What are you reading!?!

Food news, food media and other food-related topics
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Mike Z
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6 years ago

Didn’t see this kind of thread . . . Anything in the culinary world you’ve read that you recommend?
To start this off, I’ve been in a nice groove of autobiographies and culinary writing this “winter”. Hit me up on Goodreads if you want . . .


Couple great books by Michael Ruhlman (he of the French Laundry Cookbook, and often cohort of Tony Bourdain). He’s a gifted writer:

LOVED “The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America”. I’d call it a must read for anybody even thinking about going to culinary school, and a cool behind the scenes look at that world
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/637 ... -of-a-chef

Not as good, but still a fun and educational read is “The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection”
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/134 ... _of_a_Chef


“The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of a Great Chef” by Marco Pierre White with James Steen.
If you liked Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential”, you HAVE to read this. LOVED it. Laughed my ass off at times.
I tend to page fold when I find something special in a book . . . below is what my copy looks like!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/209 ... he_Kitchen

Another must read, surprisingly good was “The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen” by Jacques Pepin. Wow, what an amazing almost serendipitous life he’s led. It’s borderline Forrest Gumpian at times
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/343 ... Apprentice

Lastly, “Back of House: The Secret Life of a Restaurant” by Scott Haas
A light look at how a top flight restaurant like Craigie On Main in Boston is run and the chef Tony Maws who drives it
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/158 ... -the-house


On my Too Read stack is:
“The Reach of a Chef: Professional Chefs in the Age of Celebrity” by Michael Ruhlman
“Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child” by Bob Spitz
“Flash in the Pan” by David Blum

So, what do YOU recommend?
Marco Pierre White Devil In The Kitchen.jpg
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

I really enjoyed Ruth Reichl's "Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise" ...and then also went on to read her "Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table." Both VERY enjoyable...she is one incredible writer! (I follow her on Twitter, and even her damn tweets are fantastic!!!)

I'm in the middle of reading (well, have been in the middle of reading for some time!) Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential," just to say I've read it, more or less, because I really don't care for the guy. But it's fairly enjoyable.

I look back with fondness at "A Year in Provence" by Peter Mayle, as I read it fairly early on in my "foodie" days, and it really made me appreciate truffles, among other things!

Great idea for a thread, btw, Mike! :)
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Lunchbox
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6 years ago

BarbaraToombs wrote:I really enjoyed Ruth Reichl's "Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise" ...and then also went on to read her "Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table." Both VERY enjoyable...she is one incredible writer! (I follow her on Twitter, and even her damn tweets are fantastic!!!)
Follow this twitter account:
https://twitter.com/RuthBourdain

It's a "Parody mash-up of the tweets of Ruth Reichl with the mind of Anthony Bourdain."
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
artvandelay
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6 years ago

I really enjoyed Heat by Bill Buford
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

Lunchbox wrote:
Follow this twitter account:
https://twitter.com/RuthBourdain

It's a "Parody mash-up of the tweets of Ruth Reichl with the mind of Anthony Bourdain."
That sounds terrible...LOL! (But will still check it out...)
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Tim H
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6 years ago

If you haven't read her yet, stop everything and get MFK Fisher's The Art of Eating, a compilation of her essays and books. I used to keep it on the nightstand and read a random essay before bed. WH Auden called her America's best writer, and that's still about right. You will laugh or tear up or learn something worth knowing from every piece.
There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
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ScottofStrand
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Location: Mesa, AZ

6 years ago

I've read/listened to the audiobook for all of Bourdaine's books, which are all great. Even better when read by him. I also read through a couple more celebrity chef books/biographies recently:
-Gordon Ramsay by Neil Simpson, an interesting look into his background.
-Heston Blumenthal by Chas Newkey-Burden, I don't really recommend this one. Just clunkily written imho.
-Restaurant Man by Joe Bastianich, kind of a nice look into the business side of restaurants and his background, but I find him rather unlikable and unrelatable.

Currently reading/listening:
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelson, So far so good.

Next up:
Life, on the Line by Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz
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putitonmytab
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6 years ago

I love this thread! Heat by Buford is a good one. I just started 52 loaves by William Alexander. It's bready, but even if you don't bake it's interesting. I think I've read everything by Bourdain, he just makes me laugh. Yes Chef has been in my Amazon cart forever, I like Marcus, I bet it's a good story. Has anyone read The Man Who Ate Everything? I have a love/hate for Jeffery Steingarten. There are so many that I'm forgetting. I'll check my bookself and get back.
-Mandy
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

I read The Man... and whatever the name of its follow-up was, and totally loved them both. He pics a topic, he researches, he tastes, and he writes, and it's usually very funny.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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putitonmytab
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6 years ago

Thanks Dom!!! My amazon cart is exploding, I might need to go to the library :D
-Mandy
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Mike Z
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6 years ago

Now THIS is what I wanted! :D

"Heat" and Buford's "Among Thugs" have been on my list for awhile. Will have to bump them up
"A Year in Provence" is going on for sure, as is "Yes, Chef"
Last edited by Mike Z 6 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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MyLifeOnVacatio
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6 years ago

Oh, I LOVE this topic! Great thread, MikeZ!

The first book I think of is "Heat" by Bill Buford. I read this probably 5 or 6 years ago and still think back on the vivid scenes he describes with Marco Pierre White (which makes me want to read his book even more) and in Italy with Dario Cecchini. Totally worth a re-read.

I recently read "Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef", a memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef/owner of Prune in NYC. Loved the first part...a dreamy story of growing up and learning appreciation for excellent, simple food and the stories of spending summers in Italy at her husband's family home. It wasn't until about 3/4 through with the book when I went online and looked up more info on the author and certain details of her real life kind of tainted the story for me. Still a great read.

As for memoirs by food writers, "Toast" (Nigel Slater) and "Born Round" (Frank Bruni) were both nice, although I don't think I ever finished the second one...it's around here somewhere.

I'm sure there are others, but these few are top of mind. And now my list of to-read books has grown even longer!

Near the top of the list is the memoir by Grant Achatz ("Life, on the Line") that I've been thinking about ever since I heard his interview on Fresh Air a couple of years ago about his battle with tongue cancer
http://www.wbur.org/npr/134195812/grant ... e-of-taste
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Mike Z
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6 years ago

$1 thrift store find of the day . . . couldn't pass it up :)

Apparently Jim Croce's wife was a restauranteur . . . sadly no recipe for Bad Bad Leroy Brownies
Croce cookbook.jpg
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

Mike Z wrote:Apparently Jim Croce's wife was a restauranteur . . . sadly no recipe for Bad Bad Leroy Brownies
Croce cookbook.jpg
She still is! Runs one of our fav places to hang out in San Diego's Gaslamp District:Croce's (of course). Some great live music, decent but pricey food, nothing to write home about. Lots of Jim Croce memorabilia.
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Mike Z
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6 years ago

Really? Thanks, good to know. My dad was a Croce fan, I'll have to at least stop in when I make it out to SD
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Mike Z
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6 years ago

"Flash In The Pan" by David Blum

An airy if overlong behind the scenes look at the birth and death of a HOT NYC restaurant in 91/92. Has a bit of late 80's nostalgia for those of us Miami Vice junkies :)

Blum's style is interesting . . . SmartAss-ian, sarcastic, playful, biting and informative. And every once in a while he slips into a Chuck Palahniuk mode with lines like "On graph paper, the customer-per-night chart of The Falls looks something like a Black Diamond slope in Aspren". Lots of punches, but seems like lots of punches were pulled as well . . . I get the feeling LOTS of dirt was held back. It's told in a manner of "I spent a couple years at this restaurant, it was HOT. The food sucked, the service was abysmal, management was non-existent, but it was HOT! for awhile . . . " as if you were talking to somebody at a bar
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Mike Z
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5 years ago

Thanks for the recommendation. "Heat" by Bill Buford . . . is a strange book. A journalist with no intention of a career in cooking goes to amazing lengths and expense over the course of years to try to master cooking in a restaurant, to try to master pasta making and butchering in Italy, to learn Italian, all to I assume to simply just go on to the next story afterwards? And these masters of pasta and butchering . . . why would they waste their time teaching their secrets and skills to an apprentice who has no intention of a career in what they're teaching? You can say I'm a bit baffled. Not that it wasn't interesting. Disorienting at times in the way it hops back and forth through time to the point where I gave up on trying to figure out "when" things were taking place, and suprisingly little Mario Batali, but those are minor quibbles. Was a fun read, lots of stories dog-eared
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putitonmytab
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5 years ago

I'm about half way through The Third Plate by Dan Barber. It's great, just read it.
-Mandy
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Mike Z
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5 years ago

Of interest . . .

Roger Naylor: Boots and Burgers

"The Southwest travel writer and Arizona Republic contributor presents his combination hiking and dining guide"

http://www.changinghands.com/event/nayl ... -206829393
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BillBuitenhuys
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5 years ago

Just finished The Bar Book by Jeff Morganthaler. There are some excellent tips and tricks for cocktail making enthusiasts or professionals. Particularly like his recipe for how to make gomme syrup that isn't clumpy.

Now I'm reading Craft Cocktails at Home: Offbeat Techniques, Contemporary Crowd-Pleasers, and Classics Hacked with Science by Kevin Liu. I bought it for some really interesting studies that were done on the relationship between taste components in drinks. After reading through that particular section, I'm now starting at the beginning.

While also reading Warren Bobrow's latest, Whisky Cocktails.

And a book from long time friend, Bruce Maccabee, entitled The FBI-CIA-UFO Connection: The Hidden UFO Activities of USA Intelligence Agencies
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