Monday, February 28, 2011

The joy of reading about cooking

And eating, of course!

I don't know what I was looking for, but I found former Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl's blog! I've read most of her books: Comfort me with apples, Tender at the bone and Garlic & Sapphires. DS has my copy of that last title with him in Minneapolis.

Over a week or more, I read most of the blog entries. I enjoyed her recipes, family dining and  farmers' market experiences a lot, and her restaurant meals least. Why? The chances I will get to eat - or want to cook - these types of meals are slim. And I grow older, I find my tastes in food are becoming simpler.

The experience of a myriad of spices in cooking Indian vegetable dishes, or making my own pesto, or the timing of cooking shrimp is as complex as it gets for me. And when I sit down to a restaurant meal, if I'm paying a lot for the one steak I eat each year, I want to have the best service I can afford.

Back to Ruth Reichl's blog, the post I found most helpful was a list of food books. Some of them, I've read - Kitchen Confidential, The man who ate everything, The Tummy Trilogy. If you're looking for some of the others on the list, sorry - I've borrowed them.

I started by reading Fair shares for all, which was painful from page one; I'm not sure I'll finish it. It's a memoir by the former copy editor of Gourmet magazine. I question the necessity of using word like janissaries, aphotic and minatory in a food memoir. I can't recommend it.

To counteract the frustration I was feeling when reading Fair shares, I started on The language of baklava - another memoir, and a joy to read in comparison. At the point I'm now reading, she captures perfectly the clueless semi-awareness of an 8 year old.

I also picked up Indian home cooking by chef Suvir Saran. I loved his other book, American Masala, where he says the loveliest words I've read about cooking vegetables in the Indian way: "It is said that no one makes vegetarian food as well as we do in India, where vegetables are romanced and entertained in ways never imagined elsewhere." Though he goes on to say that other ethnicities also glorify vegetables, I believe the words of the quote.

What are you reading?

Ruth's books

Ruth's blog:

A few good books recommended by Ruth Reichl

Chef Suvir Saran's blog

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