Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What are they Cooking in Dubuque Tonight? The New York Times Goes Global

The New York Times' restaurant critic Pete Wells just filed a review of Hog and Hominy, which is not in Manhattan or even Brooklyn but way out in the outer borough of Memphis, Tennessee. It's part of a calculated move. As Wells explained it back in May in a post in the now-defunct Diner's Journal blog, "it’s time for the restaurant critic of The Times to cast a wider net. The Times has been a national paper for years now, and its Web site is seen all around the world."

But, this isn't a move that's limited to the Dining section. The New York Times is making moves across the board to not only making itself a fully national journalistic organ but an international one as well. In the Sports section, for instance, international soccer matches have now displaced baseball from front page coverage, a move that isn't sitting well with everyone.

I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing restaurant reviews from Europe and Asia in the near future, too. It's a curious new direction from one of the lead voices in a publishing world that once famously considered civilization to end at the banks of the Hudson.

I've no strong opinion one way or another about whether this is a change for the better or worse. But, one wonders if such a widening of the focus will serve to highlight the splendid variety of cooking across the country and around the globe or advance the general blurring of regional and national boundaries into a single fusion cuisine that bounces from one hot spot to the next.

Time will tell.

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