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Editor's Letter

No one could deny that, for a word that's been around for centuries, community has taken on a rather hip meaning, dominating the web and social networks and defying physical space. But in this issue, we go back to one of the original definitions: a group of people living in the same place. In the warmth and fluidity of summer weekends, I try to renew my connections with friends and neighbors, often under a sun umbrella in the backyard as I ferry between the herb garden, the kitchen, the grill and the table.

The stars of TV's The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, understand the importance of community—they found a lovely one in the tiny town of Sharon Springs, New York, when they decided to become America's most unlikely goat farmers. In this issue, they have a potluck with friends invited over for an old-fashioned barn raising. Happily, you don't have to hammer or paint before trying the great recipes, starting with the tomato lemonade and the warm corn-chowder salad.

In our story "Oyster Odyssey," the farmers at Island Creek Oysters in Massachusetts also finish a day of hard work with a feast. For them it's a seafood dinner, including a creamy oyster stew with fennel, steamed lobster with lemon thyme butter, and of course, oysters on the half shell. The setting: a barge anchored near Island Creek's bivalve beds.

Food also brings people together in The Help, the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett turned into a movie that's being released this month. The film, set in Mississippi, examines the complex race relations in the South during the early '60s, and cooking is a link between two very separate communities. We feature recipes for some of the incredible food in the movie, like Southern fried chicken (our cover recipe) and German chocolate cake. Sounds like just the right thing for me to serve to friends under the sun umbrella.

Where I'm Coming From: My Recent Expeditions to Mitteleuropa in NYC

Edi & The Wolf

If you want to learn about fantastic and obscure Viennese grape varietals while eating amazing smoked mackerel and schlutzkrapfen (mountain-cheese ravioli), this is the place.

Berlyn

The perfect sustenance before seeing anything at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I'd go back for the chicken liver mousse and choucroute.

Mile End

Paralyzed by so many excellent choices, I eventually went with the creamed belly lox with pickled fingerlings (a special) and the schnitzel, plus a Green Flash West Coast IPA.

Twitter: Follow me @fwscout

Facebook: Become a fan at facebook.com/foodandwine

Published August 2011
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