April 18, 2014

Do You Read About Food?

I don't think there is any kind of book I won't read, but cookbooks can be tricky. It's so easy to grab a recipe off the internet these days that I wonder if cookbooks have become passé. Not according to The New York Times. Cookbooks have changed for the better. Instead of thumbing through pages and pages of ingredients, we can now look at beautiful photographs, intricate drawings, and learn all about the digestive benefits of cuminall culminating into an edible feast for the senses. I can remember the first time I came across a Susan Branch book in the 80s and thought, "this is more like it".

I've since sought out storied recipes, instead of the other way around. Frances Mayes led the way with her delectable descriptions of the Tuscan countryside whetting more than just one kind of appetite. Then there are authors like Erica Bauermeister who have written about cooking, but left out the recipes until her readers wanted to know how to make the food she was writing about, so she gave them the recipes too. You can fall in love with Paris (again and again) through the pages of My Paris Kitchen by food blogger David Lebovitz. Visions of beautifully polished copper pots will begin to dance in your head.

In fact, food blogs are taking over blogland with their luscious photographs, potable concoctions, humorous anecdotes, and of coursefood. Dinner: A Love Story is a food blog "devoted (mostly) to helping parents figure out how to get family dinner on the table", which leaves lots of room for stories about the family meal and all the challenges that ensue.

You can find recipes focused on seasonal and high quality ingredients that will make you want to get up and drive to the farmers' market right then and there. The revolution of gluten-free and certified organic will have you seeking out your nearest natural market. Thank goodness more and more national chains are starting to include these items among their shelves.

I'm writing this post as I run in and out of my kitchen trying to simultaneously sauté peppers and onions for tonight's supper. My cookbooks sit on a shelf in my pantry and I have maybe two or three I reference on occasion. The rest of my recipes have been collected and created over time and scribbled or pasted into two hefty volumes that I hope to pass onto my children. The best of the best at any rate. (Like my spicy chicken rub and this yummy fudge recipe.)

If you love cooking and eating, I hope you enjoy these links...

Best food blogs of 2014: Saveur magazine

Oldies, but goodies: 10 essential cookbooks.

Make it yourself...you'll be glad you did. Homemade ketchup.

Ever dream of taking a cooking class? (Live in Brooklyn? Try this one.)

Why I love France Mayes.

A cookbook that reads like a book. A cookbook without any recipes. (It's Italian. Enough said.)

Have wonderful weekend, Easter, and Passover!

Photo: nytimes.com


Wendy E Wrzos said...

I could really relate to this post, Kim.
I have a few tried and true cookbooks, but mainly I read them for the stories behind the recipe. I can read one on a Sunday afternoon, quite content. I have some old ones too, including a condensed milk one from my Great Auntie in England (circa 1940's). It has the most horrible photographs of "Magic" food, that can be all made with sweetened condensed milk. I also have a binder filled with recipes I love, and the names of who gave them to me. My daughter has already asked me to "create" a cookbook for her, so I am happy she enjoys cooking, baking and recipe reading as well! - Wendy

Jessica said...

I'm with you. I love to "read" a book regardless if it's about cooking or not.

Kimberly Merritt said...

Glad you both liked the post. I have old recipes from family members too, Wendy. I love to read the comments in the margins..."yuck", "tried it with this instead...". Funny.