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issue no. 9, winter 2002–2003

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december 19, 2002     

food noun
...the things that are eaten by people and animals, or used by plants, so that they can live and grow
She's very choosy about what food she eats.
Food supplies are being exported to the starving refugees.
A food additive is an artificial substance added to food to give it taste or colour.
A food chain is a series of living things which are connected because each group of things eats the group below it in the series.
A food processor is an electric machine that cuts, slices and mixes food quickly.
(American) A food stamp is a piece of paper which is given to poor people by the government and with which they can then buy food.
If something gives you food for thought, it makes you think seriously about particular matters.
                         (from the Cambridge International Dictionary of English)

I search it out, find it, cook it, eat it, and often savor it, but I don't ever want to talk about it, hear about it, or watch it. Unlike most of my friends, I have never been caught with drool on the couch after being mesmerized by six hours of cooking shows, and I never could make it through an entire issue of Gourmet. So the challenge this time around was to put together an issue that would keep readers like me as well as the more epicurean types intrigued. I think we succeeded.

The editors immediately agreed that Erik Leavitt's poems His name is like a ham sandwich and Fox were among the best we'd seen in months. They were the first works accepted and provided us with a foundation of humor, sadness, and hunger for this issue. In Coffee First and Funeral Food, poet Dory Hudspeth reveals meaning behind rituals.

In nonfiction, film critic Mark Palermo discusses the surprising success of the food movie. Writer Ana Schwartzman in her essay, A Full Set of Teeth, provides a portrait of sassy 79-year-old Celia and her secrets to making dozens of loaves of challah each week. Rikke Jorgenson reveals more than just gastronomical differences between the French and Americans in A Taste of France. Anne Jennings makes some coastal comparisons in her search for the perfect chowder. And caterer Debbie Epstein compares baking to cooking in Science and Art in the Kitchen.

And we haven't even gotten to the food yet. Maureen White, a Michigan-to-New York transplant, has hosted the tastiest dinner parties I have attended. She shares with us a menu for six that displays her particular talent for creating comfort food with style. In the past, Lyn Dacanay gave OtP recipes for solo Valentine's days and spring flings; this time around, she celebrates winter with festive foods like glögg and Dobos torte.

But there's still more. Ana Schwartzman shares a challah recipe and Debbie Epstein gives us Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies and Tortellini Cinque Formaggi. We share our own sampling of culinary cultural moments in OtP suggests and some food for thought in the catch of the day.

Lastly, we include two of our favorite poems from the OtP archives, Israel Halpern's Seder in Prison and Ruth Daigon's Indecision on Aisle Seven, both of which concern food and longing.

We hope this satisfies. Happy Holidays and New Year.

from Nada and OtP

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