Two Civil Eats Stories Appear in ‘Best Food Writing 2014’ | Civil Eats

Two Civil Eats Stories Appear in ‘Best Food Writing 2014’

Last year, during the heat of our Kickstarter campaign, we called upon some of our favorite writers to spin their gold for us. Not only did they help us raise $100,000, they also wrote for us for free. Now, in a great honor, two of their stories have been included in the Best Food Writing 2014, which lands in bookstores today.

The latest installment of editor Holly Hughes’ series continues the tradition of curating the finest in culinary prose from the previous year’s books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs. This year, Hughes calls out writers with their fingers on the pulse of the current food conversation.

In Kim O’Donnel’s piece, “Cooking as the Cornerstone of a Sustainable Food System,” she writes about teaching her mother how to cook. “I’m sure some of you are asking how this sweet little mother-daughter cooking story has any business appearing in a serious publication about the food system,” O’Donnel writes. “The thing is, home cooking is serious business. It is a conscious decision to turn raw ingredients into a meal to nourish ourselves and the people we love. The food system is more than crops and livestock; it’s what we humans do with them … Cooking is as fundamental as it gets–to our personal health and nourishment, and to the well-being and longevity of our communities, culture, and society. It can be the cornerstone of a sustainable food system, if we give it a chance.”

O’Donnel’s story also was awarded the second place prize in the Les Dames d’ Escoffier International’s 2014 M.F.K. Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing.

Barry Estabrook asked us, hesitantly, whether he thought a listicle about what he wouldn’t eat would be of any interest to our readers. I jumped on it, not because I’m a fan of listicles, but because I knew Estabrook’s serious reporting and reputation would make it meaningful. His story “Five Things I Will Not Eat,” received 70,000 shares on Facebook alone and 90,000 pageviews. From supermarket ground beef to bluefin tuna and farmed salmon, Estabrook offered up valuable, easy-to-digest information for both food policy wonks and laymen alike.

When focusing on packaged greens, he writes: “In packing houses, crops from many fields are washed in the same water, which allows bacteria from one field to spread to greens from clean fields. E. coli and other bacteria can hide in cut edges, safe from wash water. Allowed to become warm for even a short time, the containers become perfect incubators for bacteria. The result is that bagged greens have sickened or killed consumers in dozens of outbreaks over the last several years.”

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

Best Food Writing 2014 includes some wonderful stories by some of the best food writers of our time, and many are friends and/or contributors to Civil Eats: Chef Dan Barber, John Birdsall, Jane Black, Sarah Henry, Anna Roth, Adam Sachs, Oliver Strand, Molly Watson, and many more. Stories like John Gravois’ “A Toast Story” and Kate Krader’s “Are Big Flavors Destroying America’s Palate?” take on the latest food trends without succumbing to hype. Meanwhile, others tackle food justice: Eli Saslow follows a family on food stamps in “Waiting for the 8th” and John T. Edge discusses working wages in “Debts of Pleasure.”

“Ultimately, though, good food writing boils down to the same things it always has: honest, real food, good ingredients, and the personal stories of the people behind it all,” says Hughes.

We’re thankful that Hughes and her team saw our work an important part of the conversation and grateful to our all of our writers, who continue to serve up some of the best food writing out there.

Today’s food system is complex.

Invest in nonprofit journalism that tells the whole story.

Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford. Naomi has worked as a media consultant at Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, and Consumer Reports magazines. After graduating from law school, she served as the Deputy Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.  Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

More from

General

Featured

Popular

The Field Report: New Research Shows Dangerous Levels of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Freshwater Fish

a fisherman pulls a largemouth bass that is probably polluted with PFAS from a freshwater lake

As Grocery Stores Get Bigger, Small Farms Get Squeezed Out

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 13: Produce is offered for sale at a grocery store on October 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. According to government data released today, the food at home index, a measure of grocery store prices, increased 0.7% in September from the month prior and saw a 13% increase over the last year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Op-ed: Some Regenerative Farms Are Weathering California’s Unprecedented Rainfall

SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 09: In an aerial view, water floods a vineyard on January 09, 2023 in Santa Rosa, California. The San Francisco Bay Area and much of Northern California continues to get drenched by powerful atmospheric river events that have brought high winds and flooding rains. The storms have toppled trees, flooded roads and cut power to tens of thousands. Storms are lined up over the Pacific Ocean and are expected to bring more rain and wind through the end of the week. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Farm Credit Administration’s First Indigenous Chairman Wants to Level the Playing Field

Eldrige Hoy, left, and Bryson Sam, members of the Choctaw Nation, seed a high tunnel with Iron Clay peas as a cover crop to improve soil quality. (USDA photo by Bob Nichols)