Tony Bourdain’s Kitchen Is Just Like Yours; New York Chefs Cook for 50 CentSelf-styled badass chef Tony Bourdain plays 20 Questions, revealing that he lives with his wife and daughter on the Upper East Side these days — “proximity to Baby Gap is a priority” — and has a kitchen that is “small and functional and very crowded with baby food, cat food, a few essentials.” [Chicago Tribune]
Frank Bruni takes a moment to sort through the piles of food-related tomes that landed on his desk this year, finding his favorites to be David Kamp’s The Food Snob’s Dictionary and the recently released Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Related: David Kamp Adds Two More Entries to the Food Snob’s Dictionary
A recent NYU grad is suing Times Square club Arena for $2 million over a June incident in which he was overcharged by $1,000, beat up by the bouncer, and arrested for not buying enough alcohol. [NYP]
Back of the House
Meet the Original Food SnobsSlate’s Sara Dickerman has a great piece this week about the Founding Fathers of food snobbery — the short library of books that real food snobs draw on, as opposed to the quick studies who are buying David Kamp’s The Food Snob’s Dictionary like hotcakes this holiday season. We applaud Dickerman for including not only the big, unwieldy references like Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking and Grub Street guru Hervé This’s Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, but also the classic crackpot treatises like Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s 1825The Physiology of Taste and Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reynière’s Gourmand’s Almanac (1803–12). Those great gastronomes of yore were the first and best food snobs, and today’s aspirants would do well to go back to the source.
Hey, Fromage Obsessive [Slate]
Related: David Kamp Brings Aid to Would-Be Food Snobs
David Kamp Adds Two More Entries to the Food Snob’s DictionaryRiffling through the pages of David Kamp’s new book, The Food Snob’s Dictionary, we are reminded that food snobbery isn’t just for the well-heeled; we know a lot of scrubs who are just as snobby about their meals. Well, you can’t get anything by Kamp, so he’s sent us two Snob Dictionary addenda, exclusive to Grub Street. “The entries,” Kamp says, “fall into the Reverse Chic category of Food Snobbery, which is not heavily represented in the book (with the exceptions of entries for sliders, banh mi, and Asian street food).”
Back of the House
David Kamp Brings Aid to Would-Be Food SnobsFew writers have learned the language of contemporary food culture as fluently as The United States of Arugula author David Kamp, or seen through its pretensions as sharply. That’s obvious from our galley copy of The Food Snob’s Dictionary, an acutely perceptive little book coming out this fall. A few of Kamp’s definitions, to tide you over until then:
Chicken Fingers Clutch at America’s Youth; Eco-Rebels Reject Bottled WaterUnited States of Arugula author (and friend of Grub Street) David Kamp worries for the next generation: “America is in the grips of a nefarious chicken-finger pandemic, in which a blandly tasty foodstuff has somehow become the de facto official nibble of our young.” [NYT]
Doing their part for Mother Earth, more restaurants are eschewing bottled water and the profits it brings. But only Del Posto is on board in New York. [NYT]
Other restaurants are looking to inflate water prices even more: “When paired correctly with fine wines, particular waters enhance subtle flavors and fragrances, allowing for the ultimate dining experience.” [Chef Magazine]
Really, Is It You? David Kamp Shares His Five Favorite N.Y. Food BooksDavid Kamp — author of the definitive, not to mention best-selling, account of America’s metamorphosis into a nation of gourmands, The United States of Arugula — must like us. Why else would he share an eloquently annotated list of his favorite books relating to New York food history? Okay, it may be that he’s an overachiever, spilling with knowledge. Either way, we welcome his voice here on Grub Street.
Mario Batali and David Kamp on Why We’re All Foodies NowMario Batali and food historian David Kamp, author of The United States of Arugula, will be talking food and culture at Makor tonight at seven. Kamp is a cultural historian who has captured the story of how America was educated in cuisine during the sixties and seventies by people like James Beard and Julia Child, and how serious we’ve become about food as a result. Batali, of course, is the chef who has taken this wave straight to the top. How gourmet cookery went from being a pursuit reserved for effete bon vivants to the heart of mainstream culture is a long, strange tale, and these two men are the ones to tell it.
The United States of Arugula, Steinhardt Building, 35 W. 67th St., nr. Central Park W.; 212-415-5500; 7 p.m.