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Mar 15, 2001 10:59 PM

ChowBooks Major Update

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If you missed the notice on our homepage (in which case, you may have missed other interesting stuff, so do have a look at the "What's New, Chowhound?" entries in the center)......

We've massively updated and reorganized our Recommended ChowBooks page, adding over 70 titles. If you enjoyed the great threads where everyone recommended favorite food books/essays/writings over the past few weeks, you'll be glad to know that we've included all that stuff (no need to plow through the thread!), and included blurbs from the hounds who recommended them.

Take a look via the link below (and order liberally via the Amazon ordering link included for each title...we get a commission, which helps the site keep going!).

Oh, and a big Chowhound thank you once again to Melissa Garland, who helped cull the information.



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    Dr. Winston O'Boogie

    Why are Jane and Michael Stern missing from the list?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dr. Winston O'Boogie

      I'll second that -- Eat Your Way Across the USA proved invaluable when I did just that.

      Another couple of suggested additions:

      Faith Willinger's Eating In Italy is an incredibly detailed reference which catalogs in exquisite detail the various italian regional specialties.

      And especially Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking; which is notable less for the recipes (although they're great) but instead for the 30-50 pages of dogmatic and hilarious ingredient descriptions at the beginning of the book. For example, the section on Mortadella refers to it as "perhaps, the most seductive of all pork products", a line which has caused me to laugh almost as loud as when reading Trillin on the Tic Tac Toe Chicken.



      1. re: Seth Zurer

        Pomp and Sustenance

        which is a book about cooking Sicilian food, eating Sicilian food, and the role of food in Sicilian life.


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      Leslie Brenner

      Great job, Melissa and Jim! Thank you! This is really a valuable resource.

      1. y
        yvonne johnson

        i like the chowbook list. it's a pity alan davidson's nth. atlantic seafood is out of print. i was wondering if a book specifically on fish could be included?

        Cod : A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World
        by Mark Kurlansky

        is really excellent. social history (esp of the Basques), science, recipes, politics (related to overfishing), nicely illustrated, well-researched and well written. now out in paperback, for little more than $10 from amazon


        2 Replies
        1. re: yvonne johnson

          Yvonne--sure, why not? We'll wait a while, though, in order to cull other tips, before doing another update.

          Any other comments on this book or suggestions of other fish books? The floor's always open...!


          1. re: Jim Leff

            Missed getting these to you the first time. These are all books on my list to read/own. None of the accompanying comments are my own; they were filched from various (regretfully uncredited) reviews. I've included suggested classifications. I would love to hear any opinions on these from fellow 'hounds.

            The Potato by Larry Zuckerman (General Chow Writings and Histories)

            Nathaniel's Nutmeg by Giles Milton (General Chow Writings and Histories)

            The Story of Corn by Betty Fussel (General Chow Writings and Histories)
            Fussel's lengthy and abundantly illustrated exploration of the romance of maize

            Peppers : A Story of Hot Pursuits by Amal Naj (General Chow Writings and Histories)
            one of the best books ever written about food, proved that the Portuguese were responsible for nearly every modern food trend.

            Apples by Frank Browning (General Chow Writings and Histories)
            Like all of the single-topic food books, "Apples" works best when there's a mystery to be solved, in this case the origin of the first apple, the search for which takes the author to the Central Asian republic of Kazhakstan.

            Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto (General Chow Writings and Histories)

            Midight in Sicily by Peter Robb (General Chow Writings and Histories)
            sensuously weaves art, food, history, and geography into a multi-layered look at one of the wornld's most fascinating places

            Traveler's Tales: Food, (edited) by Richard Sterling
            A Standard collection, but all stuff I (a big "travel" reader) I had never stumbled across elsewhere. I really enjoyed the stories about India, especially ordering on Indian railways. Place your order on a ("curry-stained") menu at one station, then your food is delivered at the next station, and the empty tray collected at the next station after that. There's also
            quite a funny story about an Englishman getting the better of a Frenchman, over the topic of tomatoes. Always a happy topic that.

            Feeding Frenzy: Across Europe in Search of the Perfect Meal by Stuart Stevens
            Do you like travel writing? Do you like food writing? Do you like personal narrative (well, duh)? Then you will love this book! It's about this fellow, Stuart Stevens, and his friend-who-is-a-girl (not girlfriend), Rat Kelly, driving across Europe in a Mustang convertable, eating at all 29 three star restaurants in consecutive days, and it's hilarious.
            (Recommended by the Mighty Kymm:

            My Kitchen Wars by Betty Fussell
            Gastronomic writer Betty Fussell, ex-wife of essayist Paul Fussell, writes a bittersweet memoir of her life and, predominantly, her marriage to Paul. A fifties bride with a thirst for knowledge, Betty Fussell embraced the kitchen as an arena for expertise and creativity, but also reflects on the limits imposed on her because of her gender, particularly by her husband's expectations of a wife's duties. This is a fun, charming and eloquent memoir.

            Miriam's Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich (General Chow Writings and Histories)

            The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman (General Chow Writings and Histories)

            On Good Land : The Autobiography of an Urban Farm by Michael Ableman, Cynthia Wisehart, Alice Waters (General Chow Writings and Histories or maybe Not About Food, since it seems to be more about growing it than eating it.)

            Culture and Cuisine: A Journey Through the History of Food by Jean Francois Revel (General Chow Writings and Histories--out of print)

            The Cook's Dictionary & Culinary Reference: A Comprehensive, Definitive Guide to Cooking and Food by Jonathan Bartlett (Chow Reference)