The unseasonably warm weather has me bouncing around like a rubber ball. It's not as warm as I might wish although it is warm enough to have my toes tapping and the blood rushing through my veins. As a consequence my usual habit of reading one or two books at a time straight through to the finish before moving on to something new has been compromised. I'm juggling quite a few at the moment, mostly light-hearted and all thought-provoking, perfect spring reading material. I thought I'd share the ones of a culinary bent with those of you looking for something new to explore.
The Pedant in the Kitchen in a book I found on Regina Schrambling's website. It describes the culinary adventure's of an extremely fussy and detail-oriented English man. He has an admirable grasp of the English language and a flair for the quietly dramatic. His adventures and frustrations in the kitchen were both a source of amusement and a reminder that recipes and photographs are only as helpful as they are detailed and true to life. It's a charming little book for anyone who occasionally wrestles with the creation of a beautiful and delicious meal.
I've recently begun reading My Grandmother's Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. She has written several wonderful books on Chinese cuisine and what makes this one special is the personal slant. Eileen writes this book as a grandmother who takes her responsibilities to teach her own grand-daughter about food as seriously as her grandmother took the task of teaching her. The stories are wonderful. I am always intrigued by the intermingling of cultural traditions and food, one of the reasons why I am beguiled by Southern food, and this tome delivers both fascinating reading and solid technique.
The last cookbook in my stack is based on Greek Cookery, one of my very favorite indulgences. It is The Olive and the Caper by Susanna Hoffman. It is a book that I actually found on the Statendam as we were cruising from Alaska to New Zealand. I did not have time to read it on-board and so I made sure it was waiting for me when I arrived home. It is a wonderful book, packed full of information and whimsy. It has some great information on mastic, the new cool ingredient that we were introduced to ages ago by Sean Brock, as well as many other native ingredients and flavor pairings. It is an irresistible read and it transports you to the Aegean Sea and beyond. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Greek cuisine.