Good writing about good food: the James Beard Awards

I’ll admit it – we’re a little late to the party on this, seeing as the James Beard Awards 2016 actually took place last week. Still, I guess ‘better late than never’ can apply here?

The James Beard Awards, named after a renowned cookbooks writer and champion of cuisine, are all about celebrating the different aspects of food in the US – cooking it, serving it and teaching it. And, of course, writing about it. In the wake of the 2016 awards, here is a selection of articles about food and its place in our lives and souls.

1. Pork Life, by Todd Kliman

Winner of the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, 2016

Kliman speaks of his life in seven dishes – all based around pork. (Also, he’s Jewish.)

‘Naturally they gravitated to places with pork on the menu. To the ritually observant, all meat that isn’t kosher is a sin… They would, on these getaway nights, not only eat nonkosher meat. They would eat the nonkosherest meat.’


Photo by Troy Stains, for the story below.
Photo by Troy Stains, for the story below.

2. The Woman who ate Atlanta, by Wendell Brock

A profile of Christiane Lauterbach, a member of the James Beard Foundation’s Awards Committee – and quite the badass.

“In my declining years, I’d like to run a dominatrix training school for waiters and waitresses. I’ll wear fishnets and carry a whip. I will help them see it my way.”


Pic from article
Pic from article

3. On Chicken Tenders, by Helen Rosner

A restaurant critic (lucky, lucky person!) talks about her perfect food.

‘But the truly oddest part of being a restaurant critic was what happened to me when I was off the clock…. All I ever wanted was toast with butter, pasta with the thinnest-possible coating of red sauce, or—my salvation, my obsession, the only thing I ever reliably wanted to eat—chicken tenders.’


Pic from article
Pic from article

4. I Placed a Jar in Tennessee, by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Winner of the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, 2015

On preservation, preserves and keeping a thread to the past.

‘At one point he was explaining to me that all modern fruit preserving, in cans and jars, descends from a discovery the Romans made—that if you cooked the otherwise inedible quince in honey and sealed it in jars, it became sweet and made excellent jam. Quince in honey, as a preserve, spread all over the world. The Portuguese called it marmeladaMarmalade.’


I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did!

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