Summer 2006

eb issue 2_EdibleAt our April launch party at the Brooklyn Brewery, I raised a toast not to the foods of Brooklyn, but rather to its people, and I’ll tell you why.

Edible Brooklyn boasts about our borough’s rich food history. But we’re not too 718-centric to know that any place people have inhabited for upwards of a few decades has a culinary past worth remembering, a legacy of handmade, unindustrialized, honest fare that modern residents would do well to maintain.

Unfortunately, across the United States (and increasingly worldwide) treasured artisanal food traditions are disappearing, as independent, locally owned producers and businesses lose ground to formulaic, multinational chains.

 Not so in Brooklyn. Here the real foods of our past are vibrantly alive, and our magazine celebrates the people behind them. In our pages, you’ll read about the farmers, fishers, butchers, bakers, and captains of industry who make Brooklyn’s daily bread, and it ain’t the pre-sliced sort. Latino immigrants cook authentic foods from their mother countries every weekend in Red Hook. Latticini proprieters handmake fresh mozzarella all day long, and tell you to wait for the batch that’ll be ready in five more minutes. Young men risk fortunes to found pickle businesses and micro-breweries. A farmgirl-turned-baker is unflinching in her commitment to local ingredients, while the chef on Smith Street awarded a Michelin star passes the glory to the farmers. As communities worldwide hemorrhage food culture, Brooklynites still irrationally hand craft real food. In the words of Ed Levine, people here cook from the heart.

But these are not the people I toasted. Rather, I raised my glass of Chocolate Stout to you: their patrons. You see, these Brooklyn businesses still make it like they used to because you citizens of Brooklyn pay them to do so. When you eat at Junior’s, instead of the Applebee’s that has opened across the street from it, you fund the Riese restaurant resistance. When you wait on line for 20 minutes in the rain to buy fish pulled from Long Island’s waters the day before you can bet the fishers will be back to do business with you again the following Saturday. And when you make your own jam from the fruits of local farmers, raise chickens in your gardens, and spread the CSA gospel you’re keeping it real. For that, I thank you.

Astroland Park, Coney Island.

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Gabrielle Langholtz is the former editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.