Ode To Brisket
When you’re a food writer, people are always asking about the best meal you’ve ever eaten. I know they’re expecting tales of an unforgettable lunch at Michel Bras or a poetic kaiseki meal in Kyoto or a beluga extravaganza on the banks of the Volga, but what always pops into my head is brisket. Specifically, the brisket I had in 1996 at City Market, in Luling. I had eaten plenty of barbecue before that day and was expecting the usual—something tasty but not transcendent—when all of a sudden my mouth was filled with a perfectly balanced bite of meat, fat, smoke, and fire. The elements almost evaporated before I had a chance to chew. I took another bite and another, chasing the taste—there was something magical in the tenderness of this beef. I kept going back for just a little more and a little more until my hair smelled of burning oak and the taste of that brisket was imprinted on my brain.
I have yet to encounter another brisket like the one I had that day. Still, I keep trying. In the meantime I hold the memory close, and anytime I want to, I can close my eyes, conjure that taste, and take myself right back to Luling.
— Ruth Reichl, the editor in chief of Gourmet, secretly enjoys a little white bread with her brisket.
Ode To Sausage
President George W. Bush will leave Washington, D.C., the city where I, a boy from Houston, now reside, every bit as divided as it was when he first hit town. This is too bad, but a far bigger disappointment is that he has not spent a farthing of his political capital attempting to bring Texas smoked sausage to the Beltway.
Because could we not have united already around the link? Seriously. Here we have a foodstuff that resembles America’s cherished diversity (it’s a meaty melting