Digest: Disappearing skills, Crescent City crisis, offal good

New York Times*: County- and state-fair cooking competitions across America are seeing fewer and fewer jams, canned vegetables, and local fare like apple butter. According to one contest organizer, "Canning is the hardest thing to learn from a book, and the women who really knew how to do it are all gone. The new ones don’t even know how to choose a peach that won’t turn to mush, poor things."

Food and Wine: Great feature on the struggling, post-Katrina restaurant community in New Orleans [where the Dairy Queen often cut high school classes for burgers at the Camellia Grill]. N'Awlins chefs have a big incentive to buy local: "If I stop buying shrimp from Dino he's going to lose his income. If I'm not buying oysters from P&J, they can't stay open," says one. "The government has failed us tremendously, but the one amazing thing that has happened is how the community has come together to support everybody who's here trying to rebuild the city."

An Obsession With Food: Food blogger Derrick Schneider compares Montana and California grass-fed steaks.

New York Times*: A chef who doesn't feel he must choose between Alice Waters's or Anthony Bourdain's philosophies, but who "worships at both altars" — pairing seasonal produce with offal.

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