What I’m Reading….or keeping very close just in case:

(I’ll update this list as often as it changes, with most current books at the top.)

-A.S.  Byatt, “The Children’s Book“, (fiction) I’m  just beginning this book, heard a great interview with the author on NPR so I went out and snagged it. It’s a little heavy (in pounds, I mean) and so far, a great historical peek into a literary family in late 1800’s England, trying to raise children with every freedom and whimsy they desire.

-David Kamp, “The United States of Arugula“.  Food people love this book, and for good reason. It’s like the behind-the-scenes, tabloid memoir of famous food-innovators and writers, chefs and critics. It has more info than I care to know about mysterious folks like James Beard and Craig Claiborne, which is probably what keeps my eyes glued to the pages. “Wha?! Alice Waters did what? With who?!”

-Leanne Kitchen, “The Dairy”, (sorry, I couldn’t find any U.S. links, but you can get it at the dreamy and wonderful Omnivore Books in San Francisco.) A beautiful book that is part of a series I love that takes one subject (The Butcher, The Baker, The Produce Bible) and just turns it upside down and shakes out all the lovely things about it you could ever want to know, like history, recipes, methods, producers, lore….

-Carol Walter, “Great Cookies“, plain and simple, a cookie bible. A fairly technical book full of tips and tricks to making more beautiful, interesting cookies. There is a great “world cookies” section. It’s not like World Music, don’t worry. The recipes are relevant, beautiful, delicious and I think you could probably surprise a visiting friend with one.

-Alice Waters, “Chez Panisse Fruit”, less for recipes, more for the great little biographical tidbit about each fruit at the beginnings of their sections. Oh, and  for the insanely beautiful woodblock prints.

-M.F.K. Fisher, “Last House“, amazing vignettes she wrote at the end of her life about the process of aging and what she experienced in her last few years. A good one to read when thinking about caretakers, aging parents or grandparents and what makes one generation so different from another.

-Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, “River Cottage”, by the way, you have to say his name with a nice little British accent to make it right. Anyway, all his books and the River Cottage Handbooks are incredible. Clear and direct, each book can deliver a mind-bending amount of information and even more inspiration due to photographs that make me wanna move to places with names like Staffordshire, and Brixby. But, really, his legacy is one that has inspired a young generation of producers, growers, and food-lovers.


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