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A Heated Debate

July 30, 1997

I heartily disagree with Claudette Burdick's suggestion ("Overstuffed With Sausage," Letters, July 23) that you publish "recipes the whole family will enjoy . . . apple pie and fried chicken, Spanish rice and enchiladas, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, basic chicken soup."

I appreciate your diverse recipes, informative articles and gourmet touch. Unlike Ms. Burdick, I do not yearn for the democratization of the palate!


West Los Angeles

I absolutely agree with Claudette Burdick's letter urging the Food section to return to the realistic, family-oriented, but innovative style of previous years.

The July 23 section devotes too much space to "The Food of Memory" (excellent but overkill) and "Our Compliments to the Guest" (much too eclectic and complicated for most cooks).

Sunset magazine lost me with its de-emphasis on food, and now you are doing the same.



In answer to the letter saying that "Sausage: How to Stuff It, Cook It and Other Sausage Secrets" (June 29) was a waste of space, my husband and I teamed up and made Spicy Garlic Sausage, plus two other recipes using pork shoulder as advised. The results were excellent. Also, the butcher boned the roast with no complaint.


Los Angeles

Regarding the sausage article: I thought it was a great feature and I do plan to make my own sausage.



Claudette Burdick seems to feel you are "wasting ink" on articles about gourmet recipes and unusual preparations. These articles are what draw me to the Food section.

Gourmet cuisine is very interesting, and these are the recipes I am more likely to save. Frankly, if I wanted a good old recipe for fried chicken or mashed potatoes, there must be hundreds of listings in kitchen standbys like "Betty Crocker's Cookbook." I can easily look them up. Keep stimulating my imagination!


Huntington Beach

Thank you for the fine job you are doing with the Food section. You have just the right balance--great international recipes that don't require the reader to go to Timbuktu to find the ingredients. I especially enjoy your Thai and Indian recipes.



Three cheers to you for printing Claudette Burdick's letter. She requested "recipes that real people will enjoy and share with friends."

Many of us echo her sentiments, especially when we cannot find the ingredients. Recently, at a supermarket I requested a special item listed in a recipe from the L.A. Times. The manager asked me if I knew the brand and where they could order it.

No longer do I set aside time to savor the recipes in the Food section. Now I scan the recipes noting the ingredients. Sometimes I clip a recipe, but often it's just two minutes of wasted time.



A pox on Claudette Burdick of San Marino. In fact, a double pox!

How many recipes does one need for apple pie? For fried chicken? For meatloaf? For enchiladas? Thank the gods and goddesses for a Food section that keeps us thinking. I would not think for one nanosecond of making my own sausage, but I did enjoy reading about it.

Keep up your good work of presenting informative articles on unusual foodstuffs and expanding our horizons. When I want to do something traditional, I'll go to Betty Crocker. When I want something new, interesting, different, challenging, I'll go to the L.A. Times.

Although I've never tried it--and never will--I'll never forget the instructions on how to peel an eel in Larousse Gastronomique. It even has a good section on how to cook bear paw.



After reading the articles on making sausage, my husband and I were struck with inspiration and made sausages for a Fourth of July barbecue following your recipes. At the party, three other couples revealed that they too had read the articles and had tried or were intending to try the recipes.

None of us considers ourselves to be anything other than "real people." Could it be that Ms. Burdick's perceptions of "real people" are a tad narrow? If I wanted a recipe for Spanish rice, I would go to a basic cookbook. And yet the reality is that there is room for both sorts of recipes and articles in the Food section.


Los Angeles

Any food publication is much more than just a place to find recipes. Just as I know that I will see only a small number of the films I read about in reviews and will put my hands on only a fraction of the books whose reviews I read, so too will I actually use only a tiny percentage of the recipes I encounter in your Food section.

The point is that it's fun to read about what new or different things are being done--whether it's movies, books or food. When I don't come across something bizarre or utterly new in your Food section, I feel disappointed. Conversely, when you print recipes about apple pie and fried chicken, etc., my eye passes right over them.

Burdick's philosophy would have us contract and benumb our palates (as well as our imaginations), rather than expand and titillate them.



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