Like a lot of people who follow restaurants, I'm upset that Food Arts magazine announced this week that it would cease publication. Much as Gourmet billed itself "the Magazine of Good Living," Food Arts was "at the Restaurant and Hotel Forefront." It was right there on the cover, and it was true. Ariane and Michael Batterberry — who founded Food & Wine in 1978 and grew it to a subscriber list of 250,000 within two years — began Food Arts 1988, and unlike its ad-filled peers, the trade publication quickly became a vital chronicle of what chefs were doing around the world in a pre-internet age.
Sometime around ten years ago, I was sitting at the bar at Will Goldfarb's dimly lit Room4Dessert on Cleveland Place. The food writer Bill Buford was hanging out behind the post-postmodern dessert bar while researching what ultimately became Goldfarb's New Yorker profile. That night, Buford was talking up the antics of medieval French chefs, something he had recently read in an old, old book. He mentioned a dish where a goose that had been plucked alive gets lulled to sleep in the kitchen and made over to look roasted, only to come back to life during the banquet and hop off the table to freak out and amuse the royalty. It was totally obscure.
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