20 May 2011

Imprint Friday: Man with a Pan by John Donohue

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Algonquin Books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

Hey, keep your finger off that mouse—I mean it. I know what you're thinking: "I don't cook, the men I know don't cook, I'm not a foodie, how did this book make it to Imprint Friday?" Well give me a moment to explain. John Donohue's Man with a Pan is a whole lot more than recipes and a bunch of guys talking about their love of cooking. I'll tell you all about the book, but first take a second to read the publisher's summary . . . then stick with me to learn some more.

Look who’s making dinner! Twenty-one of our favorite writers and chefs expound upon the joys—and perils—of feeding their families.

Mario Batali’s kids gobble up monkfish liver and foie gras. Peter Kaminsky’s youngest daughter won’t eat anything at all. Mark Bittman reveals the four stages of learning to cook. Stephen King offers tips about what to cook when you don’t feel like cooking. And Jim Harrison shows how good food and wine trump expensive cars and houses.

This book celebrates those who toil behind the stove, trying to nourish and please. Their tales are accompanied by more than sixty family-tested recipes, time-saving tips, and cookbook recommendations, as well as New Yorker cartoons. Plus there are interviews with homestyle heroes from all across America—a fireman in Brooklyn, a football coach in Atlanta, and a bond trader in Los Angeles, among others.

What emerges is a book not just about food but about our changing families. It offers a newfound community for any man who proudly dons an apron and inspiration for those who have yet to pick up the spatula.
What you might miss from the publisher's summary is that there is more than just foodie content here. For example, Matt Greenberg contributes an autobiographical screenplay on writing and grilling, complete with a not-so-subtle nod to The Shining ("Honey I think it's just great you decided to take this job as a winter caretaker for an isolated hotel resort with a questionable history") and sharp comments from his seven-year-old son ("Maybe you should stick to microwaving").

One feature I really like is "On the Shelf," in which the men featured in Man with a Pan reveal what's on their kitchen bookshelves. I'll let you in on a couple of sneak peeks: I was thrilled to see that Mario Batali and I have some of the same books, including "anything and everything by Paula Wolfert." And who couldn't love the fact that author Sean Wilsey places The Hobbit right next to Jamie Oliver's The Return of the Naked Chef? This makes sense because, let's face it, Hobbits are pretty much always dreaming of their next meal.

Of course, each contributor includes one or several recipes, and it's fun to see what, say, the editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary cooks. Let me simply note that I'm a lazy bum compared to Jesse Scheidlower.

The heart of the book, though, are the essays and stories. And the writing is at once personal, funny, thoughtful, and unputdownable. Here is a sampling of opening lines:
  • Jack Hitt: "I became a man, one might argue, the night I was completely unmanned by a cup of celery leaves."
  • Manny Howard: "To secure the love of a beautiful woman, I loaded a dead pig into the back of my late-model Chevy Blazer."
  • Mohammed Naseehu: "Until recently, most Ghanaian houses were built without a kitchen."
  • Josh Lomask: "Cooking is like building a house."
Have I hooked you yet? If not, I'm going to have to pull out my last two tricks. First, is the book trailer (come on, take the time to watch it!), and second is my post tomorrow, which will focus primarily on the food and recipes found in Man with a Pan. Oh and remember that throughout the book are New Yorker foodie cartoons—a fabulous bonus.

This book was spotlighted as part of both my Imprint Fridays feature and my Get to know Algonquin Books feature. For more information about the imprint, please read Executive Editor Chuck Adams's introductory letter, posted here on January 7, 2011.

Man with a Pan at Powell's
Man with a Pan at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Algonquin Books, May 2011
ISBN-13: 9781565129856


Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 5/20/11, 6:14 AM  

Oh, how fun! I HATE cooking but my husband is an incredible cook. It always amazing me that people can find joy in prepping something that's just going to end up being devoured but I admire people for their passions!

Zibilee 5/20/11, 8:03 AM  

Oh, this does sound wonderful, and I love the fact that it not only deals with foodie things, but other things as well. This is a book that I would love to peruse and own. Thanks for shining a well-deserved spotlight on it Beth!

bermudaonion 5/20/11, 8:29 AM  

I love the trailer and am really excited about this book! I wonder if Carl will take the hint if I leave it sitting around?

Julie @ Read Handed 5/20/11, 9:29 AM  

My dad is a chef, so I have a soft spot in my heart for men who cook (and aren't afraid to admit it). Probably why I ended up marrying a man who knows how to cook, too. :)

Beth Hoffman 5/20/11, 9:47 AM  

LOL! What a fun and silly trailer. I'll watch for your post tomorrow!

Barbara 5/20/11, 10:07 AM  

Oh how I miss the days when Dave used to cook frequently. He still cooks occasionally but not like before. He was a more adventurous cook than I will ever be. The only problem? He uses every plate, bowl and pan in the kitchen, and my dishwasher croaked some time ago.

Jenn's Bookshelves 5/20/11, 10:40 AM  

I can't wait to have my husband read this one! He's the head chef in our house!

Nise' 5/20/11, 10:43 AM  

Love the trailer! My husband loves to cook too.

Louis la Vache 5/20/11, 11:01 AM  

What a fine image in your masthead, Beth.

«Louis» thanks you for visiting San Francisco Bay Daily Photo.

Col (Col Reads) 5/20/11, 11:51 AM  

I'm sold! This sounds like a perfect Father's Day gift for my foodie husband! Can't wait to see tomorrow's post!

Julie P. 5/20/11, 12:12 PM  

I just received this one last week as a surprise. It looks terrific!

Jenners 5/20/11, 8:22 PM  

I stayed because you told me to ... and I think you did sell me. If nothing else, I need to read what Stephen King has to say as I NEVER feel like cooking.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 5/20/11, 9:31 PM  

I like the "on the shelf" feature -- how fun to discover that you and your favorite chef/writers have some cook books in common!

Anonymous,  5/20/11, 9:59 PM  

I'd hardly consider you a lazy bum when it comes to cooking, so I'm scared to find out what Jesse Scheidlower is like!

Margot 5/21/11, 11:49 AM  

I HAVE to read this one. I love the back stories of people who cook - what they read, their favorite dishes and food challenges. The video was cute. I'm glad you included it.

BookGeek 5/23/11, 8:13 PM  

I loved the title of this book. Made me chuckle. My husband and I love to cook, but I definitely read more than him. Thanks for sharing :)

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