BBQ: One man’s ‘authentic’ another man’s ‘blarney’?

“It’s unfortunate to begin “Cooked” [by Michael Pollan] with a section about fire, since the world of barbecue is such a world of showboating. In this realm, ‘O.K., but that’s not barbecue,’ is a serious insult, and Ed Mitchell, who ‘just might be the first pit master to have handlers,’ refers to his own biography as ‘the Ed Mitchell story.’ Mr. Mitchell drops the word ‘authentic’ so often that Mr. Pollan begins to fear ‘that I’d opened the spigot on a hydrant of barbecue blarney.’ Nevertheless, he ventures to Wilson, N.C., to learn how to cook a whole hog over a fire.”

— From “Finally, Maybe, We Are What We Cook” by Janet Maslin in the New York Times (April 15) 


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