25 September 2021

Weekend Cooking: A Trio of Books for Cooks

Three September Food BooksI’m beyond thrilled and honored to tell you I’ve been accepted once again to be part of the Abrams Dinner Party for this coming publishing year. Many of the participants have already received the first three fall cookbooks, and I can’t wait to see my own copies and to share my thoughts and a recipe or two with you. At the moment, however, I’m in Maine and my cookbooks are in Pennsylvania. We’ll all just have to wait a little bit until my first Dinner Party post.

Today’s post is about three books I mean to read while on my first vacation since fall 2019. So far, I've done more exploring and walking than reading. Perhaps I should have left these food books at home for our house-sitter to enjoy. The good news is that I’ve dipped in to each one enough to suggest you add them to your reading list. Thanks to the publishers for the review copies.

Three September Food BooksFirst is a book I never intended to read all in one go. In fact, Dorothy Kalins’s The Kitchen Whisperers (William Morrow) is already slated to live on my bedside table, so I can read a few pages every day. Kalins is the founding editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, and this book is a collection of her thoughts and recollections about the foods, places, and people she’s encountered in all kinds of kitchens. She, of course, had the opportunity to learn about cooking from famous chefs, but she gained much of her kitchen wisdom the same way we all have: via family, friends, and neighbors. As Kalins writes in the introduction,

This is not a cookbook, rather, it is a book about cooking, and what—and who—we think about as we cook. I believe that the recipes we remember best, and the moves we make, seemingly automatically, are those that tell familiar stories.
Read this not only to discover a new culinary method or two but also to spark your own memories of those you’ve shared a kitchen with.

Three September Food BooksThe next book is more of kitchen companion than a straight-out cookbook, though it does contain traditional recipes. Cal Peternell’s Burnt Toast and Other Disasters (William Morrow) is subtitled “A Book of Heroic Hacks, Fabulous Fixes, and Secret Sauces,” which fairly accurately describes what you’ll find inside the covers. Have you ever overcooked the broccoli by mistake? Don’t throw it out, Peternell tells you several ways to make good use those soft veggies and other dishes that didn’t turn out quite how you had hoped. You’ll also find some creative ways to use your pantry items and to repurpose leftovers as well as a few good sauces and a half dozen cocktails. You might want to see if your local bookstore or library has a copy of this.

Three September Food BooksFinally, I have a copy of Shanna Farrell’s A Good Drink (Island Press). Farrell, who worked as a bartender in San Francisco, wondered why the farm-to-table, organic, and artisan movements weren't more focused on spirits. Since distilled alcohol is made from crops, shouldn’t we be as concerned about what we put in our glasses as we are about what we put on our plates? To learn more, she sought out growers and distillers who were involved in the sustainable spirits movement. Each chapter covers a different type of alcohol (rum, whiskey, gin, etc.), and the book ends with a focus on bartenders and others in the industry and a look to the future. Interesting reading.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Mae Travels 9/25/21, 6:54 AM  

"Burnt Toast..." was on a list of best 2021 cookbooks that I read this morning at Eater, dated Sept 9. Your review is tempting. Sounds like a fun read (though I am skeptical about the carbonized flavor on the toast).

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 9/25/21, 8:07 AM  

I’m loving all of these titles. One of my bedside books is by Laurie Colwin, I can read a short chapter here and there.

Jackie McGuinness 9/25/21, 11:07 AM  

Thanks! Found Burnt Toast and Whisperers at the library so added them to my reading list.

Vicki 9/25/21, 1:34 PM  

Burnt Toast and Kitchen Whisperers sound good!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 9/25/21, 2:40 PM  

How fun for you to be doing Abrams again and I'll be looking forward to your reviews. Butnt Toast sounds like I'll want to look for it.. thanks

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours 9/25/21, 7:43 PM  

The Kitchen Whisperers sounds so good! I highly recommend another cookbook, which is also a French-English language book! I will review it next week, but you can already read about it here, and even enter the giveaway:
This Q&A about the book is really good too: https://karensiddall.wordpress.com/2021/09/23/the-hands-on-french-cookbook/

Nan 9/26/21, 10:38 AM  

The Kitchen Whisperers is very appealing. I have a shelf full of cookbooks that are really history and information as much as recipes. I mean to read them, but haven't.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 9/26/21, 11:19 AM  

They all sound like a good read! I love learning new kitchen tricks.

Greg 9/26/21, 3:16 PM  

All three of these sound amazing! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

(Diane) bookchickdi 9/26/21, 4:00 PM  

I'm enjoying your Maine photos, it looks like a lovely trip. Burnt Toast is a book I will check out.

Deb in Hawaii 9/26/21, 7:39 PM  

All three of these look amazing and I am happy to hear you are part of Abrams Dinner Party again. I look forward to seeing your posts!

Marg 9/27/21, 4:06 AM  

The first two books sound really interesting, especially The Kitchen Whisperer

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