Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Food (Section) Fight!: Week 50

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) “The gift of goose,” by Cathy Barrow. There are just 6 days ‘til Christmas—“6 geese a layin’” as the song goes. But watch out! If Ms. Barrow gets too close to your flock, you may find yourself down to 5. Drawing on skills acquired from a recent cooking workshop in France, she talks about braising a whole broken down goose with root vegetables (recipe). Although a good butcher may be able to do it for you, she also describes how to “break it down.” Ive never made a goose, and doubt I will soon, but its interesting to read about.

2) “It never hurts to have a plan for a single pan,” Cooking for One by Joe Yonan. Yonan tackles one of Spain’s best-known dishes, Paella. Although often served in a large pan, Yonan talks about how to cut the rice dish down to size for one person. He almost convinced me to buy a carbon steel paella pan until, during today’s Free Range on Food chat, he said using a stainless steel or cast iron pan would work too. He includes two recipes: Squash and Artichoke Paella and Spinach and Chickpea Paella.

3) “Why I chose the good bubbly stuff,” Wine by Dave McIntyre. Champagne, real Champagne, is expensive, at least $30 for a basic bottle and it goes way, way higher for the premium stuff (I’ll be doing my New Year’s toast with Prosecco, thank you). Despite a longstanding clampdown on vintners outside of France’s Champagne region marketing their sparkling wines as “Champagne,” there’s still some confusion about the drink. McIntyre does a nice job presenting the “101” on Champagne and what makes it special. 

4) “The highlights of 2012 were blasts from the past,” Spirits by Jason Wilson. Wilson looks at 2012 and sees…1912, at least judging from the rise in popularity of truly old school cocktail ingredients. This is among the trends Wilson ponders in this year-end Spirits capping column, which includes a recipe for a White Negroni.

5) “Grilled Chicken and Green Chili Soup,” Nourish by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick. This chicken soup is loaded with heat—jalapeño and poblano peppers—but the southwestern flavors of cilantro and lime make this spicy soup sound refreshing too.

New York Times

1) “Please, Mom and Dad: Just Have a Taste,” by Amy Chozick. I give my gold star today to this piece examining how family dynamics around food can change when children raised in a middle-American suburb (land of chain restaurants, big-box grocery stores and drive-throughs) grow up and move to culinary havens like New York or San Francisco. It’s a great story, touching on generational issues, urban elitism and how very differently Americans view what “good food” is. One of the nicest surprises in this article is that it quotes Grand Forks, N.D. restaurant critic Marilyn Hagerty in a manner that actually draws on her regional expertise (as opposed to mocking her, which became so common after her Olive Garden review went viral). 

2) “Wrapped in Tradition” by Fernanda Santos. I go to Mexican restaurants all the time, but never order tamales, the corn-dough and meat filling dish roasted inside a corn husk. Santos profiles a home cook who makes loads of them around the holidays, a time when they are most popular. Not sure if I’m ready to try the recipe (where does one buy dried corn husks?), but I’m certainly ready to try one now. 

3) “Dessert With Our Readers,” A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark. A few weeks ago, Clark asked for readers to submit their favorite holiday recipes. She made 13 of them and selected a top 3 to feature in this article, including Grandma Dorie’s Italian Ricotta Cookies, which I wish I was eating right now. The lemony cookies sound remarkably good.

4) “Cranberry Conserve: Tart Option To the Can,” by Cathy Barrow. In another good argument for homemade cranberry sauce (which I fully support), Barrow offers a recipe for Cranberry, Raspberry, Pecan Conserve. Conserve is basically cranberry sauce with nuts (pecans in this case). Notice the byline on this? Yes, this is the same Cathy Barrow who wrote the goose story that appeared in the Post today. How cool! You can read more about her on her blog, Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen.

5) “Elevating Champagne’s ‘Unacknowledged Grape’,” The Pour by Eric Asimov. According to Asimov, the Champagne trinity is comprised of chardonnay, pinot noir and...the third lesser-known member...pinot meunier. Huh? After the Post’s 101 on Champagne, this narrower piece offers nice depth on an often overlooked grape for good bubbly.


The New York Times. Post, your goose is cooked! The Times has the upper hand this week with an interesting look at generational and geographical food differences, tamales and those ricotta cookies that my coworkers were all abuzz about today.


The Washington Post: 26
The New York Times: 23

Next week: The 2012 Food (Section) Fight! finale. 

1 comment: