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dharold

Not quite cookbooks

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Inspired by the section in Jeffrey Steingarten's It Must've Been Something I Ate I found myself preparing two different gratin recipes on Monday night. I'm loving Steingarten's book - his enthusiasm for pushing the envelope of testing is infectious. There's no way to look at one of the infrequent recipes in the book and not want to give it a go, but they are indeed infrequent - maybe a couple of dozen in total.

In parallel I'm reading Hugh Fearlessly Eats It All, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, another book that contains perhaps 20 or 30 recipes in total.

However while these books have few recipes compared to their overall page counts every single one is worth a try, and frequently the preceding text gives one more impetus to try them.

So my question is: what other books are out there like these two?

D.


Edited by dharold (log)

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I just finished reading "The Man Who Ate Everything". I thought it was awesome. I really enjoy his sense of humor and writing style. The next book I'm going to read is "It Must Have Been Something I Ate". I think it is more or less, the continuation of his first book.

Other than that, I don't know...

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dharold,

I don't know if you know John Thorne who writes books with his wife, Matt Lewis Thorne. The three I have are Outlaw Cook, Serious Pig An American Cook in Search of His Roots, and Pot on the Fire Further Exploits of a Renegade Cook. He is an enchanting author. Many of his stories come from Simple Cooking, a food newletter that he writes with his wife. From the beginning of his first book, Outlaw Cook, where he tells you about how he got his first piece of cooking equipment, an 8-inch cast iron frying pan, you get hooked. His books make you feel like your have pulled up a chair and you are listening to someone telling you about his life and his passions. You really want to keep listening to him. Throughout his books there are many, many recipes, not inserted as just recipes, but told as an integral part of the story.

I would suggest reading Outlaw Cook first, to get a feeling for who he is and how he got to where he is. I find that I can open any of his books, start reading, and also start to smile.

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Thanks!

Looks like they're out of print in the UK, but I'll keep an eye open for them when I'm in the US again in a couple of weeks.

D.

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Thanks!

Looks like they're out of print in the UK, but I'll keep an eye open for them when I'm in the US again in a couple of weeks.

D.

AMAZON (US) has them both new and used............

I wonder why our little fuschia links don't kick in here? It would be nice to have that link.

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If I understand the question, that you're looking for books that aren't really cookbooks but nevertheless have recipes, Amanda Hesser's got a couple out; "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Cook and the Gardener."

I haven't opened it in years, but I think Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" may be another.

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"Heartburn" by Nora Ephron

A humorous book loosely based on Nora's own divorce except that she made the protagonist a cookbook writer.

Sprinkled throughout the book are recipes, some incidental, some pertinent to the plot. Paraphrasing, here's one instance: "I got mad at him so I threw a pie in his face. It was a key lime pie. It's quite good. Here's the recipe." :laugh:

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John Thorne has a new book called Mouth Wide Open, A Cook and His Appetite, coming out in November from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. According to their website, Serious Pig is still in print, although I know it is hard to get a hold of.

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Ooops, got distracted by looking for John Thorne info, forgot to mention the Laurie Colwin books: Home Cooking and More Home Cooking from Harper Collins. Both still in print, easy to find. Lovely reads about food and it's place in her life, scattered with recipes. I always want to cook after reading Colwin.

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dharold,

If you have access to the Amazon in the U.S. (I am curious as to what you get when you type in Amazon.com , although I would imagine that you could go for Amazon U.S.) Anyway... Amazon here has the three books I mentioned with the "Look Inside" feature. You can read quite a lot of each book. They have the Table of Contents and then a list of all of the recipes that appear in the book. Then there is quite a bit of the text ( as in up to twenty some pages) You can get a feel for his writing. In Outlaw Cook, if you go up to P.10 you can read the chapter I mentioned in an earlier post where he gets his first piece of cooking equipment from a thrift shop. As a housewarming present he gets it for a great price as well as instructions on how to use/take care of it from the owner of the shop. It's a really great chapter. I think that you may get hooked.

Two of the books are available at very reasonable prices. Outlaw Cook is rediculously expensive which I don't quite get, even for a book that is out of print. I would imagine that there are other ways to find that one. You mentioned coming to the the States. If you want to save some money, you can always get the books shipped to where you are going, if you are visiting someone.

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There are a lot of books in a similar format -- I've often found them in the "food literature" section of a bookstore. Here are a few that are mostly biographical:

Ruth Riechl's books

Madhur Jaffrey's Climbing the Mango Tree: A Memoir of a Childhood in India

Memoirs of a Lost Egypt

Katish: Our Russian Cook

Clementine in the Kitchen

On Rue Tatin

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For a totally differnet type of book... The New Food Lover's Tiptionary "More Than 6,000 Food and Drink Tips, Secrets, Shortcuts, and Other Things Cookbooks Never Tell You" by Sharon Tyler Herbst. She is the person who wrote The New Food Lover's Cmpanion. It is a great book for information, tips, interesting facts, how to ________, etc.. It is really helpful, fun to just open up to a page and read, and... it is full of recipes.

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Wow! This thread has really come to life! Thanks everyone for the suggestions, I'll be sure to start picking up books from the list when I've finished my current read (The Soul of A Chef, by Michael Ruhlman).

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They're not highbrow but on the fiction front there's Diane Mott Davidson's murder mystery series about a caterer/sleuth. She includes a relevant recipe for every chapter.


Edited by KristiB50 (log)

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caterer/sleuth? that's fantastic! I'm not a huge mystery/whodunit reader, but I am wildly entertained by all the different day jobs of fictional detectives. It seemed as though just about every profession under the sun had been covered, but caterer is a new one on me.

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I was given a copy of Maya Angelou's Hallelujah! The Welcome Table (2004) for my birthday. It contains a series of stories from her life that are associated with food. And it has the recipes. I thought it was heartwarming and a fun read. It shows how much of our lives and memories revolve around food and cooking.

Has anyone read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? It was included in the brithday package, but I haven't delved into it yet. Soon.

Michael

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I'm reading 'The Language of Baklava' by Diana Abu-Jaber now; this woman can really *write* about food and growing up Middle Eastern-American. There's a delicious-sounding recipe or two per chapter.

As well as Diane Mott Davisdon, there are also culinary mystery series by Amy Wittig Albert and Johanna Fluke.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was a good, if not spectacular, read...I prefer her fiction.


Edited by baroness (log)

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