Best Food Writing by Holly Hughes

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Best Food Writing by Holly HughesI love to read good quality food essays and my book collection proves it. I own books from the vintage Time Life series Foods Of The World, volumes by Jane and Michael Stern and chef memoirs.

My favorite is the series Best Food Writing edited by Holly Hughes.

This series has been published yearly since 2000 and includes articles from many of the most famous food authorities of our generation. To name a few: Amanda Hesser, Alice Waters, Madhur Jaffrey, Nigela Lawson, Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin.

There are generally about 50 essays in each book and they usually run 5-6 pages. As to the subject matter, it runs the gamut from restaurant articles, to recipes, to famous cooks, and everything in between.

51SFYZ1FJKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_My favorite volume is 2000. There are essays in there that I have read, literally, over a dozen times. Here are some of my favorites from that volume.

Vegetarian Turkey by Fran Gage. When the kids all became vegetarians the parents work courageously to find a vegetarian turkey that wouldn’t detract from Thanksgiving. After much thought, they rent the movie Big Night, and duplicate the timpano by rewatching the kitchen scenes.

Dinner For 7 by William Grimes. William and his wife decide to create an authentic Alsatian meal for a group of select guests. However, since Mr. Grimes is a food critic, the bar must be set very high.

The Cook, Her Son, and a Secret by Maya Angelou. The story of how a non-cook surprised her friends (with the help of Craig Claiborne) with a unexpectedly gourmet meal. The writing is almost poetic, just as you’d expect from Maya Angelou.

… And $300 Fed a Crowd by Eric Asimov. Mr. Asimov sets off Ginza Sushiko to discover if any restaurant meal is really worth 300 dollars. Sushi lovers will drool over the descriptions of the food.

A Day In The Life by Anthony Bourdain. An insiders view of what really happens in the kitchens of our favorite restaurants. Anthony Bourdain tells all, and it’s both scary and funny.

The Waiting Game by Ruth Reichl. Ms. Reichl can never resist an unknown food stall with a long line in front. The surprising dish at the end of the line is a perfect example of how simple but perfect ingredients create delicious results.

The Magic Bagel by Calvin Trillin. Dad wants his daughter to move back to New York. She agrees, but only if he can find the perfect New York bagel from her childhood. Beautiful story of nostalgia and love.

Best Food WritingIf you own this series, or plan to purchase it, please send a comment letting me know which essays are your favorites. I would love to hear from you.

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