Is less really more or is it the opposite? In this week’s food-inspired long reads we find authors defending both arguments. In her Eat column for The New York Times, writer Tejal Rao argues that to get a truly transcendent dessert yogurt experience something must be sacrificed, be it time or excess whey protein. Elsewhere, a Canadian offers an outsider’s look at the over-the-top GOP convention through its food and the people that consume it. Two Eater editors on opposite sides of the country also take opposing views on the Smorgasburg phenomenon. Read, evaluate, and pick your side.
Roads and Kingdoms
The arena in which the convention was held was a constant roil of bodies and sounds, with journalists lining up to interview the brighter, flashier delegates as they queued to eat at either the "GOP Bistro" or the "Republican Roadhouse." Seriously. The food on offer is standard American fare (burgers, hot dogs, pizza, fries) for delegates dressed mainly in the traditional garb of Republicans. Most of the men were in blue blazers and creased trousers, their hair high and tight. The women sported well-tailored, modest dresses, and prim pearl necklaces.
Just like the architecture, the food of Macau seamlessly combines a variety of unexpected influences. The Portuguese sailors who first settled in the region had a hard time re-creating dishes from home. It was nearly impossible to find Portuguese ingredients in the early sixteenth century. But these sailors weren’t actually doing the cooking. Their wives (typically from other parts of the Portuguese empire like Goa, Malacca, or Japan) were tasked with re-creating familiar dishes using local foodstuffs. Chinese lap cheong sausage replaced chorizo; coconut milk stood in for dairy.
The New York Times
So much home cooking turns a little into a lot, stretching bread or bones, using every last bit to serve more food, to more people. Not shrikhand. This is celebration food, and to make it is to indulge in some wastefulness, to end up with less than you started with, to choose pleasure over practicality.
Eater New York
Look around the sun-baked tarmac and you will see mostly people in their early 20s clad in sporty attire, roaming around in packs, chuckling, flirting, Instagramming, and scanning the scene for the next thing that might catch their fancy. They share the space with vendors peddling their wares in spartan conditions — no sinks, no A.C., no walk-ins. Surely, these upstart chefs and restaurateurs are doing some fun and/or interesting things with food. But their work is upstaged by the raucous crowds, punishing conditions, and overall chaotic vibe of the fairgrounds.
If you haven't been to Smorgasburg in Downtown's Industrial District, in the American Apparel complex (now dubbed ROW DTLA) on the corner of 7th and Alameda, you're possibly missing out on the best single-day collection of food in Los Angeles. The concept, brought over from Brooklyn's weekly event, took over the wholesale produce district in mid-June, and the results in the first month have in my experience been pretty great.
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