Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You mean, the New Yorker doesn't just publish those silly cartoons?

It occurs to me that I’ve recently read two excellent examples of food writing from the New Yorker (this one that appeared in my Best Food Writing 2005, and this one that a friend emailed my way), and that it might be worth my while to browse on their site for more. First thing, I turn up an article about eating fanesca in Ecuador (yummmmmmm… is it semana santa yet???), and touches on a lot of other traditional foods there. You can find the whole article here. (I totally watched the same telenovela as the author in high school.)

Or at least read this evocative description of Ecuador’s markets that made me instantly hungry and homesick…
My first trip to one of Cuenca’s markets made it obvious that I was about as close to the source of fanesca’s ingredients as I could get without living in the middle of a bean patch. All the vegetables and spices required—corn, for instance, and fava beans and a couple of kinds of squash—grow in the area, and some of them apparently don’t make it as far as Guayaquil, which is only thirty minutes away by air. That may be because the distribution system seems to consist largely of indigenous women who come to the market from the countryside, many of them in the bright-colored flared skirts and high-crowned panama hats that can make even a small woman of some years look rather, well, zippy. In the markets, they sit behind gunnysacks of what their families have grown—ten or twelve kinds of potatoes, or outsized corn kernels of various ages, or a selection of beans so large and potatoes so small that even one of those compulsive veggie connoisseurs who frequent markets like Union Square, in Manhattan, or the Ferry Building, in San Francisco, would have to do some close inspection to make certain that she wasn’t on the path to making her signature bean salad out of spuds by mistake.

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