Cooking

Delicious! A Novel by Ruth Reichl

Delicious! A Novel by Ruth Reichl

Did you know that you can eat milkweed? This is one of the interesting facts I learned from Ruth Reichl’s debut novel, Delicious!

At the age of 10, Billie Breslin discovered she had a gift. She is able to recreate the recipe for a cake based on her memory of the flavors she tasted in that cake. Eleven years later, Billie finds herself in New York, far from her family in California, applying for a job, not as a chef but as an administrative assistant for a food magazine, Delicious.

While at the magazine, Billie uncovers a series of letters written during World War II between a young girl, Lulu, and Mr. Beard, a former employee of the magazine and a chef. Billie becomes fascinated with them and wants to learn more about Lulu. As Billie attempts to solve the mystery of Lulu’s letters, she works on issues in her own life.

The Foxfire Book

The Foxfire Book

Anybody interested in DIY projects or maker culture or just getting back to basics should take a gander at the Foxfire series of books. Beginning in the late 60s and continuing on through today, a class at a rural Georgia high school decided to take a different tack at English class and create a magazine.

They had no money so the venture needed to pay for itself. As there was little market for poetry or short stories found in ordinary high school magazines, they decided to print folklore and folk ways gathered from people in their own community. It was the beginning of something amazing.

Handmade Gatherings: Recipes & Crafts for Seasonal Celebrations & Potluck Parties by Ashley English

Handmade Gatherings: Recipes & Crafts for Seasonal Celebrations & Potluck Partie

Beautiful in its design and content, Ashley English’s Handmade Gatherings offers splendid ideas for entertaining year-round and to intrigue all ages. She includes not only delicious recipes for earthy yet traditional foods, but she also finds crafty ways to feature the glories of each season.

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Pi

In Michael Paterniti’s The Telling Room, he first encounters Páramo de Guzman while working in a deli after graduate school in the early 1990s. At $22 a pound he wasn’t going to taste it, but he wanted to know its story.

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson

Eating on the Wild Side
Recently I heard Jo Robinson on NPR discussing her latest work, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, and was riveted. So, move over Barbara Kingsolver. Sadly you’ve been replaced as my nutrition guru. I SOOOO loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Lucy Knisley's graphic novel Relish: My Life in the Kitchen zigzags between biography, cookbook, travelogue, and manifesto of all things culinary. What's more, her fun, vibrantly colorful artwork often made me very hungry. This is the mark of success for such a book.

Relish explores every aspect of food's vast appeal, whether it is for purposes of comfort, nourishment, or to just satisfy that insatiable craving for sautéed mushrooms.

Farmers Market Cookbook by Southern Living

Farmers Market Cookbook by Southern Living

Southern Living’s Farmers Market Cookbook has interesting, beautiful recipes that are not difficult for an ordinary cook to produce. This is to be expected as it is typical of anything from Southern Living’s magazines and cookbook lines. But what is different here is the book’s focus on vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and other foods that are available seasonally at local farmers markets. 

Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking

Legendary New York Times food writer Craig Claiborne wrote more than 20 cookbooks, but surely none could have been closer to his heart or his roots than Southern Cooking

Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book, edited by Lily May Spaulding and John Spaulding

Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book

By the mid-1800s, American middle class women frequently turned to Godey’s Lady’s Book for household advice, sewing patterns, and recipes. Although founded by Louis Godey, from 1837 to 1877, it was led by Editor Sarah Josepha Hale and under her leadership, circulation rose dramatically. In Civil War Recipes, Lily May and John Spaulding have done a very nice job of selecting recipes from the first part of the 1860s run of the magazine and presenting them along with enough culinary history to make for an interesting read.