Andy, Jeffrey, and Woody Do Julia

For years Dorothy Zinberg has regaled me with tales of the three incomparably brilliant grad students who cooked out of Mastering and changed the world. Now that Julie & Julia is out, the truth can come out too--though it's not shocking, just marvelously entertaining, a dining-out story one can endlessly dine out on.

I know two of the three main characters, and you will too--there's no way anyone remotely interested in food and health won't recognize them. But hearing of their early hijinks, done in the deadly earnest competitiveness that fueled a great deal of cooking from Julia in the 1960s and '70s, reveals how early and fully the characters we know were formed. And they did it with equal brio and brilliance and sly wit, which defined their characters too--and was too often missing from the early Julia marathons.

You might be surprised at what Andy cooked and ate in those days. You won't be surprised about Jeffrey. Just entertained, as usual.

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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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