Not-so-lean cuisine

The New Yorker is rightly famous for its political pieces and short fiction; that makes it possible to overlook the fact that, in its 80-plus-year history, it has published some of the finest food writing in print. This book gathers the cream of the crop, and “cream” is an appropriate term, because you won’t find any celebration of low-fat eating here. There are chapters by M.F.K. Fisher on cooking tripe, Anthony Bourdain on avoiding fish on Mondays, and Malcolm Gladwell on artisanal ketchup. The lesser-known writers offer some of the tastiest tidbits. A piece by Joseph Mitchell on a clam boat captain is so delightfully and vividly written that it comes as a shock at the end of the passage to see that it was published in 1939. Lengthier biographical essays on Julia Child and the eccentric forager Euell Gibbons (author of Stalking the Wild Asparagus) are similarly gripping.