Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Feed: March 20, 2013

The Feed is my weekly round up of interesting food-related stories from newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites.

James Beard Foundation: “2013 James Beard Foundation Award Nominees” 
Nominees for the coveted James Beard Foundation Awards were announced yesterday during a midday event in Charleston, S.C. The food industry’s biggest prizes will be awarded on May 3 for journalism, books and media and May 6 for restaurants. The link above includes the complete list of nominees in all categories.

Washington Post: “Beer Madness 2013: Going local,” by Greg Kitsock
The Food section’s annual Beer Madness contest is back, this year with a local theme: all of the bracket entries are beers from Maryland, D.C., Virginia or Delaware, a really great idea to showcase our great local breweries. I was a little surprised not to see some of my favorites in the hop category, like Dogfish 60 Minute IPA (the 90 Minute version won Beer Madness a few years ago), DC Brau The Corruption IPA and Devil’s Backbone Eight Point IPA (all those breweries are represented in the contest, just with different beers). In addition to the bracket, the helpful Food team also included a style guide and glossary.

New York Times: “You Really Can’t Eat Just One, and Here’s the Reason,” a review of Michael Moss’s Salt Sugar Fat by Scott Mowbray
Moss’s Salt Sugar Fat is an examination of how the junk food industry hooks consumers through marketing and careful formulation of the aforementioned three ingredients to achieve a taste “bliss point.” I’m reading the book right now and enjoying how Moss recounts the history of many of the developments that have led to the prominence of so-called convenience foods today. Mowbray mostly likes the book, although he says its pace can be “wearying.” I do like his line about how reading the book makes you realize “we’ve eaten like a nation of impulsive teenagers, happy to pay for a diet of carnival food.” A realization that may seem humorous but has rather serious implications.

Cooking Light: “Healthy Habits Hero: Dan Barber,” by Kimberly Holland and Kate Meyers
The healthy-minded food magazine profiles Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in New York, which is nominated this year for the James Beard Award for Best Restaurant. He talks about how he came to love whole grains, even in desserts.

Bon Appetit, “Dear Chefs, Are You Trying to Kill Me?” by Andrew Knowlton
Knowlton reacts to the ever-increasing trend of fat-laded dishes at restaurants in love with ingredients like pork belly, bone marrow and foie gras. After a week of bacon-themed dishes, I’d be a real hypocrite for suggesting we banish all things porky, but I do agree that there is excitement and then there is excess (and although I published all the bacon content in 1 week, I certainly didn’t eat all that within that time). To be fair though, one can chose not to order those dishes or patronize places without healthier alternatives.

Cooking Channel: “Recipe Beauty Shots, Before and After

Photographing food can be challenging, which I’ve definitely learned over the past year of trying to make the food on my blog appear delectable. I cringe when I look at some of my early efforts and although I’ve learned a lot, I’m sure I still have a lot to learn. This gallery shows the importance of plating, staging and framing food for optimum appeal.

Alex Cornell: “Musical Chairs (Choosing the Right Seat)
Designer Alex Cornell put together this amusing infographic to help diners make the best choice when faced by that important moment when your group arrives at a restaurant and where you sit can dictate whether the rest of the night is a success or a snooze. Beware of the 7-person rectangle and if you find your group sitting at side-by-side tables, you’re basically screwed (he used a more colorful metaphor).


  1. Another fun collection of stories. I know you're enjoying "Salt Sugar Fat" and it sounds like you appreciated the review.

  2. It's a good book. I'm nearly done with it now. Looking forward to Michael Pollan's new book later this month.