• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Carrot Top

What food-related books are you reading?

501 posts in this topic

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.

I love South Wind Through the Kitchen. It is sitting on the shelf above my desk and has been read many times, In fact it represents my favourite kind of food writing - beautiful writing, beautiful real food, prepared, enjoyed and reflected upon with pleasure. And these are stories where the enormous egos of contemporary food writing are absent. Lovely. Thank you for reminding me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That book sounds lovely. If I ever see it, I'll pick it up.

I got "the Lost Chinese Chef" by Nicole Mones from the library - I'm looking forward to reading it. It's a novel about an American food writer in Beijing, profiling a Chinese-American chef.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That book sounds lovely. If I ever see it, I'll pick it up.

I got "the Lost Chinese Chef" by Nicole Mones from the library - I'm looking forward to reading it. It's a novel about an American food writer in Beijing, profiling a Chinese-American chef.

I have read "The Lost Chinese Chef" (in fact I own it) and I enjoyed it very much although not as much as Fuschia Dunlop's memoir.

There are a number of Chinese mystery writers who include Chinese meals and snacks in their mysteries. These aren't food mysteries but the food is always interesting and makes me hungry. If you are interested I can list them (I am at the office and the books are at home)

Donna Leon does the same thing in her Brunetti mysteries set in Venice. Brunetti's wife cooks delectable meals and Brunetti wanders through venice snacking on tremazzini and pastries. Donna Leon finally had to publish a cookbook called Brunetti's cookbook because her readers were demanding recipes. It is a gorgeous cookbook full of all the meals that Paola and other characters prepared. She has included the relevant food descriptions from each mystery so you can revisit the meal. Her food descriptions are wonderful pasta, risotto, branzino, orato etc etc- I read them repeatedly and salivate. I do intend to cook some of the dishes myself in honour of Brunetti.

Apparently when Donna Leon started writing the mysteries she included meals because they are such an important part of Italian life. However, now her readers expect her descriptions of Paola cooking and the family eating in each new novel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am almost finished "As Always Julia" the letters of Avis Devoto and Julia Child. It is a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s. They discuss recipes but also topics of concern for the times. Julia also gets her intro into the literary world through Avis and her husband's contacts. Fascinating for even someone not interested in Julia's books or cooking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am almost finished "As Always Julia" the letters of Avis Devoto and Julia Child. It is a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s. They discuss recipes but also topics of concern for the times. Julia also gets her intro into the literary world through Avis and her husband's contacts. Fascinating for even someone not interested in Julia's books or cooking.

I own As Always Julia and look forward to reading it shortly.

At the moment I am reading Eat Memory edited by Amanda Hesser. It is a collection of food essays (originally published in the New York Times, I believe) by contemporary authors like Anne Patchett. I am enjoying it very much - some pieces are savagely funny and others, are very moving. All the essays are very well written, an additional treat. The book isn't new; I've owned it for a while but it was buried. I recommend it highly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayres' "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries, which contain a lot of descriptions of interesting meals.

So I pulled out my copy of The Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook to refresh my memory of how some of these were prepared.

There are quite a few "Culinary Mysteries" which have become more popular in recent years and I will be re-reading several of these which I came across while searching for all the Sayres' books.

The next batch is the series by Diane Mott Davidson, as each book contains recipes as well as a good mystery.


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am almost finished "As Always Julia" the letters of Avis Devoto and Julia Child. It is a fascinating glimpse into the 1950s. They discuss recipes but also topics of concern for the times. Julia also gets her intro into the literary world through Avis and her husband's contacts. Fascinating for even someone not interested in Julia's books or cooking.

Ok, I do need to read this book. The reviews have been good, too.

I've been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayres' "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries, which contain a lot of descriptions of interesting meals.

So I pulled out my copy of The Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook to refresh my memory of how some of these were prepared.

I love the series but don't remember the meals at all, except for the memorable scene at high table in "Gaudy Night." What is the cookbook like?



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The next batch is the series by Diane Mott Davidson, as each book contains recipes as well as a good mystery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another series like Diane Mott Davidson is Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series. Hannah has a cafe and makes cookies while solving mysteries in her small MN town

I like Joanne's mysteries and her recipes and I've tried several. I've met her a couple of times as she lives in the Valley and I go down to a book shop she frequents. She and her husband are lovely people.

I also enjoy Claudia Bishop's "Hemlock Falls" series, G.A. McKevett's Savannah Reid mysteries and Tamar Myers "Penn Dutch" mysteries.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love Lord Peter Wimsey. Dorothy Sayers is one of my favorite writers, and Lord Peter IS fussy about his food!I will have to hunt down the cook book. I also had a fabulous north Californian camping trip along highway one with a pile of Diana Mott Davidson. Death by chocolate? I think was one of them. Great fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayres' "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries, which contain a lot of descriptions of interesting meals.

So I pulled out my copy of The Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook to refresh my memory of how some of these were prepared. . . .

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:

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)

This kept coming to mind when I was over in the 'Moral Crusade Against Foodies' thread, and I ended up grabbing the book and re-reading it.

A lot of what I read seems to mention food, but I don't know that I could describe it as truly food-related. I do have Dumas' Dictionary of Cuisine sitting on a nearby table, trying to seduce me from the load of work I'm supposed to be doing.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife scored a copy of "Life, on the line" by Grant Atchaz and Nick Kokonas. I got the book yestrday 2-21-11 and already a 3rd into it the next day and I am enjoying it so far . I'm just to where Atchaz has taken the Chef de Cuisine job at Trio. Atchatz comes across as a little over the top on trying to convey his differentness to other contemporaries. I only know one chef personally that he mentions in his book so far and if all of them are described as "Richard Blais" is then I would say his descriptions of others are pretty accurate as well.

How I relate to Atchaz's story so far is that in retrospect, it would seem Atchaz made the decisions early in life that I would have made, had this been my story.

gallery_55239_5394_18184.jpg


Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished Appetite for America-how visionary businessman Fred Harvey built a railroad hospitality

empire that civilized the Wild West. Loved this book. Basically it is the story of how Harvey built

his business from a single lunch counter to an empire The research and attention to details are amazing.

The author has even included recipes served in the Harvey House restaurants. The author is Stephen

Fried and the book is well worth reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayres' "Lord Peter Wimsey" mysteries, which contain a lot of descriptions of interesting meals.

So I pulled out my copy of The Lord Peter Wimsey Cookbook to refresh my memory of how some of these were prepared. . . .

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.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've finally gone back to thoroughly read The Fat Duck Cookbook. I jumped to the recipes and science section as soon as I got the book but never actually read the stuff leading up to the recipe section. I wish I had. Now that I am, it's pretty interesting and has become my nightly pre-sleep read.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, that went way too fast. Next up, Heston's Fantastical Feasts. I'm more interested in what he has to say than the actual recipes, pretty much the same way I went into the In Search of Perfection books. Should be fun.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I checked out Edible a Celebration of Local Foods from the library yesterday. It is fascinating and heart warming to learn and read about so many community based and sustainable food enterprises. Just on page 61 but I am inspired.

I also purchased One Big Table by Molly O'Neill which says it is 600 regional American recipes but I consider more food lit as it is really about the food stories. I am a sucker for food stories and am enjoying the history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Read Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton and Life, On the Line by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas this weekend. Highly recommend both. Compelling stories, and Hamilton is an amazing writer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started reading Life, on the Line the other day on the plane ride to my moms house. But, while I was there I found my grandma's old 1943 edition of the Joy of Cooking so I've been distracted by that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished Beyond the Great Wall, by Alford and Duguid. Valuable not just for the food, but for some insights into modern China.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War. In 2003 Anna Ceizaldo moves to Baghdad with her husband, the Middle East Bureau Chief for Newsday. Over the next 6 year she lives in Baghdad and Beeirut working as a freelance journalist, learning about food and culture and negotiating a relationship with her husband's parents.

I really enjoyed this book. Here's the New York Times Review


Cheers,

Anne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just picked up The Spice Necklace by Ann Vanderhoof from the library. They are sailing around the Caribbean and exploring the cuisines. Enjoyable tales of local food so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've finally got around to reading through Mma Ramotswe's Cookbook, based on the series by Alexander McCall Smith: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency etc.

Cookbook author: Stuart Brown, Foreword by Alexander McCall Smith.

It's not just a cookbook, it has vignettes of life in Botswana and some interesting explanations and descriptions of the foods popular in the country.

Also Mma Ramotswe's philosophy about food and life in general.

The subtitle is "Nourishment for the traditionally built" being a "traditionally built" person myself, I can empathize. :biggrin:


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm reading Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink; Barbara Kafka's The Opinionated Palate, and Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gabrielle Hamilton's was a very good read. I flew through it in two days. I put down Jay Rayner's book when I learned Hamilton's was out. I like Rayner's book so far.


**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.