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Weekend Reading List: The Best Food Writing From Around The Web

From an engagement ring-stealing carrot, restaurant libraries, a strawberry empire, and the Amazon-Whole Foods price slash extravaganza, we’ve got the perfecting reading list for your long weekend.

+Lost items often turn up when you’ve stopped looking for them…til death do us carrot?

After losing her engagement ring on her family farm more than a decade ago, Canadian Mary Grams resigned herself to the idea she would never see it again. That is, until the diamond ring showed up this week – 13 years after she lost it –wrapped tightly around a misshapen carrot that had been freshly plucked from the garden.

+Food trucks churn out some of our city’s greatest eats. But these roving “restaurants” beg the question: are they money pits or the culinary version of a lean start-up? Priceonomics delves into food struck financing.

+Tech companies have long been using data to track sales and customers, evaluate staff performance, and suss out competitors. Now, the struggling restaurant industry is getting in on it.

Information culled and crunched from a wide array of sources can identify customers who like to linger, based on data about their dining histories, so the manager can anticipate your wait, buy you a drink and make the delay less painful. It can track the restaurant’s duck sales by day, week and season, and flag you as a regular who likes duck. It can identify a server whose customers have spent a less-than-average amount on alcohol, to see if he needs to sharpen his second-round skills.

+We would be remiss if we didn’t address the Amazon-Whole Foods price slashing thing. Holy -43%!

+Driscoll’s is a strawberry empire, controlling about a third of the $6 billion U.S. market. The New Yorker chronicles how this family-owned business reinvented America’s favorite fruit.

Strawberries can be orange or white, the size of a pinkie tip, oblong, conjoined or bloblike, ecstatic, defiant, ungainly, unique. But you don’t think of them that way. What you picture is a Driscoll’s berry: glossy, red, and heart-shaped, and firm enough to ship to the East Coast or to the Middle East and eat two weeks past the harvest date. Driscoll’s berries tend to lack the sugar rush and perfumed oomph of a tiny sun-warmed heirloom discovered on a country lane. Since the company’s inception, it has placed an emphasis on appearance.

+Foodie-bookworms, rejoice! Restaurant libraries might be the next big thing. Bon Appetit Magazine has the scoop. 

+Want to help aid in the Texas hurricane disaster? Local food banks are mobilizing a massive relief effort.

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