The Literary Yule Log Burns Away
The food magazines are all in full-tilt holiday mode this month, but there’s some interesting stuff in there in spite of all the boilerplate. Saveur leads out with a massive roasting package, but the mag also includes an equally useful (if not equally pornographic) service feature on Champagne. There’s also a nice personal essay by Dana Bowen about electric slicers as a totem of holiday feats past. Food & Wine is a big old mess of Yuletide content, but the issue includes their Best Restaurant Dishes of 2007, and the sole New York representative is, you guessed it, the Bo Ssäm. (Sigh.) There’s also the excellent profile of Tailor’s Eben Freemen mentioned here recently and everything you want to know about what chefs are doing in New Orleans and Lake Tahoe. (Which in our case would be nothing.) Gourmet is all recipes and entertaining, as dull as paint, with, amazingly, an article about Padma Lakshmi’s chutneys with no image of the lady herself. (An article on the raising of Kobe cattle, though, fascinated us.) Finally, Food Arts brings their year-end trend piece, on the strange confluence of health consciousness and conspicuous consumption, as well as a piece by Pichet Ong on the rise of the celebrity pastry chef. Not a bad month in all.
Back of the House
The Threat to Red Hook’s Street-Food Paradise Unites New York FoodiesWhen we heard that the Latin American food vendors in Red Hook Park might lose their temporary-use permit at the end of the summer, the news hit us like a goat taco after a night of heavy drinking. And we weren’t alone. An animated Chowhound thread immediately formed (and was almost as quickly censored), and a protest site sprang into existence. Hidden within Red Hook, the vendors have created a community of cooking, a cultural exchange as much as a place to eat. (Click here to take a video tour with Paladar chef Aaron Sanchez.) We canvassed the city’s food elite for their take on the situation; here is what we heard.