This week in longform food writing, nothing is too outrageous to sell at a ballpark as imagined by culinarily inclined sports fans. Personal obsessions vary from a pricy hunt for hard-to-find wines to a yen for cheap burgers. In the ongoing discussions about food and race, peaches provide a framework with which to view civil rights progress. Volunteers accommodate refugee's native flavors in impromptu kitchens across Europe. In the ever-increasing influence of brands and lobbying, Honey Maid injects itself into family values and the science showing the danger of sugar looms large. Here, now, are seven excellent food-inspired stories to dive into this weekend.
We would feed the calves nothing but donuts until they were adults, and then we would slaughter the cattle in-house. Then we would render the tallow down and use that to make the donuts. It was donuts making the fat that made the donuts. Then we cooked steaks from that same cow and sprinkled it on the donut.
I waited three lovelorn years for my Lafite. I set up a web alert to advise me if a bottle ever popped up in my price range. It didn't. I flirted with other first growths: Margaux, Haut-Brion, Mouton Rothschild. But you never forget your first time. I would carry the torch for Lady Lafite as long as necessary.
"Should we go to Burger King?" I asked my friend, as we packed our straw wrappers and dirty napkins into the Big Mac's empty Styrofoam container. And, while we were both smart enough to know better, he said he was game. As far as I remember, we weren't even stoned.
To compare would cast these stories as parallel lines, which, as we know from grade-school geometry, never intersect. In the 1890s, Fort Valley whites had their peach orchards; blacks their industrial school, now called Fort Valley State University. In the 1920s, whites held their Peach Blossom Festivals to prove the worthiness of their enterprise. Blacks staged their Ham and Egg festivals to prove the worthiness of rural self-sufficiency.
Other operations were originally much more impromptu "We were located right on the beach where a lot of boats landed and had no kitchen facilities," says Etoile Smulders, a Czech volunteer who founded Philoxenia, a small serving operation that has since expanded into a multinational refugee feeding project. "We made up a kitchen by tearing apart refugee boats that crashed and used slabs of wood as a serving and preparation table."
Because it's not just Mondelēz and Honey Maid who have been defining the "wholesome" on behalf of the consumers. Many brands — or, more properly, many #brandsâhave been hard at work fashioning themselves not just as purveyors of products, but as arbiters of moral values. Recognizing that they're operating during a time of great change, they're figuring out how to sell one extremely appealing thing: a particular vision of life as it should be.
This represents a dramatic shift in priority. For at least the last three decades, the dietary arch-villain has been saturated fat. When Yudkin was conducting his research into the effects of sugar, in the 1960s, a new nutritional orthodoxy was in the process of asserting itself. Its central tenet was that a healthy diet is a low-fat diet.