Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski’s StateBird Provisions Emily Kaiser Thelin Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya’s Modernist Bread Jonathan Stevens Peter Liem’sChampagne David Schildknecht Daniel Patterson and Mandy Aftel’sThe Art of Flavor Edward Behr Shorts: Marc-André Cyr on Pantry & Palate
Edward Behr on Farm Food and The Wine Lover’s Daughter
This is the 100th issue of The Art of Eating. I write that, and I exhale deeply (not metaphorically). We might have reached this milestone long before now, but during a certain extended period I missed my deadlines far too often. I’m grateful to all AoE readers, longtime and brand-new.
From November 16, 1986, when the first eight-page issue appeared (devoted to bread, written entirely by me), until now, the world of food has opened wide. Where France, and to some extent Italy, were key reference points, now the reference points are so many and their importance so often changing, or uncertain, that we don’t often think that way at all.
And while the leap into fresher, higher-quality ingredients would have amazed anyone back in the 1980s, our standards for knowledge aren’t always higher. (I went to review a very hip New York City restaurant for The Financial Times, and the supposedly special “cultured” butter was emphatically rancid. I politely said so to the waiter, who spoke to the chef and came back to say that that is the way cultured butter tastes. The rest of the food wasn’t special, and I abandoned the idea of a review.) It doesn’t help that, for both chefs and hosts at home, evolving views about health, allergies, and aversions have created complications where before there were hardly any.
In the 1980s and 90s, when other publications mentioned AoE, they nearly always said, as something positive, that it stood out because the writing and point of view were “personal.” Today, what could be more commonplace than personal food writing? The content can even be wholly emotional without pretending to convey knowledge at all. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not AoE.
What’s wonderful for the future of The Art of Eating is that we’ve gotten our feet under us digitally. It’s encouraging that certain other digital publications that focus on high-quality information are doing very well. More than ever, we have outstanding writers who are pleased to contribute. We’ve added a substantial book prize. Our future looks very bright.
Marc-André Cyr (Shorts: Pantry & Palate),who comes from an Acadian family, is a bread baker and the founder of A Taste for Grain, a Montreal-based not-for-profit that celebrates local grain and creates conversations among grain artisans, both locally and cross-border.
Deirdre Heekin(“Why This Bottle, Really?”) is co-owner with her husband, Caleb Barber, of La Garagista Farm + Winery in Vermont (they’re former co-owners of the restaurant Osteria Pane e Salute); her most recent book is An Unlikely Vineyard.
Nancy Harmon Jenkins(Six Addresses: Naples) is the author of many books and articles, mostly about food — growing it, cooking it, eating it. Her most recent book, written with her daughter, Sara Jenkins, is The Four Seasons of Pasta. She divides her time between a home on the coast of Maine and an olive farm in Tuscany.
Tse Wei Lim(“American Restaurants in a Newly Gilded Age”) was a co-chef and co-owner of Journeyman, a restaurant in Somerville, Massachusetts, which closed earlier this year. He has been published in The Boston Globe and is currently working on a book about his experiences as a restaurateur.
Jordan Mackay (Restaurants: “Beef Beyond Beef”) writes about wine, spirits, and food; his work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Decanter. Among his recent books are Franklin Barbecue (with Aaron Franklin) and Knife (with John Tesar); he is at work on a book about beef.
Henry Rathvon (“Onion”) creates crossword puzzles for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal with his partner Emily Cox. He is working on a collection of poems about food.
David Schildknecht(Books: Champagne), a former restaurateur trained in philosophy, spent 25 years in the wine trade. His tasting reports were a fixture of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, then of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and now appear in Vinous. He is a contributor to Wine & Spirits, The World of Fine Wine, and Vinaria; responsible for the German and Austrian entries in the fourth edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine; and a co-author of the seventh edition of Robert Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide.
Emily Kaiser Thelin(Books: State Bird Provisions) is the author of Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life (Grand Central Life & Style). A two-time finalist for James Beard awards and a former editor at Food & Wine, she is currently editorial director for recipes for the meal-kit delivery service Sun Basket and lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and daughter.
Top illustration: Simple warmth, good food, and companionship by Angela Hsieh.
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