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Photo courtesy James Beard Foundation
Dan Barber, of Blue Hill, won the grand prize, Outstanding Chef, at Tuesday's James Beard Foundation Awards, and ended the ceremony with sober substance and restrained, generous joy.
Ed Levine, who always gets it right, described his emotions at watching the ceremony:
I realized that what transpires at events like the James Beard Awards is a passing of the guard, from old friends to new friends, from old friends to their children, and from one generation of chefs and food industry professionals to the next.
With Dan's award following Grant Achatz's Outstanding Chef award last year (and book award this year!), an important torch has been passed--to the two leading intellectual lights of cooking, both of them dedicated to innovation and sustainability. It's noticeable that both are wiry and ferociously driven, with endlessly whirring minds that propel them through greenhouses, henhouses, slaughterhouses, and two constantly busy kitchens, Blue Hill in Greenwich Village and one at Stone Barns, in Westchester (Dan) and design studios, kaiseki restaurants, and kaleidoscopic Back of the House destinations (Grant)--though each of course very much his own man, with completely distinct styles.
Dan is a longtime and good friend, so I particularly kvelled watching him go up to claim the prize. (And I'm proud that we're linked in eternity, at least the eternity of a news cycle, in the AP photo of the awards. The beautiful, willowy woman between us is no random well-wisher--it's Aria Sloss, Dan's girlfriend.)
And I kvelled listening to him. All awards ceremonies, particularly ones as endless as this one--the New York Times inadvertently released the names of all the winners, including the big national awards that are saved for last, at 9 pm, the end of the embargo, though the ceremony still had a good half-hour to go--have many moments of drama (Maria Hines, winner of best chef Northwest for her Tilth, in Seattle, racing in breathless from the stand outside the auditorium of Avery Fisher Hall, where she was cooking for the reception to follow), tenderness, and humor.
Photo by Henny Ray Abrams/AP Photo
Dan ended on exactly the right note: reflectiveness, in fact on generation to generation, and importantly on how his own friends and colleagues have reacted to the crisis that affected everyone on stage and in the audience. I asked him to send me a copy. Being Dan, he had to both reconstruct and slightly rework it, into the free verse it in fact sounded like from the stage. Here it is, for the record and for the ages.
I was sitting there thinking about my dad.
I remember telling him, reluctantly, I want to be a chef.
There was a long pause and then he said,
And I said the only thing that came to mind: You know, I love food.
There was another pause and he said, "I love books, but I don't read for a living."
I want to end on this note, a slightly larger context than me.
Six months ago the economy flipped on its head.
The writing was on the wall was for the end of fine dining.
And what we saw is that most industries, nearly every profession, dived down to the lowest common denominator.
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Automobiles, advertising, fast food and big food
It's as if they've been dancing the limbo, and the bar kept getting lowered. It's amazing what we've seen here in the last half-year.
But it didn't happen in this industry.
Fine dining became no less fine.
And I credit sommeliers and general managers, and all of the rest of the people ,
who work so hard ,on making restaurants work and work well
who refuse to lower that bar ,
and serve it with the pleasure and with the respect it deserves.
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About the Author
Corby Kummer ',s work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America."
What ISIS Really Wants
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here&rsquo,s what that means for its strategy&mdash,and for how to stop it.
What is the Islamic State?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’,s appeal. “,We have not defeated the idea,”, he said. “,We do not even understand the idea.”, In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “,not Islamic”, and as al-Qaeda’,s “,jayvee team,”, statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
How to Beat Donald Trump
The Republican frontrunner has surged in the polls by taking a tough stance on immigration&mdash,and if critics want to stop him, that&rsquo,s what they need to attack.
A new round of attack ads are heading Donald Trump’,s way, some from John Kasich’,s campaign and the super PAC backing him, and more in the future from an LLC created specifically to produce anti-Trump messages.
New Day for America’,s 47-second ad splices together some of the Republican front-runner’,s most awkward video moments: his suggestion he might date his daughter, his claim of “,a great relationship with the blacks.”, The Kasich campaign’,s ad turns Dietrich Bonhoeffer’,s famous words “,nobody left to speak for me”, into a warning from one of John McCain’,s fellow Hanoi Hilton POWs that a Trump presidency is a threat to freedom. John Kasich’,s Twitter account has fired direct personal challenges to the famously thin-skinned mogul.
Lebrecht / Corbis / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic
The Myth of ‘Easy’ Cooking
An entire industry has been built on the premise that creating gourmet meals at home is simple and effortless. But it isn&rsquo,t true.
I write about food for a living. Because of this, I spend more time than the average American surrounded by cooking advice and recipes. I’,m also a mother, which means more often than not, when I return from work 15 minutes before bedtime, I end up feeding my 1-year-old son squares of peanut-butter toast because there was nothing in the fridge capable of being transformed into a wholesome, homemade toddler meal in a matter of minutes. Every day, when I head to my office after a nourishing breakfast of smashed blueberries or oatmeal I found stuck to the pan, and open a glossy new cookbook, check my RSS feed, or page through a stack of magazines, I’,m confronted by an impenetrable wall of unimaginable cooking projects, just sitting there pretending to be totally reasonable meals. Homemade beef barbacoa tacos. Short-rib potpie. “,Weekday”, French toast. Make-ahead coconut cake. They might as well be skyscraper blueprints, so improbable is the possibility that I will begin making my own nut butters, baking my own sandwich bread, or turning that fall farmer’,s market bounty into jars of homemade applesauce. ,
Aaron Josefczyk / Reuters
The Lifelong Republicans Who Love Bernie Sanders
Some conservatives are defying expectation and backing the Vermont senator.
When Tarie MacMillan switched on her television in August to watch the first Republican presidential debate, she expected to decide which candidate to support.
But MacMillan, a 65-year-old Florida resident, was disappointed. “,I looked at the stage and there was nobody out there who I really liked. It just seemed like a showcase for Trump and his ridiculous comments,”, she recalled. “,It was laughable, and scary, and a real turning point.”,
So she decided to back Bernie Sanders, the self-described “,Democratic socialist”, challenging Hillary Clinton. MacMillan was a lifelong Republican voter until a few weeks ago when she switched her party affiliation to support the Vermont senator in the primary. ,It will be the first time she’,s ever voted for a Democrat.
Andrew B. Myers / The Atlantic
The Coddling of the American Mind
In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don&rsquo,t like. Here&rsquo,s why that&rsquo,s disastrous for education&mdash,and mental health.
Something strange is happening at America’,s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—,or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “,that violates the law”,) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—,and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’,d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “,I’,m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,”, the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’,s article in this month’,s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’,t take a joke.
The Silicon Valley Suicides
Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves in Palo Alto?
The air shrieks, and life stops. First, from far away, comes a high whine like angry insects swarming, and then a trampling, like a herd moving through. The kids on their bikes who pass by the Caltrain crossing are eager to get home from school, but they know the drill. Brake. Wait for the train to pass. Five cars, double-decker, tearing past at 50 miles an hour. Too fast to see the faces of the Silicon Valley commuters on board, only a long silver thing with black teeth. A Caltrain coming into a station slows, invites you in. But a Caltrain at a crossing registers more like an ambulance, warning you fiercely out of its way.
The kids wait until the passing train forces a gust you can feel on your skin. The alarms ring and the red lights flash for a few seconds more, just in case. Then the gate lifts up, signaling that it’,s safe to cross. All at once life revives: a rush of bikes, skateboards, helmets, backpacks, basketball shorts, boisterous conversation. “,Ew, how old is that gum?”, “,The quiz is next week, dipshit.”, On the road, a minivan makes a left a little too fast—,nothing ominous, just a mom late for pickup. The air is again still, like it usually is in spring in Palo Alto. A woodpecker does its work nearby. A bee goes in search of jasmine, stinging no one.
Scientific Faith Is Different From Religious Faith
Not all beliefs are equal.
If you want to annoy a scientist, say that science isn’,t so different from religion. When Ben Carson was challenged about his claim that Darwin was encouraged by the devil, he replied, “,I’,m not going to denigrate you because of your faith, and you shouldn’,t denigrate me for mine.”, When the literary theorist Stanley Fish chastised atheists such as Richard Dawkins, he wrote, “,Science requires faith too before it can have reasons,”, and described those who don't accept evolution as belonging to “,a different faith community.”,
Scientists are annoyed by these statements because they suggest that science and religion share a certain epistemological status. And, indeed, many humanists and theologians insist that there are multiple ways of knowing, and that religious narratives exist alongside scientific ones, and can even supersede them.
The Fallout From the Downed Russian Warplane
The incident has further strained relations between Moscow and Ankara.
Updated on November 25 at 11:30 a.m. ET
A day after the Turkish military shot down a Russian fighter jet, the two sides traded claims about what happened in the skies over Syria.
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that his forces were in their right to fire at the Russian aircraft, which he said had violated the country’,s airspace when it approached the border with Syria. Erdogan said there was no Islamic State presence where the Russia military, which has been bombing extremists in Syria, was flying, according to CNN. “,Do not deceive us,”, he said.
Meanwhile, Russia’,s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Turkey’,s decision to strike the plane was a “,planned provocation,”, the Associated Press reported. The pilot who survived the downing said Wednesday that the aircraft did not receive any warnings and was flying inside Syria when it was shot down, the BBC reported. The second pilot was killed by Syrian rebels as he parachuted to the ground.
Why Wild Turkeys Hate the Wild
When the birds were reintroduced to New England after a long absence, they chose to live in cities instead of the forests they once called home.
William Bradford, looking out at Plymouth from the Mayflower in 1620, was struck by its potential. “,This bay is an excellent place,”, he later wrote, praising its “,innumerable store of fowl.”, By the next autumn, the new colonists had learned to harvest the “,great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.”,
Soon, they took too many. By 1672, hunters in Massachusetts had “,destroyed the breed, so that ‘,tis very rare to meet with a wild turkie in the woods.”, Turkeys held on in small, isolated patches of land that could not be profitably farmed. But by 1813, they were apparently extirpated from Connecticut, by 1842 from Vermont, and from New York in 1844.
In Massachusetts—,land of the Pilgrim’,s pride—,one tenacious flock hid out on the aptly-named Mount Tom for a while longer. The last bird known to science was shot, stuffed, mounted, and put on display at Yale in 1847, but locals swore they heard the distinctive calls of the toms for another decade. Then the woods fell silent for a hundred years.
Video Is Never Enough
Would body cameras have made justice speedier for Laquan McDonald? Not without new laws.
On October 20, 2014, a white Chicago Police Department officer named Jason Van Dyke fired 16 shots at a black Chicago resident, a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke started shooting McDonald while he had his back turned on the officer, and he continued firing after McDonald had fallen to the ground.
McDonald was not carrying a gun at the time, though the city says he was holding a three-inch knife. He died later that night.
On November 24, 2015, the city of Chicago released a video of the killing, captured by a police-car dashboard camera. Hours before releasing the video, Cook County also charged Van Dyke with first-degree murder —,the first Chicago cop to be booked for that crime in almost 35 years.
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An Ancient Discovery in Peru
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