Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pass the Arugula: Book Talk with David Kamp

Tonight I went to a book talk/signing/cocktail party for David Kamp, author of "The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation." Kamp is a regular contributor to GQ and Vanity Fair and have written books about popular music, but this is his first attempt to bring his irreverent stylized writing to the food scene.

Not a foodie but a self-described cooker and eater, Kamp is a charming New Yorker who is genuinely interested in the ins and outs of food. And not just recipes, but why we eat the things we eat. His book has gotten the attention of people in and out of the food circles (not to mention raised some questions about his chapter on the iconic-to-be Alice Waters).

I haven't read the book yet, but I look forward to the fun ride through the history of how food is no longer just substance but style. And it sounds like it's a real look at the people behind the food movement, warts and all.

Kamp spoke, of course, at the Ferry Building at Book Passages in San Francisco. Below are highlights of some of his talk with Clark Wolf, a local restaurant consultant. Kamp spoke about food greats such as James Beard and Julia Child, clarifies his approach to Alice Waters, and why he came up with that title? (At least I don't think he was to blame for the book cover art.)

FYI, this was taken with my little digital point-and-shoot camera and uploaded to YouTube, so the quality isn't the greatest. But hey, I do this all for you for free, so please, no film critics!

Correction: In the late-night flurry to finish this on deadline (that was self-emposed), I incorrectly labeled the movie as taken place on Nov. 29, 2006 when it really should read Nov. 30, 2006. Other than that, you'll get a taste of Kamp's talk.

No comments: