Happy Halloween!


Trick or treat? Anya's comfort level in this costume lasted about as long as it took to record this photograph (1/60th of a second, to be precise).

Happy Halloween from The Food Section.


Press Sighting: Washington Post


Today's Washington Post Book World features a review I wrote about a new crop of books on eating and the interplay of food and society, from a tasting tour of the world's "forbidden fruit" and cultural histories of hunger and feasting to the evolution of American foodways and a photographic memoir of one man's mouth.

Follow the link below to read the article:

»Eating . . . When food for the belly becomes food for thought


Staff Addition


Hooray! We have a new staff member here at The Food Section! Anya Lucia Friedland officially joined us on Friday, October 14, at 2:32 p.m. (8 pounds, 19.5 inches). Anya is currently training as the official breast milk sommelier of TFS.

We just returned home from the hospital on Sunday. While we adjust to life with our beautiful new baby girl, this site will be on a brief hiatus.


Press Sighting: Food & Wine

TastemakerIf you've picked up a copy of the November 2005 issue of Food & Wine, you'll find that yours truly is listed among the culinary notables in the magazine's annual Tastemaker Awards. The awards recognize "Top young talents who've changed the world of food and wine by age 35." Wow, that's quite an honor!

Here's what Food & Wine has to say about this here "Blogger Extraordinaire":

The Web isn't lacking for food blogs, but none has the scope of Josh Friedland's thefoodsection.com. Friedland started the pioneering site in 2003 to track "all the news that's fit to eat," linking to magazines, newspapers, Web sites and other blogs in 60 categories like gadgets, trends and news. Friedland works full-time as director of communications at a New York City hospital yet finds 20 hours a week to update the blog, where he also posts musings on recipes he's tried and chronicles his latest culinary adventures. The site's Moveable Feast links to food news in cities around the globe like Saigon and Florence.

Speaking of Moveable Feast, let's give credit where credit is due. My thanks to Emily Kaiser (Washington, DC), Samin Nosrat (Florence), Graham Holliday (Saigon), and Kristin Franklin (Los Angeles) for their generous contributions to this ongoing feature.

And, of course, thank you all for reading this site! I can't believe I've been at this for more than two years at this point.

By the way, if you are new to The Food Section, feel free to peruse the archives, visit the many excellent food blogs listed at right, and sign up for The Food Section newsletter to stay informed about the latest TFS updates and news.


Agenda: 10/12 to 10/18

1. Taste of Chinatown, sample food from more than 50 Chinatown restaurants at this outdoor festival, Saturday, October 15, 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., on Mott, Baxter, Mulberry, Bayard, Pell, and Doyers Streets (between Canal & Worth Streets). Tasting plates will be $1 to $2 each (menu, map, and more details at explorechinatown.com).

2. Sanskrit Culinary Workshop, the New York Public Library will hold a class on Sanskrit cooking, Saturday, October 15, 2:00 p.m., at the Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library, 40 West 20th Street. Free admission (212.206.5400).

3. Second Annual Sweet Success Conference, pastryscoop.com will hold a day-long conference featuring individual sessions on pastry and dessert preparation, Sunday, October 16, at the French Culinary Institute, 462 Broadway at Grand Street. $50/workshop, reservations required (888.APASTRY).

4. "Morning Salon" with Bryan Miller, food writer and former New York Times restaurant critic Bryan Miller and restaurateur Danny Meyer will hold a discussion and Q&A on the culinary world, Tuesday, October 18, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., at Union Square Café, 21 E. 16th Street. The event is part of the restaurant's month-long twentieth anniversary celebration. $50/person, reservations required (212.989.3510, ext. 24).


Next Stop, Rome


MfitaliathFrom the Maremma, we headed south to Rome, the final destination of Moveable Feast: Italia '05. This would be the shortest leg of our trip -- too short to explore the city in any real depth, be it gastronomical or cultural. Yet, we did our best to take in as much as we could during our three-day visit, touring the usual sites (the Colosseum) and the unusual (the Museo Criminologico).

We came armed with personal recommendations on what to see, and (most importantly) where and what to eat, from Jess at L.A. Ritz and Judy at Divina Cucina. Along with several travel books, the information-rich Rome issue of Gourmet magazine was essential. Particularly useful was the recently published Cucina Romana by Sara Manuelli. Part city guide and part cookbook, the book's chapters are organized around each of Rome's neighborhoods, with stories, recipes, and photographs from local restaurants, cafes, bakeries, markets, and food shops.

With all of the reading and research, a consensus seemed to emerge on a handful of "must see/eat" places. Next up, a pilgrimage to three of these holy epicurean sites.










Maremma: Random Acts of Eating


MfitaliathAbove and below, a random selection of food porn from the Maremma region of Tuscany. Top to bottom: Macelleria, complete with wild boar's head (Pitigliano), custard-filled bombolini (Castiglione de la Pescaia), apricots (Castiglione de la Pescaia), inedible, but beautiful, artichoke flowers (Castiglione de la Pescaia), caffe shakerato (Porto Ercole), macelleria sign (Pitigliano), bruschetta (Castiglione de la Pescaia), acqua minerale (Vetulonia), rest-stop panini (Grosseto Province), and gelato (Castiglione de la Pescaia).











Agenda: 10/5 to 10/11

1. Union Square Cafe Turns 20, to celebrate its twentieth anniversary, the Union Square Cafe is holding a series of events -- from giveaways to cooking demonstrations, tastings, and culinary conversations -- throughout the month of October. For a detailed schedule, visit http://www.unionsquarecafe.com/events.html.

2. Women, Wine, and Witchcraft, vintner and author Louisa Thomas Hargrave will lead a tasting of wines made by women and discuss "the historic association of women with witchcraft and the consequent limitations traditionally placed on women in the wine world," presented by the Stony Brook Center for Wine, Food, and Culture, Wednesday, October 5, at Stony Brook Manhattan, 401 Park Avenue South at 28th Street. $55.00/person (631.632.9404).

3. Bacchus Night, a four-course dinner, the first in a series of monthly wine dinners, will be paired with California red wines from Bayard's private reserve list on Wednesday, October 5, at Bayard's, One Hanover Square. Champagne reception at 6:00 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. $225/person (212.514.9454).

4. Dining Customs of Ancient Greece, Francine Segan, author of The Philosopher's Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome, will discuss gastronomy in the ancient world on Thursday, October 6, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Dahesh Museum of Art, 580 Madison Avenue (between 56th and 57th Streets). Free admission (212.759.0606, ext. 249).

5. Culture and Wine, Louisa Thomas Hargrave, Interim Director, Stony Brook University Center for Wine, Food, and Culture, will lead a five-session course on wine, culture, and history, October 11 to November 8, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street. $195/person, limited enrollment (212.769.5200).


Lunching on Higher Ground


MfitaliathThe drive from Grosseto to Pitigliano is truly stunning. The winding road bobs and weaves through rolling hills lined with neat grids of grapevines and shimmering olive trees. Yet, as beautiful as the view may be, the journey has an unfortunate side effect. It's an appetite-killer. All those twists and turns gave me a serious case of car sickness. As we arrived at our destination, which looks as if it has risen straight out of its rocky hilltop foundation, eating was the last thing we wanted to do.

The town is a major attraction for travelers, not only for its jaw-dropping skyline, but also for the architectural remnants of the town’s medieval Jewish community. After a bit of exploring Pitigliano, the car sickness waned, and our appetites returned. Good thing -- because we had one of the best meals of this stretch of our trip at Le Logge Dell'Orso, a tiny restaurant located in front of the Duomo in the Piazza San Gregorio VII.

Everything at the restaurant was taken care of by one man, the restaurant’s proprietor, who took our order and then disappeared into a kitchen in the back to prepare our lunch. When he returned, he brought us a spread of focaccia doused with olive oil and sea salt, along with a variety of crostini, plates of pecorino, and an insalata caprese like I had never seen it before – two big hunks of bufala mozzarella served side by side with a pile of quartered tomatoes. We also had an amazingly creamy risotto swirled with a purée of asparagus. It was a great technique, and it got my mind thinking about replicating this risotto-making method at home with other vegetable purées.



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Another great lunch -- also eaten high up -- was in Vetulonia, a hill town located closer to Grosseto. Vetulonia may pop up in a tourist guide for its historic Etruscan remains, burial tombs, and a small museum of ancient relics, but that’s about all you’ll find in the minuscule village.

Vetulonia has just one street passable by car. We winded our way up the hill (no motion sickness this time) and ate lunch at La Vecchia Cantina, a little restaurant at the lower end of town. We walked inside, which was dark, extremely hot, and empty, save for an old man in the back who said something to us in Italian and waved us to the back. We stepped around to the side of the restaurant, where there was an overgrown backyard with several picnic tables shaded by olive trees. There was a family, another couple, and two construction workers sharing a carafe of wine. For all the American attempts at creating "rustic Italian" menus and restaurant settings, here was the real thing.

We had crisp bruschetta topped with chopped tomato and olive oil. For an entrée, I had a fantastic pasta with crumbled norcino, a spicy and salty pork sausage. After an espresso, we took off to head back to our hotel. On the way out, we passed the old man inside and I peeked into the kitchen, where you could see nonna preparing the next table's meal.