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What book are you reading?

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I've recently read "Heat" and Anthony Bourdain's book of essays and need something new to read. I've been poking my nose in M.F.K. Fisher, but want something a little more current right now.

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  1. Wasn't "Heat" a fascinating read?

    If you want to get irate over what you're eating, read Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma."

    I've just picked up Brian Wansink's "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think." Perhaps this isn't the best time of year to be reading it...

    4 Replies
    1. re: jillp

      Loved Heat!

      I am currently reading The Way We Eat..why our food choices matter by Peter Singer & Jim Mason. Controversial read..somewhat upsetting. What is the true cost of our food choices? Hmmmm.

      I have to stop and take a break..it isn't a straight-thru read for me.

      1. re: melly

        When I was reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" I had to stop frequently because it distressed me so much I'd start ranting, so I know exactly what you're talking about.

        1. re: melly

          Is "Heat" after Kitchen Confidential??

          1. re: chef chicklet

            Written by two different authors, but yes, it came after Kitchen Confidential.

      2. I'm reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and Julia Child's "My Life in France" simultaneously, and immensely enjoying both of them.

        1. I have always loved MFK Fisher and recently read a biography, "Poet of the Appetites" and was surprised that despite being a graceful and lyrical writer, she appears to have been a selfish, naive, pampered, self indulgent and even sometimes cruel person. She also came off as a person who should never have had children. Most of what I have read about other foodies, James Beard, Craig Claibourne, Julia Child, Clementine Paddleford, Elizabeth David and Jacques Pepin etc. have seemed to reveal people who may be self centered but mostly generous and happy and people you would want to meet. Boy, not MFKF!I really liked the Julie and Julia book, thought that was very funny in parts. Just finished Gael Greene's "Insatiable" eh, not for me.

          9 Replies
          1. re: foodfan

            Gael Greene's book was not one I liked at all (although her brief meeting with MFK Fisher was kind of funny and illustrated the traits you mentioned).

            I just finished Michael Ruhlman's (sp?) Making of a Chef. Loved it. Reichl's Comfort Me With Apples was OK. I heard Garlic and Sapphires was fairly good (sitting at home on the shelf).

            1. re: merrymc

              Was it me or did you just want to shake her (Gael Greene) by the shoulders the whole time about that toy boy and say why are you enjoying this? Even a+ sex wouldn't have made that worthwhile, IMO.

              1. re: foodfan

                Yes...I wanted to shake her a lot during the book. She came off as more interested in describing the sex and high society elements of her life rather than saying anything interesting about the restaurants themselves (although there were a few interesting passages). At least I got it from the library, although I did spend 25 cents in late fee.

                Reichl spent a good deal of time talking about her lovers, but somehow it felt more integrated into the book. I love to read about sex as much as the next English major, but Greene's book spent so much time on her affairs it felt kind of repetitious and a bit boring.

              2. re: merrymc

                Thanks for recommending Making of a Chef by Ruhlman, I picked it up in the bookstore on Tuesday and finished it last night. Fascinating, and very well written. I definitely want to read his other books.

                1. re: JasmineG

                  I am about to finish reading this too. He makes everything feel immediate and has a great sense of pacing.

                  My gripe would be with the editing. Far too many typos and careless spelling errors made it through, making it very distracting to me.

                2. re: merrymc

                  I loved the first half of Making of a Chef but once he varied from moving on with his "class" I thought that it went down hill fast.

                  Am also looking forward to Garlic and Sapphires.

                3. re: foodfan

                  Yes, after reading "Insatiable" I wanted to wash my hands. Eh, indeed.

                  1. re: foodfan

                    Agreed on Greene's self indulgent tome.... Gave up half way through. We get it already Gael.

                    1. re: kaitak98

                      Self-indulgent pretty much sums it up. Do we really need to know the name of every chef, editor and celebrity Gael cheerfully fucks or blows?

                      Loved Ominivore, loved Heat, look forward to USofArugula!

                  2. Just finished the United States of Arugula, which was quite good. I am now reading Heat and so far it has been fascinating indeed. I particularly like the writing. Kitchen Confidential didn't really inspire people to work in a kitchen. Heat does quite the opposite.

                    1. The latest by Amy Sedaris, I Like You...,is turning out to be a great read. Humorous, fresh peek at how we entertain.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: HillJ

                        I just got this book. I think it's hilarious.

                        1. re: Sarah McC

                          SarahMc...the photos/recipe reasoning/chapters...just a good laugh at ourselves really :)

                          1. re: HillJ

                            So true... I just blushed through most of it. I might try the 'indoor garage sale' idea. Who doesn't need extra quarters for laundry!

                            1. re: Sarah McC

                              The deli 3-tier cakes just knocked me out
                              or the "rich uncle dinner party" hilarious

                        2. re: HillJ

                          Heard Amy on NPR recently...hilarious. I must get her book. It's like the anti-Martha Stewart apparently.

                          1. re: melly

                            melly, Any chance you caught her NPR taping on cupcakes...now that's satire!

                            I took in a David Sedaris show in Sept. After show, he signed books. I asked him about his sisters work and he was extremely proud of her. I flew thru I Like You but it's one of those books I'll go back and re-read just for a giggle.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              NO...I missed the cupcake one. Drat!

                        3. LIFE IS MEALS by James and Kay Salter is an early Christmas gift that I have just begun. I agree that Pollen's THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA is thought-provoking and a fascinating read that is destined to give readers pause.

                          Sally Schneider has written two books, A NEW WAY TO COOK and THE IMPROVISATIONAL COOK. I'm carefully reading both volumes because I'm giving them as a gift to a friend who is struggling in the kitchen. After many years as a working mom and the family cook, she realizes that she's repeating the same dishes and is in a deep rut. She lack basic culinary skills and has no idea what goes with what unless it is written down somewhere. My gift to her will be two solid months of cooking together several times a week from these inspiring volumes.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Sherri

                            I like the idea of NEW WAY TO COOK, but I find the recipes a little complicated for daunting and complicated for everyday use. But of course we have a toddler, so we're really tired most (actually, all) of the time.

                          2. I'm on a Caribbean sailing/escape/cooking tangent.

                            Earlier this month, I read "An Embarrassment of Mangoes," a memoir by Ann Vanderhoof, which details her sailing trip with her husband from Toronto to Grenada at the tip of the Caribbean islands and back. Great recipes and adventure as well!

                            Now, I'm reading "A Trip to the Beach," the story of Melinda and Robert Blanchard, who sold their Vermont food business and moved to Anguilla to open a restaurant. Again, it has a lot of fun food information and is inspiring my "escape the ratrace" and move to a tropical island fantasies.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: DanaB

                              i loved "Trip to the Beach"! Perfect food/culture/escape book.

                            2. Are those new books? Would they still be in bookstores? I'm thinking of getting one or both for my mother for Christmas. It's her fantasy, too. Maybe if I'm quick I can read them myself first--as long as I don't get anything on the pages!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Glencora

                                Both are available on Amazon.com and I found them both at my local library, so I'd assume they are available in bookstores, if they'd opted to stock them. The Vanderhoof book was published in 2005 so at minimum you'd probably have luck finding that one. I'd wager a bet that they'd have them at a place like the Traveler's Bookcase in Los Angeles or a good travel book section at a store like Borders or Barnes & Noble.

                              2. I just finished Michael Ruhlman's Soul of a Chef. I liked his Reach of a Chef better. He also wrote Keller's French Laundry and Bouchon cookbooks.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: da_seuss

                                  Ruhlman's a great writer. I read French Laundry like a novel!

                                2. Endless Feasts 60 years of Writing from Gourmet includes the musings of many authors highlighted thruout CH. It's a good collection of essays if you are unsure which food-related authors will suit your CH style.

                                  1. I'm reading "What To Eat," by Marion Nestle and listening to "Omnivore's Dilemma." Very good books. They both have an aspect of "scaremongering" but they are crucial reading for anyone interested in health and a sustainable earth. I'm also reading a commentary on the book of Luke in the Bible. The combination is interesting as Luke is one of the books most concerned with the poor and suffering, and that the Bible has lots of agrarian metaphors.

                                    1. Really Enjoyed:
                                      My Life in France
                                      The Perfectionist about Bernard Loiseau
                                      The 4th Star about Daniel Boulud
                                      The Nasty Bits

                                      Two For the Road by the Sterns
                                      Garlic and Sapphires


                                      U.S of A.

                                      On Deck
                                      Turning the Tables
                                      The Omnivore's Dilemma

                                      1. I know there are way too many mediocre food memoirs coming out these days, but Diana Abu-Jaber's "The Language of Baklava: A Memoir" is worth taking a look at. Her childhood and her family foods are inspired by and take place in upstate New York and Jordan. The first chapter provides a clue to the tone of the rest of the book. It's titled: "Raising an Arab Father in America."

                                        1. I read a short excerpt from The Language of Baklava in a magazine a couple of years ago that made me think it might be a good read, so it's on my list. Also on my list: The Apprentice, Jacques Pepin; Toast, Nigel Slater; The Omnivore's Dilemma.

                                          I really enjoyed Ruth Reichl's first memoir, Tender at the Bone; her second, Comfort me with Apples, not so much, for reasons stated here and in many other threads, but I am curious enough to read Garlic and Sapphires, just to hear about the life-as-restaurant-reviewer aspect.

                                          In past months, I've devoured and thoroughly enjoyed Heat and My Life in France. I'm currently dipping into How to Eat, by Marion Nestle.

                                          I'm also finding The Essential Mediterranean, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, incredible food reading. It's a cookbook (though I haven't cooked anything from it yet), but so much more. The chapters are divided into core ingredients essential to all Mediterranean cuisines: "Salt," "Olives and Olive Oil," "Wheat," "Pasta and Couscous," "Wine," "The Oldest Legumes" (chickpeas, lentils, and favas), "Peppers and Tomatoes," "The Family Pig," "The Sea," and "From the Pasture" (cheese and yogurt). Each chapter begins with a section about the food - its history, its relation to Mediterranean cooking (how different countries use it, etc.), its relation to their daily lives throughout history, and so on. It's fascinating, well written, and really interesting reading. And reading the essays makes me want to try the recipes that follow, too (in the new year!).

                                          also really well-written, interesting and informative history and

                                          1. Currently reading Danny Meyer's "Setting the Table". Great insights into the hospitality industry and management in general. Also Joyce Goldstein's "Antipasti"

                                            1. just finished 'garlic and sapphires' by ruth reichl, loved it. just started 'toast' by nigel slater. it's good so far.

                                              1. I really want to read heat now, after all of the great reviews. I am flying to maryland from boston this weekend and I could use a good book on the flight (although it's only a 90 min flight).

                                                I also want to try out molecular gastronomy by herve this, but I have heard a few things about it that make me want to change my mind. I hear its very boring and you have to know/like a lot of chemistry to be able to enjoy and understand the book.

                                                1. If you are one of the few people left in the world who have not read Jeffery Steingarten's 'It Must Be Something I Ate,' then pick that one up. Its highly entertaining.

                                                  On another note, I learned a lot from Shirley O'Corriher's 'Cookwise.' She explains in basic terms a lot of fundemental concepts about the science of cooking, and follows up each with a variety of recipies that demonstrate the the concepts. Not a place to learn molecular gastronomy, but more a way to learn some basic concepts and techniques that can imnprove everyday cooking.

                                                  And I'm reading 'The Apprentice' by Jacques Pepin which is a sweet book and interesting if you are a fan of his.

                                                  1. Recently read "Coming Home to Eat" by Gary Paul Nabhan. With all the E. coli and other pathogen-related food illnesses in the press recently, readers will gain a greater appreciation for "eating local" and the value of sustainable agriculture and CSA's. It was a fascinating read and has made me more aware of what and where I procure my foods. Fortunately, San Francisco and the greater Bay Area provide many options.

                                                    1. Another one I'm waiting for the library to get in is the Gordon Ramsay bio... If you have only seen Hell's Kitchen, don't give up on Gordon. I thought he was a blow hard but then I saw Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America. The guy just won't put up with poseurs. He can draw the best out of people, but don't waste his time unless you are all in.

                                                      And Bourdain is a fan.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                        1. re: chezlamere

                                                          Roasting In Hell's Kitchen....


                                                          I recently found his first and second TV series, Boiling Point and Beyond Boiling Point on bittorrent and enjoyed them. (Bourdain mentions the show in the Ramsay part of Cook's Tour) There was also a torrent of the new series of Kitchen Nightmares which we haven't gotten in the states. Search Ramsay on any torrent search engine to get them.

                                                      1. I was looking through Heat to grab a preparation I liked, and I noticed that there is an old Latin cookbook that is referenced; it covers the chef the "Maestro" from the Middle Ages.

                                                        Has anyone ever read that particular book? It apparently been translated into English.

                                                        By the way if you ever get a chance, read the “Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine”; I’ve begun to think about living off the land for a few months because of it...

                                                        1. Does anyone know if Anthony Bourdain does his own writing? His prose is beautiful, almost lyrical, but I have a hard time believing that someone as vulgar as he is has the intelligence to write so expressively. Started reading his book about eating around the globe (can't remember the title off hand), and loved his writing style (if it really is his). However, about half way through the book, Mr. Bourdain seemed to become more interested in sex and obscene language than about the subject at hand. Sigh. Seems as though we've lost the ability to express ourselves with grace and intelligence; our modern writers have more in common with Rosie O'Donnell than James Michner.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: SDgirl

                                                            SDgirl, Pick up a copy of "When French Women Cook". You won't be disappointed.

                                                            1. re: Leper

                                                              Thanks, Leper! I'll give that one a try.

                                                            2. re: SDgirl

                                                              Bourdain is Rabelesian in his appetites! He's written novels as well as food memoirs. He might have a groupie writing down stuff he's thinking and an editor to give it form, but IMO it's all Bourdain's larger-than-life persona.

                                                              1. re: SDgirl

                                                                Bourdain wears on me. At first I liked his descriptions, but it's always the same ones. Plus, I think he forces the vulgarity because that's what people want to read.

                                                              2. "Life is Meals" by James & Kay Salter.
                                                                A food lovers book of days with recipes
                                                                I'm loving it.

                                                                1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/345668

                                                                  From an earlier thread with terrific recommendations!

                                                                  1. Anything by Ruth Reichl. "Tender at the Bone", "Comfort Me With Apples", "Garlic and Sapphires."

                                                                    1. Just finished United States of Arugula-brilliant history. My new favorites are the Culinaria series-I have France, Spain,Italy, Greece, Germany, Hungary and European Specialties in 2 volumes. Looking for Caribbean, SE Asia and U.S.A.

                                                                      1. I wouldn't say 'reading' so much as drooling over, but "The Spirit of Excellence (Restaurants, Chefs, Recipes, and Cognac)" compiled by David Shaw is awe-inspiring.

                                                                        1. Got Madhur Jaffrey's memoir, "Climbing the Mango Trees," today, and am already 100 pages in. Am also enjoying the Amy Sedaris book "I Like You" which was a Christmas gift from someone who knows me well. Might get United States of Arugula soon.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                                                            Son gave me "Climbing the Mango Trees" for Christmas and I am totally enjoying it...can't wait to try some of the recipes at back of the book!

                                                                          2. This one's a novel, but highly amusing- Jay Raytner's "Eating Crow" about a restaurant critic who causes a chef's suicide and subsequently discovers the addictive therapy that is apologizing, which leads to a new career as the UN's chief apologist. Lots of food, decent satire, and quite entertaining. It does slow down a little in the middle, but overall, you won't regret the read.

                                                                            I've also been dipping into Mark Kurlansky's "Choice Cuts." A collection of writing from around the world and throughout history on any number of culinary topics, it's not so much of a sit-down read, but I enjoy having it around to dip into whenever I want.

                                                                            - Lea

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Canada Eats

                                                                              CEats-loved the cheese bites..altho yours were far more picture perfect..I'm still working on design!

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                Hi HillJ, so glad to hear it! We devoured them in seconds. And you know, you'll just have to keep making them until they're "picture perfect" ;)

                                                                                1. re: Canada Eats

                                                                                  I'll do my best. Tonight at dinner, dh was asking when I was going to make those "delicious puffs" again...

                                                                                  Any design tips?

                                                                            2. I'm reading "Consuming Passions" by Michael Lee West. It's a quick and fun read, and, if you like Southern cookin', it will remind you how much.

                                                                              I'm also reading Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential," which provides an interesting contrast. It's interesting so far, but I'm ambivalent regarding Bourdain's persona.

                                                                              I received "Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Garlic and Sapphires" for X-mas and am very much looking forward to them both. Reichl's the reason I started reading food books in the first place.

                                                                              1. Just got Nasty Bits and Las Halles by Bourdain for Christmas. Can't wait to dig in.

                                                                                1. Just finished Anthony Bourdain's "The Nasty Bits"; a waste of time and total garbage.

                                                                                  Now reading "The United States of Arugula"; very interesting.

                                                                                  Happy New Year,

                                                                                  1. Just started "Botany of Desire".

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                      ludwig Bemelmans' 'Hotel Bemelmans' is really beautiful and sad - it's a collection of vignettes he wrote about working at the Ritz at the turn of the century with all kinds of crazy chefs who gamble and drink hellishly. Just amazing.

                                                                                    2. Two histories:

                                                                                      Turner, Jack. 2004. Spice: The History of a Temptation. Vintage.

                                                                                      Pendergrast, Mark. 1999. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed the World. Basic Books.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                        THE GOSPEL OF FOOD by Barry Glassner. Ecco. Incredible book. Some negative stuff about chowhound, but nothing that some of us don't say ourselves, and excellent frying of pompous restaurant reviewers in the press.

                                                                                      2. Read Julie & Julia - Julie Powell...it's hysterical and all 3 of Ruth Reichl's in her memoir series: Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me With Apples, Garlic and Sapphires. Also Marcus Samuellson's new cookbook - The Soul of a New Cuisine (African cooking)

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: coffeesnob

                                                                                          Agreed, with regards to Glassner's "Gospel"...it has been receiving tons of positive reviews-- LA Times, Bourdain, etc. Check it out!

                                                                                        2. My two on-deck books are:

                                                                                          Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
                                                                                          Spotted Dick, s'il vous plait: An English Restaurant in France by Tom Higgins

                                                                                          1. I'm FINALLY reading Julie and Julia.

                                                                                            I'm also reading My Life in France at the same time.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Mill City Modern

                                                                                              I'm about 200 pages into Julie and Julia. We are reading it for book club. She is currently in the "aspic" stage... sorry, as much as i like food, i am not boiling calves feet for any reason.

                                                                                            2. really enjoyed THE WORLD IN MY KITCHEN by collette rossant and looking forward to her other memoirs, APRICOTS ON THE NILE.

                                                                                              The World in My Kitchen is all about coming to America from France and experiementing with all kinds of cooking (and eating) in new york. especially as a new yorker, it was fascinating to read all about chinatown and other areas in the 50s and 60s, through foreign eyes, at that. along the way she also becomes friends with other famous foodies like craig claiborne and gael greene. it is a fun, quick read.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: ndl

                                                                                                I quite love Memories of a Lost Egypt: A Memoir with Recipes
                                                                                                by Colette Rossant
                                                                                                I wonder how the others compare . . .

                                                                                                1. re: ndl

                                                                                                  Thanks to you, I read World really enjoyed it, and was inspired to reserve more. My copy of Apricots just came in.

                                                                                                2. I just ordered the spotted dick from the library, I just couldn't pass-up a title like that

                                                                                                  1. There was a contest on Ed Levine Eats about 2 months ago where you had to post in 100 words who your favorite food critic-writer was. The winner was to be determined by Levine, Jeff Steingarten and the author of US of Arugula. The prize was to be dinner with Levine and Steingarten. No winner was posted on the site. Anybody know who won?

                                                                                                    1. Julie and Julia - I am about half-way through and I have mixed feelings about it. I thought it would be more about the cooking that her personal life. I have been eating a giant pot of Potage Parmentier all week for the full experience.

                                                                                                      I am also reading The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine. I spent a measly 3 days around Nice a few years ago. This book makes me want to go back to France for a complete culinary tour.

                                                                                                      1. Just finished Steven Shaw's "Turning the Tables: Restaurants from the Inside Out" and am now reading Bourdain's "A Cook's Tour". On the To Read list are "Nasty Bits" and "Garlic and Sapphires", Calvin Trillin's "Tummy Trilogy" and Pascale le Draoulec's "American Pie - Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads".

                                                                                                        Yes, I know I'm woefully behind in my food reading. :-)

                                                                                                        1. Just finished Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food." I appreciated the explicit preparation directions with illustrations, as well as the substitutions.

                                                                                                          1. "Consuming Passions: A Food Obsessed life" by Michael Lee West - enjoy it with a big glass of sweet tea.

                                                                                                            1. Couple of older books-

                                                                                                              Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything" (Knopf, 1998) which is a mix of restaurant hopping on every continent, food and cooking experiments, and some recipes. Very amusing and insightful. He is the "internationally feared and acclaimed food critic of Vogue magazine," accordiing to the dust jacket.

                                                                                                              Also got my big Christmas present, a slightly tattered copy of Mary and Vincent Price's "A Treasury of Great Recipes" (Ampersand Press, 1965.) It's a 460-page monster of a book (8 x 11 inch format) with travelogues to restaurants in France, Italy, Holland, Scandinavia, England, Spain, Mexico, and the United States. The critiques are witty and informative. The section on each restaurant (there are 70) starts with a coffee-table quality photo of the diniing room and/or a selection of the specialties of the house, and a reproduction of the menu the Prices used on their visit. In the European section, many are hand-written. The early-1960's prices will make you weep!

                                                                                                              Then there are detailed and well-written recipes for each house's specialties or signature dishes. Price, the famous movie star, epicure and well-known bon vivant, could apparently get the chefs to share their secrets with him. (Well, I guess the ones who didn't, aren't in the book.) ;)

                                                                                                              If you can find this on the Internet for $50 or so, you should snap it up. It's about the most-fun cookbook I've ever seen. When I discovered it at my daughter's house, I just sat down and virtually read it straight through. I made it quite clear what I wanted for Christmas, and now I'm happy.

                                                                                                              My daughter bought her copy at a charity auction and paid about $70 for it. It's inscribed by Mary Price to a "Laura": an inscribed copy on Amazon was asking $250. Mine's not inscribed, needless to say. I'm happy anyway.


                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: MikeLM

                                                                                                                Wow - my husband picked up our copy at the local Red Cross book sale for $2 a few years back. I had no idea it was such a treasure.

                                                                                                              2. "Reach of a Chef" was a better read than "Soul", but I think only if you read Soul first because you already know part of the story. The chapters from Reach on Masa and Primo in particular were astounding, with the one on Masa being perhaps the most incredible food writing I've encountered.

                                                                                                                Finished "US of Arugula" last month and enjoyed the second half. It started off fairly slowly IMO, but it was invaluable history.

                                                                                                                Am working through Wright's "Mediterranean Vegetables" while waiting on McGee's rewrite to come in the mail.

                                                                                                                Btw, for those of you lucky enough to live near a Half Price Books (one's a mile from here), the cookbook section is incredible. After Christmas I went over and treated myself to five books on soups/stews, including Peterson's "Splendid Soups" which might be the best soup book I've seen. Total cost for all five = under $25.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                  I haven't read Reach yet, but I thought Soul of a Chef was far superior to Making of a Chef. I thought that his depiction of 3 different definitions of excellence pertained to so much in life that I think about balancing "clean the counter ... and apply it to everything you do" and living generously and largely. If Reach is better, than I'm on my way.

                                                                                                                  Just finished Two for the Road, and part of it satisfied me (that there are so many mediocre restaurants out there; after all, they make it look so easy.) But it also saddened me that so many of the places they wrote about are now closed. It was like a way to enshrine them I suppose.

                                                                                                                2. His most memorable book (to me) is Riding the Iron Rooster. Paul Theroux’s detailed writing inevitably involves food as well. I am reading The Pillars of Hercules - A grand Tour of the Mediterranean (1995).


                                                                                                                  One of the many strange facts about the Mediterranean people is that compared with the British and the Northern Europeans they are not great fish eaters. ...... One of the more anticlimactic experiences in a Mediterranean market is surveying the fish goggling on marble slabs. There are not many, they are rather small, and the larger proportion have been caught outside the Mediterranean. Tuna is the exception, because it makes an annual journey through the Pillars and across the Mediterranean to spawn in the Black Sea. ...... Deep-sea fishing in the Mediterranean is almost unknown, apart from the illegal drift-netters and the competition for the migrating tuna. (-from The Cable Car to the Rock of Gibraltar)

                                                                                                                  “Yes, we occasionally fish. I catch small mackerel and we grill them.”
                                                                                                                  “I thought there were hardly any fish at all in the Mediterranean.”
                                                                                                                  “There’s no question it’s overfished. The hake and mackerel you see in the market is all local, and there are still squid and octopus. But it’s going to be dire if they keep catching these undersized fish.”
                                                                                                                  “I haven’t seen many commercial fishermen.”
                                                                                                                  “I saw one at Torrevieja with six small boxes, all filled with tiny fish. A man said to him, ‘Why are you keeping these little fish? This is the fish stock. If you don’t leave them to be fattened up there won’t be any for the rest of us.’ The fisherman said, ‘Sorry, but I’ve got a family. I’ve got mouths to feed.’ They went at it a bit more and were finally fighting with fists.” (from The “Mare Nostrum” Express to Alicante)

                                                                                                                  I bought food in the supermarket, yogurt, sardines, fruit juice, picnic food for homemade bocadillos – fat sandwiches. I bought Soller’s prized oranges and a topographical map; and when the rain stopped and the sea glittered with sun, I spent two days hiking, looking at birds, making notes, glad that I had found such a lovely corner of this supposedly hackneyed island. (from The M.V. Punta Europa to Mallorca)

                                                                                                                  “May I suggest the Two Salmon Terrine with caviar and tomato, followed by Essence of Pigeon with Pistachio Dumplings?” the waiter, Karl, asked. “And perhaps the Game Hen with Raisin Sauce to follow?”
                                                                                                                  Karl, of Italian, German and Ethiopian ancestry, was the spit and image of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, one of whose grandmothers was a black Abyssinian.
                                                                                                                  “As I mentioned the other day, I try not to eat anything with a face," I said, “Which is why I had the asparagus and truffles last night, and the stir-fried vegetables.”
                                                                                                                  “Yes, sir.”
                                                                                                                  “Nor anything with legs.”
                                                                                                                  “Yes, sir.”
                                                                                                                  “Nor anything with a mother.”
                                                                                                                  “No fish, then.”
                                                                                                                  “Fish is a sort of vegetable,” I said, “Not always, but this Gravlax with mustard sauce, and the Angler Fish with Lobster Hollandaise might fall into that category.”
                                                                                                                  “Soup, sir?”
                                                                                                                  I looked at the menu again.
                                                                                                                  “I’ll try the sun-dried blueberry and champagne soup.”
                                                                                                                  For dessert I had a banana sundae with roasted banana ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauce. The man at the next table, gold buttons flashing, had just finished a plate of Flamed Bananas Madagascar and was about to work his way through a raspberry soufflé with raspberry sauce. (from The Seabourn Spirit to Istanbul. Later, more detailed bits about Fraises au poivre, Cherrie Jubilee, etc.)

                                                                                                                  1. garlic and sapphires

                                                                                                                    I really want Julia Child's biography

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                      That would be "Appetite For Life" by Noel Riley Fitch. Anchor Books, 1999. GREAT book.


                                                                                                                    2. I'm reading Fork It Over by Alan Richman. I used to like Alan when he was on TV opposite Nina Griscom on a show called Dining Around, sort of like a Siskel and Ebert on dining. She was beautiful, classy while Richman was the blue collar type who knew about wine. The he recently wrote this article in GQ bashing New Orleans. I wanted to lynch him (along with about 200,000 other people). But after reading most of his book I realize he is a total ass. Other than his fond childhood memories of his mother's Jewish cooking and Italian red sauce and Chinese restaurants from the 40s and 50s and Polynesian restaurants of the 70s, he bashes Paris, Italy, Cuba, Shanghai, Vietnam, London and every other culinary capital of the world including New York and Los Angeles. The guy's a joke. Not recommended.

                                                                                                                      1. 2 books popped up on local radio that sound interesting...or at least the author interviews were interesting!

                                                                                                                        "Cultural Confusion: Twinkies vs. Green Sticky Rice Cakes
                                                                                                                        Bich Minh Nguyen and her family moved from Vietnam to white, conservative Michigan in 1975. In her new book "Stealing Buddha's Dinner", she writes about the cultural confusion she felt while growing up, and the deep differences between her grandmother's traditional cooking and Twinkies and Pringles."

                                                                                                                        "Eat, Pray, Love"
                                                                                                                        "While recovering from a difficult divorce, Elizabeth Gilbert decided to take a trip. She says she was "pinched and thin" when she began a year's journey throughout Italy, India, and Indonesia. Her best-selling account of her travels is called Eat, Pray, Love. "
                                                                                                                        (the first third is the author eating through four months of post-divorce in Italy.)

                                                                                                                        1. What a thread! I will never lack for good food reads.

                                                                                                                          Tender at the Bone
                                                                                                                          Comfort Me With Apples (though not as good as TATB)
                                                                                                                          The Man Who Ate Everything
                                                                                                                          Omnivore's Dilemma.

                                                                                                                          One I didn't see mentioned:
                                                                                                                          Women Who Eat (a sweet compilation of short stories by food-loving women)

                                                                                                                          On the shelf:
                                                                                                                          What to Eat
                                                                                                                          Culinary Artistry
                                                                                                                          On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
                                                                                                                          The Art of Eating by M.F.K Fisher.

                                                                                                                          1. Has anyone read The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball? Such a fun read and ride the author takes you on.

                                                                                                                            1. I highly recommend a book called "The Artful Eater" by Edward Behr. I'm also sort of obsessed with Andrew Weil and his various works about things like Nutrition, Healthy Eating, Sleep, etc.

                                                                                                                              1. "Insatiable" by Gael Greene is excellent, and I enjoyed. "The Making of a Chef" and, "The Soul of a Chef" by Michael Ruhlman. "The Man who Ate Everything", Jefferey Steingarten, is also quite good, and Laurie Colwin has two separate books of essays, "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking" that are well-written, sweet and evocative. A great many friends have read "Tender at the Bone", "Comfort me With Apples," and "Garlic and Sapphires: the story of a restaurant critic in disguise and enjoyed them greatly; those are by Ruth Reichl. And a great great oldie is "Alice's Restaurant," by Alice May Brock, upon whom that famous turkeyday song bas based; a great read, and the lady was far ahead of her time, for the time and place.
                                                                                                                                Oh, and I read a great book of essays, "Death by Pad Thai," which I loved.

                                                                                                                                1. Just finished Sex, knives and bouillabaisse by Teri Lousie Kelly, very interesting read.
                                                                                                                                  before that I finished up all of Anthony Bourdains books, big fan of his books!

                                                                                                                                  Now I need a new book! ASAP!