At this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards, Betty Fussell was inducted into the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. Other inductees included David Burke, chef and entrepreneur; John T. Edge, journalist and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance; Dorothy Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute; and Clark Wolf, of Clark Wolf Company, a food and restaurant consulting firm.
Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef had been nominated for a book award in the category of writing and literature, along with In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan, and Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China, by Fuchsia Dunlop. In Defense of Food took the honors.
Jane Grigson was inducted into the Cookbook Hall of Fame based on her body of work, including The Art of Charcuterie, Good Things and Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book. After an introduction by Stanley Tucci, Betty offered these remarks:
It is a personal honor to tell you about Jane Grigson, a leading woman in food in the twentieth century. I never met her — she died in 1990 — but I was grateful to be the first recipient of the Jane Grigson Award for Scholarship given by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Jane Grigson’s writings, quite simply, changed the way we think about food.
In her exemplary book, Good Things, she praised fish, mushrooms and fruit, simple French-country food and simple English country cooking. She taught us that good eating equaled good living, and that good cooking was the highest form of art.
“Cooking something delicious,” she wrote, “is much more satisfactory than painting pictures or throwing pots… Food has the tact to disappear, leaving room and opportunity for more masterpieces to come.” We are all in her debt. And the James Beard Foundation honors her memory with induction into its Cookbook Hall of Fame.
Interested in learning more about the James Beard Awards? All of this year’s nominees are listed here. Ann & Peter Haigh, who host the food, wine and travel program On the Menu, interviewed a number of guests and award recipients throughout the night. You can hear Betty about 13 minutes in (launch mp3). And the James Beard Foundation Blog covered it live — you’ll find related posts here.