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  1. The California law, which also bans production and sale, includes every part of any bird raised for foie gras. I assume it's the model for the NJ law (as it has served as a model for the other bills that have popped up around the country--Washington's another example). Legs, breasts, beaks, whatever. I don't know how much of Ariane's inventory comes from foie gras products other than the livers.
  2. I'm about halfway through. It's largely a stitching-together of all those biographies and memoirs that are probably on your shelf unread. Careme, Pepin, Beard, Child, etc. It's well-written, and I'm enjoying it.
  3. Jensen, You should write the editor and see what she knows about the distribution channels. Often, as Bruce said, the editor is also the publisher is also the distributor. Note that you can subscribe to any given Edible and have it mailed directly to you. In fact, any Edible publisher would probably encourage you to do just that, as it represents guaranteed income.
  4. I write for Edible East Bay, and I'm sure Bruce Cole will pipe in, as he publishes and edits Edible San Francisco. Saveur not only praised Edible Ojai, they also praised the whole series (a franchise model, as Reneecat said) in a more recent issue. And the Edibles (as I call them) are now in some sort of partnership with Slow Food USA. The problem with the franchise model is that unless I've seen your local Edible, my knowledge about my local Edible won't translate to yours. Each one has its own editor and its own focus. Some are more homey, some run in-depth features. But each one is supposed to have some percentage of pieces written by local writers, and the focus for all of them is local foodsheds.
  5. Whereas most tasting notes in established magazines are boring in the extreme. Do you think any average consumer reads more than one of these? Do you pore over every tasting note in WS or the Wine Advocate? No traditional magazine will allow a writer to play with the form, to move beyond the current stodgy norm (which is itself a fairly modern invention) and make wine tasting notes more accessible to the public. It is left to those without a "professional" voice to explore new avenues (or certain professionals--Karen MacNeil comes to mind as an advocate of more interesting tasting notes). Most won't be improvements, most will actually be worse than the standard, but there always has to be some avenue for people to push beyond what the mainstream accepts. Leaflets, newsletters, and zines were previous avenues, and blogs are the current manifestation. I'm not denying that the world of blogs is littered with bad writers and pompous opinions (nor would I contrast that with the published experts), but traditional media are just that--traditional--and rarely move beyond their established forms. I don't have to sell subscriptions (or even ads) on my blog, so I experiment and play to move beyond the standard wine tasting note I have to write for my clients. Because I'm convinced that the modern tasting note is fairly useless to most of the wine buyers out there.
  6. To follow on Tom's comment (via Craig), some wine blogs are starting to get editors. Wine Sediments, part of the Well Fed network, comes to mind (I'm the editor at a sister site--Growers and Grocers). I don't know how much editing Mark Fisher actually does, but I know that I put some effort into making suggestions when my writers post into the staging area. My edits range from near rewrites, to a few word changes here and there. Which brings me to the general definition of a blog, since that's come up in a few posts. This is the standard view (a la Wikipedia): "a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles, most often in reverse chronological order." The most common variant includes "written by one person or a small group of people." Yes, it's a vague definition, but it does encompass the millions of different species of blogs out there.
  7. Most of the ranking systems out there rely on quantity, not quality. Specifically, the number of links pointing to a site. This was a trend started by Google, whose PageRank system measures (among many other things) the links that come into a site. (As an aside, this idea was good at the time, but has now been so hopelessly compromised as to border on useless--it's common practice to set up "splogs" or spam blogs which do nothing each day but post a zillion links to one site). A far better indicator of quality is to find a blog you like, and find out which sites they recommend. But Alder, for instance, who most would consider the "best" wine blog out there, has links to all the wine blogs out there. Likewise Becks and Posh, one of the most popular food blogs.
  8. Actually, the quip I heard was "famous for 15 people," a take-off of "Warhol's quote" (though I didn't know it was Ultra Violet who had actually said it).
  9. Which is very different than the interblog bitterness you alluded to with your comparison to musicians jealous of another's success. I don't deny that it exists, but I wouldn't call it widespread among food/wine bloggers.
  10. I'm not sure your Batttle Writing arena works as well as you think. Getting into that arena--magazines, newspapers, and books, I suppose you'd argue--requires more than writing talent. In fact, it often seems to not require much writing talent at all. Timing, connections, and a unique perspective are all factors. Usually more important than one's ability to turn a phrase. Blogs offer another ticket into what you view as "legitimate" or "professional" writing. I got my first magazine assignment in part because of a writing sample from my blog (though, in retrospect, I'm not sure how that swayed the editor--I'm a much better writer now than I was then). I know of five or six food bloggers who now have book contracts--publishers drool when they see the built-in platforms of the better-known bloggers--and expect wine bloggers to follow suit soon. How are these folks not legitimate again? edited to fix a typo
  11. One wonders if this whole debate happened when desktop publishing allowed anyone to push out newsletters from their home computer. Anyone remember? (I wasn't paying attention to food at the time) Small, unprofessional authors allowed to push out text without the blessing of the mainstream press? What will it mean? They don't have anything to say. Etc. It's not hard to imagine an earlier form of this debate, epees and all (though then it would've been held on BBS's). Most of those newsletters died out or had limited distribution, but Simple Cooking, The Art of Eating, and The Wine Advocate came out of those "nonprofessional" depths. I look at blogs the same way (except that they solve the distribution problem while simultaneously limiting the aesthetic experience). Some will become influential forces, most won't. At any rate, I don't think you can condemn them all in a blanket statement, because maybe you're overlooking the next AoE. It's important to note that many bloggers don't care about becoming an influential force. There's a great quip I saw recently--in the future everyone will be famous for 15 people. Most bloggers write for a small group and don't go out of their way to attract readers, despite JohnL's theoretically vast database of interblog sniping and griping. At any rate, it must mean something that wine blogging is finally getting the "journalism vs. blogging" debate that is so tired in other genres.
  12. I don't believe that bloggers deserve success just by virtue of being bloggers, but nor do I believe that "blogger" should automatically qualify one for scorn and derision. Some bloggers offer solid authority and good writing. Others don't. I don't like every wine magazine I've ever seen, and I don't like every blog I've ever seen. But I don't discount an information source just because it's a blog. (I should note here that my own blog exists solely as a way for me to practice writing; the fact that lots of people like to read it is a constant surprise to me. As Carolyn says, I much prefer getting paid for my writing, but I can write about lots of small topics I'll never get paid for, so I might as well use them as writing exercises.) As for internal grousing and the laments of the poor, ignored blogger...such are the complaints of artists everywhere throughout time. Bloggers merely perpretrate the tradition.
  13. As someone proud to call himself a food and wine blogger in addition to a professional food and wine writer, I find this discussion interesting (though also well-worn--this conversation is only just now making its way to the wine writing world but has been persistent in other arenas of news coverage for years now). I love the complaints about the "autobiographical" nature of wine blogging. Two of the most popular wine writers in the U.S. are John and Dottie at the Wall Street Journal. They are successful in large part because they talk about themselves and their lives in the column. Sure they also provide real information--so do a lot of wine bloggers. So why are they accepted--lauded even--while wine bloggers are not? Ignoring the fact that many bloggers aren't very good writers: After all some bloggers are far better writers than the bulk of "regular contributors" who deaden the mainstream media. The distinction between professional and nonprofessional is somewhat arbitrary. Do you consider Alder at Vinography.com a professional or a nonprofessional? He doesn't work in the wine industry in a professional sense, but he pulls in some money from ad revenue on his site, just like "professional" publications.
  14. Oh, sorry, should've explained the liver thing a bit more. By the time the duck goes to the Happy Pond in the Sky, certain liver metabolic pathways have just shut down. Others behave normally, and in fact some are performing at better-than-average rates. For those who have the EU study about foie gras around, most of this is covered in section 5.4 (finally! I looked something up), though it's a bit long to quote here. In terms of distension, do you mean the little pooch they get on their bellies? If so, I definitely noticed it in the birds at the very end of their gavage (I saw birds right at the beginning and right at the end, fewer in the in-between states), though it was consistent with the reports and photos of other foie gras ducks/geese in other areas, so I didn't think much of it.
  15. Those questions I was a little fuzzy about, but now that I search my memory a bit, I think HVFG and SFG both track at about 1-2% mortality rates. But I can't remember if that's just during gavage, or total. The number is on par with the rest of the foie gras industry (though caged foie gras birds run at about 3%, I think). Again, from memory (I should probably just unearth my notes and confirm all this), broiler poultry is about 10%. Lobes that I've seen from SFG seem to average around 1.1 lbs, or 600g. I thought that HVFG tended to get larger livers, due to a different feeding process (the ducks are ramped up more slowly), but it's been a while since I purchased any (SFG is, for obvious reasons, easier to find here in the Bay Area). See, I'm still fuzzy on these. My editor didn't give me any hard and fast space requirements, but he gave me a rough range to work with. Details I left out were probably just because they didn't fit easily into the text, in the same way that Ed left a lot of biological/physiological info out of his somewhat similar look at "good veal" a few issues prior. There are some things I wish I had put in now--mortality rates, and the very weird state the liver's in by the time the duck goes to the slaughterhouse--but those were more my omission than a requirement from Ed.
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