I’ve got some thrilling news! My cover story for The Christian Science Monitor has been selected as a James Beard award nominee under “Food Coverage in a General-Interest Publication,” a new category this year.
“The Big Stir” was the title on the cover of the July 11, 2011 magazine, but you can find it online under “America’s new culinary renaissance.”
Here is the complete list of nominees in this category:
The Christian Science Monitor
“The Big Stir”
This was unexpected but gratifying when I remember the challenge of writing a 3,000 word story in less than month while keeping up with my full-time (non-food related) editing duties. But the story was irresistible: There is a dynamic and creative culinary renaissance sweeping America. Why is it happening now?
To get to the bottom of America’s current fascination with food, I visited culinary schools, like the Friday night I sat in on a couple’s cooking class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.
I talked to executive chefs in their kitchens, and sometimes in their restaurant garden, like I did the afternoon I interviewed Chef Ana Sortun (a rockstar!) at her Cambridge restaurant Oleana.
I quizzed sociologists and food authors. I crawled into an art installation in the back of a U-Haul featuring glow-in-the-dark food (great backstory on this if you care to ask me sometime).
Perhaps most important, I talked to many ordinary Americans who have taken up a spatula for the first time or who have sharpened their culinary skills to the point of becoming, in effect, sous chefs in their own homes. By exploring the roots of and reasons for the current food craze, I tried to give the story the kind of historical and explanatory context that yields insights into American culture as well as its palate.
I had a lot of help and guidance from my editor, Scott Armstrong. Our staff photographer Joanne Ciccarello – a foodie herself! – gave the story the visual treat that no food story would be complete without. And thanks to Gloria Goodale for her contributions from Los Angeles.
I’m thrilled to be included at the awards gala on May 4 in New York City. My family is even buying tickets!
Maybe I’ll muster the courage to introduce myself to Gabrielle Hamilton, who is also up for several awards, and tell her how much I loved “Blood, Bones and Butter” in person.
If you are still with me here, you might enjoy seeing the PDFs of the magazine spread. As much as I love the ease and accessibility of online publishing, nothing quite beats a story printed on glossy paper.