Up Now

UP NOW It takes slight courage to admit you like, say, whoopie pies, as I'm doing this morning on TV. It takes real courage to write about a life-changing experience in the kind of frank and moving detail Samuel Stanley does in My Transformation, about learning to eat after gastric-bypass surgery. As all chronicles of deprivation do, this makes anyone appreciate the food he or she eats and take it less for granted -- but this is a very particular, unexpected form of deprivation, and I appreciate the revelation and frankness that grow with each entry.

Jerry Baldwin has always been one of my two coffee gurus, and in today's patient, wry, helpful post he lays down the law that you have to use ENOUGH coffee in your coffee -- ground coffee, if course, and a rule that simply escapes an astonishing number of people. Various marketing ploys designed to make people think they were getting more for less money are the culprit, but he gives the real scoop (a pun he admirably avoids), along with the good advice to buy a scoop that gives you the actual amount you should be using. He also gives a much better analogy to illustrate the warped, blown-up view we now have of the size of a cup of coffee, along with the out-of-control portions every other health advocate bemoans: one small "scoop" was enough when a cup of coffee was the size of "your grandmother's teacup." Now, of course, an average cup is not six ounces, as those were, but three or four times that. And you wonder why people need decaf.

Today's installment from the Yale Farm pays tribute to the guru of every New England grower who wants some winter variety, and to save money on heating, too: Eliot Coleman, Maine pioneer of "hoop houses," which miraculously allow actual greens to grow in the unforgiving New England climate all winter. Buy one of the books he's written with his wife, Barbara Damrosch, which you can find here. Then, of course, you'll want an enterprising student to build the house for you and help tend the plants. I think our Sustainability contributors can help with that.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.

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