As much as ELV would like you to think that we are the ne plus ultra of food writers, possessing that essential je ne sais quois,* in moments of certain humility,** we’ve been known to recognize the superiority of other journalists.*** One such bloke is Edward Behr, a fellow who I imagine looks a lot like his name as he pecks away in upper Vermont churning out the Art of Eating four times a year for the food cognescenti**** in America.
In our lifetime we’ve devoured them all. Bon Appetit will always have a soft spot in our heart because it basically taught us how to cook back in the late ’70’s and early 80’s. From there we graduated to Gourmet – that we loved until Ruth Reichl turned it into the Vogue of food magazines (all ads, dumbed down writing, stupid/boring graphics). We’ve also flirted with SAVEUR (too slick), Food and Wine (too American Express) and every wine ‘zine on the planet, before settling on Cook’s Illustrated and AofE as the only true, non-commercial ways to learn about food.
AofE is Behr’s highly personal journal about his quest to discover and learn everything there is to know about the foods he loves. If there’s an underlying philosophy behind what he writes and publishes, it revolves around getting to the bottom of things. Sometimes he tells you more than you want to know about subjects as obscure as Castelmagno cheese or Argan oil, but immersion in any of his topics will have you talking like a food nerd in no time.
And his guest reviews of cookbooks are so detailed and extensive that you’ll feel like you’ve cooked everything in whatever book(s) are featured in any issue. AofE also features (New York-centric) restaurant reviews by our buddy Mitchell Davis – the only person we’ve ever heard of who’s working on a PhD in restaurant criticism (at NYU). Read one of Davis’s reviews, and you’ll recognize the difference between the pablum being dished up by most periodicals, and actual critical thought.*****
The Art of Eating
Mail: The Art of Eating
PO Box 242 (how quaint is that?)
Peacham, Vermont 05862
* fancy French terms that mean we know what we’re talking about (even if we occasionally butcher the spelling)
** admittedly, few and far between
*** admittedly, a very small group
**** fancy Italian term meaning they know what they’re reading about
***** present company excepted of course