Were You on Vacation?

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It was Jerry Baldwin who first said to me, "As soon as someone starts telling me what their favorite coffee is, I stop them and ask, 'Were you on vacation?'" It's a surefire question. I've tried it on many occasions, and the answer is usually a laugh and an embarrassed yes.

This morning Jerry gives us a number of the ones he remembers, and offers a charming suggestion about just what I can do about the Peet's blend I still can't match, Sierra Dorada. It won't help in the short term, but there's always hope: if enough people protest and petition, maybe it can come back.

I didn't ask Jerry whether he'd encountered any of the ones he mentions this morning on vacation. But feel free to share with him any of your memories--on vacation or sitting in a coffee shop or, and this I'll want to hear, even in the office.

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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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