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What food-related books are you reading?

501 posts in this topic

I just finished reading "The Recipe Club" A Tale of Food and Friendship - a Novel, by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel.

This has a lot of recipes in it but isn't a cookbook, per se.

OK. I'll give it a try. However, I am still waiting for the Wedge of Life to arrive. We are allowed only 2 I.L.L.'s at a time.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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I was about to order it .....Not worthwhile?

Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe

I was disappointed. Maybe the excellent travel blogs around have spoiled me, but the food in the various regions was predictable and mentioning specific restaurants does not do much for the long term value of it. I learned nothing new. I was expecting something of quality like the Time Life Foods of the World Series published around 1970 and still informative and drool worthy.

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Just got done with "52 Loaves," about a man's quest for the perfect bread. Reminded me of "Heat" a little. Very entertaining and highly recommended, especially if you've struggled with home-baked bread.

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Just finished "Toast" by Nigel Slater

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Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner.

Read it as well...Somehow the book doesnt feel cohesive or written without sounding like a jamboree to me :unsure:

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I just finished "Goat Song: A Seasonal Life. A Short History of Herding and the Art of Making Cheese" by Brad Kessler

Highly recommended.

Though I sometimes got bogged down in the author's overuse (to my taste) of flowery poetry/prose, this book is filled with wonderful anecdotes of goat-rearing, farming and cheese making. An inspiring look at life itself. Brad Kessler is good natured, witty and not afraid to call things what they are.

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I am reading Bill Bryson's "At Home." It's a vast collection of facts and mini-history lessons, not the kind of book you (or I, anyway) can really read straight through, but I think that the chapters on "The Kitchen," "The Scullery and Larder," and "The Dining Room" would interest most eGulleteers.

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Inspired by Shelby's eG foodblog, I ordered the 9 book boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series

. Oh my- the delight of the settlers in the food and the amount of work and then joy in growing, hunting, foraging, and otherwise getting the food to table is a treat.

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I'm reading Heidi for the food passages and Laura Engels Wilder;s Country Boy for the food passages. I am just beginning to realize what an influence food descriptions in the books I read as a child on the way I cook now and the way I imagine a meal. I read first and then I became conscious of eating and cooking. It is an amazing journey.

I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.

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I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.

Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

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Inspired by Shelby's eG foodblog, I ordered the 9 book boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series

. Oh my- the delight of the settlers in the food and the amount of work and then joy in growing, hunting, foraging, and otherwise getting the food to table is a treat.

O M G I was just coming here to ask if anyone had started yet!!! Can we start a topic about the series somewhere??? I'm SO excited to discuss the books and the cooking with all of you!

edited to say I'd love to start a topic in this forum if it's acceptable :)


Edited by Shelby (log)

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Here is a topic on the food in the Little House series.

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I just finished Eating by Jason Epstein. Lovely - read it in one sitting.

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I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.

Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

I just finished Spoon Fed and must say I did not really care for it. I have not read any of Kim Severson's restaurant reviews so I am only familiar with her through this memoir, however many of the older food divas (Cunningham, Water, Hazan, and Reichl), were great influences on my cooking and my approach to food in general. What made me angry was that she had a golden opportunity with each of them to have fascinating discussions about food and cooking and instead she hands all her past troubles to them on a very large platter. Their gifts to her, as defined by her were given short shrift, a mere excuse, it seems by comparison to the time spent on personal problems. Such a waste! And the token recipes are in all their cookbooks - nothing new or fresh. What she told us about those ladies has already been told in THEIR memoirs and did not need to be diminished in hers. I felt she was particularly cruel to Marcella Hazan, who entertained her with generosity and kindness, only to have Kim focus on Judith Jones remarks about Marcella's ruined tastebuds. I still use Marcella Hazan's first 2 cookbooks, they are worn and spotted. Her other books did not inspire me so much but the first two were gems.

I feel her best chapter was on Leah Chase because the overwhelming tragedy of what Katerina wrought, made Kim forget about herself and write with real compassion about Leah and the fate of her restaurant. Her writing of Leah had dignity which most of the other pieces lacked.

Heidi, I am not sure when you refer to "rr" whether you mean Ruth Reichl or Rachael Ray. I have met Ruth Reichl once at a book signing in Toronto. She was gracious and amusing and very approachable. We chatted about many things including her fling with Coleman Andrews and I was very much a nonentity. I felt Kim spent to much time lamenting how intimidated she was by RR's image. Thank God, Ruth Reichl saved the day at their final meeting.

I can see why Kim admires Rachael Rae because Rachael Rae has huzpah and gumption and I can see that rubbing against it would make Kim feel more confident. After all, Rachael Ray makes non-cooks think they can cook!

I liked Kim's descriptions of cooking her family's red gravy and gumbo z'herbes. I just wish she had written less about "Me" and more about food and her inspirations. Now that would have been good food writing.

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I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.

Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

I just finished Spoon Fed and must say I did not really care for it. I have not read any of Kim Severson's restaurant reviews so I am only familiar with her through this memoir, however many of the older food divas (Cunningham, Water, Hazan, and Reichl), were great influences on my cooking and my approach to food in general. What made me angry was that she had a golden opportunity with each of them to have fascinating discussions about food and cooking and instead she hands all her past troubles to them on a very large platter. Their gifts to her, as defined by her were given short shrift, a mere excuse, it seems by comparison to the time spent on personal problems. Such a waste! And the token recipes are in all their cookbooks - nothing new or fresh. What she told us about those ladies has already been told in THEIR memoirs and did not need to be diminished in hers. I felt she was particularly cruel to Marcella Hazan, who entertained her with generosity and kindness, only to have Kim focus on Judith Jones remarks about Marcella's ruined tastebuds. I still use Marcella Hazan's first 2 cookbooks, they are worn and spotted. Her other books did not inspire me so much but the first two were gems.

I feel her best chapter was on Leah Chase because the overwhelming tragedy of what Katerina wrought, made Kim forget about herself and write with real compassion about Leah and the fate of her restaurant. Her writing of Leah had dignity which most of the other pieces lacked.

Heidi, I am not sure when you refer to "rr" whether you mean Ruth Reichl or Rachael Ray. I have met Ruth Reichl once at a book signing in Toronto. She was gracious and amusing and very approachable. We chatted about many things including her fling with Coleman Andrews and I was very much a nonentity. I felt Kim spent to much time lamenting how intimidated she was by RR's image. Thank God, Ruth Reichl saved the day at their final meeting.

I can see why Kim admires Rachael Rae because Rachael Rae has huzpah and gumption and I can see that rubbing against it would make Kim feel more confident. After all, Rachael Ray makes non-cooks think they can cook!

I liked Kim's descriptions of cooking her family's red gravy and gumbo z'herbes. I just wish she had written less about "Me" and more about food and her inspirations. Now that would have been good food writing.

This was definitely not the kind of food writing I enjoy- the grab you in the guts and connect with you stuff. I think she was writing from her addiction recovery position and it was just interesting. I did NOT like the Marion Cunningham part- like TMI on a friend. I think the part in Reichl's book about the bridge crossing is incredibly capturing of the trauma and even without the James Beard association I would have respected her (Marion) for that. When I used RR it was the other one and I was interested to see a different take on her.

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I'll recommend this novel to people who like the magical fiction genre and who also like to bake: The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen. One of the main characters is a pastry chef who works her magic by baking cakes. Southern cakes. After I read the novel I checked out Southern cookbooks because I was so intrigued by some of these cakes I had never heard of before, like Hummingbird Cake. Also, for the first time in years, I felt like baking an old-fashioned layer cake. Judging from the reviews on Amazon, other readers have felt the same.

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I am also reading Spoon Fed. Just started so no comments yet.

Spoon Fed was interesting but not what I expected. Tell us what you think about the RR chapter- I was surprised

I just finished Spoon Fed and must say I did not really care for it. I have not read any of Kim Severson's restaurant reviews so I am only familiar with her through this memoir, however many of the older food divas (Cunningham, Water, Hazan, and Reichl), were great influences on my cooking and my approach to food in general. What made me angry was that she had a golden opportunity with each of them to have fascinating discussions about food and cooking and instead she hands all her past troubles to them on a very large platter. Their gifts to her, as defined by her were given short shrift, a mere excuse, it seems by comparison to the time spent on personal problems. Such a waste! And the token recipes are in all their cookbooks - nothing new or fresh. What she told us about those ladies has already been told in THEIR memoirs and did not need to be diminished in hers. I felt she was particularly cruel to Marcella Hazan, who entertained her with generosity and kindness, only to have Kim focus on Judith Jones remarks about Marcella's ruined tastebuds. I still use Marcella Hazan's first 2 cookbooks, they are worn and spotted. Her other books did not inspire me so much but the first two were gems.

I feel her best chapter was on Leah Chase because the overwhelming tragedy of what Katerina wrought, made Kim forget about herself and write with real compassion about Leah and the fate of her restaurant. Her writing of Leah had dignity which most of the other pieces lacked.

Heidi, I am not sure when you refer to "rr" whether you mean Ruth Reichl or Rachael Ray. I have met Ruth Reichl once at a book signing in Toronto. She was gracious and amusing and very approachable. We chatted about many things including her fling with Coleman Andrews and I was very much a nonentity. I felt Kim spent to much time lamenting how intimidated she was by RR's image. Thank God, Ruth Reichl saved the day at their final meeting.

I can see why Kim admires Rachael Rae because Rachael Rae has huzpah and gumption and I can see that rubbing against it would make Kim feel more confident. After all, Rachael Ray makes non-cooks think they can cook!

I liked Kim's descriptions of cooking her family's red gravy and gumbo z'herbes. I just wish she had written less about "Me" and more about food and her inspirations. Now that would have been good food writing.

This was definitely not the kind of food writing I enjoy- the grab you in the guts and connect with you stuff. I think she was writing from her addiction recovery position and it was just interesting. I did NOT like the Marion Cunningham part- like TMI on a friend. I think the part in Reichl's book about the bridge crossing is incredibly capturing of the trauma and even without the James Beard association I would have respected her (Marion) for that. When I used RR it was the other one and I was interested to see a different take on her.

I absolutely agree with you abou Marion Cunningham - it was very insensitive of Kim to reveal information about Marion that was given to her in sympathy and confidence.

And yes, I too liked the different take on Rachael Rae. Although she is not what I consider to be a great chef, she has brought cooking to a lot of people who would otherwise still be living on kraft dinner. She has received a lot of negative press in the food media and it was good to read a positive take on her. I have always enjoyed her cheerful enthusiasm and humour.

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I'll recommend this novel to people who like the magical fiction genre and who also like to bake: The Girl Who Chased the Moon, by Sarah Addison Allen. One of the main characters is a pastry chef who works her magic by baking cakes. Southern cakes. After I read the novel I checked out Southern cookbooks because I was so intrigued by some of these cakes I had never heard of before, like Hummingbird Cake. Also, for the first time in years, I felt like baking an old-fashioned layer cake. Judging from the reviews on Amazon, other readers have felt the same.

Southern cakes, you say? Watch yard sales, thrift stores, second hand places and the like for the Southern Living Annual cookbooks and score dozens of Southern cake recipes per volume! :wink: HTH!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I'm a big fan of culinary mysteries...thinks with titles like 'Town in a Lobster Stew' and 'Fatally Flaky'. Light and entertaining. Sure, actual literature is a big part of my reading diet, but you can't beat pure escapism.

I have just been trying to read Thomas McNamee's book on Alice Waters (it was a gift, I felt compelled to try). I got a third of the way through. I don't like Alice Waters. I don't care who she is or what she's done, I just don't like her. And I feel sorry for her daughter, having that woman as a mother. As my own mother would say, I do believe I would cross the street to avoid her if I saw her coming, if for no other reason than to stop myself from slapping that smug grin off her face.


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I have been trying to slog my way through "Stand Facing The Stove", which is the biography of Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, the mother/daughter team who gave us "The Joy Of Cooking".

It has taken me 4 weeks to get to page 60. Today I had a doctor's appointment and took another (admittedly brain-candy) book with me. I got up to page 68 before I saw the doctor.

"Stand Facing The Stove" is going back to the library unreaad, I'm afraid. And I rarely just totally bail on a book....


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I'm a big fan of culinary mysteries...things with titles like 'Town in a Lobster Stew' and 'Fatally Flaky'. Light and entertaining. Sure, actual literature is a big part of my reading diet, but you can't beat pure escapism.

Oh, Badiane, me too! I call them "snacks," and I freely admit that about every fifth or sixth book I read is a snack, usually on the bus, where I leave them when I've finished. A close cousin to the culinary mystery is the holiday mystery, and it usually contains a lot about food, too. The only culinary mystery author I can't read is Cecile Lamalle - good enough plots, interesting characters and situations, but then out of the blue she'll just throw in some really offensive and vulgar profanity, and I can't for the life of me understand why. Without that language I'd recommend the books to the high school librarian where I work, but with it, no way.

Anyway, I'm going to look for "Town in a Lobster Stew" today, thanks! Does this series include recipes, as a lot of culinary myseries do?


Edited by Special K (log)

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Town in a Lobster Stew just came out yesterday...the first book in the series is called Town in a Blueberry Jam. BB Haywood is the author.

I also really like Julia Hyzy's White House Chef series, as well as Laura Childs Cackleberry Club series. I have about 20 different ones on my kindle...you are exactly right when you call them snacks!


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I'm a big fan of culinary mysteries...thinks with titles like 'Town in a Lobster Stew' and 'Fatally Flaky'. Light and entertaining. Sure, actual literature is a big part of my reading diet, but you can't beat pure escapism.

I have just been trying to read Thomas McNamee's book on Alice Waters (it was a gift, I felt compelled to try). I got a third of the way through. I don't like Alice Waters. I don't care who she is or what she's done, I just don't like her. And I feel sorry for her daughter, having that woman as a mother. As my own mother would say, I do believe I would cross the street to avoid her if I saw her coming, if for no other reason than to stop myself from slapping that smug grin off her face.

I thought it was an excellent biography. I understand what you mean about Alice Waters now. Her recent cookbooks are all repeats of earlier material and if I hear about her buying little lettuces one more time I think I will scream. She seems very elitist these days. However back in the 80's the food revolution she engineered (purely by accident I am sure) was wonderful. I still use her desserts cookbook frequently and her pasta, pizza, and panina cookbook all the time. She changed the way our family ate and prepared foods and she did influence the wonderful vegetable and herb gardens I had at one time.

I ate in her restaurant twice, late in August 1986. My daughter and I sat out on a deck outside the upstairs restaurant and lingered over a deliciously simple meal of her trademark goat cheese and tiny lettuces salad, a summerpasta dish of clams, pancetta and little french beans, and a lovely dessert. We lingered in the warm summer sun for an entire afternoon and repeated our pleasure the next day. I felt cossetted by her staff and loved the ambience. It was a lovely restaurant then and I loved everything Alice represented including Pagnol. I will never forget those two days.

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I've been reading a collection of essays called "South Wind Through the Kitchen: the best of Elizabeth David." Some of them I have in her other books, most are new to me. Her beautifully written tales of eating and cooking through France, Italy, and elsewhere in the mediterranean during the 1940s-50s especially have been great escapist anecdotes to the snow and sleet outdoors.



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