Round-Up of New Food Memoirs and Collections of Essays
[Round-up of New Baking Books]
Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
by Fuchsia Dunlop $16.95, Paperback, (W.W. Norton)
Fuchsia Dunlop went to live in China as a student in 1994, and from the very beginning she vowed to eat everything she was offered, no matter how alien and bizarre it seemed. In her memoir, Fuchsia recalls her evolving relationship with China and its food, from her first rapturous encounter with the delicious cuisine of Sichuan Province to brushes with corruption, environmental degradation, and greed. In the course of her journey, she undergoes an apprenticeship at China's premier Sichuan cooking school, where she is the only foreign student in a class of nearly fifty young Chinese men. Was it possible for a Westerner to become a true convert to the Chinese way of eating? In an encounter with a caterpillar in an Oxford kitchen, the author was is forced to put this to the test.
Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table, A Collection of Essays from The New York Times
by Amanda Hesser, $15.95, Paperback, (W.W. Norton)
New York Times Magazine food editor Amanda Hesser has showcased the food-inspired recollections of some of America's leading writers – playwrights, screenwriters, novelists, poets, journalists. This book collects the best stories and recipes to accompany them. Ann Patchett confronts her stubbornness in a heated argument she once had with her then-boyfriend, now husband, over dinner at the famed Paris restaurant Taillevent. Tom Perrotta explains how his long list of food aversions almost landed him in an East German prison. Gabrielle Hamilton finds that hiring a blind cook leads her into ethical terrain she wasn't prepared to navigate. Poet Billy Collins muses over his relationship with a fish he once ate. Also included are stories by Chang-rae Lee, Patricia Marx, John Burnham Schwartz, George Saunders, Colson Whitehead, Kiran Desai, Pico Iyer, and Heidi Julavits, among others.
The Cloak and Dagger Cook: A CIA Memoir
by Kay Shaw Nelson, $24.95, Hardcover, (Pelican)
Upon graduating from college in 1948, Kay Shaw Nelson, a bright young woman with a yen for international travel, joined the newly founded Central Intelligence Agency. Within months, she received her security clearance, learned the difficulties associated with the life of a spy, fell in love, and set about traveling the world on assignment with her husband. At times under the cover of a cookbook writer, Nelson sailed from one exotic locale to another, each more incredible than the last. From Washington to Turkey and Cyprus, to Syria, Libya, France, Greece, and the Netherlands, among many other ports, the Nelsons traversed the globe as Kay discovered her passion for food, developed her journalistic abilities, and honed her exceptional palate.
Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker
by Gesine Bullock-Prado, $24, Hardcover, (Broadway Books)
As head of Sandra Bullock' production company, sister Gesine Bullock-Prado had a closet full of designer clothes and the ear of all the influential studio heads, but she was miserable. The only solace she found was in her secret hobby: baking. Before long, she and her husband left Hollywood, ending up in Vermont, where they started the gem known as Gesine Confectionary. And they never looked back. The book follows Gesine's journey from sugar-obsessed child to miserable, awkward Hollywood insider, to master baker. Chock-full of eccentric characters, detailed descriptions of her baking process, renditions of Hollywood nonsense, and recipes, her story will appeal to anyone who has ever considered leaving the life they know and starting from scratch.
Eating: A Memoir
by Jason Epstein, $24, Hardcover, (Knopf)
Editor and publisher Jason Epstein takes us on a culinary tour through his eventful life, beginning with childhood summers in Maine, where his decision to improve upon his grandmother’s chicken pot pie led to a lifetime at the stove. From the great restaurants of postwar Paris to the narrow streets of New York’s Chinatown today; from a New Year’s dinner aboard the old Ile de France with Buster Keaton to an evening at New York’s glamorous “21” restaurant with the dreaded Roy Cohn; from Chinese omelets with the Jane Jacobs at the edge of the Arctic Ocean to a lobster dinner with the Mailers on Cape Cod, as well as a warning to examine the chair before you sit down to dinner with W. H. Auden, this book celebrates a lifetime of pleasure in cooking and eating well. In Epstein’s hands, rather than being presented in the usual rigid formula, recipes unfold as stories that he would tell a friend in stove-side conversation.
Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons from Italy's Culinary Capital
by Eric Dregni, $22.95, Hardcover, (University of Minnesota Press)
Eric Dregni's dream was to live in the place with the best food in the world. This led him to Italy, first to Milan and eventually to a small, fog-covered town to the north: Modena, the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, Ferrari, and Luciano Pavarotti. Dregni revels in uncorking the secrets of Italian cuisine, such as how to guzzle espresso "corrected" with grappa and learning that mold really does make a good salami great. What begins as a gastronomical quest soon becomes a revealing, authentic portrait of how Italians live and a witty demonstration of how American and Italian cultures differ.
Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink
by David Remnick (editor), $18, Paperback, (Modern Library)
Now in paperback, The New Yorker dishes up a feast of delicious writing–food and drink memoirs, short stories, tell-alls, and poems, seasoned with a generous dash of cartoons. M.F.K. Fisher pays homage to "cookery witches." Adam Gopnik asks if French cuisine is done for. There is Roald Dahl’s famous story “Taste,” in which a wine snob’s palate comes in for some unwelcome scrutiny, and Julian Barnes’s ingenious tale of a lifelong gourmand who goes on a very peculiar diet. Whether you’re in the mood for snacking on humor pieces and cartoons or for savoring classic profiles of great chefs and great eaters, these offerings, from every age of magazine's fabled eighty-year history, are sure to satisfy every taste.
Too Many Cooks: 4 Kids, 1 Mom, 102 New Recipes
by Emily Franklin, $23.99, Hardcover, (Hyperion)
A foodie and former chef, Emily Franklin wants to pass on her love of food and cooking to her four kids; she wants them not only to enjoy what they’re eating but to know what they’re eating. So, over the course of a year, she introduces her children to new dishes – some exotic, some thrown together with whatever she has in her cabinets – with varying degrees of success. Undaunted by failure (“This tastes like sand!”), Franklin pursues her culinary mission from the heartland of Indiana to the Umbrian countryside. Along the way, she discovers how a delicious (or even disastrous) meal can bring families together and feed the soul.
Round-up of New Baking Books
Round-up of New Ethnic/International Books
Round-up of New Food Issues Books
Round-up of New Diet/Nutrition Books
Round-up of Chef's/U.S. Regional Cookbooks
Round-up of New Cooking Reference Books
Round-up of Family and Children's Cookbooks
Round-up of Alcohol and Drinks Books