Time rushes forward and I realize I've neglected to post about a few books I read and liked. I intend to write more about this season's books, but till then I want to mention a few that caught my interest when they came out. First, Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford's Beyond the Great Wall. This husband and wife team travel Asia with their kids, exploring food people and cultures. It's a customarily lavish job (their Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet was a huge success) with great photography, stories of their travels and recipes picked up along the way. What I love most about their work is that it shows how story and recipes can convey so much more about the tone and temperament of a culture than stories alone.
I was sent a galley's copy of Jay Raynor's The Man Who Ate the World about eating his way through some major food cities (NYC, Vegas, Dubai, Tokyo, his home town of London. Raynor's writes for The Guardian, is an amiable voice, and I especially enjoyed his take on New York and familiar figures in the food world—Batali, the Zagats, for instance—as he's guided by Steve Plotnicki.
I was intrigued enough by the French Culinary Institute's new cooking textbook, The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine, to request a review copy (it was published more than a year ago). Cooking is all about technique, not recipes, so these books always appeal to me and this seems to be a solid one. But I'm still partial to the CIA's main cooking text. If you cook a lot, these are good books to have because they provide and accepted of all the basics–basic pasta dough, pate a choux, cake batter, roux, that I return to for reference all the time.
I've felt guilty about not writing about these books when they came out, so now I can appease my guilt and move on from the clamor, the fascinating clamor, of my previous post!