From the Stacks: Diner Journal

| 12/1/2008 10:33:50 AM

Diner JournalAs food magazines go, Diner Journal sits triumphantly atop a slew of mediocre reads. Whether you have the inkling to delve into a bit of gastronomic prose or tie on your favorite apron and cook the night away, Diner Journal seamlessly melds the literary and culinary arts.

Read Charlotte Kamin’s “Donut Peaches & Time” in the Fall 2008 issue, an excellent swatch of food writing on pickling with her ex. Kamin tells the charming, yet awkward, story of how the two former lovers learn and relearn the canning process to cope with the discomfort of no longer being a couple. Further paging through, you’ll discover recipes to pickle your own everything: cucumbers, kimchi, and green tomatoes.

In “A Matter or Mouthful,” Jess Arndt and Amos Owens disclose the making of moonshine, or rather, the consuming of it:

Moonshine, bootleg, white lightning, crazy Mary, popskull, panther’s breath, hooch. One night in the hot armpit, of a country summer I thrashed through the buggy backdoor and into my bare-bulbed kitchen. My roommate (who also likes taking pictures of himself standing in used car lots wearing Mexican wrestling masks) was making moonshine. There was a mason jar on the table. Clear as water, thick ripples beckoning small greasy hurricanes on its surface.

I drank it.

Meanwhile, people all over New York are carting in soil to cultivate their own food, according to Peter Hale in his essay “A Series of Gestures.” He reminds the reader of World War II's Victory Gardens, community vegetable patches grown in support of the troops and to alleviate the financial burden of war. Victory Gardens produced 40 percent of the food consumed annually in the United States. Hale contends that growing your own food, even in the city, is both responsible and possible.

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