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This Week's Best Long Reads, From the Fall of Cottage Cheese to Dethroning Avocados

A roundup of worthy weekend reading material.

Fuku sandwich.
Fuku sandwich.
Nick Solares

From Slave to Celebrated Chef: The Surprising Story of Nat Fuller

While Fuller was still enslaved, he was the city's most successful purveyor of game; he became one of the city's leading caterers; and he ran a popular restaurant called The Bachelor's Retreat. (At the time, certain slaves could operate businesses with the permission of their masters, who would take a cut of the proceeds.)

The World Eats Cheap Bacon at the Expense of North Carolina's Rural Poor

Residents, the industry, and its critics have been at an uneasy stalemate over the lagoons for the past fifteen years. Big industrial farms first started popping up in the 1980s. By the late 1990s, public concern turned to outrage when a series of lagoons overflowed during storms, submerging entire towns in waste. After that, armed protestors blocked construction of a new farm in Craven County, northeast of Duplin, and two hog farms in a neighboring county were riddled with bullet holes.

The Fall of a Dairy Darling: How Cottage Cheese Got Eclipsed By Yogurt

When I recently visited the dairy aisle of one supermarket, I found five whole sections of shelves filled with Greek yogurt, Australian-style yogurt and yogurt with all different flavorings. Off in the corner, there was one set of shelves with generic-looking cottage cheese.

Why It's Finally Time for a Fast-Casual Fried Chicken Explosion

Would-be chicken empire builders also need to deal with the fact that chicken is, well, chicken. "Chicken can definitely be tough to cook," notes Fein. "Beef can be anywhere from medium-rare to well-done at a fast-food place and most people will accept it for what it is. But chicken, if it's undercooked you're going to get somebody sick. If it's overcooked, it's virtually inedible."

China's Revolutionary Fruit
Lucky Peach

Into this mess stepped the mango. A week after the recovery of Tsinghua, the Pakistani foreign minister, in Beijing on a diplomatic trip, gave a crate of mangoes to Mao. Mao re-gifted them; the fresh mangoes were given to the workers of the Propaganda Teams at Tsinghua, a sort of thanks-for-fighting token.

Calling Bullshit on Avocados
The Debrief

It's not even that I hate the taste, I think avocados taste absolutely fine. I just can't understand why people are losing their minds over a fairly bland, inanimate piece of fruit. Sure, I'll eat it, but only if it's heavily doused in salt and, thinking about it, I would eat a brick if it were heavily doused in salt (please don't quote me on that).

Pleasures of the Literary Meal
The New Yorker

There are times, however, when watching is not enough—when we hunger to know what the eater feels about the strawberry waffle as it enters her gullet. For this degree of closeness, we need books, where we might learn, for example, that Madame Bovary "felt a thrill go through her as she tasted the coldness" of iced champagne in her mouth.

Piece of Cake
Paste Magazine

As we were chuckling, we looked around the room and, much to our surprise and amusement, saw one, two, several other older women doing the same, wrapping paper napkins or Kleenex around slices of cake and putting them in their handbags or clutching them to their breasts, unnoticed amid the bustle of the wait staff as they began the after-meal cleanup and the exodus of fellow diners pushing their way out of the dining room.