Young and Hungry

Best Food Writing 2009 Due in Bookstores Today

REV_Hughes_9780738213699.inddIn some ways, I don't even know why I'm pimping this year's Best Food Writing collection, which is due out today. If you're a die-hard local gastronome, you've probably read 10 percent of the book without even purchasing it.

How so?

Five of the 50 essays included are from D.C. area writers, including Joe Yonan, Monica Bhide, Jane Black, Todd Kliman, and yours truly. Not to make too much of this showing from local scribes, but let's do a quick comparison of how the D.C. market fares against those cities with long-established food cultures, like Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. (Forget New York City; we don't stand a chance.)

Here's the break down of Best Food Writing 2009 contributors from each city (based on a quick scan of the 50 essays; errors may occur, as they say):

San Francisco: 3

Chicago: 2

Philadelphia: 1

Seattle: 3

New Orleans: 0 (though John T. Edge does contribute an essay about how the city's restaurants manage to bridge the gap between social classes).

Houston: 1

New York City: I gave up counting after 10.

So what does this say about D.C. as a food city? Maybe nothing. Maybe our writers are just more aggressive about submitting essays to the editor for consideration. Or maybe we live in a town of overly ambitious writers and food has just become a more attractive target on which to focus their considerable skills?

Or maybe D.C. is finally coming into its own as a food town, and the writers are merely reflecting that. That's my working theory at this point. Care to shoot it down?

Comments

  1. #1

    I moved to Chicago from 02 to 05 and when I returned DC had become a much better food town. The number of good reataurants had probably tripled and there was a lot more interest by the general public on increased quality and choices. The food writing on multiple platforms has excelled. (Except for that Tom guy in the Post - he's out of touch)

    What bothers me about the food/dining scene is the rush to instantly judge/criticize/love a "hot" new place. I worry that a place like Birch and Barley will be packed solid for six months and then some bozo will call it "over" and the sheep will latch on to the next place. I wish there was more of an independant spirit and less of a pack mentality.

  2. #2

    Dan,

    Welcome to the rest of the world. Coming here from close proximity to Manhattan, the phenomenon you describe happens in all towns with a vibrant food culture. Frankly, I enjoy the cycle of hot to not because good dining survives no matter what happens on chowhound and yelp. Congrats to Tim and the other locals. All well deserved.

  3. #3

    @winenegress - You're right, it's exaggerated here by the lack of choices based on geography I think. Love your site BTW.

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