John T. Edge Gives Kauffman's Teriyaki Opus Its Due In the New York Times

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Kevin Casey
Toshihiro "Toshi" Kasahara, widely regarded as the godfather of Seattle's teriyaki craze.
Erstwhile SW food critic Jonathan Kauffman won a truckload of national awards for his work here, but I'm not sure he took home any hardware for my favorite feature of his, a wildly informative archaeological dig into Seattle's teriyaki craze. But, really, what's better: an engraved plaque, or recognition--and imitation--by the great southern food writer John T. Edge in the New York Times?

"In Seattle, teriyaki is omnipresent, the closest this city comes to a Chicago dog," writes the Oxford American food columnist, in a rare assignment above the Mason-Dixon line.

Sound familiar? It should. In his 2007 cover story, Kauffman wrote: "San Francisco has its super burrito, Philadelphia its cheesesteak. And in the grand picture, someday Seattle's hallowed salmon, voluptuous berries, and cloud-kissed mushrooms may be eclipsed in the national imagination by another local specialty: teriyaki."

Other elements of Edge's piece are equally similar to what Kauffman wrote, a Cliff's Notes version of sorts. But hey, we're not complaining; this sort of thing happens quite a bit, and Edge was gracious enough to cite Kauffman's previous work. Plus, Edge doubled his SW love by quoting editor-in-chief Mark D. Fefer's predecessor, Skip Berger, who, tapping into his signature blend of sage and curmudgeon, offered the following:

"Seattle likes to talk about local foods, about ridiculous things like fiddlehead coulis. Seattle yuppies love the idea of going to some obscure Chinese place for dim sum but won't dare tell you that they eat chicken teriyaki. Those places are so much a part of the streetscape that we can't even see them."

Maybe so, but we sure can smell 'em.

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