Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Food (Section) Fight!: Week 32

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.

Washington Post
1) “Seeds of Inspiration: Top Tomato 2012,” feature by Jane Touzalin. It’s the annual Washington Post tomato recipe contest! This morning, a large beautiful photo of sliced red, yellow and green tomatoes greeted readers hungry to see what recipes topped the contest this year. Rockville, Md. resident Barbara Brynelson won the top honor with her Chipotle Shrimp with Tomato-Corn Salsa. A couple of the more unusual recipes that interested me were the Tomato Butter and Ginger-Tomato Ice Cream, which sounds really fabulous. I'm always up for creative ice creams (bacon-tomato anyone?).

2) “For Julia’s 100th, the gift of her kitchen returns,” article by Bonnie S. Benwick. Had she lived, culinary legend Julia Child would have celebrated her 100th birthday today. Thus, the food world was all abuzz, honoring the great woman best known for her landmark cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her PBS television cooking specials (let’s also pause to note that she was very memorably immortalized in film recently as portrayed by the equally masterful Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia). The Post’s story focuses on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s reopening of its Julia Child kitchen exhibit, featuring Ms. Child’s actual kitchen re-created in loving detail with all her original equipment. It will accompany a new exhibit, FOOD, set to open in November. The kitchen is open for a limited run, but will close again in a few weeks to prepare for the full exhibit.

3) “You can’t improve tomato perfection, so amend it,” Smoke Signals column by Jim Shanin. It wasn’t just the contest entrants that got into tomatoes today, as several of the Food section’s writers also offered their own takes. Jim Shanin, in particular, dove into the subject of grilled tomatoes, offering two delicious soup recipes: Grilled and Chilled Tomato Soup and Fire and Smoke Gazpacho.

4) “Cheese-Baked Egg-Stuffed Tomatoes,” Dinner in Minutes column and recipe by Bonnie S. Benwick. The dish, which sounds like a real winner, includes the Middle Eastern spice za’atar, which I’ve never used before. The recipe comes from the book The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian by Sally Butcher, which I’m looking forward to trying some recipes from.

5) “The intersection of London and San Francisco,” First Bite column by Tom Sietsema. Tom turns his focus on Mayfair & Pine, the new Glover Park gastropub from a husband-and-wife team, which, as the name implies, features cuisines inspired by London (Mayfair is a London neighborhood) and San Francisco (where Pine is a downtown street). I just checked out the menu and I’m intrigued by the Beef Wellington nibbles and Thanksgiving sandwich.

New York Times
1) “The Gifts She Gave Me,” feature by Julia Moskin. Since they got their tomato special out of the way last week, the Times could more fully focus on Julia Child this week. And focus they did, led by this beautiful tribute by Ms. Moskin, who revealed that she was actually named after Ms. Child. The article is accompanied by several recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Coulis de Tomates À La Provençale (Tomato Sauce with Mediterranean Flavors), Pork With Marinade Seche (Pork with Allspice Dry Rub) and Clafoutis aux Mûres ou aux Myrtilles (Blackberry or Blueberry Flan).

2) “Memories of a Friend, Sidekick and Foil,” essay by Jacques Pépin. Another loving tribute, this time from someone who knew Julia well and cooked with her frequently. Could you imagine all that culinary talent at work together?

3) “On a Floating Island With Julia Child,” A Good Appetite column and recipe by Melissa Clark. Clark whips up a Floating Island with Apricot Crème Anglaise in honor of Julia’s 100th, a soft meringue cake with custard sauce.

4) “The French Chef’s Detour to China,” City Kitchen column and recipe by David Tanis. Also drawing inspiration from Child is Tanus’s playful attempt at French and Chinese fusion: a Grilled Sesame Chicken and Eggplant Salad. Although she didn’t cook it, Child apparently was a Chinese food devotee.

5) “Pulling Together Real Stracciatella,” article by Jane Black. Creamy Stracciatella gets its due in this informative article about the Italian cheese that is a close relative to the currently in vogue Burrata.

6) “At the Fair, Do Calories on a Stick Count?” article by Jane Fritsch. Fritsch examines the fried-food-on-a-stick phenomenon that’s become big at state fairs, particularly Midwestern state fairs. She focuses on Iowa, which offers up the rather nauseating prospect of deep fried butter on a stick. Yes, you read that right. Butter. On a stick. Fried. Thankfully, they rejected deep fried Coca Cola, since, you know, that was crossing the line.

The Washington Post. It’s a really competitive week. Lots of good content in both pubs. In fact, I could have kept going (the chocolate-almond-raspberry jam in the Times sounds good, so does the Tabard Inn cocktail in the Post). But in the end, I’m really swayed by all those delicious ideas for summer tomatoes and the Post gets credit for also giving props to Ms. Julia Child.

The New York Times: 16
The Washington Post: 15

1 comment:

  1. Sounded like this was a stellar day for food journalism. Let's go to Mayfair & Pine and eat Thanksgiving sandwiches!