Errata: Updated 12/26/2012.
She’s prolific. She can write. She has an intense love for Texas food and craft beer and she’s the only reason we stay abreast of the Houston food scene. She’s James Beard nominated writer and blogger Katherine Shilcutt and she’s our Texas food writer of the year.
Now can we please get her to move to Austin?
From her throne chair at Houston Press, Ms. Shilcutt, typing (we imagine) 115 words per minute, authors dozens of articles per month on what is one of USA’s hottest food scenes. Ingesting mammoth quantities of barbecue, enchiladas and craft beer she relentlessly fans out across Mutt City visiting both well-known, and hopelessly obscure restaurants, diners and food trucks. We’re still in awe of her piece titled “Whatever Happened to Baked Alaska? The Fates of Five Once-Faddish Dishes” where the good writer issues a magnum opus on Steak Diane, Baked Alaska, Cherries Jubilee, Lobster Thermidor, and Aspic.
Killer writing here: “The popularity of Cherries Jubilee declined for the same reasons as Steak Diane or Baked Alaska: No one was looking for excess or theatricality in their foods in the 1970s, as the country dove into recession and the turmoil surrounding the Vietnam War. We look back now on dishes and desserts like these as deliberate and gaudy forms of conspicuous consumption, even though cooks back then might say the same thing about our foams and emulsions of today.”
On In-N-Out: “The “animal style” burger was just my cup of tea: The patties were nicely thin and covered completely with gooey, melted cheese that affixed the caramelized onions in place, while the pickles added another vibrant layer of brightness to the already tangy “spread.” I’ve heard the In-N-Out burger referred to as “well-balanced,” and I’d have to agree. Although it was wonderfully messy to eat, everything mostly stayed in place and no one ingredient overpowered the others.”
And finally: read her epic takedown of Maggie Rita’s “A tiny ramekin of unpalatably rubbery “queso flameado” topped with greasy chorizo costs $8. A beef chimichanga fried in dirty-tasting oil and topped with a chile gravy that tastes of years-old ground cumin that had been collecting dust in someone’s pantry costs $14. A “deconstructed salmon tamale” featuring a pale, lifeless, undersized piece of salmon on top of a flat, store-bought corn husk that looks straight from the Thanksgiving decoration aisle at Hobby Lobby costs $22.”
Here’s a hot link to her body of work http://www.houstonpress.com/authors/katharine-shilcutt/
Enjoy her while you can Texas. We expect her to be moving on to New York, LA or Chicago as talent this outsize will surely grow restless for the big (er) city lights.
article has been updated to accurately reflect corrections made per correspondence with Ms. Shilcutt.
e.g. (mistakenly attributed to Shilcutt originally) We love the Ocean Cyclone Suplex Joshua Justice put on Joe Queenan of Wall Street Journal regarding craft beer.
“I can ignore your near-perfect Andy Rooney impersonation, complete with haphazard babbling about a subject you admittedly and very demonstrably know nothing about. And because it is my sneaking suspicion that you probably posit all your arguments in this way — wandering, slobbering abortions of reason, as to make them less refutable — I won’t begin to delve into the article’s bizarre lack of purpose.”
We hear Queenan’s still non-ambulatory after Justice’s finishing move.