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What are you reading?


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#331 anm

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 09:09 AM

Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner.

Read it as well...Somehow the book doesnt feel cohesive or written without sounding like a jamboree to me :unsure:

#332 beanboy

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 07:57 AM

I just finished "Goat Song: A Seasonal Life. A Short History of Herding and the Art of Making Cheese" by Brad Kessler

Highly recommended.

Though I sometimes got bogged down in the author's overuse (to my taste) of flowery poetry/prose, this book is filled with wonderful anecdotes of goat-rearing, farming and cheese making. An inspiring look at life itself. Brad Kessler is good natured, witty and not afraid to call things what they are.

#333 Special K

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 02:53 PM

I am reading Bill Bryson's "At Home." It's a vast collection of facts and mini-history lessons, not the kind of book you (or I, anyway) can really read straight through, but I think that the chapters on "The Kitchen," "The Scullery and Larder," and "The Dining Room" would interest most eGulleteers.

#334 heidih

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 05:33 PM

Inspired by Shelby's eG foodblog, I ordered the 9 book boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series
. Oh my- the delight of the settlers in the food and the amount of work and then joy in growing, hunting, foraging, and otherwise getting the food to table is a treat.

#335 plum tart

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:05 PM

I'm reading Heidi for the food passages and Laura Engels Wilder;s Country Boy for the food passages. I am just beginning to realize what an influence food descriptions in the books I read as a child on the way I cook now and the way I imagine a meal. I read first and then I became conscious of eating and cooking. It is an amazing journey.

I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.

#336 heidih

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 06:50 PM

I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.


Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

#337 Shelby

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:11 PM

Inspired by Shelby's eG foodblog, I ordered the 9 book boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series
. Oh my- the delight of the settlers in the food and the amount of work and then joy in growing, hunting, foraging, and otherwise getting the food to table is a treat.



O M G I was just coming here to ask if anyone had started yet!!! Can we start a topic about the series somewhere??? I'm SO excited to discuss the books and the cooking with all of you!

edited to say I'd love to start a topic in this forum if it's acceptable :)

Edited by Shelby, 25 January 2011 - 08:13 PM.


#338 heidih

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:50 PM

Here is a topic on the food in the Little House series.

#339 Special K

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 03:17 PM

I just finished Eating by Jason Epstein. Lovely - read it in one sitting.

#340 plum tart

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:46 PM


I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.


Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

I just finished Spoon Fed and must say I did not really care for it. I have not read any of Kim Severson's restaurant reviews so I am only familiar with her through this memoir, however many of the older food divas (Cunningham, Water, Hazan, and Reichl), were great influences on my cooking and my approach to food in general. What made me angry was that she had a golden opportunity with each of them to have fascinating discussions about food and cooking and instead she hands all her past troubles to them on a very large platter. Their gifts to her, as defined by her were given short shrift, a mere excuse, it seems by comparison to the time spent on personal problems. Such a waste! And the token recipes are in all their cookbooks - nothing new or fresh. What she told us about those ladies has already been told in THEIR memoirs and did not need to be diminished in hers. I felt she was particularly cruel to Marcella Hazan, who entertained her with generosity and kindness, only to have Kim focus on Judith Jones remarks about Marcella's ruined tastebuds. I still use Marcella Hazan's first 2 cookbooks, they are worn and spotted. Her other books did not inspire me so much but the first two were gems.

I feel her best chapter was on Leah Chase because the overwhelming tragedy of what Katerina wrought, made Kim forget about herself and write with real compassion about Leah and the fate of her restaurant. Her writing of Leah had dignity which most of the other pieces lacked.

Heidi, I am not sure when you refer to "rr" whether you mean Ruth Reichl or Rachael Ray. I have met Ruth Reichl once at a book signing in Toronto. She was gracious and amusing and very approachable. We chatted about many things including her fling with Coleman Andrews and I was very much a nonentity. I felt Kim spent to much time lamenting how intimidated she was by RR's image. Thank God, Ruth Reichl saved the day at their final meeting.

I can see why Kim admires Rachael Rae because Rachael Rae has huzpah and gumption and I can see that rubbing against it would make Kim feel more confident. After all, Rachael Ray makes non-cooks think they can cook!

I liked Kim's descriptions of cooking her family's red gravy and gumbo z'herbes. I just wish she had written less about "Me" and more about food and her inspirations. Now that would have been good food writing.

#341 heidih

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 06:46 PM



I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.


Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

I just finished Spoon Fed and must say I did not really care for it. I have not read any of Kim Severson's restaurant reviews so I am only familiar with her through this memoir, however many of the older food divas (Cunningham, Water, Hazan, and Reichl), were great influences on my cooking and my approach to food in general. What made me angry was that she had a golden opportunity with each of them to have fascinating discussions about food and cooking and instead she hands all her past troubles to them on a very large platter. Their gifts to her, as defined by her were given short shrift, a mere excuse, it seems by comparison to the time spent on personal problems. Such a waste! And the token recipes are in all their cookbooks - nothing new or fresh. What she told us about those ladies has already been told in THEIR memoirs and did not need to be diminished in hers. I felt she was particularly cruel to Marcella Hazan, who entertained her with generosity and kindness, only to have Kim focus on Judith Jones remarks about Marcella's ruined tastebuds. I still use Marcella Hazan's first 2 cookbooks, they are worn and spotted. Her other books did not inspire me so much but the first two were gems.

I feel her best chapter was on Leah Chase because the overwhelming tragedy of what Katerina wrought, made Kim forget about herself and write with real compassion about Leah and the fate of her restaurant. Her writing of Leah had dignity which most of the other pieces lacked.

Heidi, I am not sure when you refer to "rr" whether you mean Ruth Reichl or Rachael Ray. I have met Ruth Reichl once at a book signing in Toronto. She was gracious and amusing and very approachable. We chatted about many things including her fling with Coleman Andrews and I was very much a nonentity. I felt Kim spent to much time lamenting how intimidated she was by RR's image. Thank God, Ruth Reichl saved the day at their final meeting.

I can see why Kim admires Rachael Rae because Rachael Rae has huzpah and gumption and I can see that rubbing against it would make Kim feel more confident. After all, Rachael Ray makes non-cooks think they can cook!

I liked Kim's descriptions of cooking her family's red gravy and gumbo z'herbes. I just wish she had written less about "Me" and more about food and her inspirations. Now that would have been good food writing.


This was definitely not the kind of food writing I enjoy- the grab you in the guts and connect with you stuff. I think she was writing from her addiction recovery position and it was just interesting. I did NOT like the Marion Cunningham part- like TMI on a friend. I think the part in Reichl's book about the bridge crossing is incredibly capturing of the trauma and even without the James Beard association I would have respected her (Marion) for that. When I used RR it was the other one and I was interested to see a different take on her.

#342 djyee100

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:04 PM

I'll recommend this novel to people who like the magical fiction genre and who also like to bake: The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen. One of the main characters is a pastry chef who works her magic by baking cakes. Southern cakes. After I read the novel I checked out Southern cookbooks because I was so intrigued by some of these cakes I had never heard of before, like Hummingbird Cake. Also, for the first time in years, I felt like baking an old-fashioned layer cake. Judging from the reviews on Amazon, other readers have felt the same.

#343 plum tart

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 05:21 AM




I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.


Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

I just finished Spoon Fed and must say I did not really care for it. I have not read any of Kim Severson's restaurant reviews so I am only familiar with her through this memoir, however many of the older food divas (Cunningham, Water, Hazan, and Reichl), were great influences on my cooking and my approach to food in general. What made me angry was that she had a golden opportunity with each of them to have fascinating discussions about food and cooking and instead she hands all her past troubles to them on a very large platter. Their gifts to her, as defined by her were given short shrift, a mere excuse, it seems by comparison to the time spent on personal problems. Such a waste! And the token recipes are in all their cookbooks - nothing new or fresh. What she told us about those ladies has already been told in THEIR memoirs and did not need to be diminished in hers. I felt she was particularly cruel to Marcella Hazan, who entertained her with generosity and kindness, only to have Kim focus on Judith Jones remarks about Marcella's ruined tastebuds. I still use Marcella Hazan's first 2 cookbooks, they are worn and spotted. Her other books did not inspire me so much but the first two were gems.

I feel her best chapter was on Leah Chase because the overwhelming tragedy of what Katerina wrought, made Kim forget about herself and write with real compassion about Leah and the fate of her restaurant. Her writing of Leah had dignity which most of the other pieces lacked.

Heidi, I am not sure when you refer to "rr" whether you mean Ruth Reichl or Rachael Ray. I have met Ruth Reichl once at a book signing in Toronto. She was gracious and amusing and very approachable. We chatted about many things including her fling with Coleman Andrews and I was very much a nonentity. I felt Kim spent to much time lamenting how intimidated she was by RR's image. Thank God, Ruth Reichl saved the day at their final meeting.

I can see why Kim admires Rachael Rae because Rachael Rae has huzpah and gumption and I can see that rubbing against it would make Kim feel more confident. After all, Rachael Ray makes non-cooks think they can cook!

I liked Kim's descriptions of cooking her family's red gravy and gumbo z'herbes. I just wish she had written less about "Me" and more about food and her inspirations. Now that would have been good food writing.


This was definitely not the kind of food writing I enjoy- the grab you in the guts and connect with you stuff. I think she was writing from her addiction recovery position and it was just interesting. I did NOT like the Marion Cunningham part- like TMI on a friend. I think the part in Reichl's book about the bridge crossing is incredibly capturing of the trauma and even without the James Beard association I would have respected her (Marion) for that. When I used RR it was the other one and I was interested to see a different take on her.


I absolutely agree with you abou Marion Cunningham - it was very insensitive of Kim to reveal information about Marion that was given to her in sympathy and confidence.

And yes, I too liked the different take on Rachael Rae. Although she is not what I consider to be a great chef, she has brought cooking to a lot of people who would otherwise still be living on kraft dinner. She has received a lot of negative press in the food media and it was good to read a positive take on her. I have always enjoyed her cheerful enthusiasm and humour.

#344 judiu

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 01:25 PM

I'll recommend this novel to people who like the magical fiction genre and who also like to bake: The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen. One of the main characters is a pastry chef who works her magic by baking cakes. Southern cakes. After I read the novel I checked out Southern cookbooks because I was so intrigued by some of these cakes I had never heard of before, like Hummingbird Cake. Also, for the first time in years, I felt like baking an old-fashioned layer cake. Judging from the reviews on Amazon, other readers have felt the same.

Southern cakes, you say? Watch yard sales, thrift stores, second hand places and the like for the Southern Living Annual cookbooks and score dozens of Southern cake recipes per volume! :wink: HTH!
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#345 Badiane

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 02:54 PM

I'm a big fan of culinary mysteries...thinks with titles like 'Town in a Lobster Stew' and 'Fatally Flaky'. Light and entertaining. Sure, actual literature is a big part of my reading diet, but you can't beat pure escapism.

I have just been trying to read Thomas McNamee's book on Alice Waters (it was a gift, I felt compelled to try). I got a third of the way through. I don't like Alice Waters. I don't care who she is or what she's done, I just don't like her. And I feel sorry for her daughter, having that woman as a mother. As my own mother would say, I do believe I would cross the street to avoid her if I saw her coming, if for no other reason than to stop myself from slapping that smug grin off her face.
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#346 Pierogi

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 12:09 AM

I have been trying to slog my way through "Stand Facing The Stove", which is the biography of Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, the mother/daughter team who gave us "The Joy Of Cooking".

It has taken me 4 weeks to get to page 60. Today I had a doctor's appointment and took another (admittedly brain-candy) book with me. I got up to page 68 before I saw the doctor.

"Stand Facing The Stove" is going back to the library unreaad, I'm afraid. And I rarely just totally bail on a book....
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#347 Special K

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:42 AM

I'm a big fan of culinary mysteries...things with titles like 'Town in a Lobster Stew' and 'Fatally Flaky'. Light and entertaining. Sure, actual literature is a big part of my reading diet, but you can't beat pure escapism.


Oh, Badiane, me too! I call them "snacks," and I freely admit that about every fifth or sixth book I read is a snack, usually on the bus, where I leave them when I've finished. A close cousin to the culinary mystery is the holiday mystery, and it usually contains a lot about food, too. The only culinary mystery author I can't read is Cecile Lamalle - good enough plots, interesting characters and situations, but then out of the blue she'll just throw in some really offensive and vulgar profanity, and I can't for the life of me understand why. Without that language I'd recommend the books to the high school librarian where I work, but with it, no way.

Anyway, I'm going to look for "Town in a Lobster Stew" today, thanks! Does this series include recipes, as a lot of culinary myseries do?

Edited by Special K, 02 February 2011 - 08:43 AM.


#348 Badiane

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 12:40 PM

Town in a Lobster Stew just came out yesterday...the first book in the series is called Town in a Blueberry Jam. BB Haywood is the author.

I also really like Julia Hyzy's White House Chef series, as well as Laura Childs Cackleberry Club series. I have about 20 different ones on my kindle...you are exactly right when you call them snacks!
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#349 plum tart

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 04:06 PM

I'm a big fan of culinary mysteries...thinks with titles like 'Town in a Lobster Stew' and 'Fatally Flaky'. Light and entertaining. Sure, actual literature is a big part of my reading diet, but you can't beat pure escapism.

I have just been trying to read Thomas McNamee's book on Alice Waters (it was a gift, I felt compelled to try). I got a third of the way through. I don't like Alice Waters. I don't care who she is or what she's done, I just don't like her. And I feel sorry for her daughter, having that woman as a mother. As my own mother would say, I do believe I would cross the street to avoid her if I saw her coming, if for no other reason than to stop myself from slapping that smug grin off her face.

I thought it was an excellent biography. I understand what you mean about Alice Waters now. Her recent cookbooks are all repeats of earlier material and if I hear about her buying little lettuces one more time I think I will scream. She seems very elitist these days. However back in the 80's the food revolution she engineered (purely by accident I am sure) was wonderful. I still use her desserts cookbook frequently and her pasta, pizza, and panina cookbook all the time. She changed the way our family ate and prepared foods and she did influence the wonderful vegetable and herb gardens I had at one time.

I ate in her restaurant twice, late in August 1986. My daughter and I sat out on a deck outside the upstairs restaurant and lingered over a deliciously simple meal of her trademark goat cheese and tiny lettuces salad, a summerpasta dish of clams, pancetta and little french beans, and a lovely dessert. We lingered in the warm summer sun for an entire afternoon and repeated our pleasure the next day. I felt cossetted by her staff and loved the ambience. It was a lovely restaurant then and I loved everything Alice represented including Pagnol. I will never forget those two days.

#350 LindaK

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 05:53 PM

I've been reading a collection of essays called "South Wind Through the Kitchen: the best of Elizabeth David." Some of them I have in her other books, most are new to me. Her beautifully written tales of eating and cooking through France, Italy, and elsewhere in the mediterranean during the 1940s-50s especially have been great escapist anecdotes to the snow and sleet outdoors.


 


#351 plum tart

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:21 PM

I've been reading a collection of essays called "South Wind Through the Kitchen: the best of Elizabeth David." Some of them I have in her other books, most are new to me. Her beautifully written tales of eating and cooking through France, Italy, and elsewhere in the mediterranean during the 1940s-50s especially have been great escapist anecdotes to the snow and sleet outdoors.

I love South Wind Through the Kitchen. It is sitting on the shelf above my desk and has been read many times, In fact it represents my favourite kind of food writing - beautiful writing, beautiful real food, prepared, enjoyed and reflected upon with pleasure. And these are stories where the enormous egos of contemporary food writing are absent. Lovely. Thank you for reminding me.

#352 nakji

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:23 PM

That book sounds lovely. If I ever see it, I'll pick it up.

I got "the Lost Chinese Chef" by Nicole Mones from the library - I'm looking forward to reading it. It's a novel about an American food writer in Beijing, profiling a Chinese-American chef.

#353 plum tart

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:33 AM

That book sounds lovely. If I ever see it, I'll pick it up.

I got "the Lost Chinese Chef" by Nicole Mones from the library - I'm looking forward to reading it. It's a novel about an American food writer in Beijing, profiling a Chinese-American chef.


I have read "The Lost Chinese Chef" (in fact I own it) and I enjoyed it very much although not as much as Fuschia Dunlop's memoir.

There are a number of Chinese mystery writers who include Chinese meals and snacks in their mysteries. These aren't food mysteries but the food is always interesting and makes me hungry. If you are interested I can list them (I am at the office and the books are at home)
Donna Leon does the same thing in her Brunetti mysteries set in Venice. Brunetti's wife cooks delectable meals and Brunetti wanders through venice snacking on tremazzini and pastries. Donna Leon finally had to publish a cookbook called Brunetti's cookbook because her readers were demanding recipes. It is a gorgeous cookbook full of all the meals that Paola and other characters prepared. She has included the relevant food descriptions from each mystery so you can revisit the meal. Her food descriptions are wonderful pasta, risotto, branzino, orato etc etc- I read them repeatedly and salivate. I do intend to cook some of the dishes myself in honour of Brunetti.

Apparently when Donna Leon started writing the mysteries she included meals because they are such an important part of Italian life. However, now her readers expect her descriptions of Paola cooking and the family eating in each new novel.

#354 Kayakado

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 10:54 AM

I am almost finished "As Always Julia" the letters of Avis Devoto and Julia Child. It is a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s. They discuss recipes but also topics of concern for the times. Julia also gets her intro into the literary world through Avis and her husband's contacts. Fascinating for even someone not interested in Julia's books or cooking.

#355 plum tart

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:47 AM

I am almost finished "As Always Julia" the letters of Avis Devoto and Julia Child. It is a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s. They discuss recipes but also topics of concern for the times. Julia also gets her intro into the literary world through Avis and her husband's contacts. Fascinating for even someone not interested in Julia's books or cooking.

I own As Always Julia and look forward to reading it shortly.

At the moment I am reading Eat Memory edited by Amanda Hesser. It is a collection of food essays (originally published in the New York Times, I believe) by contemporary authors like Anne Patchett. I am enjoying it very much - some pieces are savagely funny and others, are very moving. All the essays are very well written, an additional treat. The book isn't new; I've owned it for a while but it was buried. I recommend it highly.

#356 andiesenji

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 11:54 AM

I've been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayres' "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries, which contain a lot of descriptions of interesting meals.
So I pulled out my copy of The Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook to refresh my memory of how some of these were prepared.

There are quite a few "Culinary Mysteries" which have become more popular in recent years and I will be re-reading several of these which I came across while searching for all the Sayres' books.

The next batch is the series by Diane Mott Davidson, as each book contains recipes as well as a good mystery.
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#357 LindaK

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:12 PM

I am almost finished "As Always Julia" the letters of Avis Devoto and Julia Child. It is a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s. They discuss recipes but also topics of concern for the times. Julia also gets her intro into the literary world through Avis and her husband's contacts. Fascinating for even someone not interested in Julia's books or cooking.


Ok, I do need to read this book. The reviews have been good, too.

I've been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayres' "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries, which contain a lot of descriptions of interesting meals.

So I pulled out my copy of The Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook to refresh my memory of how some of these were prepared.


I love the series but don't remember the meals at all, except for the memorable scene at high table in "Gaudy Night." What is the cookbook like?


 


#358 Kayakado

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 10:44 AM

The next batch is the series by Diane Mott Davidson, as each book contains recipes as well as a good mystery.
[/quote]


Another series like Diane Mott Davidson is Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series. Hannah has a cafe and makes cookies while solving mysteries in her small MN town

#359 andiesenji

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:18 PM

Another series like Diane Mott Davidson is Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series. Hannah has a cafe and makes cookies while solving mysteries in her small MN town



I like Joanne's mysteries and her recipes and I've tried several. I've met her a couple of times as she lives in the Valley and I go down to a book shop she frequents. She and her husband are lovely people.

I also enjoy Claudia Bishop's "Hemlock Falls" series, G.A. McKevett's Savannah Reid mysteries and Tamar Myers "Penn Dutch" mysteries.

Edited by andiesenji, 11 February 2011 - 12:22 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#360 Yajna Patni

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 02:48 PM

I love Lord Peter Wimsey. Dorothy Sayers is one of my favorite writers, and Lord Peter IS fussy about his food!I will have to hunt down the cook book. I also had a fabulous north Californian camping trip along highway one with a pile of Diana Mott Davidson. Death by chocolate? I think was one of them. Great fun!