'The New Yorker' on Serious Eats

Who Was First In Line at Steak 'n Shake's Grand Opening in NYC?

If you were wondering who was first in line at the new Steak 'n Shake in New York City to take advantage of their free year of burgers giveaway, there's a nice piece in The New Yorker, "Bright Lights, Cheap Burgers," following the state of the line from the day before opening—the line started to form at 4:30 p.m.—until the next day's opening at 10 a.m. At the front of the line were four students from King's College, followed by two ultra-marathon runners. More

Would You Eat Lab Engineered Meat?

In this week's New Yorker there's a piece called "Test-Tube Burgers" on the controversial work being done to engineer meat in a lab. The stem-cell biologists, tissue engineers, animal rights activists, and environmentalists involved all share one goal: to grow muscle without the use of animals, and produce it in quantities that are large enough to sell in grocery stores. Would eating it give you the heebie-jeebies? Or does thinking about the factory farm slaughterhouses freak you out more? More

How to Teach Your Kids About Good Pizza

In a recent New Yorker book review of Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation, Macy Halford boils down the book's central tenet: So how do you put the philosophy into practice? First, become fluent in the language of groupthink, and use it to invite your child to examine things critically as a member of a team: "'Can you believe they have the nerve to call this pizza? This doesn't even come close to __________' (fill in the blank with the name of your favorite pizzeria)." I think the Slice family, of which you are all part (awwww, warm... More

Eating Nile Monitors in Florida

Photograph from cliff1066 on Flickr A story in this week's New Yorker (subscription required) points out that Florida is being beset by a nascent plague of invasive species. It's the consequence of a mid-'90s exotic-pet trend that fizzled out as overwhelmed python and lizard owners let loose growing and unmanageable reptiles. One such nasty-sounding beastie is the Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus): ...they are spectacular animals that make terrible pets. Up to seven feet long, with stout legs, tapered jaws, and skin that seems to be encrusted with semiprecious stones, Nile monitors are notoriously aggressive and ill-tempered. When cornered, a monitor will stand on its hind legs and hiss, inflating its body and lashing its tail like a bullwhip. What... More

The 'New Yorker' on Co. Company

While everyone else is talking about the four new pizzerias that opened in the last ten days, the New Yorker looks at Co. Company in this week's issue. For the most part I share writer Lila Byock's take on the pizza there. She loves the Boscaiola pie (mushroom, onion, sausage, chile peppers) and eschews the Santo pie ("what's with all the béchamel?") that many other (wrong-headed) critics and food bloggers have praised. But she sets up a bit of a straw man, creating some sort of schism between two supposed sects of pizza-lovers: There are the ascetics, who demand... More

'The New Yorker' Explains Everything About the Hangover

The New Yorker's Joan Acocella spends more than 5,000 words dissecting the hangover. As she eloquently points out, "it is a preventable malady: don't drink." But beyond abstinence, other popular cures include peanut butter in Africa, chilies in Mexico, pickle juice in Russia and greasy, fried whatever everywhere else in the world. Read what triggers the bed spins and tummy aches in the Annals of Drinking. Or just scan our favorite shots of wisdom from the piece, after the jump.... More

Stuffed, Starved, and Running on Empty

The New Yorker drops a lengthy and sobering piece this week that looks at the depressing state of the world's food-supply system as detailed in four "second-wave" food-politics books. Where "first wave" books (such as Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation) leave off at the ill effects of junk food, the new crop of books looks at how "the entire system of Western food production is in need of radical change."... More

'The New Yorker' Profile on Grant Achatz

The New Yorker has a lengthy and inspiring profile of Grant Achatz, chef at Chicago's Alinea, who's on the comeback after fighting tongue cancer. If you've been following this story, you'll know that Achatz wanted a line of treatment that would preserve his sense of taste. Well, after irradiation of his tongue, he lost that sense, but it's slowly returning. Because his ability to taste has come back over time, Achatz feels that he is understanding the sense in a new way—the way you would if you could see only in black-and-white and, one by one, colors were restored to you. He says, “When I first tasted a vanilla milkshake"—after the end of his treatment—“it tasted very sweet to me,... More

Are Chefs More High Maintenance than Other People?

I know many of you are probably sick of reading about Momofuku chef David Chang (as he himself probably is), but his quote in The New Yorker about his current relationship cracked me up: "I’m finally dating somebody that I don’t hate her guts,” he says. “We had dinner yesterday and I was like, I don’t hate you at all! You know?” His girlfriend is also Korean-American, and was also raised to be brilliant at something—where he played golf, she played the violin. She now works in the advertising department of Microsoft. She seems to tolerate him amazingly well. “I am the worst boyfriend ever,” he says. “I’m high maintenance. I mean, you have no idea how high maintenance." The... More

David Chang Is So Stressed Out

Photograph from Momofuku.com Sometimes, just when you thought there was nothing left to write about a subject, someone comes along and writes such a good piece you can only shake your head and wish you had written it yourself.... More

Weekend Book Giveaway: 'Secret Ingredients, the New Yorker Book of Food and Drink'

The Serious Eats Weekend Book Giveaway is back with a vengeance this holiday weekend with a really cool book, Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink, edited by New Yorker Editor-in-Chief David Remnick. The book features food and drink-related stories and cartoons that have appeared in the New Yorker by such heavyweights as Calvin Trillin, Anthony Bourdain, A. J. Liebling, Jim Harrison, John McPhee, and Roz Chast. It's the perfect bedside table companion for serious eaters. Thanks to the generous folks at Random House, we've got seven copies of this book to give away. Just answer the following question in the comments: Who is your favorite food writer? Winners will be chosen at random from among the... More

Bill Buford Likes Gordon Ramsay, He Really Does

Photograph from gordonramsay.com In this week's New Yorker, Bill Buford takes us behind the scenes and into the kitchen of screaming English chef Gordon Ramsay as he opens a restaurant in New York City. Buford's a terrific writer, but I'm not sure we learn anything that surprising in its 12 pages. Ramsay curses a lot, is a surprisingly understated chef, and is really a good bloke when you drill down and get to know him. The story's big revelation is that Ramsay himself stole the reservation book at Aubergine, his London restaurant, and then accused his former mentor Marco Pierre White of doing it to prevent White from making a deal with Aubergine's principal owners to take over the... More

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