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rgruby

Most Essential Food-related Books from 2006

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Without a doubt, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma is at the top of my must-read list. Yes, you can argue that he's preaching to the choir, but he does so with such eloquence and intelligence that I was forced to renew my vows to eat more consciously and to vote with my dollars. If everyone who's read the book convinces five other people to read it, there just might be a food revolution in this country. I hope so.

For pure cooking inspiration, I'm digging The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider. I love her soulful, rustic food, and Maria Robledo's photos are gorgeous.


Karen

It really doesn't take more than three bricks and a fire to cook a meal, a sobering reminder that it's the individual who makes the food, not the equipment. --Niloufer Ichaporia King

FamilyStyle Food

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El Bulli 2003-2004. This continues the documentation of what may be the greatest chef and greatest restaurant in the world. While I may not be personally making much or any of what is in the book, it has continued to inspire my culinary passion.

I don't have it, but I know the El Bulli 2005 is already on the market. For what I hear, the book is as good as all his other ones, except with newer techniques. I even includes a dvd of the cooking itself. That's pretty hot, I think.

Also cooking ®evolution by alex hanbuckers. Really good. Now, I don't know if either are books "you-can't-live-without"


Follow me @chefcgarcia

Fábula, my restaurant in Santiago, Chile

My Blog, en Español

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Without a doubt, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma is at the top of my must-read list. Yes, you can argue that he's preaching to the choir, but he does so with such eloquence and intelligence that I was forced to renew my vows to eat more consciously and to vote with my dollars. If everyone  who's read the book convinces five other people to read it, there just might be a food revolution in this country. I hope so.

I agree. Thought provoking, beautifully written, and enjoyable. I've been passing this book around to anyone who will read it.


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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One more vote for Omnivore's Dilemma. I keep rereading the second half of the book, about Polyface Farm, and then the meal he forages himself. Being a grass farmer makes so much sense. From an engineering standpoint it is so elegant; so few moving parts, and so little energy going to waste. Maybe the well-run grass farm is the closest thing we'll see to a refutation of entropy we're likely to see in our lifetimes. The whole becomes much more than the sum of its parts.

I got tags for basically as many deer as I want this year; so far I have three hanging, waiting for their CWD* tests to come back (They all look very healthy, otherwise I wouldn't have shot them). I'm pulling the saddles and the hindquarters off each, and the rest are going to be used appropriately: The other book I found indispensible this year was Charcuterie by our own Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I love hunting, I love venny, I love sausage, and I'm awful fond of Ruhlman's philosophy on food. Match made in heaven. If I get a couple more Canada geese, I might just have to try their recipe for duck prosciutto with them.

*CWD= Chronic Wasting Disease, a Mad Cow-like disease carried by prions that has infected Wisconsin's deer herd. I hunt in the Eradication Zone, so I can get tags for four deer per day and free testing of the critters once they're dead. Season closed today but late season opens for 7-10 December and there are rumblings the Eradication Zone will be open for hunting year-round starting about six months from now.


This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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Wow. The Omnivore's Dilemma seems to be the egulleters' overwhelming choice for food-related book of the year. (Er, does anybody think starting up our version of the Beard or IACP awards is a good idea?) At least those who've taken the time to respond to this thread.

I've added it and the Locatelli book to my definitely should check out list.

A few other interesting choices as well. Keep 'em coming.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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My choices:

Mary Taylor Simeti's "Pomp and Sustenance: Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food" was enjoyable.

Also, since I was planning to visit Peru, I was fortunate to learn about and buy a copy of a handy culinary guidebook before I left. Its title is "Eat Smart in Peru: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure."

I just received a copy of "A Baghdad Cookery Book" newly translated by Charles Perry. It's a translation of a 13th-century Arab text, and it looks quite interesting.

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I Like You: Entertaining Under The Influence by Amy Sedaris. Her "Munchies" chapter is particularly inspiring.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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"I'm interested in hearing about Marco Pierre White's book........"

White Slave is a good read. Much more detail about the man than in the recent Gordon Ramsay Biography.

Monty

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Got my copy of the Omnivore's Dilemma last night. 25 pages in and I am really liking his writing style and the content. Definitely recommend it.

~C


"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com

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I Like You: Entertaining Under The Influence by Amy Sedaris.  Her "Munchies" chapter is particularly inspiring.

Yeah, this sounds like a winner in my book, she's hilarious.

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Here's a thread on 2006 cookbooks that people are enjoying or eyeing with interest: click


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Well, was poking around a bookstore this morn and a couple of other books did look interesting to me.

Any fans out there of the Michel Richard book, or Aliza Green's? (Hope I got the names right).

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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Well, was poking around a bookstore this morn and a couple of other books did look interesting to me.

Any fans out there of the Michel Richard book, or Aliza Green's? (Hope I got the names right).

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

We've been enjoying Aliza Green's Starting with Ingredients very much.

MelissaH


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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I'm waiting for the Omnivore's Dilemma to come out in paperback, but is it so vastly different from Fast Food Nation that I shouldn't wait?

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Vastly, totally, completely and utterly different.

I too could not get over the grass farming.

Outstanding book.


Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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I have two recent books to recommend:

Because I am an engineer/craftsman/inventor, I cannot ever let get far away, "On Food and Cooking", revised edition, by Harold McGee.

Because I matured with and adore Julia, "My Life In France" by Julia Child and her nephew.

Ray

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I am enjoying The New York Times Dessert Cookbook. A Marcy Goldman fan (BEFORE she started charging for her website), I am looking forward to the publication of her new book. Never tried a recipe of hers that I didn't love. Yum! Alfajores! Cream Cheese Rugelach! Oreo Cheesecake! Sticky Chewy Chocolate Babka! And so it goes.

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Another very interestng food-related book from 2006 is The United States of Arugula: How we Became a Gourmet Nation by David Kamp. Read it despite the title! It is a very interesting and well-researched history of food trends and important chefs, critics and other food figures since the 1930's or so. I've read bits and pieces about James Beard, Julia Child, the Chez Panisse story, etc but this pulls everything together in what I think is a more detailed and insightful manner.

I just finished reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and enjoyed it very much. I recommended it as a book choice for my book club. Although I had heard him interviewed several times last year about the book and read discussions about it on eGullet I am very glad I read the book. There is so much "food for thought" in the book that is not captured in a single interview or article review of the book.

(I also read his previous book, Botany of Desire and enjoyed it very much as well. He has a great writing style for scientific and technical-related writing this is clear but is also almost lyrical at times.)

The memoir Heat by Buford was interesting and informative as well.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Someone may beat me to recommending it to ya, but Montreal's Le Pied Du Cochon (Chef Martin Picard) has recently published a great eponymous cookbook which many of us are searching for US distributors.

The work is part recipes, part comic book and includes a DVD recipe walkthrough.

I'd very much like to get a copy soon.

~C

I managed to grab a copy of APC at Kitchen Arts and Letters last week. They wouldn't tell how they got it but said it was a struggle. I brought it to bed with me that night and didn't turn off the light until I had read the last page. A really great book. I want to send copies to all of my friends. Here is a man (Martin Picard) who truly loves him his pork.


You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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The Seasoning Of a Chef

The Omnivore's Dilemma

The United States Of Arugula

Into The Vietnamese Kitchen

Heat

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