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Food Porn

on October 6, 2014

I grew up in the warm embrace of Time, Inc., the publishing company founded in 1923 by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden. My father moved us east from my hometown of Chicago to take a job as an ad salesman for Fortune magazine in NYC in  1962.

beth in 2nd grade

Time, Inc. sent my parents a silver cup upon the birth of my sister later that year. This generous corporate parent moved us west to Mill Valley, CA, and east again to Chappaqua, NY, as my father climbed the ranks. It straightened my teeth, gave my brother his first job, and ensured my father a cushy retirement. That’s a long way to explain why I love magazines. When I see a glossy, perfect-bound collection of ads and editorial, I literally salivate. Imagine my excitement when my eyes fell on the October Food issue of Conde Nast Traveler Saturday morning.

oct conde nast traveler

Let’s take a tour.

What stopped me: 

Martin Parr’s photograph of a bowl of juicy red grapefruit on a breakfast table in Abergavenny, Wales with the red and white tablecloth and the charming little mat printed with a Constable painting beneath the delectable meal.

Rick Bayless’ tortas, available at Tortas Frontera at Chicago O’Hare, voted the best airport food in the world.

The photo and review of Three Chimneys, a hotel on the Isle of Skye which sources its seafood from the docks just steps away.

What I dog-eared to read later:

The editor’s letter from Pilar Guzman, “Never Waste a Meal” (I can’t be the only person who never passes by the editor’s letter, or they would’ve stopped taking up valuable, salable space long ago)

“Olive Oil Odyssey,” the story of Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli (known as the Frankies for their Brooklyn restaurants) eating their way through Sicily

“Supertaster,” a profile of Padme Lakshmi

“Catskills Collective,” upstate NY small-town restaurateurs creating a new culinary weekend getaway

What I hated:  

The infographic, “Here’s Where You Should Go…” God, they’re so annoying–just give me a straightforward narrative, please!

The Q&A with Thomas Keller’s partner Laura Cunningham: the questions are so dull (“Go-to in-flight meal or snack?” “Two surprising things I bring on board are…?”) and her responses which couldn’t have been more bland; I had her mixed up in my mind with Laura Shaine Cunningham, author of a delightful memoir called Sleeping Arrangements

This issue is 134 pages, so I’m obviously missing a lot: “Peru’s Melting Pot” (same old story that Peru will be the new international cuisine of the moment–hasn’t happened yet!), “Magic Kingdom” (Abu Dhabi? Women in chador? Horrible), “The Alchemist” on Andre Balasz (don’t care a bit).

Still, for a rainy Saturday afternoon, there’s almost no better entertainment than page after page of full-bleed photos of well-made food and the beautiful spaces in which it’s possible to consume it. As I turn the last page (a collage of chic, retro cocktail napkins from hotels and bars around the world), I’ll raise a glass of wine to the men who seduced generations with slick paper and smart writing.

 

 

 

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