04 April 2011

Books reviews thus far in 2011

One of my goals this year was to read two books a month. While I fell short during January (another thing I can blame Istanbul for) I have caught up and am devouring the downtown and Avenues libraries top to bottom. This year is yielding a strong culinary theme in my book preferences.
Check it out:


A fun thing to read over tea during the darkest part of the afternoon right before dinnertime. Full of vintage advice our mother's and grandmother's adhered to. While some could be adopted for our modern lifestyles, others are downright silly; such as the diagram picturing specifically how a sick person's tray should be arranged so as not to "sicken them further with the stress of a an unorganized tray."


The most fantastic armchair cookbook ever composed. Written by the marvelously talented Sophie Dahl, (granddaughter of Roald Dahl though she humbly shies from these bragging rights anywhere in the book, I for one didn't have any idea until after I'd Wikipediaed her.) her first cookbook is divided into sections equaling the four seasons and is peppered with delightfully written prose about her forays into the foodie world, starting with her family's love for team-cooked meals. I loved this book so much I bought in right away on Amazon new. Not used. That's how good it is.

In Julie Powell's second book, she documents her life after the success of her amateur blog/turned book/turned hit movie about cooking her way through Julia Child's cookbook, (if ya'll didn't know by now) her failing marriage, (with one-too-many over-shares on her rather odd affair) and her blind forays into the butchering industry as an apprentice. While still enjoyable and worth reading, the not necessarily-a-sequel to Julie&Julia is not for the weak of stomach or particularly sensitive vegetarian types. I found myself wanting to cover my eyes at some of the more gruesome moments, but powered on.


A delicious book, plain and simple. Elizabeth Bard truly lives the life we girls all fantasize about: a new life in Paris, book deals, French husbands, French food, Frenchfrenchfrench, Francefrancefrance! She invites us to peak into what is really is to live in the capital of France and into her made-up-as-we-go recipe collection. The recipes are mouthwatering and none-too-challenging for this fledging baker and chef. The first day upon cracking open the spine, I found I simply must make Poulet Basquaise (chicken and sweet pepper stew) that evening. And I did. And it was delicious. And made enough to last a week. I have since started a recipe book devoted to copying many of the recipes in this book.

After spring fever hit, subsequently so did a sudden fever to move to Oregon, buy up some land, vegetable seeds, sheep and chickens and ducks, (for aesthetic purposes only, of course) and proceed to begin my life as a new, hip, young organic farmer. After reading Kurt's honest (yet nonetheless appealing and heartwarming) and insightful account of what it's really like to drop everything and begin working towards a life that stems from the ground up, (I'll give you a hint--it's not all sunny days and rosy lambs and fat, red tomatoes) I think I shall obtain some capital in the form of non-debt and student loans, and probably find a farmering partner while I'm at it. I'll stick with my window sill herb gardens for now and get my earthy-fix from the Farmer's Market. *Opening the morning of June 11th at Pioneer Park!*




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