I’ve been enjoying this year’s Saveur 100, their annual and random assortment of all things wilds, weird, and wonderful in the food world. Saveur is sort of the National Geographic of food; their editors range near (your backyard) and far to explore food as a cultural unifier. No matter what else divides us, we all need to eat. The things you can learn about people through the food they cook and eat is amazing, from what the local land will support, to what people can afford to purchase, to what kinds of fuel and what methods of cooking they prefer, is endless. And the act of hospitalilty, the art of hospitality, is underneath all the local differences, the same. I love discovering that there’s a world-famous burger I’ve never heard of nearby, and the calendar in each edition of food events and festivals around the world is wild. Someday, I will have the resources to pack off to Ecuador to celebrate the potato.
Some of my favorite highlights of this year’s issue include features on: heirloom dried beans; making your own-booze soaked cherries, for “Cherry Bounce;” a Spanish nun who wrote about food and science; advocating the return of tomato aspic; the best rugelach in Jerusalem; regional newspaper food section editors; a picture guide to edible weeds; Le Petite Beurre cookies from LU; a former NFL player, now growing grapes and making wine in Texas; imported Asian fruits; and Montgomery’s Cheddar, which I had, once, ordered from Zingermans. It was worth the $18.00 a pound.
Even if you’ve decided your own food choices don’t encompass the loquat every once in a while, it’s worth reading. The magazine is in no way highfalutin’. There are features in which restaurants play a part, but the focus is on the craft of cooking and the appreciation of real food, not foam and liquid nitrogen. And besides, who doesn’t love a feature on favorite international candy bars?