Three years ago, on October 4, R. W. Apple, known as Johnny to one and all, died way too young, at 71. He made his name as a war reporter and then as the kind of all-purpose Timesman who could in an afternoon assemble news scraps from a dozen bureaus and a dozen outside sources into Page One stories with magisterial sweep that made them a true First Draft of History, as our very own fascinating festival at the Newseum, in Washington, last week was called.
(Surf over to the site! I spent much of the weekend "attending" it via the videos and great real-time summaries various colleagues wrote, and recommend you do the same--the reports of individual sessions are full of embedded clips that give you a strong flavor of the whole.)
This is turning into a day of remembrance, with the shock of the closing of Gourmet. The anthologies and celebrations will continue, but the anthology to celebrate is Far Flung and Well Fed, the collection of Johnny's food writing that has just been published and for which I was honored to write the foreword.
Johnny was by nature and temperament an enthusiast. He loved good food, as you could tell from looking at him, and he loved good company just as much. His constant, big, bearish generosity and delight in people came through everything he wrote.
I'll have more to say about this gently rollicking collection, and some excerpts too. But for now, order it yourself, please, for a treat--and for a reminder, as with Gourmet, of what writers at the top of their form can do when given the time and space to satisfy their appetites for food and information.