cover image The Best American Food Writing 2018

The Best American Food Writing 2018

Edited by Ruth Reichl. Mariner, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-328-66224-8

Reichl (My Kitchen Year) dispels the stereotype of food writing as transient fluff with this punchy and vibrant collection of pieces originally published in a wide range of venues, including the New Yorker and trend sites such as Thrillist. There are odes to dining scenes, like Karen Brooks’s two-fisted defense of Portland, Ore., as a great pizza city (“our unofficial food motto: no idea forbidden”), as well as profiles of foodie celebs like Mary H.K. Choi’s glowing take on Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi and Kushbu Shah’s pilgrimage to Ree Drummond’s remote Oklahoma eatery. Politics are a constant, with Jane Black’s phenomenal “Revenge of the Lunch Lady” contemplating the policy and culinary implications of free lunch programs in the Trump administration, while Shane Mitchell in “Who Owns Uncle Ben?” delves into the racial history of rice in America. For pure food writing fun, it’s hard to beat Baxter Holmes’s “The NBA’s Secret Sandwich Addiction,” which will have readers first laughing incredulously and then hungrily craving a PB&J on plain white bread. Thoughtful and educational, enticing and entertaining, this collection has something for everyone. (Oct.)