Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
1. Beard Journalism Awards finalists, part 1. Over the course of the next few days, I'm reading over the stories nominated for 2011 Beard Awards. Over the years, I've begun treating the foundation's press release like the table of contents to an anthology of great food writing.
Today's links: Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Monica Eng exposes a bizarre Chicago Public Schools policy: Schools with edible gardens aren't allowed to use the produce they grow to feed the students. Apparently, the school has safety concerns. Sara Dickerman's Saveur article about gelatin elegantly traces how commercial gelatin has become so successful that it has ruined gelatin's cachet ― and how modernist-cuisine chefs are redeeming it.
2. More edible tobacco. After reading Grub Street's post about Wilson and Wilson, the new prix-fixe cocktail bar from the owners of Bourbon and Branch, I'm looking forward to checking it out. But I have to say, reading the bartenders talk up their tobacco bitters made my eyes roll. Over the past year, I've had any number of tobacco meringues, creams, and whatnot, and I've never gotten anything out of the experience other than an unpleasant prickling on the tongue, not to mention a prickle of fear that my dish is going to respark those nicotine cravings I spent five years extinguishing. If you want to
tattoo your face show off your rebel spirit, why not infuse marijuana buds into your desserts? At least pot tastes good.
3. The butterfly effect. How the NFL could ruin the chicken wing business.