Tuesday, July 22, 2008

another half year's worth of books

It's been kind of a slow reading year. I have a vague notion that I've left things off this list, but I can't seem to focus my brain on what those might be. In the meantime, it's been a pretty good (and sometimes even great) reading year.

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
Jenni Ferrari-Adler (ed)
There are anthologies that grab you, and this one grabbed me. It's also an entire volume devoted to cooking alone, eating alone, and dining alone (yes, there is a difference). Reading about the weird things other people eat when left to their own devices in the kitchen brought me comfort that my own weird meals were keeping good company. Experience several author's routines when eating out alone. It's a solitary book, but never lonely. I loved it.

Letters to a Young Chef

Daniel Boulud

I didn't know what to expect from this little book. I've read about his restaurants, and being on the upscale side of things, I was expecting something pretentious. Instead, I found a series of friendly letters, not at all know-it-all, but heartfelt and fun to read. Having seen a few episodes of After Hours with Daniel Boulud since my reading, the book makes more sense. His show is irreverent, and though the jokey humor doesn't make it onto these pages, I can see that he hasn't strayed far from his love of cooking.

Fork It Over: The Intrepid Adventures of a Professional Eater

Alan Richman

This book is at least a few years old and already it shows its age. The author is also a bit more old school, writing from the perspective of french is best. Some of the items presented as exotic clearly aren't at all unusual today. I know it's not supposed to be historic, but reading it, I felt like I was in a sort of time warp.

Death by Pad Thai: And Other Unforgettable Meals

Douglas Bauer (ed)

The title says it all. I've been reading this sporadically for months which is funny because it's the slimmest volume of today's selections, and I still have a couple vignettes go. Why so slow? Certain stories grab me, certain ones don't. As anthologies go, its an unintimidating, fun read. It's probably much better than my lukewarm note here, but since I haven't picked it up in a while, I've for forgotten some of the unforgettable meals. The pad thai story though - truly unforgettable.

The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones

Anthony Bourdain

I read Kitchen Confidential a long time ago, and I remember being not terrifically impressed by his storytelling at the time, so it was with low expectations that I started this book. It's a compilation of pieces he's published in magazines and such, sort of organized, but kind of random and really conducive to reading at one's whim. Possibly because I've just started watching No Reservations of late, as I read I couldn't help but hear the cadence of his voice, complete with shades of mockery and disgust. My read was all the better for it. Bolder, more outrageous, and just plain hilarious. The author commentary made my read even better!

Dishwasher: One Man's Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States

Pete Jordan

When I saw this book on the bargain rack I just had to have it. Maybe it was the jaunty cover. Mostly it was the concept. Simple and with the potential for such great stories. And there were some funny stories. But stop reading here if you don't want to know how it ends. He didn't finish his fifty state circuit. I felt so cheated! Still, it was an enjoyable read with moments that made me laugh aloud, and other moments where I was perfectly okay skimming. Not really about food, but it did take place all around it.


Post a Comment

<< Home