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suzilightning

What food-related books are you reading? (2016 -)

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Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh.   I loved Washuko but this new book cries out for many, many more photographs or illustrations.  She does give you access to a website but it is of little value in terms of understanding the techniques discussed in the book.

 

It is not just a pretty picture of the finished product that I’m after, I although that would be nice, too. She is writing for a non-Japanese audience and I think she failed to acknowledge that many of us would need a lot more help following complex instructions. 

 

The book is by no means a total failure. It is an interesting exploration of certain aspects of Japanese food culture (vegetarian/vegan, temple food, avoiding wastefulness in all aspects of meal preparation) but the need to flip back and forth and back and forth to make sense of what she is saying becomes tiresome even when you have it in the Kindle edition. 

 

 I have lusted after this book for quite some time (it was a birthday gift) so it is very disappointing when it fails to live up to (my) expectations.  

 

 Anyone else have (or have borrowed) the book? If you so, I would love to hear your take. 

 

 

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Deep Run Roots is wonderful for all the stories. I haven't looked at her recipes yet, although a few have stood out such as the blueberry BBQ chicken. If you recall, I bought that during my stay in NOLA.

 

I also recently obtained Nancy Singleton Hachisu's cookbook Japan: the Cookbook because I want to start exploring that cuisine. B is a Japan-o-phile and he's expressed interest in some of the chanko-nabe dishes. It's a very handsome book of the kind of quality I've come to expect of Phaidon.

 

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and the Marion Nestle book pictured here is on my back burner. So many things to read and not enough time...

 

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Beaten , Seared and Sauced. An account of a writer's 2 years at CIA. Entertaining airplane reading. Like the Ruhlman experience, the time at CIA was transformative for the author. Excellence and dedication was expected and half-assed efforts were called-out.  When I read Ruhlman's account of his transformation at the CIA years ago, I thought that he must've been a singularly feckless turd entering the program. I was too hard on him. Most young folk are feckless turds, I've come to learn, who never are exposed to situations that demand excellence. What a shame. 

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@gfweb

 

excellent book.  read it a long time ago.

 

the " snowstorm " , and the required exam ,  transformed Ruhlman 

 

for the better.

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2 hours ago, gfweb said:

Beaten , Seared and Sauced. An account of a writer's 2 years at CIA. Entertaining airplane reading. Like the Ruhlman experience, the time at CIA was transformative for the author. Excellence and dedication was expected and half-assed efforts were called-out.  When I read Ruhlman's account of his transformation at the CIA years ago, I thought that he must've been a singularly feckless turd entering the program. I was too hard on him. Most young folk are feckless turds, I've come to learn, who never are exposed to situations that demand excellence. What a shame. 

I've read that one, as well as Ruhlman and the two follow-ups.

 

What struck me most about Beaten, Seared and Sauced was his externship experience. I won't say anything more lest I give something away.

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4 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

I've read that one, as well as Ruhlman and the two follow-ups.

 

What struck me most about Beaten, Seared and Sauced was his externship experience. I won't say anything more lest I give something away.

 

Indeed.

In an interview he said that he actually took it easy on them for legal reasons. So it was worse.

 

Some of the bad kitchen culture discussed on another thread.

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2 hours ago, gfweb said:

 

Indeed.

In an interview he said that he actually took it easy on them for legal reasons. So it was worse.

 

Some of the bad kitchen culture discussed on another thread.

I missed that interview. But I think if I'd been given as many conflicting sets of instructions from as many bosses, I'd have been outta there in a heartbeat. And if he was pretty sure he wouldn't be working at a restaurant, why did he extern at one, rather than, say, a food media outlet? I'm not blaming him for the bad parts of the experience. But I question the decision that led to it.

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On ‎5‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 10:19 AM, Anna N said:

Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh.   I loved Washuko but this new book cries out for many, many more photographs or illustrations.  She does give you access to a website but it is of little value in terms of understanding the techniques discussed in the book.

 

It is not just a pretty picture of the finished product that I’m after, I although that would be nice, too. She is writing for a non-Japanese audience and I think she failed to acknowledge that many of us would need a lot more help following complex instructions. 

 

The book is by no means a total failure. It is an interesting exploration of certain aspects of Japanese food culture (vegetarian/vegan, temple food, avoiding wastefulness in all aspects of meal preparation) but the need to flip back and forth and back and forth to make sense of what she is saying becomes tiresome even when you have it in the Kindle edition. 

 

 I have lusted after this book for quite some time (it was a birthday gift) so it is very disappointing when it fails to live up to (my) expectations.  

 

 Anyone else have (or have borrowed) the book? If you so, I would love to hear your take. 

 

 

 

Washuko I own and I think I've read Kansha previously, but I brought a copy of Kansha home from work to reevaluate.  (Trivial, cheap complaint:  the shape is not conducive to my lifestyle -- the book is almost square.)  Anyhow I have some fiddleheads to use up and she has some recipes.

 

Generally I dislike books that require paging back and forth for parts of recipes (are you listening, Bugialli?) and I wish Andoh did not require it.

 

Sadly I doubt I'll try anything from the recipes.  A Guide To The Kansha Kitchen (p241) is probably the most interesting part for me.

 

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Run...do not walk...to check out rick bragg's new book...The Best Cook in the World.

It is part cookbook but mostly family stories...some perhaps a bit exaggerated...but the history of cooking passed down from generation to generation makes a phenomenal read!

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On 5/29/2018 at 6:14 PM, ProfessionalHobbit said:

Deep Run Roots is wonderful for all the stories. I haven't looked at her recipes yet, although a few have stood out such as the blueberry BBQ chicken. If you recall, I bought that during my stay in NOLA

 

 

I love Deep Run Roots, the stories and the recipes. Have cooked several from it. The Blue Que sauce rocks; I made a big batch and canned it in half-pint jars. It's marvelous on a pork steak.

 

1 hour ago, suzilightning said:

Run...do not walk...to check out rick bragg's new book...The Best Cook in the World.

It is part cookbook but mostly family stories...some perhaps a bit exaggerated...but the history of cooking passed down from generation to generation makes a phenomenal read!

 

I like Rick Bragg's writing. This one goes on the list.

 

One I go back to time and again is Shirley Corriher's "Cookwise." It's the cookbook I credit with starting my collection of cookbooks, which up until then had consisted mostly of Betty Crocker and local church and civic club recipe collections.

 

 

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This one looks fascinating: Feast: Food of the Islamic World, looks fascinating. 

 

Amazon link: clickety

 

 NYT story, if you're a subscriber: Clickety

 

It ain't cheap. I may ask the library.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, kayb said:

This one looks fascinating: Feast: Food of the Islamic World, looks fascinating. 

 

 

Good for @helou! It does look like a fascinating book. I have her Mediterranean Street Foods cookbook and enjoy it.

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Just finishing The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats by Daniel Stone.

 

I heard about the book through the Gastropod podcast episode that I linked below but the book contains much more information.  I've known of David Fairchild and have visited the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden many, many times but I found the details of his life shared in this book to be a great read.  Fairchild was apparently as prolific in his note-taking and letter writing as he was in plant collecting so the author had much to draw on in creating this written portrait of a fascinating man.   I recommend it.

 

 


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10 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

Just finishing The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats by Daniel Stone.

 

I heard about the book through the Gastropod podcast episode that I linked below but the book contains much more information.  I've known of David Fairchild and have visited the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden many, many times but I found the details of his life shared in this book to be a great read.  Fairchild was apparently as prolific in his note-taking and letter writing as he was in plant collecting so the author had much to draw on in creating this written portrait of a fascinating man.   I recommend it.

 

 

Thanks, I just put a hold on it...may be a while.  Not that I am out of things to read.

 

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I also read The Food Explorer and enjoyed it.  Just finished Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee.  Wow....another must read.  

The subtitle is A Chef's Journey to Discover America's New Melting-Pot Cuisine … and he does.

The Immortality of Paterson looks at the influx of Peruvian immigrants and their cuisine.  I found it interesting because our waiter at a local restaurant we tried last week was Peruvian and his family had immigrated to Paterson.

Exile and Cigars.....Miami, Cuban immigrants and Norman van Aken.

Trawling for Shrimp....Vietnamese immigration into Texas.

 

 

 

 

 

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I just finished The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook.  Not something I would cook from because the ingredients on the east coast are unobtainium*.  The motto of the Japanese American owners of the Berkeley Bowl is "If we can find it, we'll buy it."  "Even if they don't know what people do with spongy stalks of bac ha, nopal cactus paddles that brandish sharp spines, or taro leaves the size of elephant ears...more than 112 languages are spoken in Berkeley according to US census data."

 

My only experience with Berkeley is passing through it on a train in the middle of the night.

 

 

*except for fiddleheads...yes, @Duvel I had fiddleheads again tonight.

 

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 Preserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Singleton Hachisu. 

 

 Only now did I get the double entendre of the title.  

 

 It is certainly a book about Japanese food preservation ways but it is also a book about preserving Japanese traditions in areas beyond just food.  

 

 I have a love-hate relationship with the author whom I first met when I read Japanese Farm Food.  

 

She seems to veer between offering acceptable substitutions easily found in North America and suggesting that only the almost-impossible-to-get-even-in-Japan ingredient is the only worthy one. 

 

 She is an American married to a very traditional Japanese farmer and again she seems to wobble between idolatrous adoration of his knowledge and commitment to his traditions and a desire to thwart him in order to do things her own way. 

 

 But perhaps these two things only make her human and I’m looking for something else? 

 

 The book is an amazing encyclopedia of the ways and means the Japanese create everything from miso to tofu to vinegared cucumber. 

 

 There are plenty of recipes but only very few that I think I’m prepared to attempt. Patience is not exactly my forte so waiting 2 to 3 years for a result is way down on my list of things I’d like to do.  For others I am sure the challenge of making some of the more complex things will have quite an appeal. 

 

But whether or not I’m willing to attempt the recipes does not detract from my interest in the process.

 

It is a book that would’ve benefitted so much from many, many more photographs than are available both to instruct and to highlight the many Japanese arts and crafts objects that are less familiar to North Americans and other non-Japanese. 

 

If you are interested in Japanese food or Japanese culture this is well worth a read. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

*except for fiddleheads...yes, @Duvel I had fiddleheads again tonight.

 

 

It was nice knowing you ... I guess I will drink in you memory tonight 😉

 

(If - against all odds - you should make it, I shall raise my glass again to that)

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29 minutes ago, Duvel said:

 

It was nice knowing you ... I guess I will drink in you memory tonight 😉

 

(If - against all odds - you should make it, I shall raise my glass again to that)

I think she will make it OK. Surely those mai tais must offer some sort of fortified immune response to any other poison? 😀


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15 hours ago, Anna N said:

I think she will make it OK. Surely those mai tais must offer some sort of fortified immune response to any other poison? 😀

 

That's right - the antidote to methanol poisoning is ethanol poisoning!

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I'm two-thirds of the way through The Telling Room. It started out wonderfully, has slowed down.

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On 5/30/2018 at 9:12 AM, MelissaH said:

I've read that one, as well as Ruhlman and the two follow-ups.

 

What struck me most about Beaten, Seared and Sauced was his externship experience. I won't say anything more lest I give something away.

 

I love and have re-read both books several times (in fact, on a sort of CIA bender lately, so read both over the last few weeks.  Re-reading TPC as well).  I liked Jonathan Dixon's foreword, in which he gives hommage to but distinguishes his book from M. Ruhlman's book; his as slightly more of a subjective study, Michael's more objective as a writer coming from outside to learn the experience.  I don't think either falls so neatly into Dixon's distinction, but it was a nice way to sort of bookend both texts.  I could re-read both (and will, I'm sure), dozens of times. 

 

I've got a mountain bedside.  Guess I'm on a bender in general.  Mourning Anthony, can't quite get to his books again yet, so reading Eric Ripert's books again (On the Line, the Le Bernardin Cookbook), and also finished 32 Yolks, which I absolutely loved.  Wonderful.  So much in a tight little tome, draws me to him all the more.  And enough 2 a.m. reads of inside, ludicrous things that happen in the trade, that as I bust out laughing and wake my wife up, get me in fitting trouble.

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I'm reading The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone.  The subject is food botanist David Fairchild and his search for food plants.  So far my favorite paragraph:

 

"The coast of Austria-Hungary yielded what people called capuzzo, a leafy cabbage.  It was a two-thousand-year grandparent of modern broccoli and cauliflower, that was neither charismatic nor particularly delicious.  But something about it called to Fairchild.  The people of Austria-Hungary ate it with enthusiasm, and not because it was good, but because it was there.  While the villagers called it capuzzo, the rest of the world would call it kale..."

 

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Andrea Fazzari - "Tokyo New Wave: 31 Chefs Defining Japan's Next Generation, with Recipes"

 

This book tells the stories of 31 Tokyo "young" chefs, the older is around 45 if memory is right, 30 are Japanese and 1 is French.

Each chef gets a brief description by the author and a brief interview. Some of them give a recipe.

It's a nice read because it's really hard to find infos about what happens in the Japanese restaurant scene. It's much easier for me to find infos about Chile and Peru, which is a bit absurd given the great food culture in Japan. There are a lot of great photos made by the author herself (she started as a photographer).

The drawbacks are that the infos about each chef are really short and concise, we just get a superficial description of their work. The interviews tend to get a bit boring, since they are based on almost the same questions repeated to each chef. It's hard to show your personality when you get asked "what does being Japanese mean to you?" or "which is your favourite word?".

 

 

 

Teo

 

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