Books on Cooking
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking (Hardcover)
“Forget about teaspoons, ounces, cups and (shudder) fractions; it’s all about the “parts.” This is a refreshing, illuminating and perhaps even revolutionary look at the relations that make food work.” —Alton Brown, in The Wall Street Journal
The Book of Schmaltz
The Book of Schmaltz explores the wonders of rendered chicken fat, used in traditional Jewish cooking, in both traditional dishes such as kreplach (“Jewish potstickers”) and contemporary dishes, such as Parisienne gnocchi, sauteed in schmaltz and served with wilted spinach and poached egg. It’s a thin book, more than 20 recipes and color photography of each dish, on a fat subject!
Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn inspired a revival of artisanal sausage making and bacon curing with their surprise hit, Charcuterie. Now they delve deep into the Italian side of the craft with Salumi, a book that explores and simplifies the recipes and techniques of dry curing meats, with 100 recipes and illustrations of the art of ancient methods made modern and new. 100 illustrations; 16 pages of color photographs.
Books About Chefs and Professional Cooks
The Reach of a Chef: Professional Cooking in the Age of Celebrity
One of the great things chefs are doing is pointing the way toward the foods that matter, that are good for us—naturally raised animals, wild fish, freshly grown produce. That’s a good thing. But chefs are also leaving their kitchens in big numbers, expanding their businesses beyond actually cooking and serving food. They smell the lucre and are looking for its source. Is this good or bad? The best have gotten to where they are by working their butts off for years and now they want some rewards. Nothing wrong with that. But what happens when you abandon the work that made you what you are, and what’s the result for the rest of us?
Cookbooks with Thomas Keller and the French Laundry Family
The French Laundry Cookbook
A monster of a celebrity-chef coffee table cookbook that defies everything one thinks of when we think of such objects. The French Laundry Cookbook’s chief importance, though, in my mind is that it is an accurate documentary of one of the country’s great restaurants, how it is run, the food it creates, and the kind of work and intelligence that a chef must bring to the pursuit of an American restaurant that ranks with the great three-star restaurants of Europe.
House: A Memoir
When my wife and I bought a century old house in a suburb of my beloved city, I knew I had to write about it. The experience of purchasing a home place, among the most common events in an adult’s life, felt more cataclysmic than, well, buying a house ought to feel. Second to childbirth on the seismic charts of human emotion. Suspicious of any prolonged navel-gazing, I didn’t intend a memoir. I began the story as a novel. I sent seventy-five pages to my agent who said, “I can’t sell this as a novel, but I can as a memoir.”