Wednesday, May 02, 2007
American Food Writing comes to L.A.
Last night's Redcat panel for "American Food Writing," edited by Molly O' Neill, was a stimulating meeting of chefs and writers reading from the weighty new book of literary non-fiction. Before the panel, there were welcome snacks from Downtown restaurants including gazpacho from Ciudad, coq qu vin from Weiland Brewery and ahi sliders from Cafe Metropol.
Angeli's Evan Kleiman read a wonderful passage from the early 1900's guidebook, "Bohemian San Francisco," about Grant Street's Italian sausage and cheese shops. Novelist Shirley Geok-Lin Lim read from her hilariously acrid memoir about the forbidden Chinese foods of her childhood. Lim also pointed out that the rather reasonable traditional Chinese approach to food is to look for foods that are healthy rather than to worry about foods that are bad, as seems to be the current American focus. There were even a few nods to the May 1 immigration issue, with Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger and Kleiman detailing that their kitchen workers tend to come from Guatemala and Oaxaca. Foodies might appreciate what these employees bring to local restaurant kitchens, but not everyone agrees with how they end up in L.A., Kleiman reminded the audience.