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What are you reading?


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#421 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 06:24 AM

I recently read Luke Barr's Provence 1970, about MFK Fisher, Simca Beck, James Beard, Paul and Julia Child and Richard Olney all being in Provence at the same time in what was a pivotal year for each of them. It's an OK book; about what you'd expect from MFK's great nephew - hagiographies of one and all - with the exception of Olney, who comes across as a cantankerous know-it-all and a grumpy loner.
 
BUT! that book led me to Olney's Reflexions, which was wonderful. After reading this uncompleted memoir, which was published posthumously, I don't think he was curmudgeonly at all. In fact, he seems to have been extraordinarily sensitive, and he comes across to me as a dear, sweet, shy, hardworking, extraordinarily talented man. He constantly found himself going out of his way to do people huge favors, and he usually got punished for his generosity. He was very, very close to his large extended family and had many dear friends (and the love comes across even when he's griping about how some of them treat him). Yes, he makes some catty observations about people, but what's forgotten, I think, is that this book is mostly excerpts of diary entries and letters to his brothers, the only two places he could "let his hair down," so if he comes across as bitchy, it's the kind of bitchiness you only find in these kinds of very personal writings. I'm sure he knew of his reputation and I'm guessing that's why he put this book together, in self-defense, knowing he was nearing the end of his days.
 
The only complaint I have is that he often introduces people (and it seems like there are thousands of people!) early in the book and thereafter refers to them by first name only, so sometimes it's kind of hard to figure out who he's talking about (which Jimmy was that again?) but I think that probably would have been corrected had he been able to do the final editing himself.  
 
The last chapter, written by his brother after R.O.'s death, had me in tears, just as with the Eck/Winterrowd book above.
 
And oh! the descriptions of the meals and the wines! Now I'm planning to devour everything he ever wrote. I'm already deep into Simple French Food.
 
But next up is Ann Mah's Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris. No tears with this one, I hope!
 
K
 
Host Note: Here are eGullet Society friendly links to some of the mentioned books
Provence 1970
Relexions


Thank you for posting this! I didn't know about either book and will put them on my Christmas list -- and get them myself if no one cooperates in the Santa department. Richard Olney seems a bit "difficult" as a personality, but his cooking was amazing. French Menu and Simple French Cooking are two of my favorite books and a couple of the best things I've ever tasted in my life have come out of them. He isn't/wasn't nearly as well known as he should have been.

#422 Darienne

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:08 PM

Just finished reading In The Kitchen, by Monica Ali, finalist for the Man Booker  Prize.  Just grabbed it off the shelf in the library without looking at more than the photo of the kitchen on the front cover.  No idea of what it was about except that it was fiction, a kitchen was featured, and it almost won a prestigious British literary prize and was nominated for two American literary prizes.

 

It features a top British chef working as executive chef in a posh hotel with a restaurant and his very complicated life.  Sorry to say, I really didn't like it very much...but I really enjoyed the parts about the hotel kitchen and the cooking.  His life left me a bit cold.


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#423 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 08:55 PM

Photography of Modernist Cuisine.  (What few words there are.)



#424 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 09:20 PM

La Cuisine Française. French Cooking for Every Home. Adapted to American Requirements. By François Tanty. Chicago: Baldwin, Ross & Co., 1893.
 


~Martin
 
Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist and contrarian who questions everything!
 


#425 heidih

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 02:37 PM

Epitaph for a Peach by David Masumoto

 

I read his piece in the LA Times years ago and it has always stuck in my mind.  A second generation farmer who confronts the sad state of what we value in our food. It came out in 1995 but I find it relevant in 2014.


Edited by heidih, 08 March 2014 - 02:41 PM.


#426 MelissaH

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 02:25 PM

Epitaph for a Peach by David Masumoto

 

I read his piece in the LA Times years ago and it has always stuck in my mind.  A second generation farmer who confronts the sad state of what we value in our food. It came out in 1995 but I find it relevant in 2014.

This is an incredible book. It's sad, but somehow manages to keep a thread of hope alive. And heidih is absolutely right that, 20 years after the events in the book, the content is spot-on relevant still. Get to know the farmers who grow your food.


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Oswego, NY
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Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#427 Max101

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:18 PM

Right now I am reading our churches cookbook.  Really good one here.  So many great recipes that I am having a hard time what to make next.



#428 Alex

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:46 AM

Just started the novel Quesadillas, by Juan Pablo Villalobos, translated into English by Rosalind Harvey (Amazon link)

 

 

Back then I thought, among other things, that all the people and things that appeared on TV had nothing to do with our town...Until one night we had a terrifying experience when we sat down to eat our quesadillas: our town was the main item on the news. A silence so complete fell that, apart from the reporter's voice, all you could hear was the rustle of our fingers carrying tortillas to our mouths. Even in our surprise we weren't going to stop eating: if you think eating quesadillas in the midst of widespread astonishment is implausible, it's because you didn't grow up in a big family.


Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#429 Smithy

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 09:39 AM

I've been reading The Pat Conroy Cookbook from cover to electronic cover, instead of jumping around to various topics in search of a particular recipe as I've done since I bought it last year as my very first electronic book.  The man is a wonderful story teller.  Earlier contributors to this topic have already noted his hilarious story involving Nathalie Dupree.  A much later chapter tells of the moment when he began, more or less, to reconcile with his father.  That single story gave me belly laughs followed by tears: something I've learned to expect with his writing.

 

I picked up and put down this book at the bookstore when it first came out; at the time I wanted a cookbook and there were too few  recipes for the book's size.  In the intervening years I've fallen in love with Pat Conroy's writing, and this book is for me a beautiful balance of evocative stories and great food.  Last night I made, for the second time, his crab cakes.  I'll be making them again when I can get more fresh crab meat.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#430 IowaDee

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 01:46 PM

I too read Quesadillas and enjoyed it.  Also like the author's other book. Down the rabbit hole. Not so food related unless you're

interested in the diet of a Liberian pygmy hippopotamus but still an interesting book.



#431 Anna N

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 07:52 AM

Nigel Slater's The Kitchen DiarIes II.

This well-known British food writer seems to approach food and cooking very much like I do. He, of course, does it much better than I but I definitely feel an affinity for the kind of food he enjoys and the way in which he approaches the cooking of it. I am reading very slowly so I can relish every word and I hope to cook many of his dishes.

I am sure I will eventually get the first volume of his diaries as well as his book Appetite. I have the Kindle edition of Eat which is a great resource especially for a singleton.

Any other Slater fans?
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

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#432 Deryn

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 09:57 AM

Heston Blumenthal - The Fat Duck Cookbook. This will take me eons to 'read'. No idea if I will ever make any of the recipes but I am fascinated by the mind of this man and his creativity.

#433 MelissaH

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 01:29 PM

Anna, absolutely a Slater fan here.

 

I'm currently enjoying Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah. She and her diplomat husband have just started a stint in France, when he gets sent to Iraq and leaves her alone for a year in Paris. She fills the year by traveling around France, and exploring some of the regional foods.


MelissaH
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Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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#434 Anna N

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 01:40 PM

Anna, absolutely a Slater fan here.
 
I'm currently enjoying Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah. She and her diplomat husband have just started a stint in France, when he gets sent to Iraq and leaves her alone for a year in Paris. She fills the year by traveling around France, and exploring some of the regional foods.


Glad to know there's at least one other Slater fan. I have added "Mastering" to my wishlist. Glad to see it's available in the Kindle edition.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
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#435 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 06:46 PM

I read Tender when it first came out and I was so impressed I bought a copy of my own.  I also gave a copy to my son.  I enjoyed Ripe but I was not compelled to buy a copy.  Those are the only Slater that I've read.

 

Right now I'm finishing Bitter and reading Liquid Intelligence (which I may end up buying).  On my stack are Fat and North and Chad Ward's book on knives.  I am particularly interested in North as I know very little about Icelandic cookery beyond rotten preserved shark.

 

Waiting on the shelf for me at the library is Ottolenghi's latest.  Very pretty as are all his books.  But to me they all seem pretty much the same.



#436 Anna N

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 04:03 AM

I read Tender when it first came out and I was so impressed I bought a copy of my own.  I also gave a copy to my son.  I enjoyed Ripe but I was not compelled to buy a copy.  Those are the only Slater that I've read.
 
Right now I'm finishing Bitter and reading Liquid Intelligence (which I may end up buying).  On my stack are Fat and North and Chad Ward's book on knives.  I am particularly interested in North as I know very little about Icelandic cookery beyond rotten preserved shark.
 
Waiting on the shelf for me at the library is Ottolenghi's latest.  Very pretty as are all his books.  But to me they all seem pretty much the same.


Neither Tender nor Tender II (Ripe) has called out to me. I don't have a garden and have never had the slightest interest in learning to care for one and my suspicion is that both of these books are heavy on the gardening. I would be happy to find out that I am wrong.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#437 Anna N

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 12:29 PM

I have just started reading Relae: A Book of Ideas. This is much more Chef Christian Puglisi's manifesto than it is a cookbook in the usual sense. He is one of the new Nordic chefs who has now opened four restaurants. Relae was one of his first and the book outlines the philosophy behind his idea for this restaurant. I was attracted to this chef because like me he lives in a climate where little grows for many months of the year. In such a place eating local, unless you have the almost forgotten hunting and gathering skills of our aboriginals, will likely lead to starvation. He believes in making the very best of what can be well produced locally and sourcing from as far away as necessary for the rest.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#438 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 10:47 PM

Anna, have you read North The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy?  I have a coworker traveling to Iceland next month and I suggested he might want to bring a jar of peanut butter.  The book is fascinating even though I am not much into lichens, putrefied shark and horse.



#439 Anna N

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 02:18 AM

Anna, have you read North The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar Karl Gislason and Jody Eddy?  I have a coworker traveling to Iceland next month and I suggested he might want to bring a jar of peanut butter.  The book is fascinating even though I am not much into lichens, putrefied shark and horse.


No, I think that is why I avoided Rene Redzepi. Although it is highly unlikely that I will attempt a single recipe from Relae, for the most part the ingredients are obtainable without a well-outfitted expedition into the unknown. I consider it highly adventurous to purchase a new-to-me green from my local Asian grocer so trekking through urban and or Arctic landscapes to find dinner just ain't going to happen.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#440 David Ross

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 05:11 PM

The Holidays aren't over in my kitchen.  In fact, I still have these beloved editions still sitting on a chair in the living room with any number of sticky notes attached to pages of delicious recipes.  And the restaurant reviews, oh those dearly missed, beautifully written restaurant reviews.  Gourmet, how we miss you.

 

IMG_0325.JPG

 

IMG_0329.JPG


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#441 CatPoet

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 02:45 PM

I'm  reading  a old cookbook recommended by my father on how to pickle herring and trying to translate it for gfron,  This one at least dont ask for a  oak drum to pickle the herring in, it is bit hard because the cooking terms are old  but it is fun to read anyway.


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Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you,  But blue mold will kill me.


#442 David Ross

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 05:24 PM

La Cuisine Française. French Cooking for Every Home. Adapted to American Requirements. By François Tanty. Chicago: Baldwin, Ross & Co., 1893.
 

This one sounds lovely.  I actually used recipes that old on occasion.  But aside from the recipes, it gives one an insight into the history and tradition of cuisines and the burdens one had back in that day.  Imagine, they knew how to puree peas without a food processor.


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#443 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 07:31 PM

I find old cookbooks and agriculture books fascinating...I've collected thousands of them.

What I find most interesting is the amazing wisdom gained by folks before the science was "fully" understood...just by simple observation.


~Martin
 
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#444 CatPoet

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 01:53 AM

I do love my old cookbooks and most of them are very  fun to read, how ever this one uses for example    tanke = thought    näve = fist/hand  and   kast = throw as measurement which means I need to grab another cookbook  to get the right amounts.


Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you,  But blue mold will kill me.


#445 Smithy

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 10:09 AM

My sister gave me a copy of The North African Kitchen: Regional Recipes and Stories, by Fiona Dunlop. It's a charming description of 8 modern home cooks in Marrakech, Fez, Tunis, Carthage, La Goulette, and Tripoli, with insights into their lives followed by recipes. There are beautiful photos (of the area as well as the food), and discussions of cultural influences and history. She quotes a Moroccan king as saying that Maghrebin cuisine is "rooted in Africa, watered by Islam, and rustled by the winds of Europe."

The book makes for fun reading, and the recipes look promising.
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#446 Darienne

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 10:43 AM

My sister gave me a copy of The North African Kitchen: Regional Recipes and Stories, by Fiona Dunlop. It's a charming description of 8 modern home cooks in Marrakech, Fez, Tunis, Carthage, La Goulette, and Tripoli, with insights into their lives followed by recipes. There are beautiful photos (of the area as well as the food), and discussions of cultural influences and history. She quotes a Moroccan king as saying that Maghrebin cuisine is "rooted in Africa, watered by Islam, and rustled by the winds of Europe."

The book makes for fun reading, and the recipes look promising.

I'd love to read this book.  This is my favorite kind of cookbook...the one full of stories and suchlike...plus I love North African food as much of it as I have had.  I think I'll order it through ILL when I get home.  Thanks, Smithy.


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#447 Smithy

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 12:58 PM

I'd love to read this book.  This is my favorite kind of cookbook...the one full of stories and suchlike...plus I love North African food as much of it as I have had.  I think I'll order it through ILL when I get home.  Thanks, Smithy.


In that case, I also recommend Richard Sterling's Dining with Headhunters: Jungle Feasts and Other Culinary Adventures if you like food from Southeast Asia. One or two of his stories brought me to tears; more made me laugh out loud. I insisted on reading the funniest one to my darling, and we belly-laughed together.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#448 Darienne

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 01:19 PM

Another title to record.  Thanks, Nancy. :smile:


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#449 ruthcooks

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 03:25 PM

The Holidays aren't over in my kitchen.  In fact, I still have these beloved editions still sitting on a chair in the living room with any number of sticky notes attached to pages of delicious recipes.  And the restaurant reviews, oh those dearly missed, beautifully written restaurant reviews.  Gourmet, how we miss you.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_0325.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_0329.JPG

 

For those who missed my original post, I still have available FORTY years of Gourmet Magazine absolutely FREE to anyone who can arrange to come to my house south of Nashville TN to pick them up!  PM me if interested.


Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

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#450 Matt L

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 03:59 PM

Just picked up "Much Depends on Dinner" by Margaret Visser, which I first read maybe 20 years ago.  Its still as good and relevant as when I first picked it up.  An amazingly detailed study of what lies behind the food we eat and the rituals that accompany it.  Sure some of it feels a bit dated - it was written in the mid-80s and time and food has moved on.  But it was ground breaking when it came out, and still worth paying attention to now.

 

http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/0802144934- well worth finding a copy to add to your library if you don't already have one from back in the day.


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