Long-form Food Writing: Journalism You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

The above-linked profile, on Father Divine, led me to “discover” that the main Eater site has a whole section devoted to long-form articles; I’m slowly starting to work my way through the pieces.


And in that process, this weekend, I ran into this:

which immediately made me think of Birdsall’s Lucky Peach article, which @robert linked to upthread:

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Whoa, very cool there’s an actual dedicated URL to long form pieces!

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Well heck, @WireMonkey, then this will make you really grin (at least it elicited great happiness on my end!):

Oh, and this, too:


Seriously, there is a lot of excellent long-form, food-related journalism happening (it’s actually kind of overwhelming to contemplate the vast amount of information that is now so readily available). Always new things learn, new stories to hear, new concepts to explore. We’re really lucky!


It looks like the Wayback Machine from Internet Archive managed to grab a lot of the Lucky Peach content before the site was taken down. Formatting is a bit wonky, and not all the images loaded for me, but the text is there:

I’m running into random error messages (likely a result of user error: I haven’t spent time learning how to navigate the Wayback Machine interface), but here’s the Lucky Peach stuff:



There goes my morning…


… and afternoon, evening, weekend … .

You’re welcome!

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Yup I’ve done that! Trying to find an article they posted on various pie doughs. And found it :smiley: isnt the way back machine awesome.

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It totally is; just wish I’d remember it exists!


Btw there is an Lucky Peach channel on YouTube not being updated but there are still some fun content posted.


I’m ashamed I did not know this; I’m now concerned about the amount of time I will spend exploring this treasure-trove.

Thank you, @aaqjr!


"… the old-world bread still sufficiently exotic that every mention of it in the New York Times (usually brief items concerning labor issues) assumed no previous knowledge on the part of readers. “A bagel,” the newspaper of record explained in 1960, "is an unsweetened doughnut with rigor mortis.” "


That’s a great story – thanks!


big grin You’re welcome!

“Culinary culture in the West is as much a discursive phenomenon as an alimentary one; it is as much a matter of what gets said as of what gets eaten. Disturbingly, however, the discursive economy that emerges from this segment of culture—and which links restaurateurs, diners, writers, and readers across any number of media platforms—provides a distorted picture of the world it describes. In the vast assemblage of texts and textual practices thrown together under the heading “food writing,” service labor is all but entirely unrepresented.”

From December 2015.


“Given the genre’s [food memoir or “foodoir”] propensity for vicarious pleasures, a melancholy turn might come as a surprise. Three recent memoirs in this mode—Boris Fishman’s Savage Feast , Kwame Onwuachi’s Notes from a Young Black Chef , and Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums —may describe exciting travel and glamorous careers, but they also, centrally, address cooking as a coping mechanism. A recipe need not be a portal to another life, these memoirs remind us; it can be a bid to save your own.”

A review and assessment of three recent memoirs that revolve around food:

“Were I an aspiring farmer in search of fertile land to buy and plow, I would seriously consider moving to Detroit. There is open land, fertile soil, ample water, willing labor, and a desperate demand for decent food. And there is plenty of community will behind the idea of turning the capital of American industry into an agrarian paradise. In fact, of all the cities in the world, Detroit may be best positioned to become the world’s first one hundred percent food self-sufficient city.”

Some intriguing ideas from 2009:


I love the headline photo… bagel noir.

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service labor is all but entirely unrepresented

The best pieces of food writing I’ve read, Kitchen Confidential, Heat, and Blood, Bones & Butter, all focus on labor.

The fiction that Wells, Yelp reviewers, and other middlebrow critics perpetuate is that service is a type of performance and therefore subject to the terms of aesthetic critique. “No,” one might say, copping Wells’s own patronizing rhetorical crutch, it’s not a performance. It’s labor.

Restaurants are theater. Service is a performance. Obviously it’s also labor, just like acting.


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“In the Italian south, the lives of foreign agricultural labourers are so cheap that many NGOs have described their conditions as a modern form of slavery. They live in isolated rural ruins or shanty towns. Some have Italian residency permits, but many don’t. A few have work contracts, although union organisers often find they are fake. Desperate for work, these labourers will accept any job in the fields even if the wages are far below, and the hours far above, union standards. The produce they pick regularly ends up on the shelves of Italian, and international, supermarkets, bought by consumers who have no idea of the suffering involved.”

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"Spending money on a meal in an unknown gastronomic territory, and all that in English, while Mama’s cooking is axiomatically the best in the world and their several fridges are full of reliable food, including the already proven leftovers, would just be foolish and irresponsible. In my family, eating is not meant to be an exploration, nor an expansion of cultural experience. Part of the food pleasure is in meeting the set expectations, while its indelible utility is in providing energy for labour, and therefore for survival. Food is an existential necessity, an irreplaceable element in the structure of daily life, and it should never be fucked around with in some expensive place that also happens to be devoid of friends and family.

The only Hamilton place where the two of them might venture for a meal is the Mandarin, a Chinese restaurant featuring mounds of fried things and stewed stuff, plus very un-Chinese multilayered cake with industrial-strength frosting. The attraction to the Mandarin is largely a consequence of its all-you-can-eat wonder buffet, wherein the utopian concept of cheap and endless abundance, dreamed of by generations of Slavic peasantry, is finally fulfilled."