Some weeks ago, when Emily and I were still roughly on POTI (what we call “Pick of the Issue”; it’s like POTUS, but without veto power) schedule, The Millions likened The New Yorker’s annual food issue to Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. This take on the subject has never occurred to me, but it’s pretty charming. Do any of you feel that way?
Having now tamped expectations, I will say this year’s food issue was a good one. It arrived right on the heels of William Shawn’s hundredth birthday, for which I used the occasion to wax appreciative about him. Naturally, then, I was tickled to see an extensive article, dedicated to William Shawn, by John McPhee (a writer I must read more of) about the strange animals that McPhee and others have eaten. It didn’t, in the end, have much to do with Shawn, but that didn’t prevent the piece from containing quite a few eyebrow-raisers, which is inevitable when you explain the process of fricaseeing mountain oysters. (Clearly, this genre writes itself.)
I loved Patrick Radden Keefe’s Reporter at Large about flamboyant and improbably named apparent oeno-charlatan Hardy Rodenstock. Excavating an imbroglio heretofore limited to a self-regarding coterie is the kind of thing The New Yorker does best. Jane Kramer’s look at Claudia Roden, the esteemed British writer on Middle Eastern cuisine, seemed a bit cramped in places, but by the time the dust settled, I was glad I read it.
Now I’m hungry; off to plumb the fridge. —Martin Schneider
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Emdashes, founded in 2004, is written and drawn by Emily Gordon, Martin Schneider, Pollux, Jonathan Taylor, and Benjamin Chambers, as well as occasional guest contributors. All posts before October 2008 are by Emily Gordon.