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Reading Room » the strong buzz, by andrea strong
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the buzz

“Reading Room”

In this very interesting Op-Ed, James E. McWilliams, the author of “Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly,” argues that factory farms are an ecological disaster, but says that small local organic farms aren’t the solution.
Loved New York Magazine's story about the New Brooklyn artisan movement. Benjamin Wallace explores whether artisanal Brooklyn is a step forward for food or a sign of the apocalypse and then wonders whether it matters when the stuff (even though priced for Wall Street bankers) tastes so good. I was amazed at what the Mast Brothers chocolate folks are doing to make their bean-to-bar chocolates. Jeez.

Sink your teeth into April Bloomfield’s terrific new cookbook, A Girl and her Pig, which offers a myriad of ways to use olive oil and Maldon sea salt to bring out flavor you never knew was possible from everything from servings of swine to salads of avocado and carrots. In addition to favorites from The Spotted Pig (you can try to make the gnudi at home, but it just isn’t the same as when eaten at the Pig), and The John Dory (smoked haddock chowder), recipes also come from her family, like her granddad's porridge or her father's ginger cake and more typical British dishes, like faggots, Eton mess, and banoffee pie.

I’ve been a fan of April’s since day one at the Spotted Pig. She’s wildly talented, and as humble as she is gifted, and her voice comes across in the book, which I like. It feels genuinely her. She offers more than just recipes, sharing her personal journey as well and including the story of how she went from a teen in Birmingham wanting to be a police officer, through culinary school to her jobs at reputable kitchens in London.

Also on the my reading list is Joe Bastianich’s new memoir, Restaurant Man, which was written up this month's Vanity Fair by none other than Mario Batali (his business partner for years). Not sure whether he was the most objective reviewer to peg for that job, but there’s little doubt that Joe doesn’t have a lot to say about the business he has been in since he was born. From his blog, here is the teaser:  

In his new book, RESTAURANT MAN (Viking; Strict on sale: May 1, 2012), Bastianich lays out his path to success and divulges the juicy, insider information that only a guy with twenty-five restaurants knows. From the real price of a bottle of wine to Bill Clinton's regular visits to Babbo to the unabashedly honest truth about some of the food world's most notorious chefs and restaurateurs, it's all here. This memoir is pure, uncensored Restaurant Man. Bastianich's passion for food and wine is evident on every page of RESTAURANT MAN. A hard-boiled coming of age story, at its heart RESTAURANT MAN is also a portrait of the uncompromising and hard-working Restaurant Man who is deeply committed to providing a matchless dining experience that leaves the customer breathless.

Also, be sure to check out this great little piece on six of NYC's restaurant veterans who still matter by Kathy Squires. 

What are you reading? Please Share your Two Cents, below!

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