The 21 Best Longform Food Stories of 2015
Joyce Park stashed this in Food
Favorite: The Case for Bad Coffee
"The worst part of this new-found obsession is that it isn't even an affectation. I don't drink cheap coffee to be different. I don't boast of my love for Cafe Bustelo, which has become the PBR of the bearded Brooklyn set. I usually buy Maxwell House. There is nothing cool about Maxwell House."
A terrific example of the food story that's not really about food: turns out, the great thing about bad coffee is that it disappears, and everything happening around it is what matters.
Runner up: Corn Wars
"The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI now contend, in effect, that the theft of genetically modified corn technology is as credible a threat to national security as the spread to nation-states of the technology necessary to deliver and detonate nuclear warheads. Disturbingly, they may be right."
Turns out, the world of genetically modified corn has as much international intrigue as arms dealing or drug trafficking. This brilliantly plotted story reads equal parts dystopian agricultural fantasy and high-stakes spy procedural.
I had previously enjoyed that one about Jacques Pépin helping an anhedonic writer after a bad breakup, but I also liked the coffee one because it was so uncool and I often suspect that food writing these days is all about being cool.
Thanks for pointing out this great one: The Chef Who Saved My Life
"What I noticed most, though, was how completely Pépin was granting me his attention, how present and engaged he was, despite the banality of my questions. It was a simple thing, but weirdly magical, allowing the rest of the world to fade away as we chatted."
Every writer has that one improbably personal interview that bleeds out into their real life. Here, the great Jacques Pépin helps heal Brett Martin's broken heart, and bring him out of an anhedonic funk.