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July 2018 Newsletter

Last month, the loss of Anthony Bourdain weighed heavily over the food community. I never met him and didn't have any photos to share, so I let others, who had a personal or another kind of connection with him, share their thoughts. Upon reflection, though, one thing I think we can all thank him for was that he brought food writing down from the pedestal. He made it okay for line cooks to write about cooking, rather than an anointed critic or journalist sitting in the dining room. We saw another perspective of restaurant work, a view from the inside, that wasn't always pretty, but got a lot of attention.

His first piece appeared in The New Yorker in 1999. (Coincidentally, the year I launched my website/blog.) A few years later, food blogs started popping up (the word "blog" didn't exist when I started my site), and blogs also democratized food writing. So anyone could write about food, whether you were a chef, a line cook, a patron, or just a person who wanted to write about something they ate, cooked, or baked.

Peanut butter granola bar

I soon found a community of others. And when I say "community," I mean six or seven others – including Orangette, Chocolate & Zucchini, Amateur Gourmet, 101 Cookbooks, Chez Pim, and Simply Recipes. It was a lot of fun reading about what other people were cooking and eating, and eventually others, from Korea, South Africa, Lebanon, Vietnam, and Australia chimed in, and we could read about food from anywhere we wanted to.

Anthony Bourdain took us on similar journeys, to places or "parts unknown." Even people that weren't interested in food became fans of his, which says a lot. (My partner glazes over during the conversations I have with friends about food.) It was hard on many of us to lose someone so seemingly invincible, like Anthony Bourdain. But we all have our demons, and his somehow won.

Chocolate biscotti recipe

Food is always something that brings people together. I spoke at a writer's conference a few years back and I was the only food writer. People were looking at me funny when I told them what I wrote about. Most were esteemed authors whose subjects included history, serious socio-economic issues, and culture. When it was my turn to address those who gathered at the conference, I said, "No matter what you write about, you're writing about food. It's what brings us together, and sometimes separates us, but we've all got to eat."

I've done some good eating lately, and shared a few recipes on my blog (see below), and went on a family vacation, whose photos I'm sorting through for a blog post that'll be up this week. I've been a little bouleversé by a bit of administration, and working on a book – plus, of course, planning for some summer vacation time, which the French call les congés annuels.

Hope you're planning some downtime this summer aussi!

- David


Upcoming NYC Event and Some Honorable Mentions

I've been here and there last month, and have an event this month...

I was thrilled that one of my culinary heroes, Nigella Lawson, liked the new edition of The Perfect Scoop so much! Check out her review here.

...and had much to talk about with the always-engaging Ed Levine of Serious Eats on his Special Sauce podcast, that we recorded two episodes! Check out the podcasts here.

...Entertainment Weekly magazine called The Perfect Scoop one of the "must have cookbooks" for the summer.

...I made what Marie called The Ultimate Vinaigrette (which, coming from a Frenchwoman, is a flattering compliment!) It's here in this video, and part of her heartwarming My Life In Sourdough web series.

...and lastly, if you're in New York City, and like ice cream, I'll be doing an event at Books Are Magic on July 9th, in conversation with Matt Robard of Taste. There will be samples of ice cream from my friends at La Newyorkina - first come, first serve!

I'll also be signing copies of the new, updated edition of The Perfect Scoop as well. You can RSVP at the Facebook Event Page so they know how many people to expect.

Links I'm Liking

Brittany France Photos-13

No one was able to unravel the mystery of the French Bò Bún (My Instagram)

After two icons took their lives last month, Living in a World More Focused on Means than Meaning tries to make sense of it. (Linked In)

Are Paris bistros UNESCO-Worthy? (NYT)

I can't stop thinking about these no-bake salted caramel cups. And yes, those are pretzels in the crust. (Pinch of Yum)

The Japanese organization that's helping to keep Paris clean (Facebook and Zoomin.tv)

A nail salon that'll put an entire set of (usable) cutlery on your fingernails (Munchies)

A wry, realistic look at the life of a writer: Who Will Buy Your Book (The Millions, via Will Write for Food)

David Chang opens up about his mental health battles (Fine Dining Lovers)

Hummus isn't a dip? (Quartzy)

Beautiful vintage bottle porn at What Should Amaro from the 1960's Taste Like? (by Brad Thomas Parsons, on Punch)

The pig(s) stop here? Chefs react to Gabrielle Hamilton taking over The Spotted Pig (Eater)

New Jersey real estate sign shows up five years later...in France (The Weather Channel)

Polenta cookie recipe-5

Recent Recipes and Posts on My Blog

I paired tangy rhubarb with some amazing seasonal strawberries to make this Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

A sprawling bistro in Paris where you can dine for under €20 per person? Yes, please.

Crunchy, crackly Italian Polenta Cookies - where is my espresso?

This Devil's Food Ice Cream from Bravetart gives you a double-dose of chocolate with each scoop!

Where I was at the end of June (and where I'm going next)...

- dl

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