Why is This Man Smiling?

photoThe James Beard Cookbook Cover From 1959. Just 75 Cents. (If you like the platter of proteins he’s holding, be sure to check back here tomorrow for our roundup of the 2010 Cochon 555 whole pig cook-off.)

Because he’s the famous food writer James Beard, and he’s damn pleased yours truly and Edible Communities just picked up their very first nomination for a James Beard Foundation Award for food journalism. It’s for the Best Food Column category, for three restaurant profiles for the Back of the House column in Edible Brooklyn, which is photographed, of course, by our incredible photo editor Michael Harlan Turkell

The stories–which are up against columns from Saveur founder Colman Andrews (!) and the amazing Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl (!)–are on Egg, Roberta’s Pizza and Franny’s and Bklyn Larder. Three incredibly cool places that hardly need me to help them tell their tales: They write themselves, in all seriousness.

There are plenty of other local winners that deserve a mention too, for both journalism awards (like Serious Eats’ Ed Levine and Raquel Pelzel, both Edible Manhattan contributors) and restaurant and chef awards (like Michael White of Marea and Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park). Luckily our friends over at Time Out New York spelled out the latter of mention right here.

And while I am beyond psyched on my own behalf–stunned is more like it–but I am also pretty pleased that our nomination signals a serious shift in the zeitgiest of good food writing and American Food Culture. This proves, we hope, that people don’t just like to eat, but like to know more about where the food they’re eating comes from, the stories behind what’s on their plates or in their farmers’ markets or on their grocery shelves or in their kitchen cabinets and drawers. And that’s even more exciting than the chance to win a medal with the visage of that famous fat man.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.