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What food-related books are you reading? (2004 - 2015)


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Recently ran across Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter, her story about running a small farm (complete with geese, turkeys and pigs) on an abandoned lot in one of the scarier parts of Oakland, CA. A bit harrowing and I don't think I'm young enough, brave enough or crazy enough to do what she did, but it was inspiring. Her relationship with the animals she raised for food was really interesting -- it surprised me that she had a harder time dispatching the turkey (she was very fond of that turkey) than she did her first pig.

Edited to add: @ andiesenji

"Oh, yes – quite alot of things [are beastly]. Birth is beastly – and death – and digestion, if it comes to that. Sometimes when I think of what's happening inside me to a beautiful suprème de sole, with the caviare in boats, and the croûtons and the jolly little twists of potato and all the gadgets – I could cry. But there it is, don't you know?

(p. 239, New English Library paperbacks, 1968)"

i just loved this.

Edited by SylviaLovegren (log)
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Many books at once, going back and forth between, just comparing different ages, different styles. My grandmother's cookbook "the American Woman's Cook Book" from l938, "A Treasury of Great Recipes" by Mary and Vincent Price (a fun read, wish I would have known them!) Larouse Gastronomique, the New American Edition, and the mystery series by Diane Mott Davidson about a caterer, which includes recipes, usually very simple, but some quite tasty. I love reading cookbooks, even if I never use any of the recipes the books seem to give an insight into the author and their likes/dislikes.

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. . . .I had no idea one existed! Is is any good? I was just re-reading Sayers's The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club which has this comment of Lord Peter's, which I've always found rather balanced, with regard to the appreciation of food:

I'm sorry that I missed this post last week. I hope this helps.

It's out of print but you can find several listed at ABE Books at reasonable prices.

I've had mine since 1984 and it is signed by both authors. It is the first edition published by Ticknor and Fields which was a division of Houghton Mifflin.

As far as I know, there was only one edition.

The wine recommendations are of course dates to 1980 when the book was being written so are well out of date now.

It is fun to read them and imagine........

I've purchased a lot of books from Castle Rock in Las Vegas and they give accurate descriptions.

If all you want is a reading copy, there is no need to spend a lot.

Thank you! I somehow missed your reply until now. I wish I'd seen this a couple of weeks ago, since there was a chance I would have been able to find it while I was in NYC.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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If anyone is looking for beach reading, or any reading, I'd like to recommend Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. It's a collection of articles, essays, short fiction, and cartoons from the New Yorker magazine. What a treasure.

Authors ranges from early contributors such as Dorothy Parker, M.F.K. Fisher, and A.J. Leibling to contemporary writers such as Adam Gopnik, Don DeLillo, and Julian Barnes. Some chef-authors too, such as Anthony Bourdain and Gabrielle Hamilton.

And the range of topics! The history of ketchup and food marketing from Malcolm Gladwell, Calvin Trillin on bagels, John Cheever on gin, Judith Thurman on artisian tofu in Japan... And some beautifully written profiles that brought tears to my eyes: Calvin Tomkins writing about Paul and Julia Child on the road, promoting her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and John McPhee writing of his week in a canoe and on the Appalachian trail, food foraging and philosophizing with the food naturalist Euell Gibbons.

I've read perhaps half of the collection. I'm slowing down now, I don't want it to end. If only I was actually on a beach, it would be perfect.


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"Mexican Mornings" by Ruth Harkness, 1947 & 48, published in Gourmet magazine. Absolutely delightful reading. Haven't been so entranced by anything I've read for a long time.

Thanks go to EatNopales for posting about Harkness' writings in the Mexican forum yesterday.

I all to partake of this wonderful series.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I seem to remember a thread on this topic but I can't find it. So forgive me if I repeat. is there a place to discuss books about cooking that do not include recipes?

I just finished Laura Shapiro's Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950's America. She expleores the ways in which the food industry, with the help of the media, pushed the use of pre-prepared foods in the 1940's and 1950's - and chronicles the not always positive response. The disconnect between the marketers in the food industry and the real people cooking dinner in America is truly amazing - and the power of the industry to influence eating habits is , to me, truly frightening.

This is a follow up to Shapiro's earlier book Perfection Salad:Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century,which focuses on the rise of home economists and the push for "scientific and hygienic" methods in the kitchen. Both are well written - both readable and thoroughly researched. And they certainly help me better understand both my mother and grandmother.

Elaina

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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Laura Shapiro's books are wonderful. I'd also recommend anything by Betty Fussell -- her books on corn and beef are great reads, Laurie Colwin's "More Home Cooking" is good. Andrew Smith's various books on American cookery are entertaining, always. Andrew Coe's "Chop Suey" about Chinese food in America is really really good -- and his mother, Sophie Coe's, book on chocolate is superb.

Lots of good books about food. Curious to hear ideas from other folks.

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I love Laurie Colwin!! Both Home Cooking and Home Cooking 2. Her novels are also wonderful - it is so sad that she died so young.

Two others I would add

Alone in the Kitchen With An Eggplant edited by Jenni Ferrair-Adler - a collection of essay about eating and dining alone with contributions from everyone from food people such as Marcella Hazan and Laurie Cowing (who wrote the title essay) to Nora Ephron and Ben Karlin )co-creator of the Colbert Report).

Amanda Hesser's The Cook and the Gardener - the story of a year cooking in a chateau in France and her relationship with the eldrely gardener. Perhaps I love this because I am as much a gardener as I am a cook.

It must be obvious that I love to read as much as I love to cook.

Elaina

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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There was this old topic (from 2004) Food Related Books

And there was this one: Books That Age Gracefully

And I am sure there was another one - there was a discussion about the book of Julia Child's letters to her friend in one topic but I don't recall the topic title.

"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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I really enjoyed Shapiro's books. One book that keeps haunting my thoughts lately is The Last Days of Haute Cuisine by Patrick Kuh. Parts of it are written oddly, and it's oddly assembled, but, for someone who dined in some of these places at the end of their glory, it captures the status quo of a previous generation of restaurateurs. Maybe I am just old and nostalgic for places that served the full-on Escoffier menus of the early part of the last century.

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I can also recommend Karen Hess's "Carolina Rice Kitchen: The African Connection", a scholarly but very readable -- and fascinating -- examination of how slaves brought agricultural knowledge as well as cooking techniques to the New World.

And ditto John Thorne's books. He is one of my heroes.

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