The September 6, 2021 issue is the Annual Food and Drink at The New Yorker. There’s a hilarious cover on the magazine, called “Food For Thought”. In the issue are plenty of reprints: a reprint of the cartoon of the cat and dog sitting at a bar, discussing their food preferences. I described the cartoon on Facebook and got plenty of posts from cat parents who saw their cats eating dog food, especially dog biscuits. There’s a one-page monograph from Nora Ephron, “The Sandwich,” about a Los Angeles deli that serves the perfect pastrami (steamed three hours) on seeded bread (deli-cooked).
There’s a story, “Grub”, about people in the first world who eat bugs—plenty of people in the third world do—and how plenty of people won’t, even though eating bugs is easier on the world ecosystem (crickets, which have good protein, don’t require rainforests to be cut down). People in France used to consider lobster to be “bugs” and they wouldn’t eat them. Now lobster is a gourmet treat in France. Husband Tom calls my beloved shrimp “sea bugs”. I don’t like to think about that when I’m eating shrimp.
Have you ever eaten bugs? I never have, but Husband Tom has. He tasted grasshoppers from France (of all places!) in a jar (they were like bacon, only different, he recalls) and once ate red ants (they were spicy, he recalls).
Then there’s “Hell’s Kitchen”, by Antony Bourdain. Clearly a reprint since Bourdain is dead, by suicide. (I guess some people can’t handle fame, money, handsomeness, and something they love to do. Tragic.)
Bourdain writes about one eighteen-hour day in a frantic day in the chef’s life of Les Halles, a high-end French restaurant on Park Avenue South.
Bourdain has to plan the specials for the busy lunch and for the busier dinner hour, shop for food at the wholesale markets, wrestle an entire dead pig into the freezer, manage the various specialty cooks and the waiters, prepare orders as the bills come in, and, in all of this, swearing, swallowing aspirin, swallowing alcohol, and burning his hands.
I read and loved Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential” book (he took lots of drugs in those accounts, too). His advice, among other tidbits, is to eat at restaurants on Thursdays—that’s when the restaurants order fresh food for the weekend. And don’t eat at restaurants on Sunday—that’s when restaurants concoct “specials” (like a seafood omelet) for the weekend’s leftovers.
The issue is Recommended.
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