Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great Food Reads for Summer

Maybe you're headed out, maybe you're staying in, but nothing is as enjoyable in the summer as a good book. Sharing a few of my favorites, here's the short list.

Hey Waitress!: The USA From the Other Side of the Tray, by Alison Owings. A mosaic of interviews that combine waitress profiles with national historical events (think Five and Dime waitresses in Alabama in the 1960's). This is not a "slam the low tipper" book, but elevates the profession through insightful perspectives on human nature.

The Food Lover's Guide to France, by Patricia Wells. On a budget and can't make it out of town, let alone France? This book will transport you there. You'll find yourself flipping back to each regional map to pinpoint where that beautifully described dish is served (and it includes recipes). Thank goodness there's Bijoux and Toulouse you can visit, if the budget allows.

Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl. The author, famous for her New York Times reviews while heavily disguised, includes in her memoir events and recipes that formed her love of food. Each chapter is a separate vignette, making it easy to stop and start when you need to hop in the pool to cool off.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
, by Ruth Reichl. A juicier recount of her days dressed up in elaborate disguises and the restaurants she reviewed, than were published in the New York Times reviews. She didn't become one of the best by being a poor writer, it's great.

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America, by Michael Ruhlman. Another former New York Times writer, who originally did an article about the CIA, then took a leave of absence to write a first person account of being a student. Having spent time there while my hubby attended this school, it is a spot-on story about the heart and soul it takes to be in the program. This is not a story about a bunch of kids, most people attending are adults and their reasons for becoming chefs are fascinating.

OK, I don't claim to know it all, so if you'd like to share your favorite reads, please do!


Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed the entire Michael Ruhlman series on the CIA. They make great gifts for foodies, and are immensely re-readable over time.

Jay Jerrier said...

American Pie by Peter Reinhart is a great read about the search for the best pizza in Italy and the US (Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix). Also lots of great dough recipes for the home cook...

Classy&Sassy said...

Love the new blog! My recommendation would be Julie and Julia, My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. It's a diary-like account of one New Yorker's quest to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I didn't love everything about Julie, but her book was compulsively readable - juicy and mouthwatering, and often provocative (in its own subtle way).