Since its earliest days, The New Yorker has been a tastemaker–literally. As the home of A. J. Liebling, Joseph Wechsberg, and M.F.K. Fisher, who practically invented American food writing, the magazine established a tradition that is carried forward today by irrepressible literary gastronomes, including Calvin Trillin, Bill Buford, Adam Gopnik, Jane Kramer, and Anthony Bourdain. Now, in this indispensable collection, The New Yorker dishes up a feast of delicious writing on food and drink, seasoned with a generous dash of cartoons.
Whether you’re in the mood for snacking on humor pieces and cartoons or for savoring classic profiles of great chefs and great eaters, these offerings, from every age of The New Yorker’s fabled eighty-year history, are sure to satisfy every taste. There are memoirs, short stories, tell-alls, and poems–ranging in tone from sweet to sour and in subject from soup to nuts.
M.F.K. Fisher pays homage to “cookery witches,” those mysterious cooks who possess “an uncanny power over food,” while John McPhee valiantly trails an inveterate forager and is rewarded with stewed persimmons and white-pine-needle tea. There is Roald Dahl’s famous story “Taste,” in which a wine snob’s palate comes in for some unwelcome scrutiny, and Julian Barnes’s ingenious tale of a lifelong gourmand who goes on a very peculiar diet for still more peculiar reasons. Adam Gopnik asks if French cuisine is done for, and Calvin Trillin investigates whether people can actually taste the difference between red wine and white. We journey with Susan Orlean as she distills the essence of Cuba in the story of a single restaurant, and with Judith Thurman as she investigates the arcane practices of Japan’s tofu masters. Closer to home, Joseph Mitchell celebrates the old New York tradition of the beefsteak dinner, and Mark Singer shadows the city’ s foremost fisherman-chef.
Selected from the magazine’s plentiful larder, Secret Ingredients celebrates all forms of gustatory delight.
This volume of food writing from the New Yorker proves again that famous weekly's reputation for literary and journalistic excellence. An anthology of reporting both recent and vintage, this book takes readers from the oyster beds of Long Island to the bistros of Paris, from artisanal tofu joints in Japan to a Miami restaurant serving Basque food to homesick Cubans. Along the way, lucky readers get to travel to fun food towns like San Francisco and New York, drink martinis with Roger Angell, make fun of menus with Steve Martin and reminisce about Julia Child's winsome public television series. A particularly wonderful profile introduces a wild-foods forager capable of making a 10-course meal from ingredients in the field near his house; he and the author dine on cattails and watercress while canoeing through an icy November river. Another winning profile explores the life and times of a cheese-making nun with a Ph.D. in microbiology. But perhaps the greatest pleasure here is the gorgeous prose of masters like M.F.K. Fisher and A.J. Liebling. Liebling, in particular, knows how to turn meals into stories; though he wrote of Paris before the war, his descriptions are so immediate and enticing that a reader wants to run out and buy the first plane ticket to France.