Favourites List : Food & the New Yorker edition

My desire to be well informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.Sometimes, and this past week is a prime example of this, it feels like the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

It’s been one of those weeks, where all I want to do is to draw the blinds, cancel my newspaper subscriptions and eat comfort food. Having come down with laryngitis, this is pretty much what I’ve been doing (quietly) for the past week anyway.

But fear not. Civilisation may yet be saved. A couple of Harvard students have come up with Cake in a Can — which will allow you to spray batter and cook a cake (in a microwave) in a minute.

1. Spraying your cake and eating it too

You can simply pull it off the shelf, make one cupcake (in 30 seconds), then put it back in the fridge and it won’t go bad. They’re going to make millions, clearly!

2. Why families should eat together

Some of the statistics on American eating habits were depressing–the average American eats one in five meals in her car, and one in four Americans eats at least one fast-food meal a day. In that context, pushing for eating together makes sense. It helps a family maintain connections, creates a sense of togetherness, lowers truancy among children and (perhaps as a result) helps them do better at school.

3. On the gap between “reality” on TV cooking shows and a real working kitchen

Gordon Ramsay screaming at restaurant owners, wannabe chefs scheming against each other on the US Masterchef (which, funnily, features far more intrigue and drama than the UK and Australian versions — sign of what each audience wants, perhaps) and Gordon Ramsay swearing at Hell’s Kitchen contestants all make for high ratings and supposedly good TV. But a real, professional kitchen is well-oiled machine which is apparently quiet most of the time. Who knew?

In these reality shows, the confrontation and the bitter drama are not conducive to producing good food. There is disarray and pandemonium in these kitchens, as well as in the dining rooms. No one seems to agree on anything, and there are ongoing clashes between the employees, without much evidence of what makes a kitchen work.


4. How Momofuku is trying to capture the “taste” of New York

With the New Yorker having opened up its archives from 2007 onwards (at least until the Fall) it’s a great time to go back and read the magazine’s excellent long-form pieces. I’ll be featuring a few of my favourites each week, enjoy the access while it lasts. (I also hope the experiment tempts more people to subscribe to one of the best magazines around).

Depending on your foodie-tolerance level, you may never eat miso again, but this short piece takes a look at the sort of gastronomical experiments going on in one of my favourite New York kitchens.

5. Food trends vs fads

Why do some food movements–“foams”, sous-vide–remain on the edges of the culinary world, while others–cupcakes, sriracha–go mainstream? David Sax discusses his book, Tastemakers: Why we’re crazy for cupcakes but fed up with fondue, while walking around SoHo.

Bits, bobs & funnies

A funny (and poignant) take on “A guy walks into a bar”.

Ed Miliband channelling Blue Steel during his meeting with Barack Obama.

Pretty much every answer in this Quora thread on children’s insights.

The Favourites List is a somewhat irregular (usually weekly) roundup of things I’ve enjoyed reading. Expect some fiction, long-form writing, travel, food, technology. I usually link to free content, but occasionally to items behind a paywall (because I think paying for quality content is awesome!).

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