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


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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.com/Much-Depends-Dinner-Extraordinary-Obsessions/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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Patrick,

That one is on my radar and on my wish list.

Much as I enjoy my Kindle not all books are available in that format. Using some broad devious rationalization involving a gift certificate I placed an order between Christmas and New Year's for four books. I have been waiting anxiously for any one or all of them to arrive. Today these two showed up.

image.jpg

On the plus side both of them are printed on matte paper a boon for those of us who like to pencil notes in the margins. On the minus side I obviously rushed the ordering process and ended up with the US editions. Damn. That means both have been translated from weight-based to volume-based with all the annoyance and likely errors that entails.

Still many of the recipes are available online through the BBC which retains weight as a preferred unit of measurement.

I am currently stuck into the Kitchen Diaries. I am trying hard to read slowly savouring each word, each sentence as one might savour a box of really good chocolates. I want it to last. I have a long stretch of time ahead of me when the only intelligent being I am likely to run into will be Nigel Slater and/or Diana Henry speaking to me from the pages of their books.

I am not even 20 pages into the Kitchen Diaries and already there are three or four dishes I want to make. They are not even worthy of being called recipes. They just reflect the way I have begun to cook in the last little while making use of what is on hand and no longer adhering to anyone else's idea of what constitutes a "proper meal".

Some potatoes thinly sliced and cooked with some onion and garlic and finally topped with whatever melty cheese is on hand. Roasted mushrooms with garlic cream cheese served up on a bun like a hamburger. Simple food simply made.

I had some Slater books a while back. They didn't speak to me then at all. I parcelled them up and sent them off to another eG member who had expressed an interest. It must've been the wrong time of my life. Then I had delusions of cooking from the French Laundry and similar complicated restaurant books. Now I know to read such books and enjoy them but acknowledge that I will never, ever cook from them and not feel guilty about it.

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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)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Which one?  Raymond Sokolov's Saucier's Apprentice is one of my favorite cookbooks.

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)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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  • 7 months later...

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.

 

 

And here is a lovely interview with a daughter who has returned to farm  http://www.splendidtable.org/story/a-fourth-generation-farmer-on-leaving-then-returning-to-the-family-farm

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This is a food book, if you consider a book about how your food is grown to be a book about food: The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks. It's beautifully written, and at times absolutely heartbreaking (remember the hoof-and-mouth outbreak?). Overall, it's an interesting look into a way of life I'll probably never experience firsthand but appreciate tremendously.

(edited because I apparently can't spell without autocorrect this morning)

Edited by MelissaH (log)

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

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

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik

My favourite essayist tackles "family, france and the meaning of food" (blurb from the cover).

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)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker.  Wow...good research and writing about something we should all be aware of.  Many times I will be talking with a friend and she will say "What are natural flavors?".  Now I can tell her.

 

Also have two of Amy Stewart's books - The Drunken Botanist: the plants that create the world's great drinks and Wicked Plants:the weed that killed Lincoln's mother and other botanical atrocities.   Fun stuff I can pick up and put down when the cats need attention ... or the sugo I'm making for assembling the lasagna I'm making.

 

Two of Diana Kennedy's Mexican cookbooks for fun.

 

Also rereading a bunch of romance novels by Betty Neels to decide do I donate, get rid of or keep.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I recently discovered the annual Cornbread Nation books.  They offer a collection of the best of Southern food writing.  I'm going to included one in every Amazon order until I have all of them.  Not knowing anything about them, I brought number 7, the latest, and than went back to the start and grabbed number 1. At the rate I fill my shopping cart, I will soon have them all.   Southern cooking is something I know little about other than BBQ so this will be an enjoyable education for me.

 

Off topic but fun.  Our local Amish scratch and dent just became a dealer for Big Green Eggs.  It was a hoot to see the young barefooted girls in their bonnets giving us a sales pitch.  I'm hoping we get to the demo and tasting this Friday  Talk about culture class....

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Just finished 'Eat Me the Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin'.

 

Starting 'Mexican Cookbook' the 1940 edition by Emma Fergusson. I am kind of fascinated by the evolution of Southwestern food. This cookbook is from the University of New Mexico Press and was first published in 1934. The 1940 edition has 12 new recipes in it. The author lived in New Mexico and got her recipes and her recipe testers from the Albuquerque area. The book has been reprinted many times, I am currently in the process of buying multiple copies to compare them. So far, I am noticing that there is a huge difference between these old chicken recipes and modern recipes: what few there are all use pre-cooked shredded chicken, presumably because in 1940 birds were leaner, older and tougher. The pre-cooking (recipe given) involves boiling for a long time, instructions include adding spices like nutmeg and allspice, plus raisins, to the water, but warning to only salt during the 'final hour' of boiling. Several meat recipes also involve the use of allspice and other 'sweet' spices for meat, with the heat of chile sauce added as a finishing touch. Obviously, no tacos, or burritos, or chimmichangas here.

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Just finished 'Eat Me the Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin'.

 

Starting 'Mexican Cookbook' the 1940 edition by Emma Fergusson. I am kind of fascinated by the evolution of Southwestern food. This cookbook is from the University of New Mexico Press and was first published in 1934. The 1940 edition has 12 new recipes in it. The author lived in New Mexico and got her recipes and her recipe testers from the Albuquerque area. The book has been reprinted many times, I am currently in the process of buying multiple copies to compare them. So far, I am noticing that there is a huge difference between these old chicken recipes and modern recipes: what few there are all use pre-cooked shredded chicken, presumably because in 1940 birds were leaner, older and tougher. The pre-cooking (recipe given) involves boiling for a long time, instructions include adding spices like nutmeg and allspice, plus raisins, to the water, but warning to only salt during the 'final hour' of boiling. Several meat recipes also involve the use of allspice and other 'sweet' spices for meat, with the heat of chile sauce added as a finishing touch. Obviously, no tacos, or burritos, or chimmichangas here.

What a character Kenny is, eh?  I enjoyed it.  I also recommend the documentary I Like Killing Flies if you can find it to watch.  

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I just got  " The Food Lab "  j. Kenji Lopes-Alt from my library

 

so far , its a a very well laid out book.  plenty of pics to keep you interested

 

and might be a fine book for some one in the early stages of learning to cook, 

 

it reminded me of Julia Child's  The way To Cook, but updated with easy to digest 'science'

 

 

or a good book to browse through for others, prior to purchase 

 

 

its quite literally a Heavy Weight  and nicely produced.

 

it has a decent section on SV too !

 

He called SV  'Cooler-Cooked'

 

:biggrin:

 

and its only $ 27.47  at Amazon.

 

they more read thorough it, the more Im tempted.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I'm still reading through the entire thread, and now have quite a long list of titles for my book wish-list!

I just finished re-reading The Apprentice, by Jacques Pepin, and am now in the midst of It must Have Been Something I Ate.

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Just received my copy of 'Franklin Barbeque'. It'll be part of my reading material on next week's fishing trip.

I borrowed an audio copy of 'Blood, Bones & Butter' from my public library to listen to on the 10 hour round trip drive

to said fishing trip.

I'm also bringing along Andy Weir's 'The Martian' which is not really relevant to this thread unless a hypothetical description of attempting to grow potatoes on Mars could be considered food related. :biggrin:

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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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I'm .... now in the midst of It must Have Been Something I Ate.

That book is splendid reading, worth going back and revisiting. I laughed, and groaned with delicious delight, and cooked from it. If you haven't tried his Gratin Dauphinois, do so. Do not wait.

I just finished listening to the audio version of "Yes, Chef" by Marcus Samuelsson. Eh. He's certainly passionate about his work, but I think the book might have benefited from better editing. He gives interesting insights to what it's like to become a chef, and how race relations came into it for him, but I think it was a bit disjointed and repetitive.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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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

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I just got  " The Food Lab "  j. Kenji Lopes-Alt from my library

 

so far , its a a very well laid out book.  plenty of pics to keep you interested

 

and might be a fine book for some one in the early stages of learning to cook, 

 

it reminded me of Julia Child's  The way To Cook, but updated with easy to digest 'science'

 

 

or a good book to browse through for others, prior to purchase 

 

 

its quite literally a Heavy Weight  and nicely produced.

 

it has a decent section on SV too !

 

He called SV  'Cooler-Cooked'

 

:biggrin:

 

and its only $ 27.47  at Amazon.

 

they more read thorough it, the more Im tempted.

I am thoroughly enjoying this book! I've already made a few of the dishes; tonight, I'm making the Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad. Lots of interesting science tidbits.

Anne Napolitano

Chef On Call

"Great cooking doesn't come from breaking with tradition but taking it in new directions-evolution rather that revolution." Heston Blumenthal

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  • 3 weeks later...

Zuni Café......I am SOOOO late to this party.

 

A biography of Andre Leon Talley and one of Diana Vreeland and a book of dollar bill origami just because.

 

The one book I didn't want to put down and didn't want to end is Stir : my broken brain and the meals that brought me home by Jessica Fechtor who was a 28 year old recently married woman when she suffered a brain aneurysm.  How she used cooking and her memories of cooking to help come back from something that could have easily have devastated anyone.  Towards the end of her recovery one of her friends suggested she start a food blog and she did, Sweet Amandine. 

 

Host's note: this topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so was cut into segments.  The next segment, beginning in 2016, may be found here.

Edited by Smithy
Added host's note (log)

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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