The Young&Foodish year ended on a high note, with my signing on with Phaidon, the prestigious publisher of books by Massimo Bottura, Ferran Adrià and René Redzepi, to compile a guide to the world’s best pizzerias.
This happy development should not come as too much of surprise if you’ve been following my posts here or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 2 of my top 5 posts of 2014 were about pizza. In the past year I posted 5 videos about Neapolitan pizza on my YouTube channel.
This preoccupation with pizza did not come at the expense of my burger obsession. Burgers, like pizza, claimed two slots among my top 5 posts of the year. Since early October I’ve working on a major Young&Foodish event for early 2015 that’s to be all about burgers – real burgers. The Real Burger Challenge launches in London on January 18th.
Best wishes to you for a Happy New Year and a deliciously foodish 2015.
Top Young&Foodish Posts of 2014
Naples shared its love of pizza and dry pasta with the world many years ago but something got lost in translation. Rather than eat pasta al dente and pizza soft, in the Neapolitan way, foreigners learned to do the opposite.
Non-Italians at last discovered the pleasures of al dente pasta in the late 20th Century. But only recently have hardcore devotees in the pizza diaspora acquired a soft spot for pizza with a light, pliable crust.
“I have something for you,” said Londoner James Elliot, one of the Pizza Pilgrims behind the pizza van and insanely popular pizzeria of that name. “I’d like to you take it home and test it.”
I assumed the white pizza box Elliot handed me contained a pizza, albeit a rather heavy one. But when I opened the lid I saw a chemistry set where the pizza ought to have been. Plastic containers containing various elements were slotted into the round openings in a square sheet of green cardboard.
I slid the box over to Elliot for an explanation of its contents. The printed text under the lid contained the step-by-step instructions (see their recipe) for the Pizza Pilgrims Neapolitan Frying Pan Pizza.
Assimilating the young and foodish me into British life has proven more frustrating than expected. I assumed it would be easy for me to adapt to the London foodscape, given I was educated in New Yorkese, a language with vast similarities to English, and was already acquainted with orange marmalade.
Turns out there was more to mastering the British food curriculum than distinguishing crisps from chips, aubergines from eggplants, tomatoes from tomatoes. 10 years into my London education I discovered I hadn’t even heard of, much less tried, a beloved British condiment, Heinz Salad Cream.
photo by Ian Sargent
Zan Kaufman of Bleecker St Burger won the Final of the London Burger Bash on April 5th at Borough Market with a combination of blood and guts.
The blood refers not to the oozy redness of her aged beef patties, cooked south of medium rare, but to the dried blood in the Clonakilty beef black pudding she added to her #LBBfinal entry – the Bleecker Black.
The guts alludes not to any beef innards in that Irish black pudding, however essential they may be, but rather to the audacity of using an ingredient that could repulse a thick slice of the voting pool.