The Digest

The New New Nordic & Other News

21st July 2017

Words: James Hansen

In this week’s food media round-up: dumpster-diving with freegans in New York City, pairing cheese with apple pie, and late-night ice lollies

Julia Moskin writes from Bergen, Norway, on a new approach to New Nordic Cuisine for The New York Times. So far, so new. The chef under the spotlight is Christopher Haatuft; his restaurant, Lysverket. His prefixed moniker: neo-Fjordic. “At first it was a joke,” he said. “But the fjords are what make Norway different, and that’s what I want my food to be.” Haatuft is well-informed and frank about his terroir’s history – “The big question for Norwegian farmers was not which kind of apples to grow, but how to not starve to death” – while Moskin is keen to situate Lysverket within Nordic cuisine’s past, present, and future. Pair with Sewell Chan, also at NYT, on the Vatican’s reluctance to go gluten-free.

Michael Waters surveys one of the great debates – does cheese belong on apple pie? – for Atlas Obscura. Here’s the nub: “If you are the type to add cheese to apple pie, you might not realize that you are at the center of a long controversy.” After a brief primer on the issues at stake – “whether or not adding cheese to pie is a sin” – the piece turns to crowdsourced stories on the divisive combination. Here is everything you need to know about the simple pleasure of Wensleydale crumbled over a thickly-crusted pie, if you’re in to that sort of thing. (If not, and the idea fills you with disgust, track down our editor Killian Fox‘s article on food aversions – zeroing in on his own issues with the humble boiled egg – for the Observer Food Monthly.)

Kate relates her housemate’s predilection for late-night frozen goods at Food Memory Bank. For anyone wondering about the absent surname, Food Memory Bank is a repository of culinary stories, some long, some short, some attributed, some (like this one) anonymous. Clocking in at 39 words, it’s possibly the shortest piece ever to feature on the Digest, but a pleasing element of food writing is its ability to leave you feeling like you’ve read more than the word count would have you believe. “Nighttime Lollies” does exactly that.

Square Mile head honcho James Hoffmann takes questions from the caffeinated corners of Twitter on YouTube. Topics up for discussion include the evolution of quality instant coffee, the acquisition of coffee farms by coffee roasters, and saturation in the London café market. A world barista champion and MD of one of London’s most respected coffee roasters, Hoffmann wears his knowledge confidently, but lightly – complex topics are discussed with clarity and without fluff. He also provides some sobering, necessary home truths: “Coffee was never built to be fair. It was built to be unfair.”

James McWilliams takes a look at the “freegan” scene in New York for LitHub. Enlightening us on a crucial distinction between black and clear bags – the former an annoyance, because you can’t see what’s inside – the piece introduces a culinary community with rules and values all its own. “Encountering piles of white bags (good!) and cardboard boxes (untaped!), we converged like the vultures we seemed intent on emulating.” Freeganism – the ideology behind refusing to buy food in protest at its systems – draws McWilliams in as he accompanies them on their “dumpster dives”, but a sceptical distance remains: “By consuming the dregs of the very network they despised, they were, in a very modest way, cleaning it up. They were not, to any extent I could discern, pushing the food system in a new direction.”

Image: xxxx

Posted 21st July 2017

In The Digest


Words: James Hansen

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