Weekend Reading: Sky-High Salad Constructions, Food of the Future, and More

What we're reading, cooking, and clicking this week

Food 52

• I loved the June issue of IEEE, a science and tech magazine whose special feature "The Age of Plenty," will enrich and complicate your understanding of our food system. There's Nathan Myhrvold and Pablos Holman on the ultimate post-modernist kitchen appliance of the future; a round-up and review of mock meats; and a series of smart, big-picture articles on big ag, aquaponics, and more. —Karen Shimizu

• Baking's demand for precise measuring has dealt many a punishment: flat cakes, dry brownies, cookies with a texture like a hockey puck. Thankfully, this Splendid Table interview with Dorie Greenspan, a foremost baking authority and author of Baking: From My Home to Yours, gets down to the basics of measuring wet and dry ingredients, most notably flour, an essential, but often misunderstood, baking ingredient. —Riddley Schirm

• I'm a sucker for a good salad bar—but never in my wildest imagination could I have conjured cucumber- and tomato-based structures as intricate and beautiful (and structurally sound!) as the sky-high vegetable constructions diners brought back to their tables at Chinese locations of Pizza Hut posted recently on gaming blog Kotaku. They're not just feats of edible architecture, they serve a system-beating purpose, too: In Chinese Pizza Huts, patrons only get one visit to the salad bar—so they make sure to make it count. (Or at least, they used to make sure. These epic piles of salad were so in violation of the spirit of the one-visit-only rule that they've been largely banned since 2009, when most of these photos were taken.) —Helen Rosner

• "What is the difference between a greasy spoon and a diner?" New York City resident Norin Radd asks James Beard-award-winning food writer Josh Ozersky in this amusing Q&A from Esquire magazine. The answer? "Despair. Grease, loneliness and loss," according to Ozersky, who describes the best greasy spoons as "dim places that exist in a kind of moral twilight." Ozersky goes on to discuss his favorite greasy spoons, why turkey bacon is "jailhouse grub," and why New Jersey might want to 86 the "Garden," and change its name to "The Greasy State." —Keith Pandolfi

• I went to culinary school because I picked up Bill Buford's "Heat" by chance, and became entranced by his descriptions of Italian cooking. His piece in this week's New Yorker brings us to France, namely to Daniel Boulud's kitchen. The acclaimed chef approached him with a project in mind: "side by side, we would make a dozen or so dishes... Me + him + ingredients = food + story." I dare you to read his tale and not enroll in French culinary school immediately. —Sophie Brickman

• This photo of challah loaves baked on a grill [pictured] caught my eye the other day when scrolling through Food 52. The photo's caption, "Who needs to turn on the oven when you've got a grill?" made me incredibly sorry that I do not in fact own a grill, but I'm bookmarking the recipe page—which includes great step-by-step photo instructions—for the next time I'm cooking with someone who does. —Cory Baldwin