A cooking book recommendation: The Gastronomical Me by M. F. K. Fisher

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h5dKZn.
Reading it again in this handsome new edition I am struck by the fact that it is, above all, a queer book. I mean the term not so much as Fisher used it colloquially and carelessly in the middle of the last century but how we employ it today…
Book description from Google Books:
In 1929, a newly married M.F.K. Fisher said goodbye to a milquetoast American culinary upbringing and sailed with her husband to Dijon, where she tasted real French cooking for the first time. The Gastronomical Me is a chronicle of her passionate embrace of a whole new way of eating, drinking, and celebrating the senses. As she recounts memorable meals shared with an assortment of eccentric and fascinating characters, set against a backdrop of mounting pre-war tensions, we witness the formation not only of her taste but of her character and her prodigious talent.
The book is rated 4.24/5 at goodreads.com, from 2786 ratings. See 202 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwJuGY.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iyNk2e.

A cooking book recommendation: I Hear She’s a Real Bitch by Jen Agg

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/2iARWFd.
If a generation of cooks followed Kitchen Confidential into the industry on the promised glory of good times and hard living, for largely different reasons – because restaurant ownership is so desperately lacking in diversity, and because kitchen culture could sure use a change – with hope, I Hear She ‘s a Real Bitch will do the same.
Book description from Google Books:
A sharp and candid memoir from a star in the restaurant world, and an up-and-coming literary voice. Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg, the woman behind the popular The Black Hoof, Cocktail Bar, Rhum Corner, and Agrikol restaurants, is known for her frank, crystal-sharp and often hilarious observations and ideas on the restaurant industry and the world around her. I Hear She’s a Real Bitch, her first book, is caustic yet intimate, and wryly observant; an unforgettable glimpse into the life of one of the most interesting, smart, trail-blazing voices of this moment.
The book is rated 3.57/5 at goodreads.com, from 237 ratings. See 65 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h8GqRk.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2izpxzs.

A cooking book recommendation: The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h6ak8Q.
This is a book that, like a great meal, it would be a shame not to share. Read it to a friend who is cooking you dinner. Tell them about Visser on the food fads of her time…
Book description from Google Books:
With an acute eye and an irrepressible wit, Margaret Visser takes a fascinating look at the way we eat our meals. From the ancient Greeks to modern yuppies, from cannibalism and the taking of the Eucharist to formal dinners and picnics, she thoroughly defines the eating ritual. “Read this book. You’ll never look at a table knife the same way again.” The New York Times.”
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 389 ratings. See 51 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h5ICZE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iwS3lj.

A cooking book recommendation: The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h6ak8Q.
This is a book that, like a great meal, it would be a shame not to share. Read it to a friend who is cooking you dinner. Tell them about Visser on the food fads of her time…
Book description from Google Books:
With an acute eye and an irrepressible wit, Margaret Visser takes a fascinating look at the way we eat our meals. From the ancient Greeks to modern yuppies, from cannibalism and the taking of the Eucharist to formal dinners and picnics, she thoroughly defines the eating ritual. “Read this book. You’ll never look at a table knife the same way again.” The New York Times.”
The book is rated 3.79/5 at goodreads.com, from 389 ratings. See 51 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h5ICZE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iwS3lj.

A cooking book recommendation: A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand by Jim Harrison

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2y7kzzH.
Reading this book straight through is not advised, unless you have the stamina of those gourmands at the really big lunch. But snacking on classic Harrisonisms like “I’ve never been the man I used to be” is deliciously filling.
Book description from Google Books:
“[A] culinary combo plate of Hunter S. Thompson, Ernest Hemingway, Julian Schnabel, and Sam Peckinpah . . . Harrison writes with enough force to make your knees buckle and with infectious zeal that makes you turn the pages hungry for more . . . Jim Harrison has staked out a distinctive place in the world of food writing.”—Jane and Michael Stern, New York Times Book Review on The Raw and the CookedNew York Times bestselling author Jim Harrison was one of this country’s most beloved writers, a muscular, brilliantly economic stylist with a salty wisdom. He also wrote some of the best essays on food around, earning praise as “the poet laureate of appetite” (Dallas Morning News). A Really Big Lunch, to be published on the one-year anniversary of Harrison’s death, collects many of his food pieces for the first time—and taps into his larger-than-life appetite with wit and verve.Jim Harrison’s legendary gourmandise is on full display in A Really Big Lunch. From the titular New Yorker piece about a French lunch that went to thirty-seven courses, to pieces from Brick, Playboy, Kermit Lynch Newsletter, and more on the relationship between hunter and prey, or the obscure language of wine reviews, A Really Big Lunch is shot through with Harrison’s pointed aperçus and keen delight in the pleasures of the senses. And between the lines the pieces give glimpses of Harrison’s life over the last three decades. A Really Big Lunch is a literary delight that will satisfy every appetite.“Harrison is the American Rabelais, and he is at his irreverent and excessive best in this collection.” —John Skowles, San Diego Union-Tribune on The Raw and the Cooked
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 161 ratings. See 40 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yNEIhK.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yNRUTD.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A cooking book recommendation: Generation Chef: Risking It All for a New American Dream by Karen Stabiner

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2eyjaIT.
I might never eat at Huertas — or at Spoon and Stable, for that matter. But “Generation Chef” has given me an appreciation for what has gone into these restaurants and others. This book is as much about dreams and passion as it is about food.
Book description from Google Books:
Inside what life is really like for the new generation of professional cooks–a captivating tale of the make-or-break first year at a young chef’s new restaurant. For many young people, being a chef is as compelling a dream as being a rock star or professional athlete. Skill and creativity in the kitchen are more profitable than ever before, as cooks scramble to reach the top–but talent isn’t enough. Today’s chef needs the business savvy of a high-risk entrepreneur, determination, and big dose of luck. The heart of Generation Chef is the story of Jonah Miller, who at age twenty-four attempts to fulfill a lifelong dream by opening the Basque restaurant Huertas in New York City, still the high-stakes center of the restaurant business for an ambitious young chef. Miller, a rising star who has been named to the 30-Under-30 list of both Forbes and Zagat, quits his job as a sous chef, creates a business plan, lines up investors, leases a space, hires a staff, and gets ready to put his reputation and his future on the line. Journalist and food writer Karen Stabiner takes us inside Huertas’s roller-coaster first year, but also provides insight into the challenging world a young chef faces today–the intense financial pressures, the overcrowded field of aspiring cooks, and the impact of reviews and social media, which can dictate who survives. A fast-paced narrative filled with suspense, Generation Chef is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at drive and passion in one of today’s hottest professions.
The book is rated 3.67/5 at goodreads.com, from 127 ratings. See 26 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dErB7P.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2fU0nuc.

A cooking book recommendation: A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand by Jim Harrison

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2y7kzzH.
Reading this book straight through is not advised, unless you have the stamina of those gourmands at the really big lunch. But snacking on classic Harrisonisms like “I’ve never been the man I used to be” is deliciously filling.
Book description from Google Books:
“[A] culinary combo plate of Hunter S. Thompson, Ernest Hemingway, Julian Schnabel, and Sam Peckinpah . . . Harrison writes with enough force to make your knees buckle and with infectious zeal that makes you turn the pages hungry for more . . . Jim Harrison has staked out a distinctive place in the world of food writing.”—Jane and Michael Stern, New York Times Book Review on The Raw and the CookedNew York Times bestselling author Jim Harrison was one of this country’s most beloved writers, a muscular, brilliantly economic stylist with a salty wisdom. He also wrote some of the best essays on food around, earning praise as “the poet laureate of appetite” (Dallas Morning News). A Really Big Lunch, to be published on the one-year anniversary of Harrison’s death, collects many of his food pieces for the first time—and taps into his larger-than-life appetite with wit and verve.Jim Harrison’s legendary gourmandise is on full display in A Really Big Lunch. From the titular New Yorker piece about a French lunch that went to thirty-seven courses, to pieces from Brick, Playboy, Kermit Lynch Newsletter, and more on the relationship between hunter and prey, or the obscure language of wine reviews, A Really Big Lunch is shot through with Harrison’s pointed aperçus and keen delight in the pleasures of the senses. And between the lines the pieces give glimpses of Harrison’s life over the last three decades. A Really Big Lunch is a literary delight that will satisfy every appetite.“Harrison is the American Rabelais, and he is at his irreverent and excessive best in this collection.” —John Skowles, San Diego Union-Tribune on The Raw and the Cooked
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 160 ratings. See 40 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yNEIhK.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yNRUTD.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A cooking book recommendation: The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2co2Ysd.
While “The Food Lab” book has a lot of new material in its pages, it feels like an accrual of the work that Mr. López-Alt has done so far and so well in discrete blog posts. The book is a strong addition to shelves…
Book description from Google Books:
Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that’s perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)–and use a foolproof method that works every time?As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new–but simple–techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.
The book is rated 4.65/5 at goodreads.com, from 3100 ratings. See 210 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1TdyXQ5.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2y4r8mD.

A cooking book recommendation: A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2eA3DIG.
It is not always entirely clear what Ziegelman and Coe mean for us to take away from their eloquent work of historical summation. Then again, that may be a good thing. The larger question of America’s shifting attitudes toward federal aid is a prodigious topic to digest.
Book description from Google Books:
James Beard Foundation Book Award WinnerFrom the author of the acclaimed 97 Orchard and her husband, a culinary historian, an in-depth exploration of the greatest food crisis the nation has ever faced—the Great Depression—and how it transformed America’s culinary culture.The decade-long Great Depression, a period of shifts in the country’s political and social landscape, forever changed the way America eats. Before 1929, America’s relationship with food was defined by abundance. But the collapse of the economy, in both urban and rural America, left a quarter of all Americans out of work and undernourished—shattering long-held assumptions about the limitlessness of the national larder.In 1933, as women struggled to feed their families, President Roosevelt reversed long-standing biases toward government-sponsored “food charity.” For the first time in American history, the federal government assumed, for a while, responsibility for feeding its citizens. The effects were widespread. Championed by Eleanor Roosevelt, “home economists” who had long fought to bring science into the kitchen rose to national stature.Tapping into America’s long-standing ambivalence toward culinary enjoyment, they imposed their vision of a sturdy, utilitarian cuisine on the American dinner table. Through the Bureau of Home Economics, these women led a sweeping campaign to instill dietary recommendations, the forerunners of today’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.At the same time, rising food conglomerates introduced packaged and processed foods that gave rise to a new American cuisine based on speed and convenience. This movement toward a homogenized national cuisine sparked a revival of American regional cooking. In the ensuing decades, the tension between local traditions and culinary science has defined our national cuisine—a battle that continues today. A Square Meal examines the impact of economic contraction and environmental disaster on how Americans ate then—and the lessons and insights those experiences may hold for us today.A Square Meal features 25 black-and-white photographs.
The book is rated 3.68/5 at goodreads.com, from 800 ratings. See 183 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2eA3vZS.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2vYVt5A.

A cooking book recommendation: Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uPFINb.
Butter: A Rich History is the pastry chef and food writer’s ode to the humble pantry staple and edifying look at how an accidental dairy byproduct has endured time, criticism and outright legal persecution.
Book description from Google Books:
“Edifying from every point of view–historical, cultural, and culinary.” –David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes   It’s a culinary catalyst, an agent of change, a gastronomic rock star. Ubiquitous in the world’s most fabulous cuisines, butter is boss. Here, it finally gets its due. After traveling across three continents to stalk the modern story of butter, award-winning food writer and former pastry chef Elaine Khosrova serves up a story as rich, textured, and culturally relevant as butter itself. From its humble agrarian origins to its present-day artisanal glory, butter has a fascinating story to tell, and Khosrova is the perfect person to tell it. With tales about the ancient butter bogs of Ireland, the pleasure dairies of France, and the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet, Khosrova details butter’s role in history, politics, economics, nutrition, and even spirituality and art. Readers will also find the essential collection of core butter recipes, including beurre mani�, croissants, p�te bris�e, and the only buttercream frosting anyone will ever need, as well as practical how-tos for making various types of butter at home–or shopping for the best. “A fascinating, tasty read . . . And what a bonus to have a collection of essential classic butter recipes included.” –David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes “Following the path blazed by Margaret Visser in Much Depends on Dinner, Elaine Khosrova makes much of butter and the ruminants whose milk man churns. You will revel in dairy physics. And you may never eat margarine again.” –John T.  Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South “Butter proves that close study can reveal rich history, lore, and practical information. All that and charm too.” –Mimi Sheraton, author of 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die “Irresistible and fascinating . . . This is one of those definitive books on a subject that every cook should have.” –Elisabeth Prueitt, co-owner of Tartine Bakery “The history of one of the most delectable ingredients throughout our many cultures and geography over time is wonderfully churned and emulsified in Khosrova’s Butter . . . Delightful storytelling.” –Elizabeth Falkner, author of Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 260 ratings. See 71 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uPBWmT.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xNHY9b.