Your Friday Five

Southeast Library

Your Friday Five

Foodie Reads

It seems like everyone these days is a self-proclaimed foodie, myself included.  In this Friday Five, I include some of my favorite books that display a person's intimate relationship with food.  So stop eating, and start reading!  Or, as I prefer, do both at the same time!  

Cover image for Kitchen confidential : adventures in the culinary underbellyKitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is a well-known celebrity these days; he is the host of CNN’s Parts Unknown and the former star of No Reservations.  But before all of that, he was a chef in the chaotic ‘culinary underbelly’.  With sharp wit and brutal honesty, he introduces his readers to the maniacs in the industry, the drugs that fuel them, and what it’s like to start from the bottom and work your way to the top in the service industry.  
My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes) by Luisa Weiss

This book follows Luisa, an Italian/American woman, as she figures out what her heart really wants.  It includes recipes that relate to very particular moments in her life. One part that I vividly remember is when she describes a simple tomato salad with a sprinkling of cheese and a dash of olive oil and vinegar; it is the only thing she can stomach as she gets over heartbreak.   My favorite recipe though is the braised leeks – I’ve made them many times already and they make the house smell incredible.   Check out her food blog, The Wednesday Chef.  
Cover image for My Berlin kitchen : a love story, with recipes
Cover image for 52 loaves : one man's relentless pursuit of truth, meaning, and a perfect crust52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander

With dry humor and a tone that is between a casual lecture and a friendly explanation, this book follows one man’s mission to bake the perfect loaf of bread.   The author is so dedicated to his goal that he starts to grow wheat in his very own backyard.   It is an approachable and easy read that includes anecdotes interspersed with facts about the process and history of bread making.   It will leave you yearning for some delicious carbs! 
At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by Madhur Jaffrey

I couldn’t write about food books and not include a cookbook.  I’m including this one because I’ve learned that a lot of people are intimidated by cooking Indian food at home, and I want more people to approach it confidently.  This cookbook was put together by the great Madhur Jaffrey, a former actress and celebrated food writer and television chef.  The recipes in this book are very approachable and the layout is very basic and easy to follow.  My favorite so far is her Cardamom Chicken recipe.  And my biggest tip to people who are just starting to cook Indian food?  Procure these six essential spices for Indian cuisine and you’ll be good to go: tumeric, cumin seeds, coriander powder/seeds, mustard seed, chili powder, and cinnamon.
Cover image for At home with Madhur Jaffrey : simple, delectable dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, & Sri Lanka
Cover image for The omnivore's dilemma : a natural history of four mealsThe Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

I think this is an essential read for every American.  It will make you see corn in a whole different light.  Surrounded by clever food marketing and overused words like ‘organic’, it’s crucial to take a closer look at the modern day food chain.   It is divided into three different sections: Industrial, Pastoral and Personal.  I am of the belief that it is important to know where your food comes from and to be a well-informed consumer, and this book provides a critical foundation for both of those things.  

~Christine, your friendly neighborhood Library Associate~