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The Week's Best Long Reads, From the Secret Life of Cheese to Disappearing Oysters

A roundup of worthy weekend reading material.

Ryan Blomberg for Eater

If These Menus Could Talk: The History of L.A. Power Dining Revealed
Hollywood Reporter

We were sitting around this huge table, lit by tiki torches, and we were all in gorilla outfits, even my grandmother, who was in her late 80s. My brother's friend, who was in a wheelchair, was dressed as a hunter. My brother was a really good sport because he thought he was going to be at a dinner with my mother, me and his grandmother. It was just deadly. We were all there with our gorilla outfits and coconut drinks."

The True Tale of a Shipwrecked Wine
Food and Wine

Whether the wine from the Mary-Celestia had been red or white to begin with, now it was gray, and it smelled revolting. If you were to imagine a tide pool full of dead crabs on a hot day, splashed with a soupçon 
of camphor, diesel fuel and vinegar, that's what the 151-year-old wine in front of us smelled like. There was a long pause—a really long pause—as the sommeliers and I swirled and sniffed in silence.

Why Everyone Should Stop Calling Immigrant Food ‘Ethnic'
The Washington Post

For Americans, eating out has always been discount tourism, charred fish with the head on being the food obsessive's equivalent of a visit to Angkor Wat (no malaria pills necessary!). Our desire to explore via our taste buds is as innate as the itch to traipse through the souks of Morocco and snorkel in the blue waters of Bora Bora.

Harsh Truths: Failure Is Always on the Table When Opening a Restaurant

I loved the original Dirt Candy. Sure, it was small. Sure, we could only have eight wines on the list because we had no storage. Sure, when the bathroom door opened it took up half the dining room. But it had an energy that made the dining room a non-stop party. The biggest complaint people had about it was that it was too small. Obvious solution? Open a bigger one.

Love and Ketchup
Lucky Peach

I'd eagerly sleep over at my grandparents' house during weekends, where I'd devour Knorr alfredo pasta sides (I'm really sorry, Dad) for dinner and Breyers Neapolitan ice cream for breakfast; my grandfather and I would slather ketchup on whatever we thought called for it.

The Secret Life of Cheese
Roads and Kingdoms

The whole goat can be roughly quartered and roasted over an open flame. And if you manage to catch the kid at just the right age—between two and three months old, before it's started eating grass—you can even make a potent (and ostensibly illegal) form of soft cheese out of the mother's milk in its raw, steaming stomach.

Georgia Fuzz: Weather, Workers, and the World's Peach Paradise, Part II
Southern Foodways

And so the peach harvest took on the character of a harvest festival, a rural jamboree, a social as well as economic occasion. Katherine Ripley, who ran a small peach growing operation in the North Carolina Sandhills, described it this way: "They look on the peach season as the big holiday of their year, the next best thing to a revival. It's different from the routine of farm work. They work in gangs. They eat quantities of soft peaches. The men fight among themselves and make love to the girls. It's all a frolic to them."

Quest for Climate-Proof Farms

Around the world, scientists, farmers, agricultural companies and governments are struggling to make agricultural systems more 'climate smart', which will be necessary if they are to feed the ever-swelling global population. Some are working in the short term to make today's farms more resilient. Others are looking further ahead to provide the information required for making major changes, such as investing in large irrigation systems.

The Disappearing Apalachicola Oyster: Florida's Fight to Save Its Prized Delicacy

At the bar, a familiar scene plays out. A man in his 60s, a nearly lifelong Floridian boasting a deep tan thanks to decades in the sun, bellies up and asks the bartender for a cold beer and dozen raw. After placing his order, he leans down toward the end of the bar to ask a question. "Where are they from?" he asks, with false optimism in his voice. He hopes the answer will be "Apalachicola," but he knows it won't be