New York Press Part Three: The New York Times Magazine Food Issue

12cover-395.jpgBy Meredith Brody

Burdened with a truly lousy cover, an exploding pumpkin (apparently other copies featured an equally ugly exploding ear of corn) -- quite an achievement in an age when every ha'penny (well, free) food blog boasts succulent photography - the October 12, 2008 Food Issue of The New York Times Magazine, titled "Food Fights!" offers a panoply of food for thought (yes, groan).

And if you don't subscribe, or missed picking one up on the stands, there's lots of stuff to chew over - virtually the entire magazine (pun intended) -- online.

There's Mark Bittman on taking food seriously, i.e. "as more than a necessary fuel...and looking for something more wholesome."

Deborah Solomon interviews Robert Kenner, director of the yet-unreleased documentary Food Inc.

William Safire deconstructs trendy food words including superfood, Frankenfoods, nutraceuticals, and locavorism.

In Consumed, Rob Walker examines marketing foods to kids.

Virginia Heffernan, writing about ordering food online from FreshDirect, almost makes me wish there was a Bay Area branch.

David Rieff examines the Gates Foundation donating hundreds of millions of dollars to improve agriculture in Africa.

The Diagnosis column, titled "Dangerous Fruit," freaked me out, a little, since I've enjoyed the Jamaican specialty, ackee and cod, many times - gratefully without adverse reactions.

"Kosher Wars" adds a layer of contemporary sustainability and social-justice issues to the already somewhat mindboggling question of kosher food laws.

"Why Tip?" investigates instituting European-style service charges (as at our own Chez Panisse, and at a San Diego restaurant called the Linkery) instead of leaving such compensation up to the diner - and dividing it among all the staff, instead of just the servers.

Berkeley journalism prof Michael Pollan writes an open letter to the next president of these United States, about necessary changes to U.S. agriculture.

In "A Catfish By Any Other Name," Paul Greenberg examines issues of global food production through the lens of a war over what can and cannot be imported as catfish.

The recipe column, The Way We Eat, features Christine Muhlke on notoriously cantankerous NY restaurateur Kenny Shopsin, in a piece called "Flipping the Bird," with recipes for lemon ricotta pancakes and mac'n'cheese pancakes - just a couple of the 900-item menu that the confrontational chef -- already subject of a famous New Yorker essay by Calvin Trillin, "Don't Mention It" and a documentary entitled "I Like Killing Flies" -- MIGHT let you order off of. If you don't piss him off.

Hours of reading and clicking pleasure. And for free!

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