A few items on my fall book list….
- Encyclopedia of Pasta by Oretta Zanini de Vita, translated by Maureen B. Fant. Read about de Vita in the NY Times, which calls the book “social history disguised as a food book.” I’m hoping that I’ll finally have a solid grasp “what-sauce-goes-with-what-shape-pasta” after reading this book, thus far an Italian skill beyond my comprehension. The publisher is UC Press, a great source for thoughtful food books . If you buy direct from UC Press before the end of October, take advantage of an up to 70% off sale code posted on the website.
- Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, the latest addition to the no-knead baking world. I was disappointed by Jim Lahey’s much-touted no-knead cookbook*, so I’m really looking forward to Reinhart’s effort. He manages to stuff his books with precise technique, scientific fact, clear explanation, and detailed, thorough recipes. I volunteered to test a few recipes from the book during its creation, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.
- My New Orleans, by John Besh. Reportedly, the photographs alone took more than a year to complete, as the chef insisted on using seasonal, local products. Ex-Marine Besh’s latest restaurant endeavor, the American Sector, will open soon; it’s located inside the National World War II museum.
Yes, he’s eating a scoop of La Divina Gelateria’s dulce de leche in the cookbook’s cover photo.
P.S. If the economy has dented your book-buying budget, don’t forget to use the services of your local public library. Inter-library loan can deliver almost any book to your branch, free of charge. Plus, user requests & circulation numbers are considered when libraries make book-purchasing decisions. Keep checking out the food books, and the food section will almost certainly expand. It’s environmentally friendly, too…shared resources rather than individual consumption!*Lahey’s book is thin, padded with ho-hum vignettes and fewer recipes than I expected. Written in a very conversational tone, it read as though someone dictated it using speech-recognition software. While Lahey’s no-knead dough cooked inside a closed cast iron pot is undeniably interesting, the book simply wasn’t. The color photos are oddly lit (though, in fairness, this might be a printing problem limited to my copy). Still, it was worth the purchase price, to me, just for the pizza bianca recipe.