If you haven’t looked at “Cooking Light” lately, you should check out the current November issue. Clocking in at nearly 300 pages, this double-issue behemoth goes far beyond the promised list of “all-time favorite” recipe and offers a thoroughly researched and nuanced examination of cooking, dining and food-shopping trends in America today.
Dispensing with the usual front-of-the-book grab bag, the magazine gets right in to the subject with a feature called “Trends and Truths in Good Eating.” the editors make the case that the American food scene is vibrant like never before, from backyard gardening, to expanding cheese cases, to the sudden abundance and variety of products in international markets to no-knead bread recipes. All these developments are encouraging avid diners to eat better, healthier and fresher food than we have in generations.
The magazine hands out awards to restaurants and chefs that make a difference in the ways they think about local fare (you know Charleston’s Sean Brock figures in there), focusing on vegetables and healthy dining. It also names 20 “food heroes” from Serious Eats‘ mad scientist, Kenji Lopez-Alt, to the Big Gulp-banning mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.
Executive editor Scott Mowbray goes so far as to call this the “golden age of American food” in a reported essay that looks at the advent of craft food makers. Many of his subjects are in the South (”Cooking Light” is published in Birmingham) and their effect on consumers’ notions of good eating.The always-adorable-in-gingham Colleen Cruze of Cruze Dairy Farm in Knoxville and Ron Marks of AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery talk about their respective efforts to bring back real buttermilk and small-batch yogurt made from grass-fed cow’s milk. And, of course, there’s Allan Benton, the Tennessee bacon god.
Also great is a story by food editor Ann Taylor Pittman about a visit to her mother’s native Korea. It supports my theory that Koreans make most delicious healthy fare in the world.
You really should pick it up.