The Meat Did It, II


A friend writes--no, actually, my friend Pam Hunter tells me just now that she went to Cesare Casella's Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto, conveniently down the street from where she and I are staying (at my brother's, yet more conveniently), for lunch yesterday and came in as a table with chefs from an international voter's-choice poll of "the world's 50 best restaurants" sponsored by S. Pellegrino--recently feted in London at a fete that brought together our very own new-award-winner Grant Achatz and our Italian Abroad expert Faith Willinger in a continental exchange--was finishing a table-spanning selection of the cured meats our own Zeke Emanuel didn't try, though he liked most everything else.

"I've never had cured meats of that quality in this country," she said. "There's a very fine line of just-getting-high that Europeans know how to do and Americans don't. Cesare and those Italians know just how to walk it. What we tasted put the Californians [she's a very proud, and very knowledgeable, Californian] trying to make salumi in the shade." Which, of course, there isn't very much of in California.

Cured meats, these French, were what all the award-winners and everyone else scarfed down at the after-party across the street at Bar Boulud, the Lincoln Center-goer's best friend, where the two meats I always dive for on the justly celebrated charcuterie platter are the head cheese and, especially, the light-pink cooked ham--perfectly described by my svelte friend Ed Levine on his exemplary Serious Eats. I always knew Ed had perfect taste, so naturally he said it first: "The housemade jambon de Paris is the French ham I never thought I would be able to taste in New York." It's good any time--but especially, the crowds who cleaned the platters demonstrated, after 1 am.

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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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