The Great Hall
Favorite Food Writers? The Great Hall: Favorite Food Writers?
By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 01:29 pm: Edit

I am interested in knowing who your favorite food writers and/or cookbook authors are and why. My favorite food writer? Calvin Trillin. He writes not just about food, but his food pieces are very knowledgable and include a perspective that brings it all down to earth in a very humorous and accessable way. Try getting ahold of his essay about Thanksgiving and why he thinks Spaghetti Carbonera should be made the traditional Thanksgiving dinner instead of turkey. I also like Christopher Kimball of Cook's Illustrated and John T. Edge who wrote "Southern Belly"

Who do you guys like?

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 05:47 pm: Edit

Jeez, I'm disappointed this thread didn't go anywhere. Don't you guys ever read? You know, like, books? magazine articles?

Maybe the better question would be---what inspires your kitchen creations?

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 10:53 pm: Edit

Most food writers are a bore, have no clue as to what goes on in a real kitchen and, most articles and recipes do not work in real life.
Some writers are very good but, they are few!!!!!
Who cares why Spaghetti Carbonera should be a Thanksgiving traditional meal! Next twinkies will be the official dessert of Christmas!!!!!
Cooks Illustrated is good, there are some good magazines but again most Gourmet, Bon Appetit!!!!!
One of the best food writers I read is a guy named James Eller who has a web site, (, this is the most useful site on the web today re: food.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 02:37 am: Edit

"Maybe the better question would be---what inspires your kitchen creations"

1. Smart women who don't feel the need to pat themselfs on the back at every turn.
2. People who know how to investigate/research on their own.
3. Talking to real chefs and hearing the joy of what they do, 'cause they been thought it.
4. Firing whiners.
5. Menage a' trois, after a great meal, and a cig., then another cig.
6. Talking to Manny about Flor-e-da, and all the old people there.
7. LA. women. ( if that does not inspire you, somethings wrong )
8. Seeing young people with a lot of talent, knowing that the future of food is in good hands.
9. Menage a' trois, before the meal, but never before a smoke.
And the # 10 thing is..............
Reading a thread where Manny is over the top!!!!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 06:01 am: Edit

I'm never over the top!, I just keep raising the damn bar!!!!
I like the menage au thing.....anytime!!!

By George (George) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 07:51 am: Edit

Manny Manny Manny. I find it amazing that someone that teaches in a public school program, that teaches children, would continually post the way you do to a public forum, frequented by children as a way to get information on the industry that you teach about. Around here teachers would be afraid they would be brought before the board of education and loose their cushy overpaid jobs.

I guess they are just much more liberal down in Miami.


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 09:26 am: Edit

raising the bar, ah,....the sign of a true proffessional.
I thought Bush took Flor-e-da.?
Hey, be grateful your not teaching in Ohio, that would be death, but then again, anything in Ohio would be.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 09:29 am: Edit

George thats funny, and sadly true.
if only the teachers would teach, and the world was run by Pastry Chef's.

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 09:55 am: Edit

How is trashing someone's efforts without offering any conflicting evidence raising the bar? Any narrow-minded moron can do that.

While I enjoy James Eller's website considerably (how DOES he source all that information?) I wouldn't really call him a writer. Sure, it's an interesting mix of recipes, facts, and anecdotes, but there's no particular cultural perspective represented there. Being a former resident of Key West myself, I'd like to see more info about what is happening there in the food scene.
Calvin Trillin is a notable humorist and social commentator. Try to catch him on Charlie Rose sometime. The Thanksgiving/Carbonara story is one of the funniest I've ever read.

So Manny, since you now dislike Gourmet so much, yet list it on your profile's favorite reading materials, has your mind changed since Ruth Reichl took over the editor's position? I had the opportunity to attend her recent lecture at the 92nd St. Y in NYC. I thought she was great. Her story about "Cops and Robert's" from her years in San Francisco was very entertaining-I think she included it in her latest book "Cover Me With Apples".
Think about it, folks, food writing is not just short articles with recipes. The whole concept of the relationship of food and culture is only beginning to be explored.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 10:06 am: Edit

G, the kids in my class teach me as much about life in the hallways as I do about cooking!
Do you realize these kids have a harder time getting cigaretes then a joint?
Besides, this is all in good fun ,what kitchen doesn't have that?
How about that Pete Townsend!!!!!...Research!!!! sure!!!!
Miami is pretty liberal, where else can you go see a drag queen show and then go out to a sex club with the queens!!!!!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 10:12 am: Edit

Kinglear, I'm not trashing everyone's efforts, there are many good food writers.
Most though really have no clue. NRN's writers are good for the most parts, I don't think anecdotal stories makes a good writer. A good writer inspires and you can (steal) create from their ideas.
Gourmet is allright at times but, some of the stuff there is very unpractical for commercial use, yes the magazine is for domestic purposes mostly but, they try to tell you it's both.
Anyway, I guess my point is there are good writers but, many more bad ones. Just like labor in this business!

By George (George) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 10:39 am: Edit


The kids aren’t on the board, it's normally a bunch of uptight elders with political ambitions. (at least that’s the way it can be up here in NY)

As far as being able to get a joint is easier than cigs unfortunately, but predictably, that is true here also. Adults run the stores that sell cigs, kids are recruited by older kids or young adults to deal stuff in the schools to kids. That still does not make it right.

The "all in good fun, what kitchen doesn't have that" is fine and true for adults, and I certainly understand Spike posting it, it's just the way a board might look at it that would concern me as a teacher in a public school program.

There is a very old internet saying “Never post anything that you would not want your mother, pastor or boss to read on the internet.”

Your call, I don't mind cleaning it up as we go ;<) .


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 12:09 pm: Edit

G, you are right! I'll contain myself!, somewhat.
Spike, now that's another story, he's from LA; or is it San Fran.
Ooops, there I go again!

By Flattop (Flattop) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 09:40 pm: Edit

Oddly enough I just get the magazines for the pictures. I like to look at the ways food can be presented.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 11:43 am: Edit

Isn't that weird, I get another magazine (not a food rag) just for the articles and not for the pictures.

I find that most food writers write for the point of view of the other side of the table. Their perspective is that of the consumer and they fodder appeals to "foodies" that think because they can make a decent chicken stock or produce a fine meal for ten of their closest friends in their home "and everyone of them says I should open my own restaurant," they some how know what it's like to be a chef. I want of vomit when ever I hear the word "passion" associated with food or cooking.

Most newspaper restaurant reviewers bore me. They review restaurant that most people will never eat at because of their prices and the unavailability of the reservations until there demise due to expenditures out balancing revenues.

I haven't read to much of "Cook's Illustrated" or the now defunct "Chef" magazine but event thought "Food Arts" define its self as a trade rag, it is still bent to the foodie wanna-be insider.

The honest insider Anthony Bourdain's Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly presents reality from his perceptive but that reality has little to do with my culinary world. I am not surrounded by cutthroats and brigands as he seems to have been though I do know the type he speaks of. His more current book A Cook's Tour with its rich descriptions of the visited countries street food strike a deep note for me.

Not strictly a food writer Janet Fouts of writes about the reality of my world and she also publishes writers that have a grip on what it is to be in this business.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 11:58 am: Edit

I haven't been doing a lot of food reading recently, but really enjoy Cook's Illustrated. I liked it the first time it came out, but I like it better this time. Usually I buy the year end book instead of the monthly paper. I especially like the comparitive testing they do.

I like to do different pastry things and I get inspiration from magazines. Sometimes the pro Pastry mag is good but sometimes it stinks (like this month). I absolutely do not like the now-popular "What the Industry Is Doing" series that most mags seem to enjoy putting out. Maybe a column on that subject would be okay but a whole magazine devoted to the subject does not hold my interest and I consider it money wasted.

I read cookbooks like novels and find some authors much more interesting than others. I find less self congratulatory ones much more enjoyable. Maidda Heatter (sp) comes to mind. I like Flo Braker but it might be because she is such a nice lady in person? I also like the Village Baker and wife, Nick Malgieri, and on and on.....

As a side: how does sex always find its way into every conversation? Menage a' cold shower once in a while, boys!

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:55 pm: Edit

Touche, Ladycake!!!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 02:50 pm: Edit

Jebus, take a pill and relax.
It's an article, in a mag.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Who's Jebus?
Jeb Busch's alter ego?

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 07:56 pm: Edit

it's how homer simpson pronounces, or calls Jesus.

By Anway (Anway) on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 01:38 pm: Edit

Anthony Bourdain. Cheftim knows it.... Chefmanny needs to read his stuff. Unless you have, but from your apparent disappointment and overall disdain for culinary authors- what with their complete lack of understanding of our world, it doesn't seem as though you have. As well as Cook's Tour and Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain has wrote a couple of crime/drama-gangster novels based around the kitchen that sound pretty interesting, but I haven't read them yet. Gone Bamboo and Bone in the Throat. They were just rereleased as a bundle called the "Bourdain Gangster Pair" or something like that.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 06:07 pm: Edit

I have not read these food writers.
I have read and found her to be excellent, M.L.K. Fisher. (Geez I hope thats right, the book is at home and I'm not.) She writes about food around the turn of the century. She travels around Europe and lives in a few places. It's not just about food, it's also about life, from a womens view. She is one of the best writers I think I have ever read. When she talks about the food you can smell, and taste it. I wish I could find and afford all of her books, 1st Ed of course.
Good reading to you.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 06:56 pm: Edit

I read Bourdain, it's good I like it!
I'm sure it's turned off a few diners but, hey life goes on in the beautiful kitchens of this great country!
I would rather read a bad Chef-writer then a good writer who thinks they know food. Just the term "foodie" makes my stomach turn; for a lack of a better metaphor, (you like that G?, controlling my primal urges)!!!!
There's this girl who is chronicling her days as a kitchen worker on her or, check it out; I even like that better then some of the stuff on the shelves at the book stores!!!

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 08:25 pm: Edit

I like Kitchen Confidential by Bourdain and his FoodTV show is good, a little, self-serving and arrogant, but good. He writes just like he talks. He almost has a New York accent in his books.

Love Cook's Illustrated! I have the editor, Christopher Kimbell's Dessert Bible and it's a good, accessible, basic book.

Other authors would include Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page who did the books, Becoming a Chef and Culinary Artistry. Really excellent stuff! Especially useful to students or those who want to learn more from people who are in the trenches(Steve, Snuff, Flattop, I heartily suggest you look for these 2 books!).

Not up on journalists from Gourmet or Fine Cooking, though I enjoy most of the articles I find in those mags.

Never thought much of restaurant reviewers from many newspapers, though. Smug, self-important pompous asses many (not ALL) of them.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 - 11:02 am: Edit

Cute, funny article in Bon Appetit this month called "A Man and His Stove".

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