The latest edition of the food-writing series, edited by former Fodor’s Travel Publications executive editor Hughes.
The collection is light on celebrity-chef profiles and restaurant reviews, offering instead wide-ranging essays on topics ranging from how we find solace in food (David Leite’s “When Food Doesn’t Heal”) to cross-cultural disorientation (Chang-Rae Lee’s “Magical Dinners”). A new section, “Foodways,” contains stories of African-American culinary influences of the 1960s and ’70s, Venetian seafood, farming Kenyan vegetables in Minneapolis, the egalitarianism of drive-thrus and how eating local in New York City translates into a delicious fusion of Italian and Chinese flavors. Readers will learn what attracts people to shark fin soup, what constitutes a food desert and why access to grocery stores is important. Another new section, “Guilty Pleasures,” includes mirthful thoughts about Vienna sausages, tater tots and the “food of depravity”: pimiento cheese, Doritos, smoked oysters and other unforgettable midnight munchies. Three stories delve into the use of digital media by foodies: Nick Fauchald describes his online food diary (zero followers three weeks into his Twitter feed), Sara Deseran laments the burgeoning social-media use by foodies in San Francisco and Ike DeLorenzo describes the good and bad about online food sites Yelp, Chowhound and Citysearch, and the move by Facebook and Google to encourage restaurant reviews. As DeLorenzo writes, diners are redefining the table setting: “Fork on the left, knife on the right, iPhone top center. It’s chew and review, toast and post.” Other contributors to this year’s anthology include newcomers Gabrielle Hamilton (Blood, Bones, and Butter, 2011), Lisa Abend (The Sorcerer’s Apprentices, 2011) and stalwarts Colman Andrews, Christopher Kimball and Floyd Skloot.
A smorgasbord of essays to satiate the hungry reader’s palate.