Double Down: Game Change 2012, out today, was the fruit of “more than five hundred full-length interviews with more than four hundred individuals,” according to authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, writing in the Authors’ Note. Several sources I spoke to reported that interviews with the duo would come over a meal; CNN’s Peter Hamby even suggested in his Washington Post review that the duo would “ply [their sources] with booze and let the stories flow.”
One hint to how important Halperin and Heilemann maybe considered the gustatory circumstances of their reporting is an unusual shout-out in the book’s acknowledgements. “In Gotham City and on the road,” they write, “an assortment of glorified short-order cooks, vino peddlers, and front-of-the-house stalwarts attended magnificently to our corporeal sustenance.” And then they list them:
Mario Batali, Chris Bianco, April Bloomfield, Danny Bowien, Richard Coraine, David Chang, Wylie Dufresne, Frank Falcinelli, Ken Friedman, Suzanne Goin, Daniel Humm, John Mainieri, Carlo Mirarchi, Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, Jen Sgobbo, Nancy Silverton, Justin Smillie, Gabe Stulman, and Michael Toscano.
(Batali also received an advance copy of Double Down.)
They add: “The Pressed Juicery kept us fully hydrated. Seamless delivered. And the late, lamented Kinkead’s always (always) gave us Table One—site of more meals (and revelations) than we can count, and forever hallowed ground.”
Tellingly, Kinkead’s was in Washington, D.C. (not far from The White House), where indeed many of the pair’s sources likely reside, even as the two authors live in New York City—where, perhaps not incidentally, the food is much, much better.