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Straight Croissants, Dog Thieves, Lo Mein Law, and More Long Reads

Worthy weekend reading material

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Outside of the week's interminable election news and great salt debates, we've found some material to keep you occupied on what looks to be a dreary February day, no matter where you are, because, well, it's February. Why the extreme ire against dog thieves in Vietnam? Why does "Lo Mein Loophole" sound strangely delicious? This week we delve into manly meat eating, the obstacles of being a black chef in a predominantly white industry, how kids these days are killing wine corks, and much more.

Straightened-Out Croissants and the Decline of Civilization

The New Yorker

Why is a croissant shaped that way, anyway? The first truth is that they are not, necessarily. As veteran visitors to Parisian bakeries know, the superior, all-butter croissants are already commonly articulated as straight pastries — or, at least, as gently sloping ones—while the inferior oil or margarine ones must, by law, be neatly turned in.

On Being Black in the Kitchen

Lucky Peach

I didn't get yelled at a lot, but I did get yelled at. I think people thought twice about truly yelling at me, because they didn't know how I was going to react. As a black guy, I was a new thing to them. Am I going to yell at this guy, and is he going to throw a fucking pan at me? A lot of chefs in restaurants don't hire black people because they don't know how to relate.

The Dog Thief Killings

Roads & Kingdoms

Suddenly, the men stopped in the road as a group of locals appeared in the distance. The driver bolted, leaving Phong holding the dead dog and his snare. He froze and soon found himself being beaten in the dirt by a furious posse. Thieves had bled them of dogs for months, and he was the first they'd ever caught.

Lo Mein Loophole: How U.S. Immigration Law Fueled A Chinese Restaurant Boom


Lee was digging through old immigration records in 2011, as part of her doctoral dissertation, when she discovered evidence that this legal change had fueled a rise in restaurants. She found a flood of applications from Chinese immigrants after 1915 seeking merchant status to start up restaurant businesses, along with applications from others brought over to work in these establishments.

How Millennials (Almost) Killed the Wine Cork

The Atlantic

The report also revealed that roughly two-thirds of Millennials "frequently or occasionally" purchase unfamiliar brands of wine, and 60 percent admitted to being swayed by "fun and contemporary-looking" labels. The type of bottle closure, by contrast, isn't an important factor in purchasing decisions — and when it is, the lack of need for a corkscrew may well be an enticement.

Chefs in the Midwest Don't Need Your Brooklyn Comparisons, Thanks


But why, as evident by the article, is the Midwest seemingly trapped in New York City's shadow — €”€”constantly measured against the metropolis's yardstick? Why did Bon Appétit send a California-based writer to Indianapolis to equate its punk-rock music hall, persimmon-topped biscuits, and pork belly sandwiches to another night in Williamsburg? A lot of Midwestern chefs have an opinion on that.

How I Fell for Amaro Montenegro

Serious Eats

The bartender pulls an alien green bottle from the mirrored shelves. He pours a burnt-orange stream of Amaro Montenegro into four stemmed glasses. The glass feels dainty in my hand—way too fancy for a college kid used to drinking out of cans and disposable plastic cups.

Men think they need to eat meat to be manly — €”and it's making them sick


All this does a disservice to both men and women. The message embedded in the sexualization of meat is that women, like chicken and steak, exist to be salivated over and consumed by men. And making meat consumption seem necessary to achieving full manliness also encourages men to overindulge — a behavior we now know to be unhealthy.