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What are you reading?


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#1 Carrot Top

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 01:28 PM

What food-related books are you currently reading? Do you read more than one at a time?

If it is a cookbook, do you tend to scan it or do you thoroughly read it...

Are you enjoying the book you are reading at the moment? Any comments on it?

I'm reading 'Much Depends on Dinner' by Margaret Visser and am enjoying it though it is a bit of a slower read than some others I've read due to the concentration level required to think through the historic and sociologic references.

Usually I read two or three books at the same time but am running short on titles I have an urge for...
I do tend to scan traditional cookbooks rather than read though I used to gobble up every word.

Tell us what is on your reading table!

#2 hathor

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 01:35 PM

I just finished "High Bonnet" by Idwal Jones. Very funny, sly book. Odd use of language, it read like a bad translation, but I don't think it is. The imagery just sticks with you. The link leads to Amazon, which I hope leads to the eGullet commission purse.

#3 derricks

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 02:01 PM

I also have several titles in play at the moment (and that's just in food; I have more on top of that):

Le Inspecteur se met a Table - the "tell-all" book from a Michelin inspector.

Vino Italiano - a really good write-up on Italian wines, but really meant to be read with wines in hand, not as casual bedside reading

The Wilder Shores of Gastronomy - really good essays, but some are drier than others

And a seemingly infinite number of Wine Spectators and probably at least one issue of Gastronomica.
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You have to eat. You might as well enjoy it!

#4 Artichoke

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 02:07 PM

In preperation for the return of oyster season, I have finaly got around to reading M.F.K Fisher's "Consider the Oyster."

I also just received my newest cookbook, "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong. I became enamored with this Aussie chef ever since discovering her show on the Discovery Home channel. I am looking forward to cooking her red braised brisket, her slow cooked honeycomb tripe and crispy skin duck with blood plum sauce. Born into one of Australia's oldest Chinese families (she is fifth generation), the book has lots of interesting text about her family and the stories behind her dishes. The food is a combination of Chinese and contemporary Australian cuisine, along with some French techniques.

#5 little ms foodie

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 02:11 PM

I'm currently reading a non foodie book but recently read "A Meal Observed" which is a really wonderful story about the famed restaurant Taillevent in Paris.

#6 StudentChefEclipse

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 03:23 PM

I am re-reading, for the billionth time, Calvin Trillin's "Tummy Trilogy" and also Redmond O'Hanlon's "Into the Heart of Borneo," a non-food book filled with descriptions of odd meals put together by the intrepid adventurers (one of my favorite cliche descriptions.)

Another of my favorite non-food books brimming with meal descriptions is "Crystal Singer" by Anne McCaffrey. This light little SF story deals in sideways fashion with a planetary parasite that induces a ravenous hunger in its host at a particular time of the year.

My mom, bless her, got me subscriptions to Saveur and La Cucina Italiana so I am also busy with those.
"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin
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#7 SiseFromm

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 03:41 PM

I just finished reading The Fourth Star, a year in the life of Daniel in NYC. Reading through the passages of Lee and Boulud yelling out orders was enough to make me stressed out! Such an amazing restaurant. Boulud is a master of his craft.
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#8 Cheffy

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 12:46 AM

I just found a 1960's version of "Le Cordon Bleu's Cooking School" encyclopedia set at a yard sale for 10 bucks...is some fun stuff...

One thing I thought was cool is that there are very few men in the photographs of the books, they are all women...

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#9 alacarte

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 05:41 AM

"The Taste of America," by John L. Hess and Karen Hess.

The book (and most of the columns that make up the book) first was published in the 1970s. so it's interesting to read some of their criticisms and see how much has changed...for instance, they gripe about the lack of good bread and seasonal produce available in most markets....they see supermarkets as the land of Wonder Bread and frozen peas. It's nice to see how the advances made in artisanal bread-making and greenmarkets have improved dinner table offerings.

#10 bleudauvergne

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 06:10 AM

I just found a 1960's version of "Le Cordon Bleu's Cooking School" encyclopedia set at a yard sale for 10 bucks...is some fun stuff...

One thing I thought was cool is that there are very few men in the photographs of the books, they are all women...

Cheffy

I heard somewhere that Cordon bleu was originally the (blue ribbon) award given to women for their culinary prowess - :smile: But reading up I can't find that detail anywhere. :hmmm:

#11 browniebaker

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 06:12 AM

Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany, by Ben Schott, who wrote Schott's Original Miscellany. This is a great little read if you like useful and un-useful nuggets of trivia. Good to dip into when you have a free minute, with not too much mental concentration required.

#12 RSincere

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 06:33 AM

I also tend to read several books at once. I usually have cookbooks next to my chair in the living room--which I do read, start to finish--and then regular chapter books next to my bed. I almost always read nonfiction. Right now my haul from the library contains several pressure cooker cookbooks, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," "Cookwise," the Fannie Farmer baking book, Alton Brown's "Gear for your Kitchen," and then my nighttime reading is "With These Hands: the hidden world of migrant farmworkers today."
Rachel Sincere

#13 Kevin72

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 06:52 AM

I've picked up a bad habit this year of starting books and not finishing them or getting distracted with another. Currently I'm winding down on Slow Meditteranean Food by Paula Wolfert, which is fantastic.

I'm about 3/4s through the Fourth Star as well and I gotta say it's not doing it for me. Seems to be redundant: start each chapter with a story about one of the players in the restaurant, then plunge into the kitchen for that night's chaos.

#14 jschyun

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 08:15 AM

"Feeding a Yen", Calvin Trillin. Easy, short read, almost finished. Kind of sad because Alice disappears 2/3 into the book (she died)
I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.
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#15 StudentChefEclipse

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 11:20 AM

I just found a 1960's version of "Le Cordon Bleu's Cooking School" encyclopedia set at a yard sale for 10 bucks...is some fun stuff...

One thing I thought was cool is that there are very few men in the photographs of the books, they are all women...

Cheffy

I heard somewhere that Cordon bleu was originally the (blue ribbon) award given to women for their culinary prowess - :smile: But reading up I can't find that detail anywhere. :hmmm:

What I had heard in school was that the Cordon Bleu was given to chefs of boths genders for their prowess, but that the original CB cooking schools were limited to women, and specifically housewives who wanted a good kitchen education. (My school is a CB NorthAmerica school so I am inclined to believe this is either true, or great propaganda from the CB people.)
"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin
Ruth Shulman

#16 sequim

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Posted 27 August 2004 - 12:07 PM

My condo is a mess lately with books and magazines piled all over. I definitely read more than one at a time and some become abandoned to be put on the shelf eventually.

My end table has stacks of Bon Appetit and Gourmet that I haven't gotten to reading yet. I've added some Wine Spectator and Saveur mags to these piles courtesy of my local library magazine exchange.

I just finished reading When French Women Cook by M. Kammen, a loving tribute to the wonderful cooks in her family tree that influenced her own cooking.

Then in honor of Julia Child I recently ordered two cookbooks of hers that are piled on my kitchen table for reading while I eat. One is Julia's Kitchen Wisdom and the other is Julia Child's Kitchen.

#17 gwilson

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 01:07 AM

Last books read:
Schott's Food And Drink Miscellany - which was really cute and fun to read
The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson - an awesome awesome cookbook

Reading now:
The Art of Eating - book one, Serve It Forth
For those who don't know, The Art Of Eating is 5 books by M.F.K. Fisher in one collected volume. Very very nice. When I'm through with Serve It Forth I'm going to read somebody else, then come back to Fisher's Consider the Oyster, then read something else, etc.

Up next:
A Cook's Tour - B&N recently had it in their bargain section
The Wine Bible
Alton's second book which is due in, I think, October


-Greg

#18 FaustianBargain

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 03:57 AM

not particularly cuisine/culinary related...but has a food theme..kinda.. i am working my way through The collected short stories of Roald Dahl. just finished 'Pig' from 'kiss, kiss'. roald dahl is not just a children's author(the twits, charlie(willy wonka across the pond)and the chocolate factory are some of his more well known stories for kids). his short stories for adults are often bizarre, distrubing and completely confounding. utterly delightful in a confusingly dark sort of way.

pig is the story of an orphan who was picked up by a vegetarian, spinster aunt from virginia. she raises him to be a vegetarian, encourages him to create new recipes(brazilnut soup, flaming spruce needle tarts and such) and thinks that he should be a chef. she dies..and having never been exposed to the real world, he comes to nyc to collect his inheritance. and there he is introduced to roast pork. the rest is pure bizarro narration.

#19 Carrot Top

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 07:24 AM

Yes, Roald Dahl uses food as a theme in almost anything I can think that he wrote, so why not consider the writings food-related!

He also wrote a cookbook for children based on yucky looking and sounding things to cook which were actually edible. Lovely.

Really, I mean it. Ask any seven year old boy. Eating bugs is fun. :laugh:

#20 FaustianBargain

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 09:48 AM

Yes, Roald Dahl uses food as a theme in almost anything I can think that he wrote, so why not consider the writings food-related!

He also wrote a cookbook for children based on yucky looking and sounding things to cook which were actually edible. Lovely.

Really, I mean it. Ask any seven year old boy. Eating bugs is fun. :laugh:

Here you go... :biggrin:

#21 Carrot Top

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 07:23 PM

That Roald Dahl cookbook is great fun to read (jeez I can't believe the price, so inexpensive!)

We've borrowed it from the library several times and have made a couple of the recipes in there.

It is still not my ten year old son's favorite cookbook though. That space is filled by 'The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook' by David George Gordon. It says on the cover that it covers 'The Essentials of Bug Cookery...from Soup to Gnats'.

We have not made anything from this book yet... :biggrin: the ingredients such as one-half cup Western Thatching Ants are not easy to come by, and I refuse to help him search the neighborhood for them.

An enjoyable read, though...!

#22 FaustianBargain

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 10:44 AM

It is still not my ten year old son's favorite cookbook though. That space is filled by 'The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook' by David George Gordon. It says on the cover that it covers 'The Essentials of Bug Cookery...from Soup to Gnats'.

ooh..there's a budding gourmet you got there.. :biggrin:

#23 foolcontrol

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:03 AM

I am reading Becoming a Chef (reading it all) and Culinary Artistry (skimming and reading). They are both written by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Both are great books. They are not really cookbooks. They do contain really good information about flavor combinations, etc.

#24 bloviatrix

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:48 AM

I am reading Becoming a Chef (reading it all) and Culinary Artistry (skimming and reading). They are both written by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Both are great books. They are not really cookbooks. They do contain really good information about flavor combinations, etc.

If you enjoy Page and Dornenburg, check out thisQ & A they did last fall.
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#25 Okbrewer

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:55 AM

Reading and working out of: Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads and also perusing my 1963 edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in honor of Julia Child.
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#26 chow guy

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:01 PM

I'm reading an autographed copy Calvin Trillins' " Feeding a Yen", in very small sections because I want to savor this tiny tome a little longer. I love his style.

#27 Squeat Mungry

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:19 PM

"Feeding a Yen", Calvin Trillin.  Easy, short read, almost finished.  Kind of sad because Alice disappears 2/3 into the book (she died)

Hey, I'm reading this right now, too! Lots of fun. Thanks for spoiling the ending. :angry: (Just kidding -- he mentions it in the dedication. :raz: )

Cheers,

Squeat

#28 Kevin72

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:38 PM

I am reading Becoming a Chef (reading it all) and Culinary Artistry (skimming and reading).  They are both written by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.  Both are great books.  They are not really cookbooks.  They do contain really good information about flavor combinations, etc.

If you enjoy Page and Dornenburg, check out thisQ & A they did last fall.

Culinary Artistry is great and a wonderful sourcebook. Becoming a Chef is good also; I'd be interested to see the revised edition with new chefs added in but haven't run across it yet. They had a completely new book out The New American chef which I also was intrigued by but seems to have disappeared altogether.

#29 Chef Shogun

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:41 PM

Jacques Pepin, The Complete Technique.
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#30 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 10:06 PM

I'm like many folks in that I'm reading a number of books at once. For fiction, I've been reading The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. You have to have read Dante's Inferno to really enjoy it, but I chuckled when I came across this food-related section:

Fields stood up, beaming. "Oh, gentlemen, I shall throw a Dante supper to put the Saturday Club to shame. May the mutton be as tender as Longfellow's verse! And may the Moet sparkle like Holmes's wit, and the carving knives be as sharp as Lowell's satire!"

Three cheers were given to Fields.


For non-fiction I am reading K2 - the Story of the Savage Mountain by Jim Curran.

My latest foodie book is
The Hungry Soul - Eating and the Perfecting of our Nature by Leon R. Klass, M.D. a fascinating philosophical exploration of man's need to consume. The opening paragraph:

According to a very old story, well known to most readers, a woman and a man once took a fancy to a most unusual fruit. It grew on no ordinary tree, and their eating of it had no ordinary consequences: Indeed, it opened their eyes and made permanent the whole human difference. They had sought this tree not only because they thought its fruit would be good for food but also because they imagined it would make them wise. Though the consequences of their eating were both less and more than they had bargained for, though it gave them psychic indigestion, and though true wisdom eluded them, we have it on the highest authority that they in some sense succeeded: "Now th eman is become like one of us, knowing good and bad." God Almighty knew that the world was arranged so as to contain deep connections among human eating, human freedom, and human moral self-consciousness. It is these connections that we here seek to discover. We, too, seek wisdom through eating; eating is the manifest theme of this inquiry.


Pretty cool, huh?