Aretha spelled it out

I doubt I was the only reader to have a very unseemly WTF? reaction to the kicker on Michael Batterberry’s obituary in the most self-important media outlet in the land. He was the courtliest gentleman in the food world, and he’s shipped off to that newsstand in the sky with a snarky dig at a failed magazine? The second title he founded also got short shrift, so good on My Biggest Fan for setting the record straight. The Batt was a unique visionary. And I sense that chefs are much smarter today partly as a result of how he chose to cover the industry. Of course I too thought he was brilliant for putting me on the masthead from the beginning, and for hiring editors who let me write it my way. Apparently something blithely snide I typed here got me kicked off the Christmas party list; I don’t think it was because I finally said I could not do the Year in Review any longer. (That was before pennies became the new dollars.) But he was unfailingly courteous whenever our paths crossed. We just never had an engaging conversation again. Which was too bad, because he was always entertaining, with a very dry wit, and smart as hell. Not least for shedding Food & Wine before it devolved into Gourmet’s more getting-and-spending shadow.