Welcome, Ian Knauer and Tom Mylan

Since I write this from Boston, I shouldn't admit or gloat that we missed most of the storm that has kept nearly every single Atlantic person outside our Watergate home—except the Food Channel's own doughty Dan Fromson, who has amazingly forded the snow banks and sluggish public transport pace in what James Fallows calls Siberia-on-the-Potomac, along with a handful of others (the avalanche of emails in my inbox proves that everybody's working! from wherever they're burrowed in).

And I certainly shouldn't use it as an excuse to have delayed welcoming two contributors I've long been hoping would appear on the Food Channel, especially when the debut of one, yesterday, centers on my favorite luncheon meat. Ian Knauer was a leading light of the late Gourmet's test kitchen, whose colleagues told me I needed to have him here. I saw from his excellent taste in recipes, and knew why as soon as we met: everything about his approach to food is informed by his experience on his family's farm in the not accidentally named Knauertown, Pennsylvania. He hunts, he fishes, he tends bees, and he cooks using the knowledge he's earned growing up working on a farm—and working now, as often as he can get down from Brooklyn, where he lives.

His debut post is only peripherally about Lebanon bologna, an oddly sweet beef sausage that once you try you want to have in place of any other sandwich meat. It's a beautifully written remembrance of his grandfather, and will make you want to learn much more about him—and also taste Lebanon bologna, particularly given the emotion he invests it with.

I discovered the bologna, named for a county and not a country, when researching an article that became a chapter in The Pleasures of Slow Food, about an irrepressible meat, poultry, and sausage purveyor named Verna Dietrich in Krumsville, Pennsylvania. It changed my mind about luncheon meat:

While serving customers Dietrich would slip Yoder and me little tastes of products other than the copious array of salamis and sausages already set out in tiny cubes: liverwurst, for instance, something I hadn't thought of since it meant grade-school sandwiches no one could trade, and so good that I wanted to spread it on German rye bread; and a kind of salami I'd never had that is emblematic of the Pennsylvania Dutch larder—Lebanon bologna, named for the county where it was first commercially produced. What makes it typical is the use of beef rather than pork, a distinct sweetness, and a gentle spicing with hints of ginger, paprika, mustard, and mace. (I got this list from Hot Links and Country Flavors, by the master sausage maker Bruce Aidells with Denis Kelly; Dietrich would reveal few of her "seasonings.") The Lebanon bologna, unlike other things I tasted at the store, was subtly smoked and not particularly salty.

Boy, did I like that visit—and the fastnachts, square Lenten doughnuts made from a yeast dough containing mashed potatoes, butter, and lard. Time for another visit! Meanwhile, though, I'm looking forward to much more from Ian, who will be a great guide to a part of the world I still know far too little about, and who is a great cook too.

And I bet you've been enjoying Tom Mylan's posts as much as I have. Mylan is one of the new breed of cool butchers in cool places—The Meat Hook, in Brooklyn. He's also a very accomplished, and funny, writer. We're really lucky to have him—and I'll have him to thank for a few fewer cut fingertips in the next few weeks.

Presented by

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.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.


How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Health

From This Author

Just In