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Required Reading


jamiemaw
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Following on the heels of recommending a dozen and a half food periodicals that continuously refresh the culinary landscape for a young chef, here's part two of our challenge: build a culinary library based in the history and sociology of food and drink. There are several reference volumes for deeper research too. Cookbooks are not included in this section--we'll get to that in a while.

Here are some to begin the library; please add your thoughts . . .

Hering’s Dictionary of Classical and Modern Cookery

On Food and Cooking Harold McGee

Between Meals and A Taste of Paris A.J. Liebling

The Soul of A Chef Michael Ruhlman

The Man Who Ate Everything Geoffrey Steingarten

Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course Jancis Robinson

The Invention of the Restaurant Rebecca L. Spang

The Tummy Trilogy Calvin Trillin

Much Depends on Dinner and The Rituals of Dinner Margaret Visser

Food: A Culinary History Flandarin and Montanari

Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen George Lang

The Cambridge World History of Food Kiple and Ornelas

La Bonne Table Ludwig Bemelmans

The Man Who Ate Toronto James Chatto

The Physiology of Taste Brillat-Savarin

Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain

Food Lovers’ Companion Barrons’ Editors

Letters to a Young Chef Daniel Boulud

Near a Thousand Tables Fernandez-Armesto

A Chef’s Tale Pierre Franey

Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child Noel Riley Fitch

Food Waverly Root

Salt: A World History Mark Kurlansky

James Beard: A Biography Robert Clark

The Oxford Companion to Food Alan Davidson

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Between Meals  A.J. Liebling

So far, the only one on your list I have read. Just finished The Raw and the Cooked by Jim Harrison, a collection of short stories and essays, and am currently enjoying The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky.

Arne

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So far, the only one on your list I have read.  Just finished The Raw and the Cooked by Jim Harrison, a collection of short stories and essays, and am currently enjoying The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky.

Arne

Arne,

Jim Harrison has an amusing story (about a 37-course lunch) in this week's copy of the New Yorker--the annual food issue.

Enjoy!

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I think MFK Fisher's The Art of Eating is essential.

Culture and Cuisine, A Journey through the History of Food by Jean-Francois Revel is fascinating and often cited in other books.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I feel compelled to chime in with my Wine book list.

The Wild Bunch (Great Wines from Small Producers) Patrick Matthews 1997

Virgile's Vineyard (A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country)Patrick Moon 2003

A Wine and Food Guide to the Loire Jacqueline Friedrich 1996

Love by The Glass(Tasting Notes from a Marriage)Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher 2002

Wine & War (The French,The Nazis & The Battle for France's Greatest Treasure) Don & Petie Kladstrup 2001

Languedoc Rouissillon(The Wines and Winemakers) Paul Strang 2002

The New France (A Complete Guide to Contemporary French Wine)Andrew Jefford 2002

Adventures on The Wine Route(A Wine Buyers Tour of France) Kermit Lynch 1988

The Wine Regions of Australia John Beeston 2000 Very serious with historical context

American Vintage (The Rise of American Wine) Paul Lukacs 2000

A Short History of Wine Rod Phillips 2000

Wine and The Vine(An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade)Tim Unwin 1991 Scholarly

Red Wine with Fish(The New Art of Matching Wine With Food)David Rosengarten and Joshua Wesson 1989

The Taste of Wine(The Art and Science of Wine Appreciation)Emile Peynaud English Translation1987

A Century of Wine( The Story of a Wine Revolution) General Editor Stephen Brook 2000

Vines Grapes and Wines Jancis Robinson 1986

Vintage The Story of Wine Hugh Johnson 1989

The World Atlas of Wine (5th Edition) Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson 2001

There is rarely a week that passes that I don't open one or two of these books. If pressed to pick only two I would pick the World Atlas and the New France Book (the most informed opinionated and compelling wine book I have read) Red Wine with Fish is interesting but difficult to find($150.00 at Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks). I'm willing to lend it to someone if they want to read it. Just be nice!

Edited by Lancelot (log)

If it's slower than me.

Dumber than me.

And tastes good.

Pass the salt.

Anthony Bourdain

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I feel compelled to chime in with my Wine book list . . .

Red Wine with Fish is interesting but difficult to find($150.00 at Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks). I'm willing to lend it to someone if they want to read it. Just be nice!

Wow. Thanks for the great wine post, Lancelot.

By the way, do you know why Joshua Wesson's and Davis Rosengarten's Red Wine with Fish is so expensive? The story I've heard is that the two authors no longer see eye-to-eye. So despite its continued popularity, it's never been reprinted or updated.

And Bloviatrix, thanks for the Fisher and Revel additons--both worthies to be sure.

Jamie

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Jamie, another thought comes to mind....the section on Food in Peter Ackroyd's London, the biography. It's fascinating reading. Ackroyd looks at everything related to food -- from the markets to the waste products.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I don't know if this exactly qualifies as a cookbook, but I think it's an important resource: Cookwise, by Shirley Corriher.

I find it very helpful when I wish to change a recipe without messing it up entirely.

Hmm, the title didn't come out in bold, wonder why?

I don't mind the rat race, but I'd like more cheese.

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One of the most used books in my house--Culinary Artistry by Dorenburg and Page. I buy this book for every one of my cooks.

Cornbread Nation by the Southern Foodways Alliance

Gorganzola, Provolone, Don't even get me started on this microphone.---MCA Beastie Boys

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Food and History - Reay Tannahill (My favorite food history author; her book on sex and history is superb as well.)

The Devil's Cup and In the Devil's Garden - both by Stewart Lee Allen (Great books on coffee and "forbidden" foods respectively; humorous and well-researched.)

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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One I forgot to post earlier (he really takes the mickey out of the wine industry) is Lawrence Osborne in his book The Accidental Connoisseur. It has especially hilarious chapters on Robert Mondavi and Leo McLoskey, the founder of Enologix, who purports to be able to 'design' wine for vintners to order to qualify them for a Parker 92. Very good stuff.

What makes it especially appealing is Osborne's self-deprecation--to the point of painting himself as the oenophilic equivalent of a stumblebum--when, in fact, he's clearly anything but. Between the lines, he gently instructs that irony really does require two audiences and is not quite as simple as a black fly in your chardonnay, as Alanis once might have had us believe. It should be required reading for any would-be whinie.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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How about Outlaw Cook by John Thorne?

And some Elizabeth David seems essential, given how much she helped the English transition from their WWII boiled-beef-and-canned-cabbages rationing miasma to more Continentally influenced cuisine. An Omelette and a Glass of Wine is a good place to start.

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  • 8 months later...

Wow, I can't believe nobody has mentioned this one so far, so get ready to have your minds blown by:

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by Roy Andries (Andreis?) de Groot. My favorite book on any subject. Also, don't miss Honey from a Weed by Patience Gray. And the Time-Life Foods of the World series (69-72) is considered a classic, and I can definately vouch for the book on China.

I must also agree that Elizabeth David's An Omelette and a Glass of Wine is cream of the crop. That woman has inTEGrity! And M.F.K. fisher is equally good. As well as The Art of Eating, try As They Were.

Frau Farbissma: "It's a television commercial! With this cartoon leprechaun! And all of these children are trying to chase him...Hey leprechaun! Leprechaun! We want to get your lucky charms! Haha! Oh, and there's all these little tiny bits of marshmallow just stuck right in the cereal so that when the kids eat them, they think, 'Oh this is candy! I'm having fun!'"
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OK, I was getting VERY, VERY worried the Elizabeth David hadn't shown up in the thread.

Omellette and a Glass of wine is a fine collection of her magazine and newspaper work, but if I was going to chose only one of her books it would French Provincial Cooking or Mediterranean.

Lancelot: that list is screaming for Matt Kramer's Understanding Wine (the revised ed trhat came out a fewe years ago).

Malcolm Jolley

Gremolata.com

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The three that I have in my library inculde, George Orwell's Down and out in Paris and London, A Moveable Feast by Hemingway, and The Saucier's Apprentice by Raymond Sokolov.

If you have Culinary Artistry, you could also have Becoming a Chef by Dornenburg and Page.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Let us not forget The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin.

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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Cuisine en Dix Minutes, Edouard de Pomiane...

Simple French Food, Richard Olney...

Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery, Jane Grigson...

I shall have to restrict myself to three, however painful the brevity.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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How can you have a serious library without Larousse, or Escoffier?

Escoffier's "Guide to Modern Cookery" is the one book I would not be without - his recipes and basic "faites simple" approach are still relevant today, and the basis for classical cuisine - just disregard the garnishes.

Le Repertoire de la Cuisine is an essential reference

Also rans include Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to food.

Kurlansky's Cod is better than his Salt.

If you are interested in the sociology of food, then I would add

Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos, of an Ordinary Meal

by Margaret Visser

Feast: A History of Grand Eating -- by Roy Strong

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Totally agree that Larousse Gastronomique is essential to the list.

John Thorne's Outlaw Cook was mentioned upthread; I would say his Pot On The Fire and Serious Pig likewise deserves a place.

James Villas' books are likewise educational and entertaining.

The list as it stands is rather Euro-American centric. Can anyone recommend any text on other cuisines?

Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

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What about ...

How to Read a French Fry Russ Parsons

Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser

The Jungle Upton Sinclair

and for something a little lighter ...

The Gallery of Regrettable Food James Lileks.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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My list of things not already mentioned, good list btw:

The Food of France - Waverly Root

The Food of Italy - Waverly Root

A Psychology of Food, More Than a Matter of Taste - Bernard Lyman

Culinaria <insert country>- of any country or region if you want to learn more about that region. There's Caribbean, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, and European Specialties

L'Atelier of Alain Ducasse - Jean-Francoise Revel Very good if you want to get inside Alain's head.

L'Atelier of Joel Robuchon - Patricia Wells Very good if you want to get inside Joel's head.

Elements of Taste - Gary Kunz You'll find that flavor/taste is more than sweet, sour, salty, bitter. It's about flavors that push, pull, punctuate, or act as a platform for others.

Anatomy of a Dish - Diane Forley The first half of the book is about plants, their families, seasonality, parts of the plant and when we eat them (bulbs, stalks, flowers, roots, seeds), compatability, etc. The second half is about how to center proteins around those plants.

Art Culinare - Ultimate in food porn.

Edit to remove Le Répertoire de La Cuisine as it is already in the list.

Edited by Really Nice! (log)

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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