Tom Colicchio, Bitters, and Maya Angelou’s Cookbook: Eating & Reading

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

Maya Angelou: unrepentant about her cookbook. Photograph by Kyle Gustafson.

Todd Kliman, food and wine editor:

Not quite in league with the righteous Tzaddiks, but hey, we’ll take it: two Muslims save a bialy shop in New York.: NY’s Oldest Bialy Shop Is Saved by Unlikely Owners.

• A former marketer for Nabisco, General Mills, and Pillsbury turns the tables on Big Food.: Confessions of a Former Big Food Executive.

• My buddy Robert Sietsema with a fun and phlegmatic rant on a dismaying new subgenre of upselling at high-end restaurants—a frothy blend of pretension, earnestness, hucksterism, and narrative backstory.: Why I Hate Upselling in Restaurants, and the Emergence of Narrative Upselling.

Jessica Voelker, online dining editor:

• It irks as much as it intrigues, but W. Blake Gray’s blog post—in which he takes it upon himself to explain why newspaper food writing is bad (recipes, specialists, women left to their own devices)—is a provocative read.: Why Newspaper Food Writing is Bad.

A few years ago, I edited an article that Brad Thomas Parsons wrote about bitters for Seattle Met magazine. But that was before he was totally obsessed with cocktail flavor agents, the subject of his first book Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All. Over at the Atlantic, Heather Horn writes up the recipe collection, and explores whether homemade bitters will be the next DIY hobby.: At-Home Bitters: A Do-It-Yourself Project for Cocktail Enthusiasts.

Sophie Gilbert, associate arts editor:

• Forget Gwyneth Paltrow or Sheryl Crow. The latest unlikely cookbook author is…Maya Angelou. “I know some people might think it odd—unworthy, even—for me to have written a cookbook, but I make no apologies,” Angelou tells the Guardian about her newest work, Hallelujah: The Welcome Table.: Maya Angelou: ‘I Make No Apologies for Writing a Cookbook.’

• I worked in restaurants for seven years and was unabashedly sexually harassed by various bosses the whole time. For some reason, standard practices don’t seem to apply in the catering world, which makes this MSNBC story fascinating in the light of the Herman Cain accusations.: Sexual Claims Common in Pressure-Cooker Restaurant World.

• Tom Colicchio has some words of wisdom about gnocchi. (Once you’ve made them at home, you’ll never be able to suffer through store-bought dumplings again.): Great chefs share tricks of the trade.

• And, because I start getting excited about Thanksgiving in August, here are two useful links. The Post has a list of area vendors selling local turkeys.: Where to buy fresh, local turkeys. And Epicurious has a list of the five most common mistakes people make when planning Thanksgiving dinners (mine was thinking that everybody else loves red cabbage as much as I do).: 5 Common Mistakes When Planning Thanksgiving Menus.

Anna Spiegel, assistant food and wine editor:

• Here’s a subject you don’t often see discussed in a frank way: culinary racism. Slate takes a hard look at the phenomenon.: Culinary Racism.

• It’s hard to pass up a juicy story from Gawker on inside workings of Groupon. Looks like discount laser hair removal isn’t the only sketchy thing going on.: How Groupon Turned Into a Messy Orgy of Money, Sex, and Ego.

• In eating and watching this week, here are some racy sexytime tips from chef Gordon Ramsey (or should I say by 80gumdrops, producer of highly edited videos, by way of Gordon Ramsey). It’s R-rated, but in the words of the man himself, “If you’re feeling adventurous, follow this.”: Gordon Talks Dirty.

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.