Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Feed: May 22, 2013
The Feed is my weekly round up of interesting food-related stories from newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites.
New York Times “Gin, Tonic and a Dash of Restraint,” by Jeff Gordinier
The Times dives into the summer drinks season with a wonderful profile on the re-emergence of the Gin & Tonic, the cocktail classic that never goes out of style. Gordinier discusses how the Spanish have led the drink’s renaissance (the “gin tonic,” which I wrote about in March; Time has also covered the subject). He also visits several New York restaurant bars doing interesting things with the G&T like Cata, which serves a Kumquat and Clove Gin & Tonic. The article is accompanied by a recipe for that drink and three others. As a nice bonus, Eric Asimov provides tasting notes and ratings for a few prominent tonic brands.
New York Times: “Cocktail Snacks with Verve,” A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark.
Clark provides something to snack on while you sip your G&T: an ode to salted bar nuts that include a fabulous-sounding recipe for cashews spiked with tamarind and mint.
Washington Post: “A Texas barbecue party requires time, patience and a serious loss of sleep,” by Tim Carman.
I learned a good deal about Southern barbecue reading Michael Pollan’s Cooked, so it’s nice to also get some education about its Texas-style kin. Carman writes specifically about Central Texas barbecue for which there are specific rules, of course, and maybe a little sauce (I like a little sauce). I enjoyed this as much for the barbecue insights as I did for the story of how Carman and Jim Shahin, the Post’s Smoke Signals columnist, first met and became friends before either wrote for the Food section.
Afar: “Pass the Gravy,” by Kent Black
Speaking of Texas, Black profiles another Lone Star State cuisine: Chicken-Fried Steak. It’s a dish that inspires a lot of loyalty and pride: every restaurant he visited that served the dish claimed theirs was “the best damn chicken-fried steak in the whole durn state.” My own experience with it is limited to my grade school cafeteria, which I imagine means I’ve never really had it.
Grist: “Frankenfoods: Good for Big Business, bad for the rest of us,” by Tom Laskawy.
I’m naturally inquisitive, so when I hear people saying things like “GMO food is bad for you,” I want to find out why. After all, if companies started genetically modifying foods (GMO=genetically modified organism), they must have had a reason for doing so (“money!” shouts one quarter, “yields!” screams another). But even so, does that translate to a good outcome for consumers? Laskawy would clearly say “no,” and his article does a good job explaining the recent history of genetically modified seeds and how they haven’t quite delivered on their developers’ promises about their supposed benefits. He also critiques Nature’s recent coverage of the subject, taking the journal to task for siding too closely with industry and misinterpreting the public’s distrust of GMOs.
The Kitchn: “Grits, Demystified: A Brief Look at the Southern Staple,” by Anne Postic.
Postic offers a good primer on grits, the ground corn meal cooked as a popular breakfast in the South (and sometimes as a side dish at restaurants). It’s like polenta, but not quite the same.
Laughing Squid: “The Cocktail Chart of Film and Literature,” by Justin Page.
This is basically a really cool poster, created by Pop Chart Lab, that has visuals and recipes for drinks from movies and books like the Manhattan from Some Like It Hot and the Mint Julep from The Great Gatsby.