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Washington Post Food Section Changes


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"expanded features and new topics for the growing number of readers who care about wine, beer, restaurants and home entertainment."

I liked the section today, with its sous vide and "death by chocolate" pieces. The new features...wait and see. I'm not sure adding another clipping to Palena's vast stash of free publicity with a "Worth the Trip" wet kiss for their French Fry platter added much to the dialogue.

And I have a deep distrust of wine-tasting panels stocked with amateurs,it just adds another layer of confusion to the whole thing. In a Sauvignon Blanc tasting, the Post critic Ben Gilberti picked the '02 Carbonnieux 1st, one of the panelist ranked it last, three others put it somewhere in between. One tasted apple, one tasted cantelope and one tasted mold. This kind of analysis doesn't make my trips to the wine shop any easier. It also reminds me of the (annoying) New York Times panels. I think the Post has a good enough Food Section that even the appearance of following in the Times' footsteps detracts.

That being said, change is good, I volunteer for the wine panel, and I suggest the Nam Sod at the P Street Sala Thai for the next "Worth the Trip."

I'm also looking forward to the beer column and the home entertaining feature -- hoping to everyone from elegant embassy wives to vegan anarchist gay couples giving guidance on "menus, recipes and wine-paring."

Any other comments?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I think it's about time Judith Havemann left some kind of stamp on the section--it seemed pretty status-quo since she took over editing the Food pages. I look forward to seeing how this shakes out. Hopefully it won't turn into a Food-themed Sunday Source.

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I enjoyed it today too, especially the sous vide discussion and integration of "front page" news with a feature story. That is, it was smart to talk about feeding Katerina evacuees as a way of exploring new technology.

As for "Death by Chocolate," it was amusing but struck me as a bit of Julie Powell rip-off.

In turn, all media looks to other news sources, but the article on feeding college kids locally seems to respond to an article in the NYTs this summer and just switches the setting.

Still, I am VERY glad to see that the section is doing what Reichel has been trying to do with Gourmet and what Molly O'Neill called for in "Food Porn," namely emphasize how essential food is as a part of our lives, politics, and culture. (Thank g-d there's no such thing as the women's pages anymore.) There should be more frequent articles about food incorporated into different sections of the paper throughout the week, especially Metro. The section on Wed should be longer than it is. After all, there is a daily Sports section. Isn't food more fundamental than baseball?

What I think needs more publicity is the farmer's markets. I am amazed by the number of people who do not know about them.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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It's about time something good happened to the Food section. Perhaps this will inspire me to buy the paper again - at least on Wednesdays.

What I think needs more publicity is the farmer's markets. I am amazed by the number of people who do not know about them.

Like what, Pontorno? They do run a front page story in the spring, when most of the markets are starting up.

I almost never use their wine reporting as a buying guide and the panel idea seems misguided. Better to have one or two reviewers that readers can get to know - and can evaluate over time as to whether the reviewers taste meshes with their own.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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What I think needs more publicity is the farmer's markets. I am amazed by the number of people who do not know about them.

Like what, Pontorno?  They do run a front page story in the spring, when most of the markets are starting up.

Oh, I don't know...just babbling, really. Perhaps, instead of a one-time annual feature (a great one this year!), just mention the market constantly, incorporate recipes that include whatever is still there or has just arrived....a panic alert :unsure::shock::sad: when stone fruit will appear for the final time, ditto on tomatoes, stuff about lack of rain and what farmers at the market have to say

...and most importantly for folk who buy groceries, but don't necessarily read more than the front sections of the Post, mention the market outside of text geared to "foodies."

(I just started volunteering fairly recently and whenever we're closing down, I get questions from passers by....or a startled "There's an outdoor market?" should the subject come up elsewhere.)

Kinda getting off topic now...

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Perhaps, instead of a one-time annual feature (a great one this year!), just mention the market constantly, incorporate recipes that include whatever is still there or has just arrived....a panic alert :unsure:  :shock:  :sad: when stone fruit will appear for the final time, ditto on tomatoes, stuff about lack of rain and what farmers at the market have to say

They do a lot of features about whatever is in season - actually do they still have a little column about a particular in-season fruit or veggie? But, they don't tie the features to area farmer's markets. Maybe they should.

And yes, the wet smooch for Palena's fry plate wasn't needed. :wink:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Palena has fries?

Ahem. Anyway.

I have to say this was the first Food section in a while that I thoroughly enjoyed. Though when I was reading the Death by Chocolate piece, I kept saying to myself, "Wull, yeah, but that'll all be covered up by the frosting..."

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I would like to see more on the farmers markets -- what's really in season locally and how to cook, first of the market, last chance to get tomatoes, interviews with farmers, articles about how the drought is affecting what is available (ie tomatoes have a concentrated flavour and no tomato blight.... but the greens and salad seeds are not coming up) and more on the politics of food and agriculture.

I was glad to see the sous-vide article, but it should have been there a year ago.

I hated the new tasting panel. I much prefer to have two wine guys whose tastes I know than a bunch of Dips or philosophers of physics prattling on.

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I would like to see more on the farmers markets -- what's really in season locally and how to cook,  first of the market, last chance to get tomatoes, interviews with farmers, articles about how the drought is affecting  what is available  (ie tomatoes have a concentrated flavour and no tomato blight.... but the greens and salad seeds are not coming up)  and more on the politics of food and agriculture.

I was glad to see the sous-vide article, but it should have been there a year ago.   

I hated the new tasting panel. I much prefer to have two wine guys whose tastes I know than a bunch of Dips or philosophers of physics prattling on.

I agree on the sous-vide article-been done like crazy already everywhere else. But the local angle was relevant, and the who's doing what dishes in the Cryovac was interesting. But the tasting panel was particularly annoying in a typical DC fashion. Who are these people? If I want amateur opinions, I'll just talk to my friends. But I don't think there's a lot to work with either, quite frankly, as Tom's Weekly Dish proves-owner of Mimi's open another place. Let me guess, it sucks? And Death by Chocolate? What is this 1995? The Food section is an abomination plain and simple.

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Week 2 of the new and improved food section, this week introducing the beer column and featuring a "Worth the Trip" that might be news to somebody.

More interesting, retired-chef David Hagedorn shows up again, this time teaching us how to cook brunch. Not quite as bitchy as his Washington Post debut -- explaining why customers suck -- but a bit supercilious, shall we say, nonetheless.

My wife was gleeful about the rutabaga article, she'd been trying to foist those things on me for years. I've personally always thought that if the oils Soviet Union had designed vegetables they'd have designed the rutabaga -- kind of the 4-door Lada of tubers. But if Patrick Connell says to buy a hundred-pound bag, I'm gonna...no I'm not.

It seems like the articles -- as opposed to the new features -- are showing a little more shimmer these last two weeks. Even Hagedorn makes a good read. The new features? I'm still liking them more in theory than in practice (I wasn't blown away by the beer guy, but he's off to a decent start), but I'm still liking them.

Looking better every week.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Week 2 of the new and improved food section, this week introducing the beer column and featuring a "Worth the Trip" that might be news to somebody.

More interesting, retired-chef David Hagedorn shows up again, this time teaching us how to cook brunch.  Not quite as bitchy as his Washington Post debut -- explaining why customers suck -- but a bit supercilious, shall we say, nonetheless.

My wife was gleeful about the rutabaga article, she'd been trying to foist those things on me for years.  I've personally always thought that if the old Soviet Union had designed vegetables they'd have designed the rutabaga -- kind of the 4-door Lada of tubers.  But if Patrick Connell says to buy a hundred-pound bag, I'm gonna...no I'm not. 

It seems like the articles -- as opposed to the new features -- are showing a little more shimmer these last two weeks.  Even Hagedorn makes a good read. The new features? I'm still liking them more in theory than in practice (I wasn't blown away by the beer guy, but he's off to a decent start), but I'm still liking them.

Looking better every week.

Charles,

Rutabagas, like every other thing, taste good as long as you use enough BUTTER :rolleyes:

Mark

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Rutabagas are delicious roasted and glazed with a little maple syrup.

It sure was nice of David Hagedorn to step in and help correct his friends' entertaining skills....  Did that feature include recipes?  I read the post online and didn't see them.

Recipes here.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have to say, I've definitely been enjoying the Food section more lately. The little "Worth the Trip" thing (today: Lililputian chicken dinner at Colorado Kitchen), good recipes I might actually make, lots of positive developments.

Still not sure how I feel about the wine panel business.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Still not sure how I feel about the wine panel business.

I am. It sucks ventworm nut! :hmmm:

(however, I did enjoy Ronnie Mervis' comments today)

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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I have to say, I've definitely been enjoying the Food section more lately. The little "Worth the Trip" thing (today: Lililputian chicken dinner at Colorado Kitchen), good recipes I might actually make, lots of positive developments.

Still not sure how I feel about the wine panel business.

I'd like to see the "worth a trip" get a little more adventurous. What do we have so far: The chips at Palena, the lumpia at Courduroy and now the chicken at the Colorado Kitchen (I forget what the fourth one was). Talk about rounding up the usual suspects -- all within a two-zone cab ride from the Post.

Why not the Vietnamese fondu at Viet Royale? How about the pork neck bone and beans at the Hitching Post? How abut the tripe soup at Haydee's?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Yeah, I'll be more impressed with "worth the trip" when it covers someplace that hasn't been flogged to death online. Color me picky...

I liked today's coffeecake taste-test feature. The coffee pairings were especially a nice touch. (I have always been fond of taste-test stories and wouldn't mind seeing more of them. Yet I'm annoyed by wine panels that change weekly. Hmmmm.) I have to say I'm a little sick of the Dinner in (under 60) Minutes feature. I guess I'm tired of the focus on coverage of quick 'n easy food and rarely find those recipes inspiring or even interesting. But I'm a curmudgeon like that sometimes.

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We might be tired of hearing about those dishes that have been featured in the worth the trip section. But we are also obsessed food geeks who spend half our lives talking about and eating food.

I'd bet that a lot of readers of the food section have never been to Palena, only know about Colorado Kitchen because of Chef Clark's "reputation" and have never even heard of Corduroy

We talk about these things because they are worth the trip.

Bill Russell

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  • 1 month later...

I still harbor a deep distrust for wine-tasting panels, but this weeks did feature eG's much-beloved MarkSommelier and other locla wine pros with palates almost as refined as his. Not a bad read.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I still harbor a deep distrust for wine-tasting panels, but this weeks did feature eG's much-beloved MarkSommelier and other locla wine pros with palates almost as refined as his.  Not a bad read.

Thank you, Charles. Also, did you notice the face transplant that I was given free of charge? You thought the French were ahead of us on this. Ha!

Mark

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I still harbor a deep distrust for wine-tasting panels, but this weeks did feature eG's much-beloved MarkSommelier and other local wine pros with palates almost as refined as his.  Not a bad read.

Thank you, Charles. Also, did you notice the face transplant that I was given free of charge? You thought the French were ahead of us on this. Ha!

I did notice the transplant -- I liked the old one better. Who got the famous Slater palate? Actually, in the pre-coffee dawn I was so confused at the thought of serving Merlot with Cassoulet that I thought the face transplant was just some kind of post-modern layout thing. You know, new section and all.

The article is now (finally) up on the web with Kathy Morgan's CV more or less corrected, I see.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Yeah, Mark, you've really changed you appearance since I last saw you in June. Fortunately, your palate has not been affected by the apparent shifts in your body and face...

I really love the Bill of Rights coffee mug featured in On the Fridge today, and am thinking of ordering one for my father-in-law, who is an ornery liberal coffee addict. I admit, I love the random stuff the Food section covers in On the Fridge, and I'm glad the section didn't change much with the relaunch.

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