Nigella Covered in Caramel and Wine-World Pay for Play: Eating & Reading

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

Nigella gets sticky for Stylist. Photograph courtesy Stylist magazine.

Todd Kliman, food and wine editor

• In this delicious trashing of a new book about olive oil, New York Times book critic Dwight Garner hips us to the industry’s dubious claims, and also offers up some lessons in good writing. Olive Oil’s Growers, Chemists, Cooks, and Crooks

• Forbes with a timely slice of service on cheapo ($40 and under) Champagnes for the holidays. 6 Ways to Beat the Coming Champagne Price Hike

• Remember the Voluntary Simplicity movement—urbanites self-consciously renouncing their worldly possessions in order to seek uncluttered lives of virtue and peace? Now, with the Great Recession, the practice is a little less voluntary . . . but no less smug. In this piece, “Brian and Katie” leave their high-powered lives in New York City to live in small town Staunton, Virginia, and run a grocery store. Which isn’t just a grocery store, no sir—just as their fleeing the demands and expenses of urban life isn’t simply bagging it. No, sir: It’s a metaphor for how to rebuild America! My Brilliant Second Career: We never thought we’d be grocers

Jessica Voelker, online dining editor

Pay-for-play accusations rock the wine world, and Baltimore’s Jay Miller is at the center of it all. Paid to sip? Wine scandal swirls around Baltimore critic

• “The vogue for freaky drams and droplets is a bit like a band’s urge to break out the didgeridoo.” New York Times writer Jeff Gordiner explores the challenges of sourcing recherché cocktail ingredients in the new PDT book. Going the Distance to Make Craft Cocktails at Home

Sophie Gilbert, associate arts editor

• Today is National Brownie Day (of course it is), so let’s read about Matt Griffin, the inventor of the Edge Brownie Pan. (For what it’s worth, I happen to think the corner brownies are the worst ones.) A Brownie Edge Worth a Million

• Nigella Lawson pours salted caramel all over herself for Stylist magazine, which brings a whole new meaning to the term “food porn.” Victoria F. Gaitán, we think you should sue. Nigella Douses Self in Salted Caramel as Guest Editor for Stylist Magazine

First beer in the theater, and now this: The Cinema That’s Also a Restaurant.

I regularly eat bonbons for breakfast. Or macarons, which are almost the same thing. Turns out I should be eating Frosted Flakes instead. Bonbons For Breakfast? Most Kid Cereals Pack Enough Sugar to Be Dessert.