Like sex, science sells, and craft brewers have used it to give their concoctions a sense of handmade authenticity, as Adam Rogers writes in his new book, Proof: The Science of Booze. But are mass-market beverages made with any less care?

If you look for it, you’ll find that certain conservative dailies on this planet have made a small cottage industry of republishing reports that caged animals are, in fact, healthier than free-range livestock. Indeed, this argument comes up again and again and again in some places. As I write this, someone out there probably wants to have a detailed argument about poultry mortality, but suffice it to say that, whatever the other merits are, letting birds enjoy wide open spaces does, in fact, run the risk of them sharing those spaces with something that thinks chickens are tasty.

As unappealing as it is, this is part of the reason why the industry has mostly moved indoors: aside from the fact that the birds are going to be killed and eaten, it’s pretty safe for them.

Adega
128 Palomino Drive
San Francisco, CA
415. 866. 2014 (Reservations recommended)

The fish’s head, with eyes as gleamy as Brigitte Bardot staring up at you from the beach, the waves washing against her legs like the breath of angels that always knew your name and your love and your God, and the hot yes and now of it, had been set on the bottom of the bowl so that it looked up at you as if asking the question you always knew that one day you were to be asked, and beside it the chef had placed another piece of trout, this one rolled with herbs and sea salt and smoked just to the point of ruby-hued doneness, like a sunset fallingfallingfalling and then rising, now within. It was one of the most exquisite things I ate last year, and I would beat the gravel, returning to Adega in an explosive, radiant, madly speeding paroxysm in time.

|| Image via Flickr user Maya83

On how food trends reflect the world we live in, by the author of The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up With Fondue. Case study: a man comes of age between two very different eras of “big yogurt.”

If there’s one menu item that sums up the appeal of Red Lobster, it’s the cheese biscuits. Of course, it’s not terribly likely that a place called Orange Biscuit would grow to become the “world’s largest casual dining seafood restaurant,” with more than 700 restaurants. All of those restaurants are located in North America, granted, but hey, Major League Baseball still calls it the World Series.

Still, like its until-last-week corporate partner, Olive Garden, Red Lobster is well aware of perhaps the most important feeling a restaurant can arouse in the cost-conscious middle class consumer: satiety. It’s a food-induced completeness, one that doesn’t just mean your T-shirt is now clinging ever so slightly tighter to your stomach, but also results in earnest over-the-cheque conversation about the last time, dear, that you had this kind of meal, you know, for just $30—$30 for all that shrimp, plus the lobster tail. It’s the warm-insides completeness that keeps Red Lobster a prime destination for suburban special occasions, and there are few easier ways to achieve it than to provide a bottomless supply of freshly reheated fat-soaked bread baskets, so distinctively aromatic the mere mention brings up a mental slideshow of birthdays nine through 14, complete with clapping waiters and a side order of snow crab legs that gave my father as much joy to assent to as I got from cracking them.

|| Gordon Ramsay calling out an order to the brigade de cuisine

How did the restaurant kitchen become the frantic, sweltering, tyrannical hellhole it is today? A history of the back-of-the-house and its rigorous hierarchies. 

13. It feels somehow improper to eat Easter-branded candy corn, but the wrongness of candy corn is innate and fundamental.

12. “Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is toasted and eaten during the Easter period in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and some other countries.” It’s that time of year again, thought the thin-lipped British pervert. I get to eat double the marzipan!

11. The existence of chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs must be delayed compensation on the part of that kid who always wanted to make s’mores at camp.

Last week, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio got in some trouble when the world caught him eating pizza with a knife and fork. This is, of course, insane, despite the protestations of some people. But if the mayor of New York City was unaware of something so obvious, it stands to reason there might be more confusion over other dishes. To help, here’s a comprehensive guide to how to eat food. Hope you brought your appetite!

The first time I walked into St. John in London it was 2005 and just a touch before noon. City Gentlemen were enjoying elevenses, which is a fine way to say washing down Lancashire cheese on Eccles cakes with a little glass of Claret, Fernet, or Champagne. For many it didn’t appear to be the first drink of the day. I liked that.

It takes time to find your favourite Chinese food place, and the friends to attend it with. But once you’ve found it, nothing—not even a murder—can ever keep you away.

||Still Life with Turkey Pie, Pieter Claesz (1627)

Four of Hazlitt’s favourite cookbook authors talk shop. Peter Meehan, Jennifer McLagan, Naomi Duguid, and Meredith Erickson on annoying food trends, what makes a great cookbook, and how they really feel about following recipes.

Recent books by Michael Moss and Mary Roach look, respectively, at the grossest parts of our alimentary processes: The terrible foods we put in our mouths, and what our wonderful, revolting bodies do with them after.

Midway through Catland Empire, the most recent book by Toronto cartoonist Keith Jones, two elemental beings called Mr. Space and Mr. Time create dozens of wieners from the aether for some talking felines: “You will receive further instructions in the form of telepathic communication in a couple minutes. In the meantime, enjoy the hot dogs.” Jones has found himself drawing street meat again lately—all over the walls of the Hot ‘n Dog, a tiny Parkdale takeaway he just bought.

| | Michael Takasaki

We have become obsessed by food: where it comes from, where to buy it, how to cook it and—most absurdly of all—how to eat it. When did the basic human imperative to feed ourselves mutate into such a multitude of anxieties about provenance, ethics, health, lifestyle and class status?

If you read it closely enough, you might’ve noticed a conspicuous gap in Anthony Bourdain’s bestselling memoir, Kitchen Confidential.

At the age of 10, Bourdain describes having his first, epiphanic oyster: “I’d learned something. Viscerally, instinctively, spiritually—even in some small, precursive way,...

| | David Lanthan Reamer

In the dead-tree forest of bad cookbooks, Lauren Fortgang of Portland restaurant Le Pigeon picks the dessert books she goes to for inspiration.