Ruth Reichl’s Beginnings in the Kitchen

Book review: Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl (Amazon / Book Depository) Food writer, magazine editor, and restaurant critic Ruth Reichl’s first memoir, Tender at the Bone, is a significant one in the “foodoir” genre, blending recipes into stories and scenes from a life. It covers the connections she made in her early life with food and cooking, laying the groundwork for the prominent … Continue reading Ruth Reichl’s Beginnings in the Kitchen

On the Road, Around the World with René Redzepi

Book review: Hungry, by Jeff Gordinier (Amazon / Book Depository) Jeff Gordinier, food editor at Esquire and New York Times contributor, was at something of a personal turning point as his marriage dissolved. In a depressing-sounding state, he accepted an invitation from world-renowned Danish chef René Redzepi to accompany him on his ambitious culinary travels. Redzepi is the mind behind Noma, a pricey, innovative restaurant then occupying an old … Continue reading On the Road, Around the World with René Redzepi

How Cooking Made Living Seem Possible

Book review: Midnight Chicken, by Ella Risbridger (Amazon / Book Depository) There is a German word, kummerspeck, that translates literally as ‘grief-bacon,’ and metaphorically as ‘comfort eating’. This book is the grief-bacon book…This is the book I wanted to read when I was sad, but it’s also a book for good days. I’m not going to make it a regular thing to review cookbooks, because … Continue reading How Cooking Made Living Seem Possible

Vignettes Both Light and Dark from a Food Writer’s Childhood

Book review: Toast, by Nigel Slater (Amazon / Book Depository) “If you really want to, dear,’ was my mother’s answer for anything I wanted to do that she would rather I didn’t. This was her stock answer to my question: Can I make a fruit sundae? By make I meant assemble. My fruit sundae was a gloriously over-the-top mess of strawberry ice cream, tinned fruit … Continue reading Vignettes Both Light and Dark from a Food Writer’s Childhood

Health and Cultural Effects of the Global “Food Revolution”

The Way We Eat Now, by Bee Wilson (Amazon / Book Depository) Talking about what has gone wrong with modern eating is delicate, because food is a touchy subject. No one likes to  feel judged about their food choices, which is one of the reasons why so many healthy eating initiatives fail. The foods that are destroying our health are often the ones to which we … Continue reading Health and Cultural Effects of the Global “Food Revolution”

Julia Child Remembers France

Book review: My Life in France, by Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme (Amazon / Book Depository) In Paris in the 1950s, I had the supreme good fortune to study with a remarkably able group of chefs. From them I learned why good French food is an art, and why it makes such sublime eating: nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way … Continue reading Julia Child Remembers France

American Identity As Seen Through Food

Book review: Fed, White, and Blue, by Simon Majumdar (Amazon / Book Depository) Food writer and “food expert,” whatever that means, Simon Majumdar relocated from his beloved England to Los Angeles to be with his girlfriend. Some time after their marriage, he was faced with the decision of becoming a US citizen. This unleashes a torrent of silly non-issues, like does he have to give … Continue reading American Identity As Seen Through Food

“A Young Black Chef” Finds His Place in Fine Dining

Book review: Notes from a Young Black Chef, by Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein (Amazon / Book Depository) A groove had formed in the linoleum in front of the stove where Mom spent hours cooking. Next to that were four indentations from the little wooden step stool on which I often stood to watch her. Chef Kwame Onwuachi was born to an American mother … Continue reading “A Young Black Chef” Finds His Place in Fine Dining

Culinary and Travel Stories, from Al Dente to Zucchini Blossoms

Book review: The Bread and the Knife, by Dawn Drzal (Amazon / Book Depository) Former cookbook editor Dawn Drzal’s memoir is structured around 26 dishes or ingredients of significance in her life, matched up to the letters of the alphabet. Although the alphabet theme is a bit gimmicky, the writing is anything but. Drzal draws powerful metaphors from the role food has played in her … Continue reading Culinary and Travel Stories, from Al Dente to Zucchini Blossoms

Breaking Down the Bad Science of Food and Diet Fads

Book review: The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating, by Anthony Warner (Amazon / Book Depository) I am a chef with a passion for cooking, a background in biological science and a fascination with the way our diet affects our health. I have been down the rabbit hole, transported into a world of strange pseudoscience, arbitrary rejection of modernity and dangerous … Continue reading Breaking Down the Bad Science of Food and Diet Fads

Family Stories and Recipes, From Belarus to Brooklyn

Book review: Savage Feast, by Boris Fishman (Amazon / Book Depository)  Food was so valuable that it was a kind of currency—and it was how you showed love. If, as a person on the cusp of thirty, I wished to find sanity, I had to figure out how to temper this hunger without losing hold of what fed it, how to retain a connection to my past … Continue reading Family Stories and Recipes, From Belarus to Brooklyn

5 Mini-Reviews from the Did-Not-Finish Stack

I used to hold myself to a strict standard of finishing every book I started. It was painful. Why insist on spending precious time finishing something I’m not enjoying just because I made a decision one time to read it? Abandoning feels freeing in its own little way. Time for another look into some of the books I’ve tried and put aside over the past … Continue reading 5 Mini-Reviews from the Did-Not-Finish Stack