I enjoyed the junk food soigné Instagram of Chef Jacques la Merde so much (linked here and here) that you can probably imagine how delighted I am to learn that the account is authored by a lady chef, Christine Flynn.
The Plate talks with a curatorial associate of food history at the Smithsonian to discuss Four Important Foods of the Civil Rights Movement, but it’s really more of a series of snapshots into the daily life of activists. As I often say, food history is real history, and the history of where and when people eat and how their food is distributed can tell us so much about a community’s values and interactions.
At Bon Appétit: a sommelier taste-tests 6 fancy new bottled waters and pairs them with food. It’s a fun read, but I also liked the snarky little paragraph at the end calling out some water demands restaurant customers have made.
Speaking of sommeliers: Stephen Colbert, Fred Armisen, and a very talented editor review some wines made by 1970s rock band Foghat.
For my own pleasure, I will excerpt a lovely little passage from Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, a long essay by Mark Doty that was formative for me at the beginning of my dissertation but has now all but disappeared from my draft. Doty is describing what he calls “bravura” lemons in seventeenth-century Dutch still life, where the lemon is only element of a composition but tends to draw the eye, flaunting bold colors and virtuoso technique:
The lemons are built, in layers, out of lead tin yellow, which the Italians called giallo di Fiandria, a warm canary made by heating lead and tin oxides together, which was also the preferred pigment for the petals of daffodils, and out of luteolum Neapolitanum, or Naples yellow, and of a glowing but unstable pigment called orpiment. Often these colors are glazed with yellow glazes made of broom or berries. Alchemists’ work, turning tin and arsenic and vegetable juices into golden fruit painted with a kind of showy complication and variety that suggests there must have been competition among the painters of lemons. . . . Whose half-peeled fruit could be most complexly faceted, like a gemstone, in order to reveal nuances of transparency and reflectivity, the seeds resting within the revealed sections? Who could give the coiled peel the greatest sense of heft and curve, with the most convincing sense of gravity’s pull? . . .
Lemons: all freedom, all ego, all vanity, fragrant with scent we can’t help but imagine when we look at them, the little pucker in the mouth. And redolent, too, of strut and style. Yet somehow they remain intimate, every single one of them: only lemons, only that lovely, perishable, ordinary thing, held to scrutiny’s light, fixed in a moment of fierce attention. As if here our desire to be unique, unmistakeable, and our desire to be of a piece were reconciled. Isn’t that it, to be yourself and somehow, to belong?