Posts Tagged ‘2011: The Hungry Muse’

 

Adrian, Saito, Kamide win 2010-11 Awards

11/11/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


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Kim Adrian, Brynn Saito, and George Kamide (left to right). Winners of the 2010-2011 Key West Literary Seminar awards for emerging writers.

Kim Adrian, Brynn Saito, and George Kamide have been named the winners of our 2010-2011 awards for emerging writers. Each will receive full tuition to the 2011 Seminar and Writers’ Workshop Program, as well as airfare, lodging, and support for living expenses while in Key West.

Kim Adrian, of Brookline, Massachusetts, receives the Marianne Russo Award. Adrian earned an MFA from Bennington College in 2004 and has published work in Tin House, Post Road, Agni, Gettysburg Review, Raritan, Crazyhorse, Ninth Letter, and The New England Review, among other publications. She is the creator of Food Culture Index, a website which documents depictions of food in the arts. Previous honors include a PEN/New England Discovery Award and a fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation.

Brynn Saito receives the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award. A poet and native of California’s Central Valley, Saito earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, a master’s in religious studies from NYU, and an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied with Tina Chang. Her work has appeared in Pleiades, Harpur Palate, and Copper Nickel; and has been anthologized in Helen Vendler’s Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology, 3rd ed. and From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas 1900-2002, edited by Ishmael Reed. Prior honors include a Poets 11 award from the San Francisco Public Library and a Kundiman Asian American Poetry Fellowship.

George Kamide receives the Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award. The Virginia resident is a 2005 graduate of the College of William and Mary, where, says Kamide "I broke away from the dry prose of the social sciences and wrote my thesis as a play. Since graduating, I have enrolled in numerous workshops and seminars at Writer House, a local non-profit institution started by writers in Charlottesville, Virginia."

Congratulations to Kim Adrian, Brynn Saito, and George Kamide. We look forward to meeting each of you in Key West!

Molly O’Neill’s One Big Table

11/01/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


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Among many new and forthcoming titles, the book we are perhaps most excited about is Molly O’Neill‘s One Big Table. We know O’Neill best for American Food Writing, the showcase collection of classic food writing she edited for the Library of America. One Big Table promises to rediscover American eating traditions and situate them firmly in the vernacular and present-day. The nearly-1,000-page book is the result of a decade-long journey to gather oral histories and family recipes from a broad swath of the American public, and contains more than 600 recipes and 700 color photographs.

We’re also tickled to note that we (in the person of Miles Frieden), will be in the Great Hall at Ellis Island with O’Neill on Thursday for a dinner to celebrate the launch of One Big Table. Ellis Island, of course, is the place through which over 12 million immigrants entered these united states, bringing with them the recipes that continue to nourish our national identity. The night includes a panel discussion with Calvin Trillin, who will re-join O’Neill in January for The Hungry Muse, our 29th annual Seminar.

Feeding the Muse: Elizabeth Bishop

10/26/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


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“May the Future’s Happy Hours Bring you Beans & Rice & Flowers.” 1955 watercolor by Elizabeth Bishop.

Excitement is building in Key West for THE HUNGRY MUSE, our 29th annual Seminar, coming up January 6 – 16, 2011. As we wait for today’s top food writers to arrive, we’ve been devouring the letters of the great writers of Key West’s past to learn what they ate in the island city and create a selection of historically plausible menus. Up this week: Elizabeth Bishop.

Elizabeth Bishop first arrived in Key West at 25 years of age, in early 1937, and made it her seasonal home for the next decade. In her letters from the time, especially those to her friend and mentor Marianne Moore, she writes in great detail about the local trees, flowers, people, and customs; about the fish she caught; and, to a unique degree, about all the new things there were to eat and drink.

Bishop became an avid gardener and fisherman in Key West. She tended fruit trees and vegetable and herb gardens, and she brought home offshore pelagics including wahoo and dolphin, as well as reef fish like red snapper. She shipped Moore many packages of her favorite local foods: mangoes, sugar apples, guava, sapodilla, and Spanish lime; Brazo Fuerte brand Cuban coffee; and odd packaged "cuban products" including “garlicky olives” and papaya concentrate. Bishop’s initiation into Key West cooking came with the hire of her housekeeper, Mrs. Almyda, or “Mrs. A.,” as Bishop called her. The poet adored Almyda’s local specialties, which included fresh green turtle consommé and conch chowder.

With Bishop fond of so much to eat and drink Key West, this will be an expansive menu. Fit for a large group, it will be suitable for the party welcoming a dear friend, who has finally come flying over the Brooklyn and Bahia Honda bridges to visit.

~ELIZABETH BISHOP’S MENU FOR THE MUSE & MISS MOORE~
“I hate to think that the human race can’t get proper nourishment from all the beautiful things– meat, fish, fowl, and fruits– that there are to eat in the world."

DRINKS: First, a selection of "cool-drinks," including tamarind water, papaya soda, and Mrs. Almyda’s dream limeade. Second, Daiquiris from fresh-picked lime juice and Cuban rum. Have also on hand: sherry, Coca-Cola, Scotch.

STARTER: Flatbread with homemade sea grape jelly and fresh avocado salad.

SOUP: Green turtle* soup

SALAD: Composed of garden-fresh lettuce, radishes, carrots, mint, parsley, tomatoes, zucchini, endive, and herbs

FISH: Fresh-caught whole Red Snapper; grilled Wahoo and Dolphin.

FRUIT: Tree-ripened banana, mango, sour-sop, oranges, sugar-apples, guava, sapodilla, and Spanish lime.
In her first package of mangos, Bishop wrote Moore with instructions for how to eat one: "In Cuba or Mexico they have special two-pronged forks for mangoes, but you can use a kitchen fork. You stick it in the stem end and if you do it right the fork will go into the soft end of the seed and hold the mango firm. Then you peel it down from the top and eat it off the fork like a lollipop, being very careful not to get the juice on your clothes because it stains badly."

COFFEE, TEA: Brazo Fuerte Cuban coffee; Mr. Morgan’s Private Brand tea.

MORNING AFTER: Abbott’s Elixir, a vitamin medicine; salt pills. Bishop believed in the restorative qualities of each.

*Note: This recipe will be exceedingly difficult to replicate. At one time a staple in Key West, green turtle is now protected under the Endangered Species Act, rendering it a federal offense to capture or kill an individual turtle.

Three New Writers’ Workshops Added

10/07/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 

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Paulette Bates Alden, Robert Stone, and Dara Wier.

Three new writers’ workshops have been added to our program this January 9-13, 2011. Paulette Bates Alden, Robert Stone, and Dara Wier join a faculty that includes former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins; Susan Shreve, founder of the MFA program in creative writing at George Mason University; and novelist and NPR commentator Alan Cheuse.

Paulette Bates Alden’s "Writing the Book-Length Memoir" will address the challenges facing the writer of a literary memoir: from what perspective in time to tell the story, where and how to begin, how to structure and shape the material, and questions of relevance—what to put in and what to leave out. Alden is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Feeding the Eagles, a collection of short stories published by Graywolf Press; and Crossing the Moon, a memoir published by Penguin. She has taught creative writing at the undergraduate and graduate levels at institutions including Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, and St. Olaf College.

Robert Stone’s Advanced Fiction Workshop
will focus on critique and revision of a work in progress to bring it to a more complete and polished form. Participants will read each other’s work in advance, and spend the mornings in critical discussions. Stone is the acclaimed author of several novels, a memoir, and, most recently, the short story collection Fun with Problems. He is a past winner of the National Book Award and a PEN/Faulkner award, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has taught at universities including Yale and Harvard.

Dara Wier’s Poetry Workshop will explore a variety of poetries, styles, and forms with adventure, curiosity, and close attention to one another’s work. Hybrid forms blending poetry and prose are welcome, and there will be some focus on assembling a collection of work, especially focusing on the chapbook and pamphlet forms. Wier’s books include Selected Poems, from Wave Books, and Reverse Rapture, which earned the American Poetry Archives Book Award. She is director of the MFA program for poets and writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-director of the Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action.

The Key West Literary Seminar Writers’ Workshop Program provides writers of all levels with opportunities to explore the craft of writing. Each workshop has its own focus and eligibility requirements, and each class is limited to between 8 and 12 participants to ensure individual attention. The Workshop Program is distinct from the Seminar; one may attend either or both. Complete information about all workshops, including admission requirements, is here.

Calvin Trillin & Roy Blount Jr. to Headline

09/29/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


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Calvin Trillin (l) & Roy Blount Jr. (r)

We are delighted to announced the appointment of two of the country’s most accomplished funny men to our Saturday night headline, the John Malcolm Brinnin Memorial Event. Calvin Trillin and Roy Blount Jr. will take on double duty, appearing during the first session on Saturday, January 8, 2011, and again at the second session the following Saturday, January 15, for a pair of performances called “What Ever Happened to Chicken á la King?”

Trillin and Blount Jr. are both Southerners who got their start in journalism. After growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, graduating from Yale, and serving in the U.S. Army, Trillin first worked as a writer for Time magazine. His distinguished career has included stints at The New Yorker, where he was the author of a highly praised series of articles called “U.S. Journal”; and as a columnist for The Nation and USA Today. Blount Jr. grew up in Decatur, Georgia, graduated from Vanderbilt and Harvard, and first wrote for newspapers including The New Orleans Times-Picayune. He was associate editor of Sports Illustrated from 1968-1975, and has since then worked as a freelancer for publications including Garden & Gun, Oxford American, and Spy magazine. Both men’s voices are familiar to listeners of NPR, where they regularly appear on programs such as Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and A Prairie Home Companion. Trillin has been called “perhaps the finest reporter in America.” Blount Jr. says he has jumped out of a plane, graduated from race-car driving school, scuba-dived with sharks, sung on stage with Bruce Springsteen and Stephen King, and hit a game-winning Texas Leaguer in Venezuela.

Trillin and Blount Jr. last paired up at the Seminar in 2005. The short audio clip (3:57) below, with Blount Jr. reading his poem “Song to Okra,” and Trillin his “What Ever Happened to Brie & Chablis?” is taken from that session, and gives some indication of what we might expect this time around.


Seats are still available for both sessions of this year’s seminar: THE HUNGRY MUSE: An Exploration of Food in Literature. Advance registration ($495/all events) is strongly recommended.

Adam Gopnik Keynote to open Session 2

09/21/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


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Photo by Richard Avedon

We are delighted to announce Adam Gopnik as keynote speaker for the second session of the 29th annual Key West Literary Seminar, this January 13-16, 2011.

The theme of this year’s Seminar is THE HUNGRY MUSE: An Exploration of Food in Literature, and Gopnik is an ideal candidate to begin four days of discussion about the role of food and writing-about-food in our lives.

As a writer at The New Yorker since 1986, Gopnik is known for his reportage on an enormous range of cultural topics and figures– everything from literature and television to sports and politics; from ballet to terror to theater to travel. Gopnik has also written frequently and perceptively about food, including profiles of elite chefs like Fergus Henderson and Alain Passard, investigations of obscure locavores devoted to eating solely within the five boroughs of New York, and a story about the burgeoning French culinary movement Le Fooding. Former Paris editor for The New Yorker, Gopnik’s writing on food simultaneously addresses the worlds of fashion, politics, and art while engaging the essential human issues of what it is to hunger and be satisfied, to search and savor.

A collection of Gopnik’s food essays, The Table Comes First, is forthcoming. Previous books include Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln and Modern Life and the bestselling Paris to the Moon.

Gopnik will be joined at the second session by writers including John T. Edge, Gael Greene, Mark Kurlansky, Michael Ruhlman, and Calvin Trillin. Registration is $495.00.

Each year, the Seminar begins with the John Hersey Memorial Address, established by members of our community in fond remembrance of Hersey (1914-1993), a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and beloved figure in Key West, where he and his wife Barbara lived for many years. Past lecturers include Stephen Jay Gould, Frank McCourt, E.L. Doctorow, Annie Dillard, and Derek Walcott.

Ruth Reichl to give Keynote @ Session 1

09/17/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


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We are thrilled to announce Ruth Reichl as keynote speaker for the first session of the upcoming Key West Literary Seminar.
Reichl is among the most influential writers on food of our time and a natural choice to deliver the John Hersey Memorial Address that opens our 29th annual event, THE HUNGRY MUSE: An Exploration of Food in Literature.

Reichl began writing about food in 1972, when she published Mmmmm: A Feastiary. A few years later, as co-owner and cook of the collective restaurant The Swallow from 1974 to 1977, she played a part in the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California. She was editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine for ten years until its closing in 2009; and before that she was the restaurant critic of the The New York Times, (1993-1999), and both the restaurant critic and food editor of the Los Angeles Times (1984-1993).

Reichl is the author of several books, including the critically acclaimed, best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires, and For You Mom, Finally. She is also the editor of The Modern Library Food Series, the host of television shows including the Food Network’s Eating Out Loud, an executive producer for film and public television, and a regular host with Leonard Lopate for a live monthly food show on WNYC radio in New York. Her lecture “Why Food Matters,” was published in The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Volume 27, in 2006; and in March 2007, she delivered the J. Edward Farnum Lecture at Princeton University.

The Seminar will begin with Reichl’s keynote on Thursday January 6, at 7:45 p.m. Throughout the Seminar weekend, she will be joined by writers including Diana Abu-Jaber, Roy Blount Jr., Frank Bruni, Billy Collins, Jonathan Gold, Molly O’Neill, Julia Reed, Calvin Trillin, and more. Click here to register.

Each year, the Seminar begins with the John Hersey Memorial Address, established by members of our community in fond remembrance of Hersey (1914-1993), a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and beloved figure in Key West, where he and his wife Barbara lived for many years. Past lecturers include Stephen Jay Gould, Frank McCourt, E.L. Doctorow, Annie Dillard, and Derek Walcott.

Patrick Symmes joins The Hungry Muse

09/13/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 


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Photo by Steve Lewis

Patrick Symmes has been added to the roster of speakers for the 2011 Key West Literary Seminar: The Hungry Muse: an exploration of food in literature.

Symmes is a journalist whose work focuses on Latin America, particularly Cuba, and is the author of two books: Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend, and The Boys from Dolores: Fidel Castro’s Schoolmates from Revolution to Exile, which made The New York Times "Ten Best Books" list for 2007.

Symmes has survived some malicious meals and scant rations while covering guerrilla conflicts from Afghanistan to Columbia for Harper’s and Outside magazines. Over the same years, he wrote for Condé Nast Traveler about cooking schools in Italy, Peru, and Los Angeles. These two skill sets– crème brûleé torch and Revolutionary sloganeering– finally overlapped in Havana when Symmes tried to survive a month on the same salary and food ration given to Cubans. The resulting Harper’s article, "30 Days as a Cuban," tells how he lost 11 pounds in Cuba, and spent $15.08 in a month, including transport.

Symmes will appear at the second session, January 13-16, 2011, alongside writers including Roy Blount Jr., Billy Collins, John T. Edge, Adam Gopnik, Gael Greene, Madhur Jaffrey, Mark Kurlansky, Molly O’Neill, and Calvin Trillin. Click here to register.

Feeding the Muse: Wallace Stevens

08/25/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
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"Slice the mango, Naaman, and dress it / With white wine, sugar and lime juice. Then bring it, / After we've drunk the Moselle, to the thickest shade / Of the garden." —from "Certain Phenomena of Sound"

As we prepared for “The Hungry Muse,” our 29th annual Seminar, in January of 2011, we consulted the letters of the great writers of Key West’s past to learn what they ate in the island city and create a selection of historically plausible menus. Up this week: Wallace Stevens.

Had Wallace Stevens never visited Key West, his early poetry almost certainly would have lacked its distinctive feel of exotic experience. At home in Hartford, Connecticut, he was a strict New England businessman, ungiven to personal excess or displays of passion. In Key West, on the other hand, Stevens allowed himself eccentricities normally relegated to the page. He mailed unusual tropical fruits home to his wife, Elsie, and wrote of drinking Scotch in his pajamas in the moonlight beneath the palm trees. He enjoyed green coconut ice cream, mangoes, and cocktails. Over-enthusiasm for the latter spoiled one dinner with Robert Frost, and led to an ill-planned assault on Ernest Hemingway, a notoriously talented fighter. Home again in Hartford, Stevens could find his balance: “Of course I don’t drink, you know; I have been on the wagon ever since I came back from Key West, very largely because I did not have sense enough to go on before I went.”

Like Stevens’s personality, this menu may at first seem unforgiving. But give the Montrachet a chance to open up, and by dessert you will find yourself overwhelmed, enriched, and nourished.

~ WALLACE STEVENS’S MENU FOR THE MUSE ~
“If there be something more to love, amen.”

COCKTAILS: Gin-based. Have one too many. “There are no ladies here, so one can do as one pleases.”

SOUP: Conch Chowder, “a thing in which Robert Frost is interested.”

FIRST COURSE: Wild doves on toast. “I can’t say they exceed anything else I ever tasted.”

WINE: Montrachet.

MAIN COURSE: Judge Arthur Powell’s catch of the day: Grilled snapper, whole. “Tomorrow several of the crowd are going out in boats for the big fish but I do not intend to go along. One day is enough.”

DESSERT: For the author of “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” this is obviously the main course. “Let be be finale of seem.”

1. Sapodillas, spooned from the shell.

2. Fresh mangoes, sliced and dressed with white wine, sugar, and lime juice.

3. Green coconut milk ice cream

DESSERT WINE: Moselle

COFFEE: Cuban coffee, black.

NIGHT CAP: Havana cigarettes and Scotch. To be taken in the moonlight under the palm trees in pyjamas.

MORNING AFTER: To soothe the jangled nerves of last night’s revolutionist: fresh sparkling orangeade.

Feeding the Muse: Ernest Hemingway

08/11/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
Hemingway with Sailfish

Hemingway's Catch of the Day - Sailfish. Ernest and son Jack in Key West, 1929.

As we prepared for “The Hungry Muse,” our 29th annual Seminar, in January of 2011, we consulted the letters of the great writers of Key West’s past to learn what they ate in the island city and create a selection of historically plausible menus. First up: Ernest Hemingway.

Like Hemingway’s prose style, his diet in Key West was composed of basic elements and depended upon an active sporting life. He spent weeks fishing and hunting shorebirds in the Marquesas and Tortugas, clusters of islands 30-60 miles west of Key West, and the quarry from these trips seems to have been his culinary staple. He was also an attentive gardener, planting fig, coconut, lime, and avocado trees on the grounds of his house on Whitehead Street, and joking to John Dos Passos that they were fertilized with the “ton of crap” he’d cut out from each day’s first drafts. “I wish you could plant a gin tree,” he joked to Maxwell Perkins, and in fact he hunted for booze too, once robbing the cargo from a reef-wrecked ship that had been carrying a shipment of liquor and wine.

A locavore before his time, Hemingway’s menu makes certain demands on the home chef. Consider it an invitation to adventure.

~ ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S MENU FOR THE MUSE ~
“We’ve been living on shorebirds, snipe and plover, and doves… Started out on absinthe, drank a bottle of good red wine with dinner, shifted to vodka … and then battened it down with whiskys and sodas until 3 am. Feel good today. But not like working.”

DRINKS: Absinthe

FOOD & DRINK: Fresh figs, Archibald MacLeish’s special ham, and Champagne. “I never ate anything better than the ham… Truly not only best ham but one of the very finest, rarest fine thing we ever ate.” (sic)

DRINKS: Gin & tonic, with a twist of lime from Hemingway’s trees.

SALAD: Fresh avocado, dressed with lime.

WINE: Chateau Margaux*.

FOWL: Roast snipe, terns, plover, and doves. “They are very good with the Bordeaux.”

SMOKED FISH & DRINKING: Buttonwood-smoked kingfish, Spanish mackerel, and amberjack. Vodka, then Whiskys & Sodas.

* Not only because it is so expensive to purchase, but because it will taste much better, we recommend salvaging the Chateau Margaux from a shipwreck where possible. As for the now-endangered species of fowl Hemingway shot in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, you may wish to find an alternative. The fish, though high in mercury, remain plentiful. Bon Appetit!

Subtle Big Things
talking with Frank Bruni

07/20/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 
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Photo by Soo-Jeong Kang

When Frank Bruni was named restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he was unknown to the food world. As a journalist at the Detroit Free Press and the Times, he was praised for his investigative reporting of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and his coverage of Governor George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. But his surprise appointment to this apparently enviable job– paid to eat in a city known for excellent restaurants– was to be, for deeply personal reasons, the greatest challenge of Bruni’s life.

In Born Round (2009), Bruni’s third book, he details the life that lent such irony to his tenure as the country’s most notorious arbiter of culinary taste. As a child, judging from the book’s many pictures, he was just slightly chubby. But in an Italian-American family obsessed with food as a symbol of status and celebration, he was clearly the most obsessed, devouring plate after plate of all that was available. With age came an additional obsession: his body and its perceived attractiveness to other men. Bruni attempts just about every fad diet that comes along and, in college, experiments with bulimia, a dangerous trick that allows him to have his cake and not eat it too. All the while, as the pictures tell, he’s still not that fat. But by the end of the calorie-fueled Bush campaign, Bruni is in his late 30s and, indeed, significantly overweight. Decades of withering self-criticism have finally found an ample target.

Bruni begins to get a handle on his weight just before the Times makes its tantalizing and terrifying job offer. As restaurant critic, he will be required to eat everything on the menu at all of the city’s best restaurants, occasionally eating dinner twice in one night, and always returning to a given restaurant multiple times before writing the reviews that will earn him admiration, envy, and scorn. In restaurant- and media-mad New York, getting through these meals undetected requires constant subterfuge; high jinks ensue as maîtres d question Bruni’s false identities and chuckle at his sometimes clumsy disguises. By the time this entertaining masquerade is through, we’ve begun to see what we hope is the real Frank Bruni: a man at peace with his urges, appetites, and even occasional binges, a battle-tested and levelheaded adult, practiced in the fine art of self-forgiveness.

Frank will join us in Key West this January for The Hungry Muse, and we had a chance last week to ask him a few questions. Here’s how it went:

•••

Littoral: What have you been up to since Born Round?

Frank Bruni: I write full-time for The New York Times Magazine, and remain a Times staffer, which I’ve been for some 15 years now. Yikes, I’m old! From that position I get to wander through the paper a lot: I recently did a huge Dining section piece on the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, and I write a column on drinking and bars called the Tipsy Diaries for the Weekend section on every other Friday. For the magazine I specialize in profiles: over the last six months I’ve written about the Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, the television doctor Mehmet Oz, and Carly Fiorina, the business pioneer running for Senate in California.

L: Were you surprised by the notoriety you found during your tenure as restaurant critic for The New York Times? Had your predecessors– Ruth Reichl, Bryan Miller, William Grimes– found the same level of celebrity? How would you say your time at the Times was different from theirs?

FB: I wasn’t surprised by the notoriety, precisely because that sort of notoriety, or at least a high public profile, seemed to go with the job. It was clear to me from what Bryan and Ruth and Biff (that’s what Grimes goes by) had gone through that The New York Times restaurant critic was a lightning rod for criticism, a magnet for chatter, a source of public fascination. I braced myself for that.

What was significantly different about my tenure was that it was the first to come along when the blogosphere was truly full-blown: when web sites analyzed the critic’s every word publicly and in real time. Eater.com, for example, did a “BruniBetting” feature– they now have something similar with Sam Sifton– that guessed how I’d rate a restaurant by deconstructing my sensibilities and approach through time. That sort of thing ratcheted everything up a bit.

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L: Do you think this rapid-response media environment has a discernible effect on food and the culture around it? Is the way we’re eating now affected by the way we create and consume information online?

FB: All the instant blog attention to new places can sometimes mean several things. Restaurants pay more attention to the way they come out of the gate than the way they’ll mature and stabilize and endure through time. Restaurants that come out of the gate wobbly may never get a chance to recover: the naysaying and catcalling on a myriad of web sites threaten to do them in. And restaurants with a ready-made curiosity factor– because they’re participating in a growing trend, because they have a chef who just got TV time on a reality show, or because they have a flashy gimmick– sometimes get more attention than they deserve, because they’re able to hog the blogosphere, which needs quick and easy and instant items. Blogs aren’t different from traditional media that way, but they’re like traditional media on steroids, traditional media on a sugar high. The buzz is louder and more pervasive than in the past, and I think it leads people in the buzziest directions. Dining out has become more faddish as a result.

L: As the Times‘ “Tipsy Diarist,” you’ve turned your focus to cocktails– a job that would seem to have sometimes painful consequences. Did you have any concerns about taking on this assignment? What’s your hangover remedy?

(more…)

2011 Session Assignments Announced

05/31/2010  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post
 

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The table is set for our twin bill 2011 Key West Literary Seminar: THE HUNGRY MUSE: An Exploration of Food in Literature. Panelists have been apportioned to one of two (or in some cases, both) sessions. Here’s how the menu is shaping up:

Session One: January 6 – 9, 2011
Diana Abu-Jaber, Roy Blount Jr., Frank Bruni, Billy Collins, Jason Epstein, Jonathan Gold, Darra Goldstein, Daniel Halpern, Madhur Jaffrey, Judith Jones, Harry Mathews, Bich Minh Nguyen, Molly O’Neill, Julia Reed, Ruth Reichl, Calvin Trillin, and Kevin Young

Session Two: January 13 – 16, 2011
Elizabeth Berg, Roy Blount Jr., Kate Christensen, Billy Collins, John T. Edge, Adam Gopnik, Gael Greene, Jane Hirshfield, Madhur Jaffrey, Mark Kurlansky, David Mas Masumoto, Nicole Mones, Molly O’Neill, Michael Ruhlman, and Calvin Trillin

We may add a few more panelists over the summer. Speakers and session assignments will be announced as they’re added to the roster– right here on Littoral, and also on our Speakers page, where you can see all of our current speakers, with links to their biographies, bibliographies, and other information from around the Web.

You are welcome to attend either or both sessions of the Seminar, which run from Thursday to Monday. If you are interested in registering for the Seminar, we urge you to act soon, as seats do fill quickly. We will hold your space for a deposit of $100. Click here to register.

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