Photo by chatirygirl/Flickr CC
Some writers I know from the first word I'll read with surprise, admiration, delight, and yes, envy at the sheer craft she or he has put a lifetime into learning. A number of them are in the new annual food issue of The New Yorker: Calvin Trillin on poutine, the appalling but kind of irresistible Canadian national dish of french fries and fried cheese curd--"which might be described as Cheddar before the taste is added"--under brown gravy (even after last week's very pleasurable Canadian excursion, I remain a poutine virgin and have no plans to lose my innocence); Jane Kramer on Thanksgivings she has cooked in exotic places in exotic company, with the frequent expat's experience of never finding a turkey and of forcing friends from home to pack and schlep ridiculous items in ridiculous amounts; Adam Gopnik on cookbooks, a piece my brother called me up the night his issue arrived to insist I see and whose first page in particular I in turn urge you to read.
But I reserve special pleasure for Mimi Sheraton on the page--or on the screen; since the summer she has been writing for a new online magazine on Jewish life called Tablet, as she told me when I recently ran into her and her husband, Richard Falcone, at the Greenwich Village market near their house (typical opening line: "What are you doing at my market?"). As always, she picks subjects I want to know more about, for instance this piece on pretzels and salt as an appropriate housewarming gift for Eastern European Jews; I too was taught always to bring bread and salt when visiting a new house, and fresh, salt-flecked pretzels, a great Germanic tradition that is happily, if too slowly, being revived, is an ideal way to do it.