Re: The Grub Street Diet

Best meal of recent memory: Otto’s German Bistro in Fredericksburg, Texas

I’m a proud and longtime fan of New York Magazine’s weekly The Grub Street Diet. I’ve been reading it for so long that I remember when it was called “The New York Diet” (how quaint but limiting) and on more Friday mornings than I can count, I’ve patiently waited on the Grub Street sub-section, quietly refreshing the screen for that week’s feature to drop. For as long as I can remember I’ve generally salivated at the concept of what other people consume – give me an “inside so and so’s fridge” all day, every day!

Two of my closest friends and I have had a years-long weekly text thread dissecting each GSD. Part of what makes it so interesting, in my armchair psychology view, is that humans are VERY defensive about their own eating habits and often take personal offense when being shown those of someone who is not the same. The comments can get downright aggressive and I’m usually (always) reading every last one.

Two weeks ago, one of the most polarizing GSDs in my recent memory was released, that of Zosia Mamet. 45 comments by my last count! It featured a number of things that faithful GSDers, uh, do not like: (1) cute-sy made-up names for food items, e.g. calling a PB&J a “barn sammy;” (2) lack of specificity, e.g. referring to a sandwich as both “amazing” and “epic” (emphasis Zosia’s) and then not mentioning the provenance nor a single ingredient of said sandwich; (3) casual references to one-percenter-y things, e.g. staying in a hotel for an entire week, living “upstate,” owning a horse; (4) questionable if not borderline seriously problematic habits, e.g. feeding Swedish Fish to said horse, and (5) being a nepotism baby, baby! (On the last point I will respectfully disagree with this being a true “problem” in the case of Zosia, being the major Girls stan that I am. I truly loved a lot of her performances, especially Shoshanna’s storyline of being vulnerable in Japan, and I also liked the first season of The Flight Attendant. My husband and I did, however, recently watch a David Mamet movie from 2000 called State and Main, after I saw it listed as number 11 (!) on Rolling Stone’70 Greatest Comedies of the 21st Century. I did a little Googling and I thought, how have we never heard of this movie?? It has a ridiculously good cast: William H. Macy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alec Baldwin, Julia Stiles, and Philip Seymour Hoffman! Per Wiki’s description of the plot, “[h]avoc is wrought on the inhabitants of a small New England town by a troubled film production.” I mean, that sounds great! Two hours later: we will never get that time back. Please, listen to me and not Rolling Stone: that movie sucks and there are many, many reasons why you have not heard of it.)

Anyway! Below are some of my favorite GSDs of all time. I wish I could experience reading these for the first time:

Stephanie Danler – Fun fact: on the day this came out, my two GSD-y friends and I went to her reading at Politics & Prose for Sweetbitter and we stood in line afterward for a signature and a brief GSD chat with her. She said she was a longtime fan too and so this was a big day for her! She was so lovely and this was a nice moment.

Jonathan Rubinstein – Is this not the most endearing man on the planet? I found this genuinely life-affirming and I sincerely hope that he and Sally are doing wonderfully!

Stephanie La Cava – Conspicuous and odd as all get out but I loved it, don’t @ me. Helps that I’m generally a fan of her writing and her style.

Rima Fakih – I have always had a thing for beauty queens, I guess? I recall being quite captivated at seeing what she ate.

Sarah Jessica Parker – Just great! Unsurprisingly (?!)

Taffy Brodesser-Akner – A little bleak diet-y but I still very much enjoyed. Relatedly, I might be the number one fan of Fleishman Is in Trouble.

Waris Ahluwalia – Chic and charming.

Alexander Chee – Long admirer of his. A+++ writing.

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