The last time you bought postage stamps may very well have been back when the Forever stamps were first introduced, but surely you need to restock for the holidays, or maybe you need to send a birthday card or mail a letter (remember those?). If so, you might want to note that the U.S. Postal Service just released a limited set of “Celebrity Chefs” stamps honoring Edna Lewis, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, Joyce Chen, James Beard and Julia Child. These chefs, according to the U.S.P.S., “revolutionized the nation’s understanding of food,” which in an ideal world, would also be true of “celebrity chefs” today. Alas.
And while one could quibble about whether Harry Potter deserved his own stamp set, you'd be hard-pressed to argue that the five chefs chosen for this Celebrity Chef collection are unworthy of the honor. Lewis, of course, wrote the book on Southern cookery and, as The New York Times reminds us, “founded the Society for the Revival and Preservation of Southern Food, dedicated in part to seeing that people did not forget how to cook with lard.”
The Postal Service says that Rojas-Lombardi is generally credited as the chef who introduced tapas to America, and Chen made Peking duck and other Chinese dishes “at a time when even soy sauce was considered exotic in America.” James Beard “laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has put America at the forefront of global gastronomy,” and Julia Child — well, we know Julia Child deserves her own stamp the same way she deserved her own movie. (Alas.)
There are quite a few other folks who wouldn't be out of place on future stamped odes to culinary greats: Alice Waters, say, or Cecilia Chiang. If you have an idea or two, the Citizens' Advisory Stamp Committee takes suggestions for stamp subjects. By mail, of course.