Last Christmas, there was a gift under the tree from my boyfriend. It was obviously a book. I was doubtful. I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to books, so I know what's out, and I know what's coming, and it's rare that I haven't already vetted the options and if it's something I want, I've either requested an advance copy from the publisher, am first on hold at the library, or have already bought it, either in print or digital.
So it was a fantastic surprise when I unwrapped Best Food Writing 2014. I'm aware of these collections, and I vaguely remember and I probably had the chance to request it from the publishers but, due to life circumstances in general (still ongoing) and the holidays last year, I've been limiting what I'm accepting.
I was happy to have the "excuse" to read this collection of essays/pieces throughout the year, and without rushing them. If both great writing and food tend to comprise probably-too-much of your mental space, you'll probably love this series as well. It's a fantastic book to have on the nightstand throughout the year, dipping in and out.
The different sections in the book: The Way We Eat Now, A Table for Everyone, Back to Basics, Home Cooking, Stocking the Pantry, Someone's in the Kitchen, Personal Tastes, Extreme Eating. The selections are from varied sources, a wide selection of authors and views, and often cleverly, tongue-in-cheek categorized. There are intimate, family kitchens, broad social programs, terrible prison meals, restaurant communities, and extremes from living and eating on abysmal amounts of money to eating at Rene Redzepi's Noma in Copenhagen (shortly departing for Australia, by the way).
Some of the writings are sad, some depressing, some fascinating, some funny as hell. Though articles about food tend to glint particularly brightly for me, there were less than a handful in this collection that I'd already read (and those I had were so well written that in all but one instance, I read them again).
Having this collection on hand to enjoy throughout the following year may well become a tradition!