Reading the Beard-Nominated Stories, Tasting Tobacco (and Not Liking It)

Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

1. Beard Journalism Awards finalists, part 1. Over the course of the next few days, I'm reading over the stories nominated for 2011 Beard Awards. Over the years, I've begun treating the foundation's press release like the table of contents to an anthology of great food writing.

Today's links: Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Monica Eng exposes a bizarre Chicago Public Schools policy: Schools with edible gardens aren't allowed to use the produce they grow to feed the students. Apparently, the school has safety concerns. Sara Dickerman's Saveur article about gelatin elegantly traces how commercial gelatin has become so successful that it has ruined gelatin's cachet ― and how modernist-cuisine chefs are redeeming it.

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