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Best Food Writing 2015

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Anthony Bourdain, John T. Edge, Jonathan Gold, Francis Lam, Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin, Alice Waters. These are just some of the celebrated writers and foodies whose work has appeared in Best Food Writing over the past fifteen years. Whether written by an established journalist or an up-and-coming blogger, the essays offered in each edition represent the cream of that yea ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Da Capo Lifelong Books
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“Food is intimate. We take it into our bodies. When we gather at the table with friends and family, we’re gathering to affirm something.” The title doesn’t lie – these essays are terrific. There wasn’t a single one I didn’t find interesting, whether the topic was lab meat; seeking out the perfect burger, Bolognese sauce or gumbo; particular chefs or restaurants; food fads; starting a simple meatball supper club; or feeding picky kids. A couple favorites were “Finding Home at Taco Bell” by John D ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essays-shorts
My favorite passage in this collection comes from Tamar Haspel's "How to Get People to Cook More? Get Eaters to Complain Less." In it she reflects upon the harried home cook (usually Mom) who, despite the insistence of food gurus everywhere that a good family meal is an easy prep, can't seem to manage to get a plate on the table that her loved ones don't groan about. Relentlessly.

I asked Daniel Post Senning, co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post's Etiquette (and great-great-grandson of tha
Lisa Feld
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
While the 2014 collection seemed to delight in extremes, from insect foraging to the $4 toast craze, 2015 seems to be about stopping and rethinking basic premises about what and why we eat. Creating vegan versions of egg and meat as good as (or better than) the real thing, a recovering alcoholic who is also an innovative wine guru at the top of his game, a paean to Taco Bell, the cutting edge of molecular gastronomy, and even multiple articles questioning whether everyone really needs to be a br ...more
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Something has happened to food writing over the past decade or so. So much of it now is dedicated to specialist topics such as sustainable farming, organic produce, head to tail cooking, dining experiences involving sous-vide or foam. These articles are like hanging out at a wine tasting where everyone is a wine snob and you don't know what they are talking about and you are reluctant to mention that your personal favorite is the vintage last year red that's sold in a jug.

I like stories about ch
Reading Cat
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, nonfiction
I like the organization of the book--the personal essays and the chef heavy stuff sorted into categories, and I do love the index of the included recipes!

The reads were, on the whole, much shorter pieces than the last anthology of food writing I read, which I think was 5 or so years ago. It's a welcome thing, as the essays read kind of like little snacks (to abuse a food metaphor) instead of big heavy meals.

There is, of course, always an agenda, whether I agree with it or not. It seems racism a
If you have ever enjoyed a piece of food writing (whether by a food critic, a chef, or just a Yelp reviewer), I think I can guarantee you'll find something you enjoy in this collection. It's incredibly varied, and most surprisingly to me, represents a LOT of points of view.

There are the types of pieces I expected: a eulogistic article on the closing of Wylie Dufresne's avant-garde restaurant WD-50, for example. Or articles based around "the perfect recipe for ___".

Then there are some articles
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A solid collection of observations, remembrances, discoveries, humor, lessons, actual recipes and just about everything else you'd want if you love to cook and love to eat. Some of the stories almost literally made my mouth water ("Hot Country," "Gumbo Paradise"). Many were touching. Others were not my cup of tea. But if you are looking for a change of pace from plot-driven storytelling, I found this book to be refreshing; i'd read a sad memoir, then a few of essays in this book, then a murder m ...more
Trish Boese
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbook, non-fiction
3* There is a variety included here, some of which I loved and a few I really disliked. So it averages out to 3 stars. I will try another 'Best Food Writing' if I come across it, sifting through it for the essays that speak to me. ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I used all but one chapter of this book as a text for my Food Writing class last year.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Collection of essays on aspects of eating. Growing, cooking, restaurants foreign and domestic. Probably more interesting to eat than read about eating.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good reading for a foodie. Some recipes included. Some interesting insights.
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Some of the essays were better than others. It will give you an appreciation for food writers but it wasn’t my favorite book on the topic.
Fresno Bob
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
these stories made me very hungry, more short-form than other "Best of" books I've read ...more
Kayl Parker
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Favorite Excerpts

1. At Your Service? by Oliver Strand

"Ishikawa was practising what in Japan is called omotenashi, a term that is usually translated as 'hospitality,' which is a little like saying that Hermes sells bags-- it's a bland word for something so exquisite and refined that it's a source of obsession among some. Hospitality is regarded as an extra, a bonus a bit of pleasantry that is enjoyable, but in the end, superfluous to the transaction at hand. It isn't essential , especially in a r
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love food and food preparation. The sights, smells, tastes, and sharing of good food are an important part of a happy life. A good cookbook will bring all of those pleasures quickly to the mind and heart.

This is the first time I’ve read a Best Food Writing collection, but it won’t be the last. The book is organized into several themes – “The Way We Eat Now,” “The Restaurant Biz,” Someone’s in the Kitchen,” “At the Stove,” “Traditions,” “The Family Table,” and “Life on a Plate.” There are fabu
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015
I love food writing and this was a solid collection of essays that varied from a company making vegan meats and eggs to the search for the perfect ragu. In fact, there were quite a few essays devoted to ragu this year which even as a vegetarian I enjoyed as it used to be one of my favourite dishes. While I enjoyed some essays more than others, it worked well as a collection and among the best were a travel diary through Bologna, a rather fascinating history of the now ubiquitous pumpkin spice la ...more
Willow A.
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, food-lit
This is a really solid collection of food writing – there are nearly fifty essays in this book, and of them all, there were only a few I didn't really like. Part of what makes this collection so good, in my mind, is the incredible swath of topics and perspectives shown in this one book. Little glimpses into the the various worlds of food, like each one is a window into a completely different house, full of different people and cultures and knowledge. I learned from some, laughed at some, and was ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
How do you review an anthology like this? I can't go into detail on each piece, because that would take ages, and you probably don't care. So let me just keep my review short and to the point -- I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of articles.

I didn't know what to expect going in, because I haven't read any of the previous Best Food Writing books. I love to cook, so I was thrilled to see articles about making a great bolognese, or how to make proper carnitas. Some were great life lesso
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
As is the case with any collection of this type (especially one that draws on sources of every kind - from the largest publications to tiny websites) the work can be frustratingly uneven. That said, there are moments of real transcendence in this book, and it is well worth your time if you care about food and culture. The strength and the weakness of the book is its refusal to adhere to convention - this approach delivers some amazing pieces, like the memory about growing up as a second generati ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yum, read2016
(Watch as I tear through this anthology and then forget about food writing until the next edition.) "Coding and Decoding Dinner" was a most illuminating take on de facto segregation in restaurants. You can read it online. Other highlights: the R&D behind the PSL, cast iron mythbusting, and veggie beef of the future. ...more
Rhonda Lomazow
I look forward to this collection of food writing each year,This years had so many interesting essays &food people. From professional chefs to home cooks &bloggers ,pop up restaurants Friday night meatball gatherings ,the perfect roast chicken cooking with a cast iron pot .A wonderful tour of the world of food &all the unique people involved.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Most of these pieces were good, or at least interesting. A few (like Friday Night Meatballs) were great, and a few others (like Serial Killer) were not so great. Trends were present -- 3 pieces on cooking at home, 2 on animal product replacement, Rene Redzepi and Anthony Bourdain sightings. It was a good selection, but not inspired.
Susan Vitale
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Holly Hughes selects the best writing of the previous year, and does a fine job. I just wasn't as interested as many of the essays as I have been in the past. Some of the best are Coding and Decoding Dinner, The Lunch Counter, The Imperfect Family Kitchen, Finding Home at Taco Bell, and Beach Town. And BTW I am SO over food as performance art. ...more
3.5 stars. my favorite? Finding Home At Taco Bell (let's be clear- I despise Taco Bell) What a wonderful piece that described all the nostalgia that comes along with foods and flavors. I always enjoy these collections of stories, travel, recipes, environment & science all wrapped up in the commonality that is food. ...more
Pearse Anderson
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food, essays
Not as good as 2014, but good. Some beautiful pieces about the simplest things: a sled from Eleven Madison Park, gelatinous Osteria Francescana ragu, the Pumpkin Spice Latte history. 9/10, very enjoyable, very digestible, very emotional.
Maggie Skarich Joos
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is always one of my favorite books of the year and this one did not disappoint. I like that popular food conversation is coming back to the homey and recognizable food vs all pork belly and lemon foam.
Amy Rawson
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I get into travel mode and find a great book through my foodie book club I tend to make it a priority to finish in "record time!" I will read this every year from now on! The categorization and articles were nicely placed throughout and most hit home! Eat Hot Chicken! :) ...more
John Carruthers
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
This can be a great series, but it's increasingly turning to sad-bastard writing in what I guess is an attempt at pathos. I'd put the Sad Bastard Over/Under at 65 percent. Suggested title for the next edition: Impending Doom and Some Recipes. ...more
Jamie Holloway
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved reading all the stories about food and news techniques.
Eileen Hall
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great selection of food writers from all culinary disciplines in this yearly publications.
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Holly Hughes has edited the annual Best Food Writing series since its inception in 2000. The author of Frommer's 500 Places for Food and Wine Lovers, she lives in New York City. ...more

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