To soy or not to soy

Words count, argues Cathy Erway, who blogs at ­ She recently took on a curious shift in food writing in which the word “sauce” is dropped from soy sauce, with the ingredient being called merely “soy.” In a post for the online magazine Taste (at ­, Erway called out big-name food writers such as Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold, New York Times critic Pete Wells and New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, writing, “Food writing is a game of specifics, and this shorthand is at best sloppy, at worst ignorant, and overall ripe for confusion. ‘Soy’ is not just soy sauce, after all. It’s one of the biggest industrial crops in the world, used in everything from livestock feed to car seat upholstery.”

She’s found some allies, among them Francis Lam, host of “The Splendid Table,” who wryly asked: “If we don’t call tomato sauce just tomato, or fish sauce fish or, hell, butter butt, why do people think it’s fine to call soy sauce soy?”

The verbiage may sound like a First World problem, but actually can have worldwide consequences. Why be casual (or precious) when you can be correct?

Listen to the pros

This sounds like fun! Five local cookbook authors will share their experiences in food writing and recipe development, along with thoughts on how women are changing the culinary landscape in Minnesota.

Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl moderates a panel discussion from 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Wedge Table, 2412 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls. Participants are Beth Dooley, Zoë François (ZoëBakes), Sarah Kieffer (Vanilla Bean Blog), Melissa Coleman (the Fauxmartha) and Betsy Nelson (That Food Girl). The event is co-sponsored by Wedge Table and Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Celebrate hospitality

The seventh annual Charlie Awards — honoring contributions of the Twin Cities food and beverage community — will be held Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Pantages Theater (710 Hennepin Av., Mpls.). The party after the award ceremony will move to Seven Steakhouse (700 Hennepin Av., Mpls.). Tickets for the show and afterparty are $25 and available at 612-767-3229 or online at For a complete listing of the finalists, see its website.

Local grains are the focus

Baker’s Field Flour & Bread will host a discussion of grains on Sunday from noon-1:30 p.m., followed with a reception, at the Food Building (1401 Marshall St. NE, Mpls.). Farmers, millers, bakers and makers will be participating. Tickets are $15; order them at For more information on Baker’s Field Flour & Bread and the Food Building, see or