28 April 2018

Weekend Cooking: Reading in the Kitchen

4 books for food loversAs much as I like puttering around the kitchen (and eating and drinking the results), I also like to read about food, cooking, chefs, drink, and culinary history.

Dare I admit that I'm in the middle of four food-related books? Not every book has to be read cover to cover all in one string. In fact, some books are almost better read a chapter a day or in smaller chunks.

That's probably just a personal quirk, but *shrug* that's the way I am. The only problem I have when I read like this is forgetting to share my thoughts on the blog. So, rather than wait until I finish my April foodie books, I'm going to tell you about them now.

Godforsaken Grapes by Jason WilsonFirst up is Godforsaken Grapes by Jason Wilson (Abrams, April 24), which is part travelogue, part memoir, and part learning about wine. Wilson is no stranger to writing about adult beverages or about travel, and his casual, informal style is easy to read. After learning there were about 1,370 varieties of wine grapes yet the vast majority of the wine we drink is made from only 20 kinds, Wilson decided to seek out the rarer wines by traveling around the United States and Europe, meeting people, tasting wine, attending events, touring vineyards and villas, visiting museums, and so on. The next chapter for me is titled "Is Prosecco a Place or a Grape?" I'll have the answer in a day or two. Read this if you like food memoir, wine, or travel. (Copy provided by Abrams Books and the Abrams Dinner Party.)

Cake by Maira Kalman
If you haven't read any of Maira Kalman's books, then you are truly missing out. I love her illustrations and her perspective on a wide variety of topics. In Cake (Penguin Press, April 10), she teams up with Barbara Scott-Goodman to talk about . . . cake! This celebration of the classic dessert starts with Kalman's memory of her first cake (chocolate, in Tel-Aviv) and of her birthday party cake when she turned nine. The short book includes recipes (by Scott-Goodman), accompanied by Kalman's art and additional stories. The recipes are comfort cakes at their best: white layer cake, gingerbread cake, honey cake, carrot cake, flourless cake, and a plum torte. I've been savoring each page, reading a story here, studying a recipe there, and lingering over the drawings. I don't care if I never make one the desserts in Cake (but why not?), I just love having a new Kalman book to brighten up my day. (Personal copy)

Edna Lewis edited by Sara B. FranklinI've long admired Edna Lewis, best known as a chef and cookbook author, and was excited to have a chance to read Sara B. Franklin's Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original (University of North Carolina Press, April 13). The book is a collection of essays, interviews, stories, and memories by people who knew Lewis personally. Most of the contributors are in the food business (Alice Waters, Deborah Madison, Nathalie Dupree, Patricia Clark, for example), but there are also pieces by Lewis's family members. If you aren't familiar with Edna Lewis, she wrote Southern cookbooks and promoted African American cooking and food history. She was an early advocate of cooking with homegrown ingredients (before we had the phrase farm to table). She was also, I'm learning, a political activist. Buy or borrow Edna Lewis, but don't miss out on (re)discovering this amazing woman. (Copy provided by the publisher.)

How to Be a Bourbon Badass by Linda Ruffenach
Finally, I'm drinking reading my way through How to Be a Bourbon Badass by Linda Ruffenach (Red Lightning Books, April 1). Bourbon, that all-American whisky, carries with it a lot of stories and legends. We think Kentucky, backwoods distilleries, world-famous blends, and now even craft producers. Ruffenach, the founder of Whisky Chicks, is on a mission to help others learn more about her favorite American spirit. She introduces us to the bourbon kings, gives us bartending tips, and helps us decide which whisky to order or buy. The book is geared to bourbon newbies (or the bourbon naive) and has a refreshing female perspective. I'm not sure how "badass" the book is, but so far I'm enjoying the graphics, the recipes (cocktails and food), and the stories. At this point I'm recommending the book as a good starting place for people who want to learn more about the culture and history of bourbon and how to drink it. (Copy provided by the publisher.)
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Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.
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11 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks 4/28/18, 6:46 AM  

I have Cake on hold at the library. (I would prefer to be able to say I have cake on hold instead of Cake, but, alas). I love Edna Lewis. I want to read that too!

Mae Travels 4/28/18, 7:02 AM  

Your selections all look tempting! Kalman is definitely a favorite of mine, too, and I thank you for making me aware of this new book (I've mostly read her stuff when it appeared in the New York Times). I was aware of the new Edna Lewis book -- I think my culinary reading group might read it eventually.

Happy Weekend Cooking to you!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 4/28/18, 7:29 AM  

I’ll have to check out the wine travelogue. I think my favorite so far is Cork dork, that was so interesting. The Bourbon Badass is calling my name! One of my favorite books this year with loads of food mentioned is Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King, but’s a fictional memoir.

bermudaonion 4/28/18, 7:52 AM  

They all look good to me, but I would pick up Cake first because I love Kalman's work!

Jackie Mc Guinness 4/28/18, 8:13 AM  

I often have several books going at a time. There is the "real" e-book, that requires me to sit in my favourite chair to enjoy. There is a book on my phone for commuting and waiting. And there is usually a cook book for flipping through.
I am also watching recorded episodes of My Kitchen Rules Australia and Master Chef Australia while cooking in the kitchen.

My laptop is for watching both of those shows from other countries.

jama 4/28/18, 9:07 AM  

Nice roundup! I love CAKE and all things Maira and now want to see the Edna Lewis book. :)

Joy 4/28/18, 9:14 AM  

Those all sound wonderful. The Edna Lewis book would be refreshing for my book club that specializes in race in America -- we haven't read very many foodie books!

Patrick Looney 4/28/18, 9:27 AM  

Those are some great sounding selections!

Deb in Hawaii 4/28/18, 12:03 PM  

Great overview of your foodie books. I have been wanting to read the Edna Lewis one but all of them look good. How have I missed Maira Kalman?! I need to remedy that. ;-)

Vicki 4/28/18, 3:56 PM  

I love foodie books, all those are new to me.

"some books are almost better read a chapter a day or in smaller chunks", I agree! I'm currently reading 3 books in small chunks.Two of them are from the library so I need to hurry up or I'll be paying fines (which happens a lot).

Claudia 4/28/18, 5:50 PM  

An interesting group of selections. I'm looking forward to getting into a few of those, particularly the Kalman book.

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