Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Foodies Celebrate - Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City is brimming with food & drink history

There’s no getting around it. Savoring Gotham - A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City, edited by Andrew F. Smith; and Foreword by Garrett Oliver is one huge tome. But then, it’s New York. Most everything here is big - as in fiercely superlatively, colossal. The buildings are big; the population is extraordinarily large and diverse; there are so many sports team that we have two of each of the majors -- so when it comes to that beloved subject we simply cannot stop talking about or sharing images of or indulging in: food and drink -- it is no surprise this landmark book clocks in at nearly 800 pages.

Savoring Gotham boasts 568 entry topics - from “Beverages” to “Chefs” to Food Controversies and Regulation” to “Holidays, Celebrations, and Festivals” to “Restaurants and Bars.”

The undertaking required 174 writers -- or a small army of foodies -- to capture what is really just the “first course” to Gotham’s extraordinary food stories.

In fact, at the book’s swanky New York City book launch party November 17 at the Oxford University Press’ elegant lobby, editor Andy Smith cheered the guests with the notation that this is just the first in a series of Savoring Gotham gastronomic collections.
Editor Andy Smith autographing a copy of Savoring Gotham for  Foodie Enthusiast, Karen Tenenbaum. I'm capturing the moment - and unknown to me at the time - the photographer was capturing me in the moment!

Also on hand to help celebrate at the premiere was local food and wine - and beer provided by JBF Award winner, Garrett Oliver’sBrooklyn Brewery .
Me and JBF Award Winner, author, Brewmaster: Garrett Oliver

The book officially went on sale December 10th. It’s worth noting that the book is not a “guide,” rather as the title offers, it is a “companion.”

Editor Andrew F. Smith and Marion Nestle

My" Shero" Marion Nestle, flanked by me, (L) and nutrionist & author: Nancy Addison 

A favorite food sprite: Mimi Sheraton (R) with author & nutrionist : Nancy Addison

Me and Max Sinsheimer, Managing Editor, Oxford Press (& Author Angel!) 

The stories are indeed lovingly written by writers who care passionately about the subjects. In fact, the writers chose their chapter subjects.

We may all know of Marion Nestle (my food “Shero”) and her Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition  and her effort to enlighten us to the effects of the ever-corrosive impact of Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) but I daresay not many know of other food and drink tales.

For example, it was charming to learn writer Meryl Rosofsky came to love writing about New York’s iconic The Four Seasons Restaurant so much she was convinced by the managers to hold her own wedding there last spring -- in time before it shutters its glamorous doors in 2016 due to the siren song of lease issues.

Also, many may covet Roberta's pizza but yet may not know how the two shipping containers -- seemingly duct-taped to the restaurant -- is home to Heritage Radio Network - arguably the best radio station “on food news, farming issues, restaurant's, chefs, …. and just about anything related to food.”

And there’s Gum. Savoring Gotham’s chapter on the quintessential chewing sensation, Chiclets, was named for chicle, “the gummy sap of a tropical evergreen, sapodilla, that was made and marketed by Thomas Adams in 1857, when after meeting the former Mexican president and general, Santa Anna -- who was living in exile on Staten Island and needed the money to fund his return to power - and thus shared the ancient Mayan confection recipe with a plucky New Yorker.

I am so honored and proud to have had the opportunity to research, interview, and write three chapters that are dear to my passions - for Savoring Gotham.
The chapters I wrote are: “Farm to Table,” “Greenmarkets,” and “Ladies Who Lunch.”
And while all the research was exciting-- and as long-time readers of my blog know - I’m a dedicated advocate and devotee of all things natural, local, and F2T.

And yet, it was Savoring Gotham that allowed me to dedicate another passion about the extraordinary women of Gotham -- with my idea of capturing those ladies who long ago, bore the essence of what is best about Gotham: fashion, food , and fame -- long before social media. The Ladies chapter was truly a frothy adventure to write: given access to WWD.com - Women’s Wear Daily’s archives - and a free-form interview with legendary Sirio Maccioni -- a James Beard Lifetime Achievement award winner and maitre d/owner of Le CirqueNew York. As written, “... Bill Blass was often whispering in his ear, helping to navigate the potential minefield of nouvelle society’s indiscretions and successes.” For the book’s review, he wrote: “New York, one of the world's most extraordinary cities, is captured masterfully here through its food and food history." --Sirio Maccioni, restaurateur. Agreed, sir.

I will be launching a “Ladies Who Lunch” podcast and YouTube element of my Chefs Garden channel.
I have long planned to interview the best, most intriguing, talented, women who, today, are at the kinetic crossroads of my world: fashion, food, politics, art and gardens.
It’s a most natural intersection, no?

Can you please write/post me your most salient thoughts on this as we will begin production in early 2016? Can’t wait for this exciting exploration into today’s Ladies Who Lunch.

Despite its heft, Savoring Gotham is a book you can’t seem to put down. The chapters are crisp, brief narratives that are sure to spark many a dinner conversation or bar chat. Savoring Gotham is an ideal holiday gift - one that readers will return to again and again - for reference, exploration, fun, and pride. Time to dig in.

As a special gift to Savoring Gotham readers, friends, and family: your can save 30% when purchasing a copy of the book by entering code ADFLYK2 at checkout via the OUP website. Plus, even the savings are New York big: while at checkout, you can also register with the website and receive an additional 10% off your purchase.

Everything’s better in Gotham.