The New Yorker's annual food issue (November 4, 2013) is out, and if you're a subscriber who received the issue and placed it directly on top of the other unread New Yorkers you have stacked neatly in your living room, maybe fish this one out and consider it prime bedtime reading material.

You might want to flip first to Lauren Collins's piece on the world of hot chili peppers, and the various attempts amongst “chiliheads” to one-up each other on the Scoville scale. Not only is the article somewhat timely given the current Sriracha saga (Collins notes that last year, Huy Fong Foods sold more than $60 million worth of the sauce), it also covers some fascinating ground, from gender politics (“Chili growing is to gardening as grilling is to cooking, allowing men to enter, and dominate, a domestic sphere without sacrificing their bluster”) to scandal (“Yes, Virginia! Peppers can be juiced!”).

Other pieces: Akhil Sharma's striking essay on food as symbols of emotional wounds; Dana Goodyear's consideration of why we eat some animals (cows, pigs) but not others (whale, horses); Jane Kramer's profile of Modena chef Massimo Bottura and Zadie Smith's comparison of the food delivery experiences in New York and London.

If you don't have the issue, you'll find several of the above pieces online, plus a fun gallery of covers featuring “people dining out,” which includes a distinctive one from Ludwig Bemelmans. Consider it a pretty way to pass the time, at work, at home, during Clippers games. At least, when you're not watching Doc Rivers try to mount a defense. After all, that too is quite an art.

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