• 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?

500 posts in this topic

JAZ I LOVED Candyfreak - I found it so funny and entertaining yet educational. I read it all in one sitting.


The Kitchn

Nina Callaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished Soul of a Chef, reading Reach of a Chef, and attempting to find a copy of Making of a Chef.


16 years old and in love with cooking, you'll hear about me in the future. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tough Cookies: Tales of Obsession, Toil and Tenacity from Britain's Culinary Heavyweights by Simon Wright

Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass by Natalie MacLean

I highly recommend both.

Loved Red, White and Drunk all Over. A great book for anyone who wants to learn about wine. Funny at times and always interesting.

Melissa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Candyfreak by Steve Almond (subtitled "A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America"). Part history, part reminiscence, and lots of chocolate. This could have been a rather ordinary tribute to candy, but the author is such a good writer, it's one of those books I want to read over and over. For instance, this is his description of watching marshmallow bunnies being enrobed in chocolate:
They rode the conveyor belt three astride, looking nonchalant in profile, as curtains of milk chocolate washed down onto their white fleshy pelts and enveloped them and seeped off to reveal the dimensions of their bodies in a lustrous brown. Saborin [his guide] was saying something or other, involving, I think, starch. I was watching the bunnies.

Thank you JAZ for the turn on to this book. I've jsut started it and I laughed with the very first sentence! Can't wait to dig in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lately i have been on a sephardic kick. recipes of course but also interested in the whole history of the sephardic diaspora. can't remember all the names(they were interlibrary loan) but was reading one that incorporated research into testimony before the Inquisition tribunal that many times was about food, food prepartion and sabbath ritual and medieval cookery. at the same time there was on our local pbs station a program about the Inquistion, the conversos and the ultimate expulsion of the Jews from spain and portugal. really fascinating stuff.

other than that i have now become hooked on NASCAR harlequin romances - which many times include a lot of good food...

edited to add that i just finished Walter Scheib's book about being the White House chef during the Clinton and first Bush administrations. the recipes were ok but the story itself was riveting - especially his recounting of 9/11 and what went on at the "People's house" that day. i wish i could see him speak sometime. i am sure his spoken voice is as strong as his written one.


Edited by suzilightning (log)

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Picayune's Creole Cook Book is a great summer transport back to that week you spent every year or so at your grandmother/great aunt/tante's house. Originally published in 1900, Mmselle Bienvenu updated it for the Times-Picayune in 1987 and it retains all the charm you'd expect.

So far I've made blackberry jelly, and a jar of bberry wine percolates at the bottom of the pantry. I have ruined a good number of table and kitchen linens, there's chicory in the afternoon coffee pot, and my teeth are turning strange colors about the edges, but the kids seem to enjoy all the rusticity.

I might pickle!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last Chinese Chef and Climbng The Mango Trees. Both really good, although I will not be able to finish Last Chinese Chef before it has to go back, someone else wants to read it so I can't renew.:(

Climbing the Mango Tree is Madhar Joffrey's story about growing up in India. Even has recipes in the back. It is a good look at some India's history and culinary traditions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm greatly enjoying Chez Jacque by Jacque Pepin. I'm still reading Heat, somehow I keep reading the same things because I forget where I left off, I really like it so it's

a shame I can't keep focused! I must admit, I read Paula Deen's autobiography and really enjoyed it. I know, I know, everyone hates the FN but this was a very good read for me anyway, entertaining and moved quickly, what a life she's had. Completely un food like but a James Patterson novel that I can't seem to focus on and finish either.

I want to re-read Angele Pellegrini's "The Unpredjudiced Palate" and I think I'll take that to Kapalua this month to read in between wine tastings and cooking demos at the festival.


"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Last Chinese Chef and Climbng The Mango Trees. Both really good, although I will not be able to finish Last Chinese Chef before it has to go back, someone else wants to read it so I can't renew.:(

Don't think of it as a late fee - just as a rental, supporting your library. It got me over due dates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finishing up "The Reach of a Chef". Still seems very current. Nice life you got there Ruhlman. How's your house?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I must be star-struck by celebrity chefs, lately. Right now I am reading Marco Pierre White's book, The Devil in the Kitchen which is a lot of fun. I became quite interested in the guy after seeing the interview of him on youtube.

Next I'll read Neil Simpson's biography of Gordon Ramsay. Then I have Chocolate and Zucchini waiting for my next airline trip.


*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I apologize! I spelled Jacques wrong! It's a great book!


"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll have to keep an eye out for that one.

I just finished Dishwasher by Pete Jordan, I heard about it last week on NPR and found it at the library. It is billed as one mans quest to make his living as a pearl diver while traveling all fifty states. I loved this book, it was a great behind the scenes look at the life of some of those who take care of the mess. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about these suds battlers and general clockwork that is the restaurant. Pete was also publisher of the zine of the same name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished reading Menu from an Orchard Table by Heidi Noble. A very interesting story with recipes about the Heidi and her husband turning an orchard in the Okanagan wine country (in BC, Canada) into a winery and a cooking school highlighting local producers and seasonal ingredients.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next I'll read Neil Simpson's biography of Gordon Ramsay

My library managed to 'give' me this at the same time as Gordon's autobiography - "Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection".

His book is a much better read, IMO, than Simpson's. And his cookbooks aren't bad, either...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Bombay Kitchen, by Niloufer Ichaporia King. Just the origins of her Parsi people makes my whole country's existence feel callow and raw about the elbows. Oh, wait, we are callow and.......(American sigh).

I am becoming something of a Indian Grocery lurker, tho; always just one ounce or two of ajwain seeds away from being thwoked on the head by the elderly storekeeper's broom. She scares me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

White Slave, the Marco Pierre White autobiography. It's not particularly in his voice, as a quick comparison of his restaurant reviews in Waitrose Food Illustrated and the authorial voice in the book will confirm, but the anecdotes are interesting, as much for what they contradict about the legend as for what they confirm.

It was all rather a tumble at the end, over a decade compressed into the last couple of chapters as though nothing of great interest had happened to him since he stopped cooking. There's some juice about other chefs who've offended him (the stuff about Albert Roux is revelatory, about Gordon Ramsay less so); the mildly interesting tale of the sinking of his restaurant Titanic; and a little bit about his much rumoured marital bust-ups.

But nothing in the last 3rd is as well realised or remembered as the first parts of the book, where he was serving apprenticeships and opening Harvey's.

For such a charming man the book is rather charmless. That said, if you have any interest in the story of the man who was clearly the most important British chef of the 20th century then you'll need to read this, and will probably get enough out of it to make it worthwhile.

I'm about half way through Neil Simpson's very "tabloid" Gordon Ramsay biog and I have Ramsay's own "Humble Pie" ready to go after that.


Read about what I've been eating at http://theeatingwell.blogspot.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It was all rather a tumble at the end, over a decade compressed into the last couple of chapters as though nothing of great interest had happened to him since he stopped cooking.

One has to wonder whether this is how he feels it or whether this is how the editors or publishers shaped it. :wink:

Very nice post for your initial foray into eG, dharold. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks!

Interestingly he seems to be having a bit of renaissance. Both in rather undesirable tabloid newspaper coverage and in his cooking (even if the cooking is only on TV, not in the restaurant kitchen). With Hell's Kitchen gearing up, a new, more mainstream cookery book out in the late summer, and some more off-the-wall launches (The White Room, which is going to be on a cruise ship) I'm hoping that a future edition of the book will need 100 more pages, not just 10....


Edited by dharold (log)

Read about what I've been eating at http://theeatingwell.blogspot.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just started Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter, by Edmund Lawler (Ten Speed Press, 2001). Too early in to say too much, but so far, so good.

Ruhlman's "Chef" series is great. Each of those books made unique and important impressions on me. His "Wooden Boats" is likewise good creative non-fiction; a little heavy on the jargon, but maybe I think that because I'm more comfortable with the food world than I am with that of shipbuilding!

I recently reread The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine by Rudolph Chelminski. When it came out (Gotham, 2005), I read it in less than two days. Bernard Loiseau's is a sad but somehow understandable story. It gave me a whole new perspective on the business and the demands it makes of the people who live it.


"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm jumping between The Secret Life of Lobsters, (which has been more of a mariine biology read than a food related story, but it's main subject is a food item per se) and Burgandy Stars (which I was lucky enough to have Kitchen Arts and Letters in NYC track down for me because they are the best book store in the whole freakin' world).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best Food Writing---three fairly hefty paperbacks from the library. I've finished 03 and 04, and am starting 05. A coupla the bits are from eGullet.

And some of these articles are wonderfully written, especially one about a special Japanese Tea Ceremony, translated as "Evening Talk"---just a serene, ethereal account of a quiet evening spent with friends. The intricate steps are like a sedate dance, with all the participants knowing all the moves, and executing them courteously and with the grace of swans.

Also Memphis Afternoons, a gift from a friend who is a childhood friend of the author.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I happened across Hungry Planet - What The World Eats by Menzel and D'Aluisio (Ten Speed Press of course) at the library and took it out a week or so ago.

This book is a marvel. It is a compendium. It is a encyclopedia. It is a photography book. It is an adventure book. It is full of information about politics and the earth and economics. It is stories. It is people. And lastly it is all built upon the subject of food.

Two hundred and eighty-seven jam packed pages and I am afraid to even start because there will be no end. I will have to keep reading it and referring to it. I am afraid. Very afraid. ( :laugh: )

I am afraid that I will sink into this book and not emerge for a very very long time. And I have children to feed.

I said to myself that I would have to buy the book rather than starting on it seriously and then got ready to dole out forty dollars (the price on the hardcover edition). But when clicking on Amazon it looks like there is now a paperback and it is on sale for (glory be!) sixteen dollars (?). This seems unfair to the authors that I can obtain this so cheaply but anyway, my finger will be clicking to buy the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm almost done with Musashi Miyamoto His Life and Writings , by Kenji Tokitsu. It's a relatively new work, and the translation of Musashi's writings is helped by the author being both accomplished in the martial arts, and well-studied in the use of traditional Japanese. Most other works suffer from trying to be exact readings in a modern voice.

It's an interesting parallel to life in the kitchen, with the discipline and concentration upon technique and application. Also with strong parallels to the "pedigrees" we see of chefs - schools vs restaurants. Obviously, this isn't a new conclusion, there are plenty of great Japanese cartoons out there that treat this same subject. But it's nice getting back to the roots of a genre.

One problem I have, however, is from the Dokkodo "The Way To Be Followed Alone":

13. Do not pursue the taste of good food

Ah well, you couldn't expect him to be perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What food-related books are you currently reading? Do you read more than one at a time?

If it is a cookbook, do you tend to scan it or do you thoroughly read it...

Are you enjoying the book you are reading at the moment? Any comments on it?

I'm reading 'Much Depends on Dinner' by Margaret Visser and am enjoying it though it is a bit of a slower read than some others I've read due to the concentration level required to think through the historic and sociologic references.

Usually I read two or three books at the same time but am running short on titles I have an urge for...

I do tend to scan traditional cookbooks rather than read though I used to gobble up every word.

Tell us what is on your reading table!

:wink: I rcould not get thru miuch depends on dinner. Way too dense. A lovely book about the history of jewish immigrants and theifood businnes they had is called STUFFED: Adventures of a restaurant family.
Edited by anina marcus (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.