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Catty Corner #2: New Edible Wasn’t as Tasty as I Expected…
Can I tell you how excited I was to read the first issue of Edible Dallas and Fort Worth? I was given a copy of Edible Austin some time ago by a friend in Fredericksburg and I proceeded to devour it cover-to-cover on the car ride back home. I eagerly anticipated the arrival of this magazine dedicated to local, seasonal and artisanal foods when I heard it was coming to the Metroplex – and I finally got my hands on a copy last Saturday. Sigh. It wasn’t all that I had expected...
First of all, I’d like to point out what I enjoyed about Edible:
Variety: The articles presented covered a wide range of topics – gardening, cooking, farming, etc.
Tom Spicer: I loved the profile of the man behind F-M 1410. Kim Pierce captured his passionate conviction and eccentric individuality.
Recipes: Who doesn’t love recipes? My mouth really watered for “Deborah’s Herb Crusted Chevre Medallions”.
…However, I’d be fibbing if I said that the good outweighed the bad. I think it was about a 50/50 split. Here are my issues with the issue:
On the detail-oriented side, I’d like to strongly suggest that Edible add photo captions. For example, I had no idea who the fellow was who was pictured with the article on Bolsa. Is he one of the owners or the chef? And what is the name of the delicious dish to his right? Likewise, other mystery photos detracted from my enjoyment of the magazine, instead of adding to it as they should.
Second, I would have liked a short bio on the contributors in the style of other magazines. The section called “Notable Edibles”, for instance, is written by the “Edible Staff” – who are they? What are their backgrounds and areas of expertise? The magazine is about getting more personal with your food, after all, so why not give us a little info on the folks behind the words, too? (The website offers background on a couple of contributors, but why not the magazine itself?)
Third, some of the content left much to be desired. Case in point: “The Pleasures of Eating” by Wendell Berry was, in my estimation, a rambling, reprimanding rant against the very folks who would be reading it for not being aware enough to recognize the shortcomings of their own food supply. I’m sorry, but wouldn’t the audience for such an article (readers of Edible magazine) be quite aware of why, how and what they were eating? Various parts of the essay also seemed – how to put it? – folksy and outdated. Take the following quote: “Like industrial sex, industrial eating has become a degraded, poor and paltry thing.” What exactly is Mr. Berry getting at here? I don’t think I even know what “industrial sex” is. The rest of the paragraph didn’t adequately explain the comparison.
Later, while discussing food advertising Berry states, “If one gained one’s whole knowledge of food from these advertisements (as some presumably do), one would not know that the various edibles were ever living creatures or that they all come from the soil or that they were produced by work.” Has this man watched television or read a magazine lately? Not only do I believe that most advertising these days strives to achieve a goal opposite of his claim – in fact exaggerating the connection between their products and the earth – but I’d further hypothesize that any grade-schooler in the country knows that beef comes from cows, which are living animals, and that vegetables grow in the ground. Only when I flipped to the end of the article and saw that it was originally printed in 1990 did I understand why some of the statements in the piece seemed out of touch with 2009.
Further, a profile of Khatter Vineyards left out a crucial detail. I have visited this small vineyard and winery, and I think the most important point to mention when suggesting it as a destination (as the article did) is that it is located in the side and back yards of a private home in a residential neighborhood in the suburb of Parker. Reading a passage like “…nestled among towering pecan trees, overlooking a crooked creek…” gives a very different impression, no? Carolyn Khatter is a lovely person and she makes some damn good wine, but we must be clear about these things.
There’s more, but I won’t press on. I have high hopes for the next installment of Edible Dallas and Fort Worth, even though this initial effort didn’t satisfy my appetite. Perhaps issue two will have worked out some of these kinks.
And now, I'm off to my scratching post.