12 February 2022

Weekend Cooking: Reading for the Food & Drink Lover

In the upcoming weeks, I'll share my thoughts and recipes from some of this season's cookbooks. Meanwhile, here's what I've been reading.

Book cover of Born Hungry by Alex Prud'hommeFirst up is Born Hungry: Julia Child Becomes "The French Chef" by Alex Prud'homme and illustrated by Sarah Green (Calkins Creek, Feb. 8). This delightful picture book, geared to young readers, is a biographical sketch of how Julia met her husband, moved to France, learned to cook, and started teaching others how to cook.

While the story is brief, Julia's dedication to learning and her delight in eating come shining through. I particularly love that Julia's size is neither hidden nor spotlighted. Instead the illustrations show her as she was (see scan below).

Born Hungry ends with a note about Julia's life once she returned to the United States. The resources section includes a list of Child's books as well as places to visit (virtual and real) to learn more about her. A fun read for foodies of all ages.

illustration of Child in a Fench marketplace

Book cover of Paddy Drinks by Jillian Vose, Sean Muldoon, and Jack McGarryThe next book, Paddy Drinks: The World of Modern Irish Whiskey Cocktails by Jillian Vose, Sean Muldoon, and Jack McGarry (Harvest, Feb. 22), is all about Irish whiskey. The authors are from the New York City bar and distillery Dead Rabbit, and they know the ins and outs of this popular spirit. The book has two main components: detailed information about the whiskey and recipes for cocktails.

In the first part of Paddy Drinks, the authors give a history of Irish-influenced drinks in America (Irish bars have been in the Americas since colonial days), provide a timeline of Irish whiskey, describe how the spirit is distilled, and detail the four main types (single grain, single malt, single pot still, and blended) along with examples of each.

Vose, Muldoon, and McGarry then provide recipes for almost 100 cocktails, including homemade syrups and mixers and guidelines for equipment and techniques. The drinks look delicious, but I'm not sure how many I'll make at home. Quite a few cocktails call for liqueurs and other ingredients that most home drinkers don't stock, that I can't get in my small town, or that are too expensive to buy for a single cocktail. To be fair, the authors note in the introduction that Paddy Drinks is as much for professional bartenders as it is for "civilians," so it's understandable that the cocktails are more elaborate than the mix, shake, and pour types found in most drinks books. That said, I have my eye on a couple of drinks that I plan to make at home. The book ends with a helpful glossary.

I recommend you check Paddy Drinks out from the library for the excellent information about Irish whiskey. If you're a more ambitious cocktail maker than I am, you may need to buy yourself a copy. The scan below shows the authors' recipe for Irish Coffee (to click to enlarge)--an easy cocktail that's perfect for a cold winter's night.

Recipe for Irish Coffee from Paddy Drinks by Jillian Vose, Sean Muldoon, and Jack McGarry

Book cover of The Sweetheart Deal by Miranda LiassonFinally, my light reading this week was The Sweetheart Deal by Miranda Liasson (Entangled, Amara; Jan 25), a rom-com involving two feuding families (a la Romeo and Juliet) in a small Indiana town. The Montgomerys own a French bakery specializing in savory offerings. The Castorinis own an Italian restaurant specializing in the classics.

Tessa is a master bread baker but dreams of being a pastry chef,. Unfortunately, her family needs her help and skills to keep the boulangerie afloat. Leo, a business major, works for his father and wants to modernize the restaurant. The problem is that his father is determined to stick with the decades-old menu, despite declining business. Tessa and Leo come up with a plan: they'll join forces via an on-paper-only marriage and together save both family businesses and mend the rift. Rom-com humor and love ensue.

Sweetheart Deal is a light afternoon read full of breads, pastry, pasta, and wine all wrapped up in a predictable, but fun, plot. Recommended for delicious escape reading.

Note: The scans are used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders.

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


rhapsodyinbooks 2/12/22, 7:46 AM  

The illustrations in Born Hungry look wonderful. And yes, it is definitely time to get ingredients for Irish coffee!

Mae Travels 2/12/22, 8:16 AM  

Somehow people who write about mixed drinks always assume that you have a professional stash of obscure bits of stuff to use. I don't even have the basics.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

gluten Free A_Z Blog 2/12/22, 8:20 AM  

The picture book, Born Hungry, looks wonderful. Does it contain any recipes?

Jackie McGuinness 2/12/22, 10:56 AM  

I think I need Paddy Drinks for my bar!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 2/12/22, 4:18 PM  

My granddaughters 7, almost 8, and almost 10 are into cooking recently. In fact one request a cookbook for Valentine's Day. The Julia Child illustrated one looks lovely, I need to wishlist that one. So happy you shared this.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 2/12/22, 4:26 PM  

I have been a Julia Child fan for decades! I need to check Born Hungry out! Thank you.

Vicki 2/13/22, 1:39 PM  

I'm interested in the first and last books but not the middle since I don't drink.

Marg 2/15/22, 4:55 AM  

The Sweetheart Deal sounds like a fun read!

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