22 September 2009

Three Things: Book Recommendations

The best books I read this summer had three things in common:

They were written by females.
They were memories.
They were about FOOD.
(there's also a fourth thing about how all the authors spent time in France but that's doesn't really work with the three things theme I've got going here)

I've always known that I care a great deal for making and eating food, but I had no idea how much I enjoyed reading about food. Don't get me wrong...I love to snuggle up with a new cookbook and read it from table of contents to index just as much as the next girl...but the whole idea of reading about the taste of slow roasted tomatoes from another cook's perspective? I'm sorry. I was in the dark about that.

So. Without further frilly word filler, my list:

First: My Life In France
By: Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme

Okay. Julia Child. The quintessential gourmet home cook. Everyone who has ever had interest in anything food related (cooking, eating, schooling, buying) should read this book. If you're not interested in food, are you interested in France? Then you should read this book. You are not interested in France either you say? Well then, are you interested in living life with gusto, bravado, and overwhelming joy? (No? Okay then YOU should probably NOT read this book...or my blog for that matter...because you don't sound like a very happy person...but for the REST of you) You should read this book.

When I was a little girl I loooooved cooking shows. Graham Kerr and YanCanCook were my two favorites. I was a little young to remember many of Julia Child's shows but I would see the occassional re-run on PBS or her guest appearances on my favorite shows. All I really knew about her was that she had a crazy voice and kind of reminded me of my grandma. I also knew that it was dang fun to imitate her voice while demonstrating how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. NOW I know that Julia Child is worthy of being one of my personal idols. She was actually one of the FIRST to ever have a cooking show. Everything she did was done with vigor and enthusiasm. She loved life. Lived life. And in doing so, she found her passion in food, cooking and teaching. Her book was so inspirational, not just in the food sense, but as a template for how to live your life. Also. You should read this book.

Second: A Homemade Life
By: Molly Weizenburg

If I were a writer...like the kind of writer where you turn out multiple pages that are then put into chapters that are then put into a book...I'd want to write like Molly. I got this book from the library one night and decided to read a couple of pages before bed. A day and a half later the book was done and I wanted more. I fished out my old copies of Bon Appetite so that I could read all of her columns. I bookmarked her blog (Orangette) (which I had only perused before mostly to coo at the lovely pictures) so that I could read all of her archives. Seriously...I HEART MOLLY.

This book somewhat follows Molly's life in a family of cooks. Each chapter is usually a story revolving around a certain recipe, that is then included at the end of the chapter. I wanted to make every single recipe immediately upon reading. I credit Molly's writing for that urge. The only word that keeps going through my head to describe her writing is warm. It's like you could curl up inside of her book with a blanket and another copy of her book (whoa meta). And of course Molly would be generous enough to let you invite your friends...she would probably even cook for you.

The book also chronicles how she meets and eventually marries her husband Brandon. They were married in Bellingham, WA which is where N8tr0n and I first lived after we were married so there were lots of "hey! we ate there!" for me which I love. I'm also very excited that I will be visiting Seattle soon and can eat at Delancy--the new restaurant that Molly and Brandon have opened in Ballard. Oh my gosh I can't wait. And sometimes Molly works in the kitchen! And maybe I will see her! And maybe...maybe I could talk to her! (over-excited panting)

Ahem. I really loved this book. I think you will too. I can't wait to own my own copy.

Third: Tender at the Bone
By: Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl is currently the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine so obviously, the woman knows her way around food writing. This memoir begins with hilarious tales of her mother's food mishaps and spans across her lifetime into marriage and living as a hippie in Berkley. She seems to have always had a knack for cooking which is something I envy in many people. Her writing flows easily and I was sad to finish this book. The up-side of this is that she has three more books so if you like this one, there's more where it came from. She also includes recipes at the end of some of her chapters though I wasn't as driven to make them as I was with Molly's book.

I don't want any of you to miss out on these fabulous books. Just writing about them right now makes me want to read them all AGAIN (like I have time for that with a weighty to read list staring me down) and I'm thinking that fall is the PERFECT season for each of these captivating reads. I'm picturing them paired with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and cream, or apple cider with cardamom. Mmmm.... Happy reading!



michelle said...

Well, what do you know? I want to read all of those books! I love reading cookbooks and books about food. And memoirs.

I am totally jealous about you getting to go to Molly and Brandon's restaurant...

dana said...

Just want to say thanks for the comment on MADE. It made me laugh. I'm glad you get giddy :). There are blogs I get giddy over too!
Have a great week!
- dana

Greeneyes said...

Thanks for the list.
Here's a recommendation for YOU:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating, and insightful are terms that barely begin to cover this book. It will change your relationship with your food for the better. And if it doesn't, at least her writing is awesome.

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