Where last year’s food issue of the New Yorker disappointed, this year’s has plenty to recommend. Naturally, the issue comes with a piece by Calvin Trillin, this time visiting his daughter in Oaxaca and sampling the local fare. One part food, one part family, ten parts Trillin’s witty writing, so it’s well worth a read. I love this sentence: “Given my experience with nutria in Louisiana some years before, in fact, I suppose that, if I hadn’t been raised to prize modesty, I could describe myself as a man with relatively broad experience in rodent consumption.”
Mimi Sheraton has her recommendations for the best charcuterie producers (Siegi’s, Continental Sausage Company, Salumeria Biellese, and D’Artagnan), but, more importantly, she wins for most mouth-watering passage:
Each time [in Hamburg], I stopped at A. Michelsen, a shop famous for its elegant delicatessen. The lure was a sublime goose liverwurst, a creamy gray-beige sausage with whole goose livers running through the middle, held in place by a pate of goose meat and liver. At the center was a luscious slab of pure foie gras. Late each afternoon, I would buy a quarter pound of the thinly sliced wurst, a rye roll, and a half bottle of chilled Riesling, and then dash to my room in the gracious old Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, to indulge privately in front of an open window overlooking the Inner Alster lake.
But I haven’t even gotten to the funnest read. Dana Goodyear’s piece on underground supper clubs in LA and Craig Thornton’s Wolvesmouth in particular is fascinating. This rough-around-the-edges, anti-authoritarian guy who seems to have the gift when it comes to unusual flavor pairings cooks at home for strangers and they pay him whatever they think it was worth. Hottest table in LA apparently. Top Chef begs him to compete; investors beg him to expand; but Thornton digs autonomy. This being LA, maybe he’ll be up for the bio pic. The one thing Goodyear doesn’t delve into is just how he comes up with something like lamb with fennel, cat grass, borage blossoms, mushrooms, and beet-rhubarb verjus or lichen-covered apple wood ice cream. Food nerds want to know, What’s the artist’s process?