The defendants of Bristol Bay and the salmon that inhabit it. Courtesy of on the Washington Post.

Washington Post: Here's one of the most helpful updates I've read in a while on the status of the proposed Pebble Mine, which fisheries (and chefs, including Tom Douglas) are concerned will be catastrophic to Alaska's Bristol Bay, home to half the world's sockeye salmon. The headline: "The biggest environmental decision facing Obama that you've never heard of." – Allecia Vermillion

GQ: I’ve been reading Adam Johnson’s North Korea-set novel The Orphan Master’s Son, so I was excited to come across “Dear Leader Dreams of Sushi,” his profile of a man who calls himself Kenji Fujimoto, and who spent 11 years as Kim Jong-il’s personal chef, sidekick, nanny, and jester. Among the things we learn about Kim Jong-il: He had a $700,000-a-year cognac habit, a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, and a lust for McDonald’s Big Macs, for which he’d dispatch Fujimoto on a private jet to Beijing to procure. It’s long (over 8,000 words) but more than worth the time, and my guess is you’ll see this story again when the James Beard Foundation announces next year’s media award nominees. — James Ross Gardner

Pop Chart Lab: This chart of cocktails in film and literature (aka what cocktails TV and movie protagonists use to get sauced) has been making the rounds of the interwebs. It's basically catnip for English majors turned booze writers. – Allecia Vermillion 

Slate: Food fight! Two recent essays in Slate go mano a mano over Spam, that block-o-pink-meat that one writer (Anna Weaver) extolls as “a paragon of modern foodie ideals,” while the other (Ted Genoways) insists is unhealthy, environmentally corrupt, and the unholy spawn of Big Ag. While I relish me a good contrarian argument, I have to admit I’m more compelled by the latter case—uh, sorry Marination Ma Kai—and that’s why that link is listed. (But it contains the link to the other one, which is tastier.) – Kathryn Robinson 

Food Arts: It’s the third installation of Restaurant Marche’s chef and owner Greg Atkinson’s annual – and it’s good. A veteran in the industry (former exec chef at Canlis), Atkinson shares the process of his restaurant’s genesis to completion, and what it has meant to juggle the business side of things along with working the line. Atkinson’s reflections on unforeseen hitches, drama with chicken liver pâté, and insights on how he runs his restaurant are heartwarming and interesting. The icing on the cake is his fluid written voice, which will happily carry the reader from start to finish. – Rachel Breiwick

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