Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Feast of Four New Cook the Books Selections

Greetings Everyone! I hope you are all snuggling in with our current book selection, Sarah-Kate Lynch's The Wedding Bees and dreaming up something fun to cook and blog about. In the interim, I and my Cook the Books co-hosts have been rustling up some new book selections for us to read and cook from and I am pleased to announce the literary line up that will take us through the next year:

August/September 2015 Book Pick:

Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson (2012)
Hosted by Rachel, The Crispy Cook

You may know Chef Marcus Samuelsson from hearing about his New York restaurant Red Rooster or his time as head chef at Aquavit or from appearances on Top Chef and Iron Chef, but I found the story of his youth tremendously interesting in his memoir, Yes, Chef. Marcus was born in rural Ethiopia and when he and his mother and older sister contracted tuberculosis in a 1973 epidemic, his mother walked 75 miles with her children to a hospital in the capital city of Addis Ababa, where she unfortunately succumbed to the disease. Marcus and his sister were adopted by a Swedish family, where he squeezed in Saturday cooking lessons with his grandmother, Helga, when he wasn't on the soccer field. A sports career didn't pan out, so he poured his extensive energies into cooking school and various apprenticeships at world-class hotels and restaurants around Europe.

Samuelsson is passionate about "chasing flavors", and experimenting with ingredients and cuisines from around the globe, and I learned a lot about layering taste and texture in dishes from this book. I hope you all will enjoy it as much as I did.

Submissions due: Wednesday, September 30, 2015


October/November 2015 Book Pick:

The Hundred-Foot Journey, by Richard C. Morais (2011)
Hosted by Deb, of Kahakai Kitchen

"People have recommended The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais as a great foodie read to me over the past few years but I just have not gotten around to reading it. I did see the film adaptation, and it made me want to delve into the book, so what better way to get it onto my reading list than to choose it as my October/November 2015 pick? From Bombay to Paris, this novel traces the culinary journey of Hassan Haji from his childhood above the humble family restaurant in India, to discovering French cooking in a small French village, and then finding celebrity as a chef in Paris. I think there will be plenty of delicious food to inspire us in this book.  

Special Note: The fabulous Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting November's round of the monthly foodie movie event Food 'N Flix and has selected the movie version of The Hundred-Foot Journey. We will be pairing up and doing an optional tie-in of this book with Food ‘N Flix for those of you interested in both reading and viewing this charming story. Details to come!

Submissions due: Monday, Nov. 30, 2015

December 2015/January 2016 Book Pick:

A Place at the Table, by Susan Rebecca White
Hosted by Debra, of Eliot's Eats 

Do you like a good traditional pound cake recipe and inspired Southern cuisine?   Do you like a novel with Southern charm (and that Southern Gothic element as well)? What about a good quirky character ensemble?

Suzan Rebecca White's novel, A Place at the Table, combines all of these elements.   The novel's prologue describes a disturbing scene in Emancipation, North Carolina during the late 20s, but the bulk of the novel takes place during the 80s and 90s in Georgia, Connecticut and New York City.  How does a character from an era of lynchings and fear intertwine with more modern characters trying to make their way in NYC?  

I hope you enjoy finding out the answer and following the three main characters of Alice, Bobby, and Amelia as they all make their way to find peace with themselves and the world around them.


Submissions due: Sunday, January 31, 2016

February/March 2015 Book Pick:

The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life, by Angelo Pellegrini (1948)

Hosted by Simona, of Briciole

What did America look like to an immigrant Italian child? How did this child applied his philosophy of life, rooted in Italy, to his new home in Seattle? In this book, the first he published, Pellegrini tells his story but also the way he sees life and in particular the way he approaches growing, making and eating food (and wine too).
Pellegrini’s prose is pleasant and precise (in his “day job” he was an English professor), with the affectionate intensity typical of Italians when they talk about things that are dear to them.
He was not part of any school of thought nor did he follow any fashion: with grace and kindness, he told things as he saw them and as he did them.

I hope you will enjoy this food writing classic.

Note: As this book was originally published decades ago, it exists in various editions, the most recent of which is part of Random House's Modern Library Food series(the ebook is also available). I have the 1984 edition, which has an afterword by MFK Fisher, describing the rather inauspicious beginning of her acquaintance, and later friendship, with Pellegrini. 


So there you have four mouthwatering books that we hope will tempt you to read, cook from and blog about in the months to come. Please join us at our virtual table with your submissions for the roundup every other month. New bloggers are always welcome. 

Gotta buzz off back to The Wedding Bees.....



Alicia Foodycat said...

I am so fascinated to read Yes, Chef! I knew he was Ethopian/Swedish but I had no idea of how that came to be.

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

Looking forward to all the great reads...Oh and I LOVED the Wedding Bees. Finished it in one day and know exactly what I am making.

Vicki said...

I'm joining in starting this month and can't wait to read these book selections!

I'm bummed I missed The Wedding Bees because I've had the book for a long time and haven't read it yet.