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by Julia Middleton

My mother and I have been arguing for years about how to make the perfect soft boiled egg so when she scanned the table of contents in the “Best Food Writing 2009” and saw Eggs Enough and Time by Margaret McArthur, she felt obligated to put a copy of the book for me under the Christmas tree. After both of us read the article, I am happy to say we’ve solved the time disagreement amiably.

The “Best Food Writing” anthology has included answers to this question and many more food musings since it was first published in 2000. One of the most exciting things about the 2009 edition is the breadth of sources included in this collection. As you would expect, The New Yorker, Gourmet [RIP -ed.], Bon Appetit, The New York Times and Gastronomica were all represented. But what is more impressive to me is the range of newspapers and blogs that published noteworthy food writing in 2009. As Jerusha explored in a post on this blog last week, online food writing is upping the ante and helping to create not only better educated eaters but also rich food communities.

This edition of “Best Food Writing 2009” is also filled with not only fine writers you’d expect—Ruth Reichl, Frank Bruni and Marcella Hazan—but others you may not. Douglas Bauer’s What We Hunger For, an elegy to his friendship with M.F.K. Fisher, is a beautiful reminder of the conviviality of food. The Misunderstood Habanero by Tim Stark, a struggling writer-turned-farmer-finally-turned-successful-writer, explores the spicy chili pepper and is another excellent addition.