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« Why I don't watch CNN (Joe) | Main | Revised Blog Roll »

December 04, 2006


Whew. After the ongoing Delahunty debate, this topic is a breath of fresh air...maybe "a quaff of strong ale" is a more suitable figure. In correspondence with Ruchira regarding her chicken mughlai recipe—which, by the way, I intend to tackle sooner rather than later—I wrote the following:

"My favorite food writer—of whom there are very few I like
at all—is perhaps Elizabeth David, who famously avoided being too precise about quantities or too particular about ingredients (if you don't have honey, try molasses...)."

So let me publicly proclaim my admiration for Ms. David's pleasant instructions, but also let me explain the interpolated phrase. I subscribed to one or another of the big food magazines several years ago for precisely two years. I soon realized after year one that content during year two would be extremely familiar, both in terms of the magazine's editorial calendar (grilling featured in summer, for example, the obligatory turkey in November) and of the cloying little phrases that often peppered (tee hee) the writing, or overwhelmed it like an excess of garnish.

I wonder, too, about a former reviewer for the Los Angeles Times who once asked whether a now defunct bistro in a slightly out-of-the-way area of the city—and what area of Los Angeles isn't out-of-the-way?—was really worth the trip. No was the answer...but in a column purporting to be a year-end wrap-up of best restaurants. I endured the travel, several times in fact, and loved the place.

Then there is food photography, which can be quite bizarre. A local weekly paper in my area has a restaurant column that includes a photograph of a dish from the featured restaurant. The game I play with myself each week is "Guess the Dish." Usually, the peculiar focus, artsy blurring, and odd angle combine to stump me. I'm left to imagine that whatever menu item the subject of the photo may be, it has been depicted after digestion and regurgitation. Blech.

Nevertheless, I love to cook and to dine, in or out. And I appreciate good information and trivia about the world of food. Just this week, the NYT featured an article about Chinese restaurants in an area of Southern California with which I am fairly familiar. I was left yearning to return to the San Gabriel Valley. So I will look forward to visiting your Uncle Ed's new resource.

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