Monday, March 19, 2007

Recently Read

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation
David Kamp

To be honest, I'm not quite done with this book, but I'm so close to finishing that I doubt the last few pages will change my opinion much. Unlike my usual read in one sitting mentality, I like putting some space between chapters in this book. It's a volume heavy on history, but not in a dull way. Each chapter has its own trajectory that takes some digesting. It can be serious book, but usually there's a hilarious quote that makes me laugh and then then there's the fun of hearing about celebrity chefs back in the day, or even seeing them in black and white photos. All this and footnotes too. A good read.

Best Food Writing 2006
edited by Holly Hughes

I'm not sure whether or not I've finished this book. I have this habit of reading anthologies out of order where I start with the most interesting bits and work towards progressively less interesting pieces. Twelve Meals a Day and New Year's Meltdown are my current favorite vignettes. I got a nice, non-committal introduction to new food writers.

Nigel Slater

I liked the set-up of this book. The author tell stories of his boyhood by stringing together vignettes with titles like "Grilled Grapefruit", "Candyfloss", and "Fillet and Rump." There's even a handy glossary for those of us less schooled in Britishisms which I found helpful. And while the story is touching and sometimes hilarious, I found something missing in this read, as if I'd just had a lovely dinner and even dessert, but I was still wanting something I couldn't quite name.

Turning the Tables: An Insider's Guide to Eating Out
Steven A. Shaw

Another case of lawyer turned food writer. Steven Shaw started eGullet. Rarely do I find myself wanting to engage in an argument with an author, but here I did, frequently. I commend the writer's agenda and his defense of his viewpoint, but I can't say that I agreed with it in many cases. This was not a peaceful read for me and I found myself engaging (!) with the text. For that, I commend this slim volume.


Blogger Lily said...

I've been meaning to read that Arugula book. It looks like something I could give me a few extra wrinkles in the brain, and if not, at least impress others by the size of the book and the intellectual-looking cover.

Have you read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert? Not exactly food writing (it's in the travel writing section) but there's a delicious section on eating in Italy. Well written -- introspective, with a touch of modern-day feistiness! I recommend it!

4:28 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Have you read any of Ruth Reichl's books? I was surprised at how good they are -- a compelling life story, lots of food stories, and she sure can write.

11:15 AM  
Blogger erica said...

A adored Tender at the Bone. Haven't made it to any of her other books yet. As for Eat Pray Love - I can only conjure up the cover in my mind - will have to put it on my list. My favorite would have to be Jeffrey Steingarten.

3:52 PM  

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