Photo: Brooklyn Book Festival
This weekend, the fifth annual Brooklyn Book Festival brought together a smattering of food writers from across the boroughs, including the Franks of Frankies Spuntino and Prime Meats; Rachel Wharton of Edible Brooklyn; chef Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune restaurant; Francis Lam, senior writer at Salon.com; and the Lee Brothers of Southern cookbook and boiled peanut fame.
There were many lively discussions on a variety of topics throughout the festival, but we've collected the most delicious quotes here:
On writing about food:
Gabrielle Hamilton: "It's a lot easier to cross off items on a prep list as opposed to figuring out the human condition."
Francis Lam: "I eat food because I love food. I cook food because I love food. I write about food because I love people."
On reading about food:
Hamilton: "I'm the curmudgeon. I don't read food writing. I don't want to talk to anyone about food. I'm not a food writer. I like to read fiction."
Ted Lee: "The best food stories are about people. The food is the excuse, the lubrication to talk about the people."
On cooking school:
Lam: "Going to cooking school does not make you a chef. I repeat, going to cooking school does not make you a chef. You are not a chef if you worked the line in one restaurant."
On today's home cooks:
Hamilton: "I go to people's homes for dinner and they've got the Keller cookbook out and have replicated the smoked salmon ice cream cone, and I'm like,"I'm in your home! I want home cooking!""
On critics and dining out:
Lee: "No offense to the restaurant critics -- they do a great job -- but I just don't want to do that. If I had to put on a wig and order five things I don't usually eat -- I couldn't do it."
Hamilton: "You're sitting across from your f***'ing husband! Talk about your lives, not the chervil I've paired with ricotta!"
On what makes a good home cook:
Lee: "[A good cook] has the impulse to share with people."
Lam: "A good cook uses enough salt and doesn't overcook the food."
Hamilton: "[A good cook] should have six things [they] can make on a dime, and [is] careful with the salt."
On bringing Stumptown coffee to Brooklyn:
Castronovo: "Coffee is a pretty much a drug we use everyday. It should be good, shouldn't it?"