This Week in Alts: Chef Sean Brock on 'Heritage,' the dogs of search and rescue, and more

LA Weekly, "Sean Brock on Chefs as Academics, Southern Food and His New Cookbook Heritage" Sean Brock is a James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef based in South Carolina whose cookbook, "Heritage," which came out in October of this year, made it onto the New York Times' bestseller list and is in its third printing. LA Weekly's restaurant critic, Besha Rodell, says Brock "is considered one of the most important food revivalists in the country, seeking out and growing and supporting heritage crops." Her Q&A with him touches on the power of nostalgia in dining, his evolution as a chef, and the academic research required of a top chef: "You used to just be required to cook delicious food," Brock says. "But as the public becomes more and more educated they become more and more curious, and they're turning to us for answers because they trust us. So that pushes you as a chef—you have to have those answers. You have to know what the hell you're talking about, especially if you're claiming to be obsessed with a particular cuisine, you'd better know everything about it. So that means a lot of reading and a lot of research and a lot of communication. I feel like a very very lucky person to be able to do it every day. It brings me a lot of happiness."


Indy Week, "Chris Pureka and The Pinhook, dual forces for widening American acceptance" This North Carolina alt-weekly talks to Chris Pureka, a genderqueer singer-songwriter from Massachusetts, and Kym Register, the owner of The Pinhook, which has "a reputation as Durham's gay dive," and asks an important question: "Is mainstream culture actually opening up and becoming more inclusive, or is it simply cherry-picking what seems most palatable? Register thinks the voices of LGBTQ-identified people and their allies have gotten louder over the years with the help of spaces like The Pinhook. She is wary, however, of the notion that queer culture can integrate wholesale into the mainstream.

"I feel like gay culture—not necessarily queer culture—but gay culture is becoming more and more accepted in the mainstream, but there's a catch-22," she says. "Gay culture can be accepted in the mainstream if gay culture looks like mainstream culture—marriage, or, in a lot of ways, butch femme."


Boise Weekly, "Sniffing for the Missing: the Dogs of Search and Rescue" Writer Jessica Murri profiles the canine and human members of the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit (IMSARU), Idaho's "only stand-alone, nonprofit search and rescue group. There are 12 dogs on the team, each owned by volunteers willing to spend hours training not only their dogs but themselves.

"It takes about 18 months to train a dog for certification in search and rescue through the National Search Dog Alliance, and their duties are intense: Dogs in IMSARU follow scents in the air and tracks on the ground to locate people lost in rugged terrain. In a worst case scenario, they are trained to find cadavers—even in lakes and rivers. They—and their owners—are committed to as many as 30 rescue missions a year." Not all dogs have the personality and work ethic to go through the sort of rigorous training required to be a search-and-rescue dog, and Murri goes out to a training session and gets to know some of the seven mission-ready dogs in IMSARU.

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