Meals from the Museum

The New Yorker has had some great features lately exploring the heritage of  regional cuisines. In the April 16 issue, Julia Ioffe has an excellent article about Maksim Syrnikov, a Russian chef who’s dedicated to exploring and recreating that nation’s traditional diet, going as far as to build one of the massive brick ovens that used to dominate peasant homes. Borscht and potatoes aren’t really Russian he argues; the meals he does cook are fascinating, even if critics charge they’re unhealthy or anachronistic.

The Ioffe article called up a 2011 story by Burkhard Bilger about Homer Sean Brock, a Charleston chef committed to rediscovering classic southern recipes, going as far as to establish his own farm to grow the right ingredients. That one’s also top-notch.