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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Bump in the Beltway: "Me and Bourdain"

Yeah, him

Thanks to Melanie for this insightful piece

I have a definite sympathy for Tony Bourdain's takedown rant of the Food Network. That having been said, there is a serious other side of this for me personally. As I told you last winter I'm in the long recovery curve from pancreatitis. One of my docs tells me that it will be a full 12 months before I'm back to 100%, and that would be this coming August. Disclaimer: Jody is a friend and professional colleague. I'm at about 80% right now. I can feel week-by-week improvement in such little things as being able to climb the stairs with arms loaded with grocery bags, how much laundry I can carry in one trip, things like that. I was able to walk to all of my local services (except groceries and the bank) for the things I needed to do this week. That may not sound like much, but up until a couple of weeks ago I had to drive even to the convenience store across the street in order to pick up cat food for my demanding little beast. I saw Bob-E, our condo maintenance guy, on one of these emergency trots for Friskies tuna the other day and he stopped me on the street to say how good it was to see me up and around again. My strength is returning with the good weather and I can't begin to tell you how good it feels. Being an invalid is really hard work.

Back to the Food Network. One of the things about pancreatitis which is very hard on a foodie (or anybody else, for that matter, but particularly for a food writer) is that the appetite is gone. Completely gone, even when you get to the point where everything you eat or drink doesn't immediately come back up or evacuate in minutes out the other end. The only treatment for pancreatitis is nutritional, and that's a little hard when you can't keep nutrition in your body long enough to be absorbed. My doc's physical exam reveiled that: my electrolytes were completely screwed and that I was severely anemic in addition to the severe dehydration induced by all the GI mishegos. I'm just now beginning to get my body back into some sort of balance--not totally there yet. Getting my appetite back was hard (I'm mostly better on that score) and the Food Network played a huge role in helping me to think about food in the affirmative rather than the urpy. Yup, even the relentlessly perky Rachel Ray, so reviled by Bourdain. While I was sick, my attention span was reduced to nothing, so Rachel's "30 Minutes" was perfect for me, got me up off my sick bed to actually cook something with the tiny level of energy I was able to muster.

I'm a serious student of Alton Brown and Emeril is a personal hero for his role in the reconstruction of New Orleans. Alton's Feasting on Asphalt is going to be a classic in the genre of roadfood. He was a cinemetographer before he got to culinary school, and this series really shows it. And he got my appetite back and got me interested in cooking once again. And got me back to the grocery store looking for something more than Imodium.

Bourdain likes the controversy he kicks up. I don't need it. I'm a political blogger and I live in the middle of controversy about 12 hours a day. When it comes to food, I'm up for the comfort version of same.

- posted by Bump in the Beltway's Melanie

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