Weekend Reading: Dinner-Plate Art, Cheesy Fashion, Declining Cupcakes, and More

A look at what we're reading, cooking, and clicking this week

Hong Yi

• [Pictured above] Hong Yi, an artist and architect in Malaysia, set herself to the ongoing project of making shockingly beautiful works of art with food as her medium and a plain white dinner plate as her canvas. The level of emotional detail she evokes using everyday ingredients is extraordinary. —Helen Rosner

• I've been greatly enjoying The Hairpin's series Get This Look: fashion inspiration taken from places, concepts, and various inanimate objects—in this case, cheese. I think I'm more of a cheese ball than anything else (I don't wear hats well), but I admire the bold fashion choices of blue and manchego. (There's also a sandwich and a baked goods version, if your style leans more towards carbohydrates.) —Laura Sant

• Cops and donuts, donuts and cops: to the chagrin of police officers everywhere, the two are inextricably linked. And during one of the most deadly serious days ever for law enforcement officers in the city of Boston—or anywhere in the States—the two were thrown together again this past week. Only this time they accounted for one of the few sweet stories to come out of a series of tragic events: Dunkin' Donuts stayed open in Watertown, offering its wares free of charge throughout Friday's tense manhunt. —Greg Ferro

• I'm a huge fan of the AeroPress—the coffee-maker designed by the maker of aerodynamic frisbees—in part because of its incredible simplicity. As far as I knew, there was just one way to use it: grind your coffee, put it in the chamber, pour water over it, and plunge. An article on the LA Times Daily Dish blog this week put that naivete firmly to rest. Apparently, there are all kinds of crazy ways to manipulate the press to extract ever-better brews, including this approach by Andy Sprenger, former head roaster at Ceremony Coffee in Annapolis, Maryland, that enlists a conical Hario filter and involves inverting the Aeropress and flipping it mid-brew. —Karen Shimizu

• NPR has a moving report on the restaurant Jakeabob's Bay in Union City, New Jersey, which has just reopened in a new location, six months after the storm wiped out its old spot. The new decor, made up of scavenged storm debris, memorializes the old homes and businesses of the devastated community, while the neighbors' emotional response to the reopening, and the mutual support between the restaurant and the locals, shows the power of eating and drinking places to pull people together and feed far more than their stomachs. —Betsy Andrews

• Still waiting for the weekend to catch up on Anthony Bourdain's new TV show, Parts Unknown? Me too, but in the meantime, Eater lists some of Anthony's signature zingers from the episode. Thankfully for the cable-less among us, the whole episode, with the rest of Bourdain's endlessly quotable commentary, can be found online. —Anna Perling

• I've been known to go off on the odd anti-cupcake rant (my favorite version of the screed: they're not a food trend, they're a craft trend!), but I'm still a little sad to read in the Wall Street Journal that cupcake bakeries, as a business model, are on the decline. Sure, they may be disproportionately twee and overly pink and precious, but there was something sort of charming about the vision of a nation full of pastel-trimmed bakeries peddling their frosting-topped wares on every corner. Oh well, on to the next big thing. —Helen Rosner

• Is Chick-fil-A's strategy of allowing customers to take behind-the-counter tours at any of its 1,700 locations really feasible? Time will tell, but either way, it's an interesting step towards achieving the transparency the company seeks—they'll also be publishing nutrition information on their menu boards—and Chick-fil-A's move is sure to turn the heat up for other fast food chains. —Anna Perling

• Browsing WSJ.com on Saturday morning, Sarah Karnasiewicz's recipes for "off the grid" waffles--tangy-sweet sour milk waffles with lemon curd syrup, alongside a savory version with prosciutto, black pepper, and provolone— stopped me in my tracks. I'm now contemplating the purchase of a waffle iron, and having fun dreaming up all the different add-ins I'd go for. —Cory Baldwin