Saute of Corn, Rice, Basil and...," Dinner in Minutes recipe by Bonnie S. Benwick. Fresh corn is in season now, so take advantage of it with simple, satisfying dishes like this. This sounds really delicious, easy and versatile.
New York Times
1) "Raw Panic," feature by Julia Moskin. This week's cover story is about tackling fresh vegetable overload: what do you do when your C.S.A. or farmers market trip crowds your kitchen with more produce than you can possibly prepare? I'll admit to suffering from that a bit myself, especially if I go to the market without firm ideas of what I want and just pick out what looks good (invariably, it all does). Some of the advice of how to handle this is a little odd. One expert, a cooking school instructor, advises people to cook all their fresh produce as soon as they get home. While that means it doesn't go bad as fast, it also means you're not enjoying raw vegetables, which is one of the more satisfying reasons for buying local, ripe produce. I do, however, think the accompanying recipe for Burrata with Shredded Sugar Snap Pea and Crispy Shiitake Salad sounds really good.
2) "And for His Next Trick," Atera restaurant review by Pete Wells. Atera, the TriBeCa restaurant from chef Matthew Lightner, sounds like the clearest example of culinary form over function I've read about. Despite his reservations about the flavor of some dishes, Mr. Wells nonetheless awards Atera 3 stars for its creativity and vision, which includes such tricks as tinting baguettes with squid ink to make them look like razor clams. It's not so much molecular gastronomy as it is gastro-art.
3) "Creating a Page Turner With Murder and Mealtime," book review by Glenn Collins. Book reviews are rare in food sections. When you get them, they're usually cookbooks or nonfiction books about food. So to find a murder mystery reviewed in the Dining section is an interesting find. Linda Fairstein's Night Watch, a murder mystery, is set in many real-life Manhattan restaurants (and a fictional re-opened Lutèce, formerly one of the country's greatest restaurants, which closed in 2004).
4) "King Salmon, Swimming with Blueberries," A Good Appetite recipe by Melissa Clark. I like salmon and I like blueberries. If I were home in Oregon, this recipe would be perfect right now, as both are in-season there (and tremendously good and way less expensive than they are in D.C.).
5) "A Wine That Isn't What It Used to Be," Wines of the Times column by Eric Asimov. This week Asimov looks at the state of South African chenin blanc and doesn't like what he sees (or rather sips). Despite that, it moved me to pick up a South African chenin blanc, which I've been sipping while writing this post and rather like (it's like drink a Granny Smith apple--quite crisp).
Washington Post. Hands down win this week, with really great coverage, particularly part one of the pig-raising story, which I'm really looking forward to reading in the upcoming months.
The New York Times: 14
The Washington Post: 13