Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What I'm reading

These days I've been doing a lot of reading about food. Checked out from the library I have Food Matters by Mark Bittman and A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. In addition, I'm also in the process of reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.

A Homemade Life is a collection of stories and recipes. The stories are memories and the recipes are the associated tastes and foods of those stories. Molly started as a blogger (http://orangette.blogspot.com) though due to the book and her husband's pizza restaurant, hasn't been blogging much lately. But reading her stories today made me go back in the archives, and, following a couple of links, I found this gem: Shortbread Waffles. I'm making those this weekend FOR SURE!. Mmm.

A Homemade Life, in some ways, could be my story. She sees things very much the way I do, so while my family, friends, and obsession with a country may be different (her's France, mine England-where food is not the forefront mostly) our ideas about food are much the same.

Here are some passages from the book:
"Like most people who love to cook, I like the tangible things. I like the way the knife claps when it meets the cutting board. I like the haze of sweet air that hovers over a hot cake as it sits, cooling, on the counter. I like the way a strip of orange peel looks on an empty plate. But what I like even more are the intangible things: the familiar voices that fall out of the folds of an old cookbook, or the scenes that replay like a film reel across my kitchen wall. When we fall in love with a certain dish, I think that's what we're often responding to: that something else behind the fork or the spoon, the familiar story that food tells."

"Every girl needs a little incubating from time to time, especially when she's about to become someone's wife. She needs ten days with her mother, a solid supply of baguette sandwiches, some well-aged cheese, a lot of chocolate, and some old-fashioned, fat-rippled, devil-may-care eating, which, for future reference, is immensely fortifying."

How could you not love a book like that? Especially when each chapter is attached to a recipe like Custard-Filled Corn Bread or Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Glazed Oranges and Creme Fraiche. Molly even manages to make her recipe for Stewed Prunes with Citrus and Cinnamon sound appealing...and that's a feat.

Go find a copy and immerse yourself in it. My copy came to me courtesy of the public library, but I may have to go and buy one soon. It's back to the book for me though, I need to read about pickling. And then it will be on to my next tome: Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I need to get some pancetta or bacon made this summer to participate in Ruhlman's BLT challenge.


Anne said...

Katie - please send the link to Ruhlman's BLT challenge to your dad. We'll work together to time some lettuce just right, and I can always use another pork belly hanging in my kitchen. It will be refreshing to come home from studying at the library to find not only dinner on the table, but also August's BLT's ripening nicely from the ceiling and in the garden!! Mom

Katie said...

If you click on the Ruhlman BLT challenge above, it takes you to it, but here's the full post http://blog.ruhlman.com/ruhlmancom/2009/06/blt-from-scratchsummertime-challenge.html

Bread, Mayo (dad's never tried that...), lettuce, tomato, bacon. You get extra points if you make the bread with wild yeast (sourdough) instead of bought yeast. But really it's just about the fun challenge. I have to get to work on growing some decent lettuce and buying some pink salt :)