food memoir

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

By Ruth Reichl

Go to catalog

"Reichl knows that "to be a good restaurant critic, you have to be anonymous," but when she signs up to be the most important restaurant critic in the country, at The New York Times , her picture is posted in every four-star, low-star, and no-star kitchen in town. Managers offer cash bonuses for advance notice of her visits. They roll out the red carpet whether she likes it or not. What's a critic in search of the truth to do? Reichl dons a frumpy blond wig and an off-season beige Armani suit. Then on the advice of a friend, an acting coach with a Pygmalion complex, she begins assembling her new character's backstory.

"She takes to the assignment with astonishing ardor-and thus Molly Hollis, the retired high school teacher from Birmingham, Michigan, nouveau riche from her husband's real estate speculation, is born. And duly ignored, mishandled, and condescended to by the high-power staff at Le Cirque. The result: Reichl's famous double review, first as she ate there as Molly and then as she was coddled and pampered on her visit there as Ruth, The New York Times food critic."

Reserve this title

Blue Corn and Chocolate

By Elisabeth Rozin

Go to catalog

"Imagine, Elisabeth Rozin asks, what Italian cooking would be without tomatoes, Irish food without potatoes, Indian curry without the fiery capsicum pepper or Hungarian fare without paprika, and French or Viennese cuisine without chocolate and vanilla? Yet it's been only five hundred years since these foods were found in the New World and brought back to the Old. Each food has a story: how it was discovered, how it was greeted in its adopted countries then integrated into the Old World cuisine, how it returned here in dishes that immigrants brought with them, and how it has become a part of mainstream American cooking. And Elisabeth Rozin's 175 recipes -- interlaced with her intriguing sidebars -- tell the story."

Reserve this title

American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes

By Molly O'Neill, editor

Go to catalog

"Here are classic accounts of iconic American foods: Thoreau on the delights of watermelon; Melville, with a mouth-watering chapter on clam chowder; Mencken on the hot dog; M.F.K. Fisher in praise of the oyster; Ellison on the irresistible appeal of baked yams; Styron on Southern fried chicken. American writers abroad describe the revelations they find in foreign restaurants; travelers to America discover native delicacies. Great chefs and noted critics discuss their culinary philosophies and offer advice on the finer points of technique; home cooks recount disasters and triumphs."

Reserve this title

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone

By Jenni Ferrari-Adler, editor

Go to catalog
"In this unique collection, twenty-six writers and foodies invite readers into their kitchens to reflect on the secret meals they make for themselves when no one else is looking: the indulgent truffled egg sandwich, the comforting bowl of black beans, the bracing anchovy fillet on buttered toast. From Italy to New York to Cape Cod to Thailand, from M. F. K. Fisher to Steve Almond to Nora Ephron, the experiences collected in this book are as diverse, moving, hilarious, and uplifting as the meals they describe. Haruki Murakami finds solace in spaghetti. Ephron mends a broken heart with mashed potatoes in bed.

"Ann Patchett trades the gourmet food she cooks for others for endless snacks involving saltines. Marcella Hazan, responsible for bringing sophisticated Italian cuisine into American homes, craves a simple grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich. Courtney Eldridge, divorced from a fancy chef, reconnects with the salsa she learned to cook from her cash-strapped mother. Rosa Jurjevics reflects on the influence of her mother, Laurie Colwin, as she stocks her home with salty treats. Almost all of the essays include recipes, making this book the perfect companion for a happy, lonely-or just hungry-evening home alone."

Reserve this title

Alice, Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater

By Calvin Trillin

Go to catalog
"Calvin Trillin, guided by an insatiable appetite, embarks on a hilarious odyssey in search of 'something decent to eat.' Across time zones and cultures, and often with his wife, Alice, at his side, Trillin shares his triumphs in the art of culinary discovery, including Dungeness crabs in California, barbecued mutton in Kentucky, potato latkes in London, blaff d'oursins in Martinique, and a $33 picnic on a no-frills flight to Miami. His eating companions include Fats Goldberg, the New York pizza baron and reformed blimp; William Edgett Smith, the man with the Naughahyde palate; and his six-year-old daughter, Sarah, who refuses to enter a Chinese restaurant unless she is carrying a bagel ('just in case'). And though Alice 'has a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day,' on the road she proves to be a serious eater-despite 'seemingly uncontrollable attacks of moderation.'"
Reserve this title