This is mostly a Christmas list. Turn away now if you suffer from grinch-ness.
But first, a note of sadness on the passing of AA Gill. He was one of the first food writers I read, whilst at university as an undergrad, and I loved his prose, descriptions of place, stories of food. I recently read his review of Dominique Ansel Bakery in London and it was wonderfully scathing and witty. (I don’t have a link to it because I don’t have an online subscription to The Times.) This is his last piece for Australian Gourmet Traveller.
Christmas cookie ideas. Ottolenghi’s Christmas sweets. Homemade Christmas gift ideas (I want to try make these). Brown butter gingerbread madeleines. Chocolate cherry pistachio panettone. Meringue wreaths for your tree and/or Christmas gifts.
Best science books of 2016. Best books of 2016 from NPR.And a video on the 10 learnings of 10 years of Brain Pickings.
Why Elf is the best Christmas film. (No. 22 for anyone who has ever traveled with me.)
Best Christmas windows around the world.
Jay Rayner on comfort eating. Speaking of which, saffron and almond buns.
Favourite read of the week: Gabrielle Hamilton on a weekend feast. I loved everything about this article. Total and utter food writing magic.
‘I want us all to keep our day jobs and our silly blogs and keep cooking dinner and keep fighting’. Second best thing I read this week.
I discovered this great website by accident, I think via Orangette. It’s a collection of poems and poets. You can search by theme, by poet, by occasion. Fantastic if you need some more poetry in your life. I’ve linked to one of my Christmas favourites.
An interview with Zadie Smith. I listened to the podcast version of this interview and Zadie is just so fantastic and eloquent. She talks about ‘historical nostalgia’ and how this is different for everyone – different groups of people hark back to better times but these are specific to their circumstance/class/race etc. For example, black people in the USA probably do not have historical nostalgia for the 1960s (the civil rights era)… Very interesting food for thought.
Foraged foods, grown in a community garden in Cape Town.
Picky eating in adulthood.
Gentrification or access?
New Sherlock trailer!
People making a lot of money off of Twinkies.
Dan Barber of Stone Barns. I think this story needs to be read with a healthy bout of skepticism. I am always inclined to be cautious of people who are revered as philosophers of x, with a cult-like following. Dan Barber is one of those. I am fascinated by what he has done at Stone Barns and Blue Hill but the reverence with which people write about him makes me both cautious and curious. Call it my Foucauldian training.
There is nothing food-related or book/culture related in this, but my it makes for fascinating reading.
‘Novels demand many things of readers, but the most obvious is attention. […] To read a book is to devote oneself to the book. Novels always traffic in empathy, always bring “the other” closer, always ask us to transcend our perspectives, but isn’t that attention, itself, a generous act? Generous toward ourselves?’ This is a fantastic article by Jonathan Safran Foer, on the danger of being constantly distracted.
‘Postdocalypse‘. So true.
And if you’re having a bad week, just have a nosy through these mashups of Donald Trump and The Queen.