I think careful cooking is love, don't you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who is close to you is about a nice a valentine as you can give. - Julia Child
Speaking of this weekend, Valentines Day is tomorrow! It's funny to think that such a holiday exists; celebrating love with chocolate hearts and mountains of flowers...but I have no complaints because any holiday is an excuse to cook a delicious meal, or bake something exciting!
We've already managed to give each other our presents early...again. Christmas was the beginning of that tradition. We were in the middle of packing and moving to Columbus, and decided to have a Christmas Eve Eve...Eve unwrapping to avoid loading carefully wrapped surprises and bags that might get damaged in route to our new place.
Dan has been talking for months now about how he wants to start drinking whiskeys, so with suggestions from friends and family, I finally settled on Glenmorangie; a Scotch Ale with high remarks! Needless to say he was quite pleased, despite not being able to drink it because he's been deathly ill, but I'll keep you posted on what the verdict is.
When he came home from work (sick as a dog), this afternoon, he was holding a bouquet of prairie flowers, (the sweetest man, I'm telling you guys), and a new cookbook titled Mad Hungry, by Lucinda Scala Quinn. It has soft photography mixed with all-American family recipes. Not to mention it's organized thoughtfully, and Lucinda has really great tactics of keeping her family well fed every day. This is definitely a gift I'll be cooking with up until the day when I have a family of my own.
Now, I love to read. Sometimes I wonder whether I would grab my laptop, wallet, or Mastering the Art of French Cooking if a fire were to ever break out... Whether it be autobiographies, cookbooks, magazines or coffee table books, you'll always catch me looking through something. So this has inspired me to write a post about my favorite culinary reads I can't be without at the moment. (These are in no particular order, and range from paper-backs to mags).
1. Bon Appetit Magazine
Now, I am usually not the type of person to splurge on a magazine subscription, but I am a sucker for great writing and rich photography. Bon Appetit fits the bill and I'm always pleased with what they send me each month. If you don't want to take the plunge and do the year subscription, check out their website, and frequent links and updates on Facebook. I always catch myself mystified by the next new dish they add.
2. Provence 1970
Provence is a book I stumbled upon in a small library in Hudson, Ohio. It documents a monumental time when the greats in the culinary industry; Julia Child, James Beard, MFK Fisher, and a few others, were at the peak of their success. Meeting and dining in the south of France for a summer, these chefs go back to basics and discuss where they believe the future of cooking will lead. The author, Luke Barr, has gathered letters to and from many of these culinary giants and compiled them accordingly to create this time line. It's an interesting look at the predictions of where these men and women thought society's relationship with food would lead, and how communication via food affects relationships with each other, and within ourselves.
3. My Life in France
Up until last summer, my knowledge of the queen that was Julia Child was very little. My dad was apparently a huge fan of her, and I remember vaguely watching her television show with him when I was young, but I never was fully exposed. I came across Provence first, read a bit into it, and decided I needed to do some background reading on these culinary artists before I got too wrapped up in the story. Julia, being the matriarch of all that was cooking in her time, was the first woman I wanted to research. So I found myself in a local second hand bookstore, collected some of her work, and off I went. Which leads me to My Life in France. She has such a voice that makes you laugh, cry, and look at food in the most romantic and serious ways possible. You learn about her journey to France and how she discovers this vast world of food. Child is such an inspirational woman, and I think that whether you are passionate about eating or cooking or whatever, it's a great story to read.
4. The Sweet Life In Paris
I should give you guys a little back story. When I was in school, I went to Paris for a study abroad program where I had the opportunity to be immersed in the Paris fashion industry. The biggest reason why I wanted to go was to see my relatives, (my dad's entire family still lives in France.) Let me just say that I've never had so much wine, cheese or crepes in my entire life...and those extra 15 pounds I gained; worth it. That all being said, I love reading french books, especially French cook books, which is how I came across David Lebovitz. This book is definitely more current, Lebovitz is a chef who documents his experience making the journey to France, and the lifestyle he has thrown himself into, in the most hilariously accurate way. The Sweet Life in Paris consists of everything from descriptions of rude super-market goers, to bank complications, and language roadblocks that ring a bell with what my life was like there. Not saying that living in France was horrible by any means, but like moving anywhere, Paris does have it's hiccups.
5. Yes Chef, A Memoir
I have a wonderful foodie friend who I can always look to to give me suggestions on the next best book to read, Yes Chef, being one of these. The memoir is about Marcus Samuelsson, on his culinary journey beginning in the kitchen of his grandmother in Sweden, to his arrival in New York City working and collaborating with chefs that would inspire his ongoing quest for new flavors. I love how his multi-cultural background inspires him to create new and innovative recipes. And they have been recognized by all walks of people that step into his restaurant in Harlem; Red Rooster. And once I get back out to NYC, that is my first food stop, no questions asked.
Just a short list for now, but the links lead to where you can grab these reads if my descriptions were decent enough, if not, there are plenty of reviews there to entice you even more! Let me know what your top foodie reads are, I'd love to get into something new!
Until next time guys!