The Politics Of Pizza: How Italy’s Flag And Food Are Deliciously Intertwined: A nation’s flag embodies a defining aspect of its identity. It could be related to geography (the rising sun in Japan), nature (the maple leaf of Canada or the cedar of Lebanon), religion (the Christian cross or the Islamic crescent and star), political ideology (the hammer and sickle) or mythology (the Welsh dragon). In a new book on flags, A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols, Tim Marshall explores how a “piece of colored cloth” can arouse profound emotions of loyalty, love and pride in the breasts of its citizens.
Celebrate Autumn’s Harvest with Food Tank’s Fall Reading List: For fall, Food Tank has compiled a list of 17 books we hope will educate, inform, and inspire. As the weather cools and we turn to more savory foods, learn about the history of butter, duck season in France, and the life of Patience Gray, the visionary behind the modern slow food culture. For reflecting during the turning of the seasons, read about how antibiotics changed our food, how to combat a hot and hungry planet, and the food truck movement. Or, in the spirit of the fall harvest, learn about migrant workers in California. There is something for all tastes, so take advantage of the lengthening nights to read a few.
Japan’s food halls: the perfect place to pick up presents and picnics: When Japan’s big department stores open their doors each morning, managers step outside and offer a synchronised bow to customers, many of whom will have started queueing well before opening time. Most who file through the doors make a beeline for one area: the depachika, or food hall in the basement. Depachikas (a combination of depato, meaning department store, and chika, meaning basement) aren’t your average food halls. They’re a Japanese institution, a tribute to the country’s finest and most elaborately packaged foods.
What the Critics Are Saying About Anthony Bourdain’s Food Waste Documentary: Wasted, the new feature-length documentary about food waste from Anthony Bourdain and his frequent collaborators at Zero Point Zero Production, rolls into selected theaters today, and it’s now available to stream on Amazon, iTunes, and VOD. Bourdain narrates the film, and several of his chef friends, including Danny Bowien, Dan Barber, Sean Brock, Massimo Bottura, and Mario Batali, make appearances in the doc. Directors Anna Chai and Nari Kye both worked with Tony on Mind of a Chef, as well as a few of his other TV projects.
Ferran Adrià on Transforming El Bulli From a Restaurant Into a Legacy: Since his legendary restaurant El Bulli closed in 2011, Spanish chef Ferran Adrià has traded in his saucepans and knives for computers and spreadsheets. Over the past six years, Adrià launched the El Bulli Foundation and has been working on a number of ambitious and enigmatic projects, collaborating with not only some of the world’s top chefs but also masters in the fields of finance, art, and technology.
What Le Cirque Will Be Remembered For: After forty-two years, three homes, uncountable chefs, one Nazi-related Yelp scandal, and a dozen Times reviews (one of them arguably the most iconic work of restaurant criticism in history), the Upper East Side gastronomic institution Le Cirque has announced that it will be closing its doors after service on New Year’s Eve. The Maccioni family, which has owned and operated the restaurant since its opening, in 1974, has made noises about looking for a new, smaller space somewhere near Madison Avenue, but the prospect seems remote, and licensed iterations in far-flung locales like Las Vegas and Bangalore are merely shadows of the original. This is, in all likelihood, the end of Le Cirque as we know it.
Blessed are the cheesemakers: Patricia Michelson is standing in a five-star bedroom for cheese. “This is their Claridge’s,” she says of the little glass space at the corner of her new cheese emporium in Bloomsbury. When it comes to affinage, or cheese-maturing, attention to detail counts: the cheeses are resting on untreated French straw, cooled gently by a bespoke refrigeration system adapted from a 1930s model, while new autumn deliveries from France are being carefully unwrapped by senior cheese technician David Jordanidis. “The cheeses couldn’t be happier. They’re not drying. They’re not cracking,” Michelson says approvingly. “All the rinds look beautiful. Even the Tomme de Savoie, which is ripened in a cave.”
It won’t be long before coffee becomes a luxury. Make the most of it: Fall is always a good time to create new habits, and coffee chains know it. These days, they are desperately trying to find any excuse to get you to drink their java. Many chains used National or International Coffee Day, just passed, as a reason to offer their coffee at a discount, or even for free—with some conditions, of course. For restaurant operators, there’s no better hook than coffee to get repeat business. It’s a great scheme that seems to be working for some. Given what’s looming on the horizon, however, offering free coffee may no longer be an option for businesses.
Chef and activist Alice Waters: ‘Beauty is the language of care’: Like most people in the world, I had no idea what I was going to do after I graduated. I was waitressing, and doing the Alice’s Restaurant column with my artist friend David Goines. I had my fantasy of a little French bistro, but it never felt like a real way to support myself. I was also finding out more about Montessori teaching. My sister Ellen’s friend Barb Carlitz was a Montessori teacher, and I was fascinated by the philosophy. I could never learn in the abstract, and Montessori was all about learning through your senses, learning by doing. Lots of games employed food or taste, and all the materials were so beautiful. It felt like a school reform movement, a hopeful way to enact change.
How Alice Waters changed the landscape of food: A time of unapologetic excess when shoulder pads are massive, hair a three-foot-high fire hazard, and meals are served on gleaming black charger plates the size of hubcaps. I’m standing at the back of the original Dean & DeLuca in Manhattan’s SoHo, where I’m working as the cookbook department clerk. Early one morning, before the rush – the gallerist Mary Boone buying a $10 tomato, Jean-Michel Basquiat trying to not fall into the chevre display – the front door blows open and a petite lady dragging a heavy, two-piece, cast-iron Tuscan fireplace grill huffs and puffs her way down the aisle to where my boss and I are waiting.
The wine glass ceiling: As someone who has been cast as a woman in a man’s world, I have long had a stock answer to the question of what the experience has been like. As a writer I have, if anything, benefited from being a bit more memorable than most men (the name helps) and, in the early days, from being seated next to the host or principal guest and, therefore, better placed to get the story than my male counterpart at the other end of the table.