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NYT Articles on Food, Drink, Cooking, and Culinary Culture (2011– )


rotuts
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This is a continuation of the ongoing NYT Articles on Food, Drink, Cooking, and Culinary Culture (2005–2011) topic.

 

 

 

 

today in dinning in NYT:

Cheese: A Coming-of-Age Story

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/05/dining/cheese-and-affinage-a-coming-of-age-story.html?_r=1&hpw

has anyone been able to taste the pre and post product? the price difference?

double blinded?

Edited by Mjx
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Sounds like the tasters in the article did a blind tasting and were able to guess provenance.

We have a local cheese maker who sells her "mistakes" along with the normal production. Some mistakes were put in a room with the wrong humidity, or got washed incorrectly, or aged longer than they should have,etc. Some of them are delicious and some of them are just interesting. But it becomes obvious when you are sampling the mistakes that cheese is a living product -- a dance between milk and bacteria and the environment. Sometimes you get Astaire and Rogers when you were expecting Nijinsky and Pavlova, sometimes you get Bristol Palin and Chaz Bono.

But how the cheese is treated has a definite effect on flavor and texture.

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absolutely

i was more wondering the effect of these 'third' parties are adding to well made cheese already

where I live I can get a Vermont 'brie' and 'camenbert' that I then 'age' for 4 - 5 days unopened at room temp them eat it.

its as good that way as the very best brie etc al Ive had in france when they were good at making these two cheeses.

this is the stuff.

http://www.vtcheese.com/members/blythedale/blythedale.htm

if they have this near you, try the brie or camenbert get the 'oldest' one in the cheese case and let it sit for a few days at room temp.

Yum mmm

Edited by rotuts (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...

So what does everyone think of Eric Asimov's latest review?

I'm intrigued that we have a guy with a wine background covering food, wine is big interest to me so I'm quite happy with his style of writing and knowing that the guy has a palate - although to be fair thats very subjective and what not.

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Eric Asimov has been with the Times a long time. Before he did the wine column, he was the "$25 and Under" restaurant critic for more than a decade. He also has done the interim reviews on several occasions, and has pinch hit for example when William Grimes was on leave.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I told everyone that in post #6! But would anyone listen? Nooooo... :laugh:

It's a bit like a sporting event: every possible outcome will have been forecasted by someone, who can then claim he knew it all along. What surprises me is not that it's Wells, but that it took them so long to pick him.

When the hot rumor was the guy from New Orleans, you could understand the delay. He would have needed to wrap up his affairs down there, move to New York, and get acclimated to the new beat. But how long does it take to pick the guy right down the hall?

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Clearly there are passionate feelings about the NYT restaurant critic job, and little hesitation amongst those of us in the peanut gallery to express them. There are a lot of people in NY and out of it who want different things from a reviewer. I assume that by far the largest percent of the weekly restaurant review readers do NOT go to the restaurant; they don't have the money or they don't live in town, or, as in my case, both. Being able to find a balance that can keep the trust of readers who are restaurant goers and the desires of the myriad of food-interested readers who want entertainment and fun writing can't be easy. So I would hope it would take some time to figure out who gets the job.

Anyway, I'm thrilled. If I can't have Dexter (be still my heart!) I'll take his dad. Hopefully Dexter will have something to say about the leftovers that make it home.

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Anyway, I'm thrilled. If I can't have Dexter (be still my heart!) I'll take his dad. Hopefully Dexter will have something to say about the leftovers that make it home.

It just goes to show, there's room for disagreement among knowledgeable eG members and NYT readers. After the first few "Cooking with Dexter" pieces in the Sunday magazine, I stopped reading. All were heavy on father-son sentiment, light on info about food/cooking for the reader. Nothing against shared father-son kitchen experiences, mind you, but it got old fast. Different ingredient/meal/etc., same story. And the articles were all about home cooking, few if any had anything to say about restaurants.

I hope to be pleasantly surprised by the new reviews.


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Anyway, I'm thrilled. If I can't have Dexter (be still my heart!) I'll take his dad. Hopefully Dexter will have something to say about the leftovers that make it home.

It just goes to show, there's room for disagreement among knowledgeable eG members and NYT readers. After the first few "Cooking with Dexter" pieces in the Sunday magazine, I stopped reading. All were heavy on father-son sentiment, light on info about food/cooking for the reader. Nothing against shared father-son kitchen experiences, mind you, but it got old fast. Different ingredient/meal/etc., same story. And the articles were all about home cooking, few if any had anything to say about restaurants.

I hope to be pleasantly surprised by the new reviews.

Linda, the father/son thing never got old for me, but as you say there's a big difference between a cooking column and a restaurant review column. I expect good things from Pete Wells.

And as I typed this, I thought: Why the heck do I care about restaurant reviews in NYC? I mean, I'm not eating there soon, and heaven knows Chicago has an important restaurant scene! I think that it's because the critic's chair at "The Times" has required decent writing. I really liked Bruni and Sifton. The only other reviewer with the reliable writing chops of Ruth, Frank, Sam or Pete is Jonathan Gold in LA.

Margaret McArthur

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And as I typed this, I thought: Why the heck do I care about restaurant reviews in NYC? I mean, I'm not eating there soon, and heaven knows Chicago has an important restaurant scene! I think that it's because the critic's chair at "The Times" has required decent writing. I really liked Bruni and Sifton. The only other reviewer with the reliable writing chops of Ruth, Frank, Sam or Pete is Jonathan Gold in LA.

It is true, as noted upthread, that the majority of people who read the reviews will never visit the restaurants; and therefore, the reviews have a broader function than just giving dinner reservations advice. They certainly need to be well written; but that is true of everything The Times publishes. I mean, most people who read Ben Brantley's theater reviews or Anthony Tommasini's music reviews will never visit those shows/concerts. This is not a phenomenon that is unique to restaurants.

But Brantley and Tommasini have been in their positions for over a decade and have years of experience in their respective fields. Frank Bruni had literally never been to a Michelin-starred restaurant in his life, outside of Italy, before being appointed restaurant critic. He is an excellent writer, but had no expertise in the subject. In no other discipline would The Times appoint a critic who had so little background in the field he was expected to pass judgment upon.

Bruni was smart. Given five years and a six-figure annual dining budget, he eventually filled in the gaps in his knowledge, and he developed a reliable voice. To the end, he had some serious, even severe limitations, but at least you knew what they were, and could compensate for them when trying to decide whether to take his recommendations seriously.

While it is true that many who read the reviews will never visit the restaurants, certainly some will. It is not sufficient to be a great writer if you do not understand the food, or cannot, or will not, describe the restaurant accurately. A restaurant review needs to be about the restaurant, not merely a sham for whatever unrelated bee the writer has in his bonnet that day.

It is here that Sam Sifton went astray. When he was announced in the position, The Times said that he had been "drafted," and it also made clear that he would probably be moving back into management before long. From many of his reviews, you got the sense he wasn't interested in restaurants at all. It was here that he differed from Bruni, who, for all his faults, truly loves dining out. What came out of Sifton's reviews was no particular passion, but rather, mostly boredom. The man wanted to be somewhere else, and it showed. He jettisoned the job at the first opportunity.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Odd, one thing I rarely sensed from Sifton's writing was boredom.

There may well be a better way of describing it. In many of his reviews, the food seemed secondary. If he didn't seem bored, it was because he had found something irrelevant that distracted him. What frequently bored him, in my opinion, was writing about the things he was paid to write about: restaurants and food.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized?. the NYT has an article that's long on words but short on actual facts about the process by which organic is defined and how many accuse large companies of systematically and deliberately weakening the standard. It's something that's not surprising to people who have been following the debate but something that deserves more exposure.

For the most part, the NYT doesn't grapple with the actual issues. Personally, I don't see something like carrageenan as being something that should be excluded from being organic. Xanthan gum is used in tons of organic foods with no real uproar.

PS: I am a guy.

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It seemed to me the article suggests the "certified organic" is defined by the Board they mention, which seems to be stacked in favor of Big Farma. There are 4 'farmer' seats. A Ms. Beck has one of those seats but is not a farmer but an executive at Driscolls. Etc. Etc.

As you mentioned, this is no surprise as there is a great deal of money to be made. Most of the individual consumers dont chose to take the time to realize what 'certified organic' means.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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The NYT is really not a place I go to for information any longer. Carrageenan is made from seaweed. If it's pumped full of something artificial, I can see the complaint, but it isn't, so what's the problem? I'm not a fan of most organic canned foods, indeed they always seemed to be defeating the purpose of healthy eating as I see it. Eden products and Muir are not good tasting to me. They consistantly rate in the bottom in Cook's Illustrated product comparisons.

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The article seems to kind of miss the point that should raise the most concern, which is that the important argument in favour of organic production is that (done properly) it reduces damage to the environment.

Research on whether or not organic food is healthier for individual human beings is not at all conclusive, but there's no question that, since the biosphere is effectively a closed system, it has a limited capacity to absorb the various byproducts of food production. You overload the soil and water with certain substances, and things get unhealthy for everyone, regardless of what they're eating. Yet the article addresses this only briefly, half a dozen lines buried in the middle the article, discussing the (unsuccessful) atttempt to have the herbicide ammonium nonanoate added to the accepted organic list. Compared to other herbicides, ammonium nonanoate is pretty mild stuff, but when you okay one herbicide, you open the door to more aggressive ones (weeds tend to become resistant to herbicides; this is both aggravated by, and a cause of overspraying) that are more problematic, in terms of environmental impact: it becomes harder to say No. The possibility of a future in which crops that have been sprayed with, say, Roundup, being able to bear the 'organic' label is not an unreasonable concern, and who knows? it may be discovered that Roundup is fine for humans, after all. But it plays hell with the environment (in Denmark, for example, they're finding lots of it in ground water, and frog numbers are declining). Since we're kind of stuck on this planet, it'd be a good idea to try to make it as healthy a place to live as possible; loosening organic standards doesn't seem like an ideal step in that direction.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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  • 2 years later...

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Kim Shook,

 

Outdoor cooking in Southern heat and humidity is for us thrifty types who cringe at running the A/C against the oven. I can cook even a thick steak in fifteen minutes or less on a hot charcoal fire to our liking. It's also the only way I really like steak cooked, when I splurge on it. Once I get the ashes cleaned out, and the fire laid and lit, I confidently walk back inside to wait for coals and prep stuff in the A/C. I haven't had one go out in many decades, and that was because I hadn't learned not to fool with it. I can stand a few minutes outside to keep from giving more money to our electric company which is working hard on becoming a complete monopoly here.

 

I leave stuff like chicken with longer, slower cooks times for spring and fall too.

 

Outdoor summer eating with heat, humidity and the record crop of insects in NC this summer? Well I don't know who that's for, but certainly  not for us!  :smile:

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I cook outdoors year-round.  It started in the summer of 2003 when we retired to a mountain cabin in Arizona; our stove was a 1927 Garland gas range with no insulation.   So a gas grill on our patio became our main cooking element and I developed grilling recipes that pleased us, usually grilled salmon, veggies, chicken and pork.  Then onto pizzas, stuffed squid and pretty much everything on the menu.  

 

As winter cold and snows approached (we were at 5600 feet altitude), I continued to grill outdoors, even if it meant wearing a knit hat.  The flavor from a well-seasoned gas grill is something we enjoy very much.  

 

Now we live in Central Florida and I continue to grill outdoors; this gas grill has a powerful side burner.  Seared duck breast is one of our go-to meals; using the side burner then finishing it in the pre-heated grill makes for a great duck and no kitchen splatter to clean up.  Win win.  

 

It's hot and humid here now, for sure.  I mostly grill 'quick' summer food that need little tending (pork tenderloin, boneless chicken, lamb racks)....I put them on the grill, set a timer, go back outside to turn them once, bring them indoors to enjoy.  

 

I also improve the flavor of delivery pizza by carefully reheating on the grill...it imparts a smoky flavor to it.  

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