The idea of a specialized genre of food writing is both a new and an old one. Old, in that some of us of a certain age once read Craig Claiborne's pieces in The New York Times, collected back issues of Gourmet magazine, or actually cooked from those dusty old Gourmet cookbooks, the ones that now look vaguely like the OED. New, in that not too very long ago nobody knew what a food blog was, much less read them -- or had her own blog on Wordpress, updated with iPhone shots of last night's meal at the newest xiao long bao palace.
All this is to say that the concept of food writing is itself a moving target. And one that keeps moving faster and faster, as demonstrated by the news that the much-lauded stand-alone food section of The San Francisco Chronicle is ending, to be folded into some sort of "lifestyle" section. That this was reported by The New York Times, one of the last great newspapers and one of the very few that still has a stand-alone food section itself, is unsurprising. It's also ironic, because although the NYT still publishes a great weekly food section, the paper closed down its food blog in July.More »