Erica MarcusFood reporter-criticErica.Marcus@newsday.com
I do not come from a long line or even a short line of great cooks — no memories of mom’s great brisket or grandma’s incomparable rugelach. But I had parents who celebrated every occasion with a good meal out. Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, I became a pizza snob of the first rank by the time I was a teenager. My dad was fanatical about fresh seafood, and I don’t think anything ever made him prouder of me than my skill at eating lobster. “A shark who eats its prey whole doesn’t get as much meat out of a lobster as my kid,” he used to boast.
My best friend’s family was Japanese, so I learned how to wield chopsticks — especially useful since Dad forbade using a fork at the Chinese dinners that were a weekly ritual.
As it happens, I grew up to be a pretty good cook, and spent my first 15 years after college in book publishing, where I specialized in cookbooks. When I came to Newsday in 1998, I had some preconceptions about Long Island food that were quickly dispelled and, since then, I have worked to show readers that there is so much more out here than penne alla vodka, sesame-crusted tuna and grilled chicken Caesar salads.
I see my job as spotlighting LI’s unsung culinary treasures and helping readers spend their food dollars wisely. I’d rather steer diners toward an amazing Turkish kebab shop than an overpriced New American eatery.
Not that I shy away from spending money on the food: You won’t see me economizing when it comes to the best olive oil or prime standing rib roast or sourdough bread or in-season heirloom tomatoes. But please don’t call me a foodie, and please reconsider if you want to garnish that plate with microgreens or dress that salad with balsamic vinaigrette. It pains me when I see folks on social media exulting over a fabulous “new” restaurant that Newsday wrote about years ago. Read FeedMe every day and you will always have the jump on the best food on Long Island.