We’ve got another rich round-up of weekend reads that tap the intersection of food culture and queer culture. As always, if you have a tip for a good Jarry-relavant read, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Restauranteur and chef Ashley Christensen, of the celebrated Raleigh, NC, restaurant group AC Restaurants, writes about how coming to terms with her identity—as a gay woman chef—made her better at her work, and a better leader. (Food & Wine, March 11, 2019)
The problem with defining your self-worth through work is that it can propel you into a cycle in which you avoid something by moving on to a new, all-encompassing challenge.
We’re huge fans of Vinny Eng, general manager and wine director at Tartine in San Francisco, and pillar of its vibrant food scene—and we’re just as surprised and excited about his big career shift as the rest of SF is. (San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2019)
This week he starts a new role as organizing director for Suzy Loftus’ campaign for San Francisco district attorney. It might sound like a surprising move for a sommelier, but to anyone who knows Eng, this move into political life will make a kind of perfect sense. Over the last seven years, as Eng’s star has risen in the restaurant community, he has also become increasingly devoted to political activism, spurred in large part by the tragic death of his sister, who was killed by police officers in 2012.
Wendell Brock writes about a new one-man-play about the life of James Beard, I Love to Eat, now playing at the Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta, GA.
[Director Clifton] Guterman assumed I Love to Eat would be a predictably “funny and charming” stage biography that would touch on the high points of Beard’s life without going terribly deep. Instead, he found it to be a resonant portrait of an 81-year-old contemplating his mortality and questioning his relevance. “It shows every layer of the man’s personality,” Guterman says. “His insecurities, his anger, his health issues, his self-criticism. He was so beloved and praised, but he sometimes wouldn’t even believe the praise. And he would turn around and be his own greatest promoter, extremely proud and confident. He vacillated his whole life.”
We’re very excited about Jarry subject and collaborator Shannon Mustipher’s just-released book Tiki, and so enjoyed Osayi Endolyn’s recent profile of her for the Los Angeles Times.
Mustipher integrates the complex history of cane spirits in her work, even during service. She wants her drinks to inspire new memories, but she can’t ignore the past. In her early research she came across Tom Bullock, a St. Louis barman whose self-published 1917 work “The Ideal Bartender” helped ground her in the historic role African Americans held in beverage service. Bullock’s is the first known cocktail book to be published by a black person (facsimiles are now in print); it doesn’t escape her observation that if she were his peer, as a woman she wouldn’t have been permitted to mix drinks for a living.
Jesse Szewcyk interviews Liz Alpern of Queer Soup Night, and we’re here for it! (BuzzFeed, April 15, 2019)
“I make a joke that I’m obsessed with identity work. Part of my day is having deep conversations about schmaltz and matzo balls, and the next is talking soup with a bunch of queer chefs and getting into what queer community means to them. I feel like all I ever do is talk about my identity. I think we thrive when we feel grounded in community and our identities. I don't think it’s a coincidence that I’ve focused my work on the communities from which I have sprung.
Writer Alicia Kennedy unearths some of the queer roots of vegan food zines—and offers an intriguing recipe for vegan brownies. (Nylon, April 2019)
The interconnectedness of various movements has always been on display in zines, unlike in mainstream coverage of veganism, where it's often presented as just a diet with no political or social justice connections. "In zines, veganism seemed to come hand in hand with other radical ideas and living vegan was secondary," says Martinez, "so I could see how living vegan worked with trying to live in our society—nothing was single issue."
If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to be Martha Stewart’s best friend and right-hand man—here’s something of a peek. (New York Times, April 17, 2019)
[Martha Stewart’s] devotion to [Kevin Sharkey] is manifested in tributes. Ms. Stewart has named a French bulldog after him, as well as a leather tote, a shade of paint (“Sharkey Grey” was exclusively sold at Home Depot) and a cartoon character in a stiffly mannered children’s animated web series she created.
And it’s awards season! Congratulations to so many Jarry friends and contributors nominated for James Beard Awards (Nik Sharma, Mayukh Sen, Rebekah Peppler, Michael Twitty, Bill Addison, Justin Chapple, Kelly Richards) and IACP Awards (Nik again, Von Diaz, Anita Lo)—and to the just-announced Eater Young Guns (heeeey, Libby Willis!).
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