Friday, April 11th, 2014

Giving An 'F': Rewriting The History Of FSG

My understanding of what it means to be a publisher has been skewed ever since I first heard the word. My mom was reading A Wrinkle in Time to me—I must have been around 8—when she explained that my great-grandfather had published the book. She told me how Madeleine L'Engle had taken the story of Meg Murry, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe to publisher after publisher, only to repeatedly be rejected. After being turned down by 26 or so houses, the book came to my mom’s grandfather, who read it and loved it, but "was afraid of it," L'Engle later said. He did say he would buy the book, [...]


Chicken With Ball Bearings: How To Cook Like A Futurist

After years of disavowing the unwanted, unloved phrase "molecular gastronomy," the culinary avant-garde was gifted in 2010 with a new umbrella term under which to gather: Modernist cuisine. The name came from Nathan Myhrvold, whose five-volume doorstop of a cookbook of the same title offers both a history of culinary thought and detailed descriptions of the techniques and recipes pioneered by the likes of Ferran Adrià and Heston Blumenthal. (A shorter version is due out in October.)

Before diving into the proverbial immersion circulator, Myhrvold turns to art history to make the case for the title Modernist Cuisine. Writing on the artistic advancements of the Impressionists, Myhrvold expresses [...]


How To Make Hard Apple Cider

I woke up hungover the other Saturday. It was just a mild headache, a low-level pain easily vanquished with a cup of coffee and a few glasses of water. But the hangover was special to me all the same, because I'd made it myself. The night before, a few months after buying five gallons of unpasteurized apple cider from an orchard east of Los Angeles, I got drunk for the first time off of my homemade booze.

This is how you make hard apple cider: simply put, do nothing. Apples are sweet, and their skins are covered with wild yeasts, giving you the only two ingredients needed to make alcohol. [...]


My Corner Pot Shop's Charm Offensive

I live next to a place where people buy marijuana with great frequency. And not in the way that your neighbor upstairs pushes a few dime bags here and there-this is a full-blown storefront, with free coffee and a TV and couches for people to lounge on. Carefully stapled bags, "prescription" printed on one side, are pushed out of a little window similar to the kind manned by bank tellers or postal clerks. The child-proof amber prescription bottles are the same kind that Cephalexin or Xanax comes in, but with ink-jet-printed labels reading ISH slapped on them, citing CA Health and Safety Code 11362.5-7. And that's because this is [...]