You have to honor anyone who can write, and write well, about using a hair dryer to prepare a chicken for roasting. Recently, Helen Rosner, who came to The New Yorker from Eater, was indeed honored; she was named a finalist for a 2022 National Magazine Award for life-style journalism. Her pieces, while ostensibly about food, invariably find their way into other areas: community, family, friendship. Not just the chicken but the people at the table eating the chicken.
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This week, we’re bringing you a selection of Rosner’s work. In “The Female Chef Making Japan’s Most Elaborate Cuisine Her Own,” the writer profiles Niki Nakayama, the unerringly creative Japanese American chef behind a celebrated kaiseki restaurant in Los Angeles. In 2020, she looked West again to interview the engaging Iranian American chef Samin Nosrat and learned the secret to writing a great cookbook. In “How Apples Go Bad,” Rosner offers a poignant meditation on fruit, police brutality, and the killing of George Floyd. In “Gabrielle Hamilton, April Bloomfield, and the Problem with Leaving Women to Clean Up the Mess,” she examines the #MeToo reckoning in the restaurant industry, and, in a rememberance about the maverick chef Anthony Bourdain, she writes about Bourdain as a unique guide to the wider world. Finally, to return to the matter of the chicken and the hair dryer: a uniquely instructive essay, from 2018, that will improve dinner and possibly even your life.