Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reading about eating: Bourdain, Beards and Noodles

Scanning the news of the food world this morning:

Do I need to explain the unholy alliance that is Ruth Bourdain? An anonymous creation of Twitter, @ruthbourdain is a bizarre (and always profane) mashup of the haiku-like food tweets of Ruth Reichl and the drug-crazed ramblings of Anthony Bourdain. Now, in one of the weirder signs of the new food-world zeitgeist, @ruthbourdain got nominated for a humor-writing award by the James Beard Foundation. The mysterious RB shares a few thoughts on that strange little hat trick here at CNN's food site, http://www.eatocracy.com/.

And yes, the Beard nominations came out yesterday, bringing temporary joy to five chefs/restaurants/designers/book authors/journalists/broadcasters in each category -- at least until mid-May, when only one of each goes home with the heavy metal. Here's the full list of nominees.

Here in the Carolinas, Beard nominees are Charlotte native James Villas for his book "Pig: King of the Southern Kitchen," (Books, American Cooking category); Charleston's Garden & Gun magazine for "The Southerner's Guide to Oysters," by Rick Bragg, Francine Maroukian and Robb Walsh (Journalism, Food Culture and Travel category); and Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, John Fleer, Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley, Cashiers, and Craig Deihl, Cypress, Charleston (Best Chef: Southeast). And Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill also is one of the five getting an America's Classics award.

Ramen ruminations: Kim Severson of the New York Times has an interesting (and short) piece on why/how/when ramen became so important to Japan's foodways. Meanwhile, on Serious Eats, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has more than 30 ways to dress up ramen noodles that should be required reading for upcoming college freshmen. (Too bad it's one of those annoying slide shows you have to click through.)

And finally, just for fun: Nate Silver in the New York Times has a delightful little piece on how to beat the high cost of salad bars. And on the Southeast posting board for Chowhound, there's a discussion on the best place to get lunch outside in uptown Charlotte.