I love cookbooks. On this trip to the library I found some treasures. Each book is different in terms of content and organization. Though some are classified in a genre other than cookbook, each is about food.
Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of my Appetities. By Kate Christensen (2013)
This book is a literary memoir. According to the flyleaf, she unpacks her life in this book. Food figures prominently. She is a well-known novelist. Blue Plate Special has been praised by many. Some call it some of her best writing. She lives in Maine. She grew up in Berkley and Arizona. Likely the food connections will reflect these locations. Should be interesting. I look forward to spending more time with this book.
Daniel and Bill Buford
Daniel: My French Cuisine. By Daniel Boulud. Essays by Bill Buford. Photographs by Thomas Schaur. (2013)
I didn’t check out this large, heavy book and carry it to my car along with quite a few others because of the French Cuisine title or this chef. I have enjoyed a previous book by Bill Buford detailing his extensive cooking adventures. I’ve always wanted to read more. Here’s my chance.
Part II of the book is titled Iconic Sessions. Here the reader finds Buford’s essays. I couldn’t decide which essay to read first. All of the dishes were out-of-the-ordinary, even unheard of, and extremely complicated. None were anything I would be reproducing. Most did not look particularly appetizing in the colorful photographs. Finally I chose Pot-au-Feu. I thought I had some idea what might be explained.
I know that Buford’s writing can transport me to first class kitchens. I want to go there. And in fact, it happened. I went to the history and hearth of French cooking in this essay. The trip was most enjoyable. Now, I’m ready for another essay, no matter the food.
The next section I would read is Part III, Daniel At Home. He cooks regional menus at home representing different French areas. Alsace is one province represented. The food looks wonderful, tasty and somewhat familiar. At the end of the book are basic recipes of one kind and another: sauces, stocks, short ribs. There is a helpful glossary of culinary terms. Part I of the book gives recipes in several categories from Restaurant Daniel along with essays by Daniel, e.g. Daniel on Cheese.
Endless enjoyment awaits. This is a book to keep one pleasantly occupied for hours.
Growing a Feast: The Chronicle of a Farm-To-Table Meal. By Kurt Timmermeister (2014)
Mr. Timmermeister, chef and restaurateur, farms on a small plot on Vashon Island in Washington’s Puget Sound. Readers follow the farm-to-table trail as he prepares a feast for twenty friends. I’ve read two chapters so far. I love it. It is readable and interesting. Of these books, it is the one I am most likely to read first and most likely to read cover to cover. It calls to me. Our shared farm experiences is one of the reasons.
It’s hard to pin down the genre of this book. It might be called a farm memoir. It is clearly a non-fiction book about growing and preparing food. West Coast readers, please note. This is at least the second cookbook I have featured on the blog about food raised in your part of the country. You are not to be neglected. First you could claim the peaches and now an entire meal.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year In Holidays. By Ree Drummond. (2013)
I find this book as promising and successful as her previous two cookbooks. I own and use both. I’m not a holiday cook, but the recipes sound as scrumptious as advertised. Informative and inviting photographs are also beautiful and heart-warming. They feature how-to prep pictures, finished products and her beautiful home and family.
I feel I must have this cookbook. Here are some recipes I look forward to preparing:
Eight-Layer Dip (how about Super Bowl Sunday?)
Caesar Salad (croutons, garlic, parmesan and anchovies––all items Jerry likes. Well, he doesn’t know he likes anchovies.)
Chocolate Strawberry Cake (I seldom make cakes. This is for Father’s Day or Fourth of July.)
Ree’s Favorite Pasta Salad
I’ve not even paged half through the book yet. WOW! This is the book I’m most likely to buy.
And now back to reading about a feast two years in the making. Next up a chapter on making cheese. Or maybe, I’ll browse more of Ree’s wonderful pictures. What about Bill Buford’s essays? Sounds like Blue Plate Special is on my back burner.