Eating & Reading: Yelpers, Inspiring Pork, and Modern Burgers

Every week, we'll let you know what the Washingtonian food staff is reading in the blogosphere and off the bookshelves.

Ann Limpert, food and wine editor:

Columbia Room owner/bartender Derek Brown reviews a slew of Yelper types, handily taking down the "know-nothing," "cheapskate," and "ubermensch." Hilarious: A Field Guide to Yelp's Unhappy, Unhelpful Eaters.

• Peter Chang has been found (again)! The chef, who is as famous for his vanishing act as he is for his cumin fish, is now cooking in Atlanta. Most surprising? His restaurant bears his own name. Bill Addison takes a look at the place: Peter Chang.

Modernist Cuisine, the self-published 2,400-pager (and 40-pounder) from a team led by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, explores everything from liquid nitrogen to low-salt diets. The Wall Street Journal deconstructs its burger recipe: Making a 21st-Century Hamburger.

Kate Nerenberg, assistant food and wine editor:

• While we're on the topic of the year's most-buzzed-about books, here's a thoughtful interview with Chicago chef Grant Achatz of the hyper-modern Alinea restaurant: Grant Achatz's 'Life on the Line': Alinea Chef Discusses His Memoir, Battling Cancer.

• When food trends enter the dental-hygiene world, you know they've officially jumped the shark: Bacon Toothpaste for a Salty, Smoky Smile.

• Maybe the bacon toothpaste was all part of a larger pork conspiracy. The National Pork Board (yes, that organization exists) has given the piggy product a new slogan—Pork: Be Inspired. According to the board, the phrasing "shows pork's place in almost any menu, day part, cuisine and lifestyle, based on pork's unique combination of flavor and versatility as the source of kitchen inspiration." Pork, No Longer Just "The Other White Meat," Seeks to Inspire.

Emily Leaman, staff writer and Well+Being blogger:

• My elementary school didn't have a cafeteria, and it never bothered me—the stories I heard about cafeteria food were downright scary. But now kids are starting to have better options, such as whole-wheat bread, baked chicken tenders, and well-stocked salad bars. It's pretty incredible that New York schools are able to pull off nutritious menus with a budget of just $1 a meal. Hairnets, Yes; Fried Foods, No.

Sophie Gilbert, assistant editor and Sophie at the Stove blogger:

• It seems brilliantly simple and common-sense, which of course means that it will never happen: Don't End Agricultural Subsidies, Fix Them.

• Two similarly-themed health reads this week: Firstly, the sad news that Blair River, official spokesperson for Arizona's Heart Attack Grill restaurant, died this week, at the age of 29 and the staggering weight of 575 pounds. Just in case some of the tragic irony was lost, the restaurant's media site has a link to a video of Blair eating set to the Beegees hit "Stayin' Alive." Hefty Heart Attack Grill Spokesman Dies at 29.

• And from NPR, the news that Americans are now a full 10 percentage points fatter than their Canadian cousins, despite all the poutine our northern neighbors scarf on a regular basis: Americas Are Even Fatter Than Canadians.

Todd Kliman, food and wine editor:

• For a while now, the Howard County food blogger, How Chow, has been trumpeting the superlative R&R Taqueria (which I wrote about this week on my chat). A little over a week ago, the Wall Street Journal gave the gas-station tacos a mention, and then a host of bloggers, including yours truly, chimed in on the place—all referring directly or indirectly to the WSJ piece. I feel for How Chow. One of the great pleasures in scouring the scene for new places to eat is that sense of getting there first, of being the first to claim a discovery. Keep up the good work, HowChow. I'm a new fan: Lamb Soup and New Media at R&R Tacqueria.

• The hilarious and acerbic A.A. Gill on L'Ami Louis, the Parisian bistro nobody wants you to know about: Tour de Gall.

• Anti-regulation Republicans aim to kill funding for the FDA and USDA. With all the food-borne viruses we've seen over the past ten years, we need more oversight of agri-business, not less: A Food Fight in the Budget Debate.

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