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Old 01-08-2013, 08:01 PM   #11
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Wow, Silver! I am impressed!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:46 PM   #12
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When not reading books on my Kindle, I've been reading:

Encyclopedia of Practical Gastronomy by Ali-Bab (translated by Elizabeth Benson--wish I could find a copy of it in French since I can read French)

Another favorite author is MFK Fisher...Consider the Oyster: M. F. K. Fisher: 9780865473355: Amazon.com: Books and others of her works.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:58 PM   #13
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I might repeat some of you, because I had to go upstairs and look at my extensive collection. First off, not going to name the books (too many), but any biography/autobiography/memoir of chefs. Reichl (her first tales of trying to keep her mother from killing her family/guests with food poisoning is poignantly funny), Pepin, ... all great.

Food history books. "Much Depends On Dinner" (Visser), "Food in History" (Tannahill), "Why we Eat What we Eat" (Sokolov).

Tour guides that are food oriented. "The Food Lover's Handbook to the Southwest" is an example.

Anything by MFK Fisher

Something I cannot really catagorize, but I suppose food-oriented memoirs, not famous chef ones. My two favorites are "Monsoon Diary" (Narayan) and "Katish, our Russian Cook" (Frolov). I've read these to a friend who couldn't care less about eating or cooking and she loved them.

Again, how to catagorize? Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything."

How about food oriented murder mysteries? There are so many I cannot count them here. They are usually "cozy" mysteries with a few recipes in back.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:57 PM   #14
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Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky. Any of his books are absolutely fun reads.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:25 AM   #15
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YES! Thanks. I'll order it now. I wonder why a used hard cover on Amazon should cost so much?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #16
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A couple of my favorites:

- "Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Meal" by Margaret Visser. Each chapter describes the history and development of an ingredient that goes into an "ordinary meal": corn with butter and salt (each in a separate chapter); chicken; rice; lettuce with olive oil and lemon juice; and ice cream.

- "Heat (An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-quoting Butcher in Tuscany" by Bill Buford. He quit his job as a writer for the New Yorker to go to work in Babbo, Mario Batali's restaurant in New York. Eventually, he decides to go to Italy to learn to make pasta and butcher a pig. Funny book.
Heat is an excellent read, especially for anyone contemplating a career in the kitchen. Nothing about cooking, everything about cheffing.

I also like the Beautiful Cookbook series. While full of good recipes, very informative reading, I buy them to read. Costco often has them.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:28 AM   #17
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...Anything by MFK Fisher
That went by a little fast, and I want to talk about it a little more, because I'm always surprised that threads like this can get so far without Fisher coming up. While there are many good books about food and eating, I don't think there's anyone who approaches Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher as both a great food writer and a great writer.

Of her 27 books, most are about cooking or eating, and those that aren't explicitly about food feature food prominently. She was also the translator of the classic, The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin. A list of works can be found on the foundation website M.F.K. Fisher , and the Wikipedia article is good. Most of her books can be had very cheap from half.com . Without them, you have not read the essential American prose of food and feast.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:35 PM   #18
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I have a collection of MFK Fisher's works that I haven't looked at in years. I do especially remember one about the wolf at the door, about how to eat well (not fancy) when money is gone. It was great. If you want to read a great American food writer, she's the ticket.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:38 AM   #19
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Oh, and can't forget the staggering Larousse Gastronomique. In spite of 4,000 recipes, it's more encyclopedia than cookbook.



Larousse does nothing half way, including the associated cooking website, which is inspiring, even if you don't read French.
Larousse Cuisine, la plus belle définition de la cuisine
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:58 AM   #20
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Since it's really not a recipe book, I'll chime in with one I love - The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It tells which flavors go with which, and it has been the spark that has ignited many a recipe for me :)
+1 I love that book! I actually used it when I was working on one of of CGGs last year.
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