Friday, February 14, 2020

Announcing Our Next Four Selections

Are you ready? Here are the next four selections of our book club, with which we will keep each other's company during the year 2020:

Deb (Kahakai Kitchen) opens the series with Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman (published January 2018) for the April/May edition

For our April/May 2020 pick, I had to go with the book that was just edged out by The Food Explorer as my choice or the last round: Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman. Food history fascinates me and I want to learn more about how tofu, brown rice, and veggie burgers made their way into the mainstream. It's also a good excuse to hit up my Moosewood Collective cookbook collection for some hippie fare.  

From the publisher:
An enlightening narrative history—an entertaining fusion of Tom Wolfe and Michael Pollan—that traces the colorful origins of once unconventional foods and the diverse fringe movements, charismatic gurus, and counterculture elements that brought them to the mainstream and created a distinctly American cuisine. 
Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food. 
From the mystical rock-and-roll cult known as the Source Family and its legendary vegetarian restaurant in Hollywood to the Diggers’ brown bread in the Summer of Love to the rise of the co-op and the origins of the organic food craze, Kauffman reveals how today’s quotidian whole-foods staples—including sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread—were introduced and eventually became part of our diets. From coast to coast, through Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Kauffman tracks hippie food’s journey from niche oddity to a cuisine that hit every corner of this country. 
A slick mix of gonzo playfulness, evocative detail, skillful pacing, and elegant writing, Hippie Food is a lively, engaging, and informative read that deepens our understanding of our culture and our lives today.  
And how can you resist that cover?!? 


Deadline for contributing your post is Sunday, May 31, 2020

For the June/July edition, Claudia (Honey from Rock) chose Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah (published February 2010)

I read Kitchen Chinese last year, loved it, and immediately thought it would be a great pick for our Cook the Books Club. Though fiction, it resonates with the author’s real life experience. Not quite memoir, though the novel is loosely based upon her own experiences in China, when her husband was posted there. Mah says, “My husband’s diplomatic career brings frequent international moves, as well as lots of fresh material (and occasional angst) to write about, and we always have another relocation on the horizon.” 

Ann Mah's funny and poignant first novel about a young Chinese-American woman who travels to Beijing and in the process discovers food, family, and herself, is a delight--complete with mouth-watering descriptions of Asian culinary delicacies, from Peking duck and Mongolian hot pot to the colorful, lesser known Ants in a Tree that will delight foodies everywhere. 

Her tale of clashing cultures, rival siblings, and fine dining is also the story of one woman's search for identity and purpose in an exotic and faraway land. After her magazine career comes to a halt, Isabelle Lee, the author’s protagonist, leaves New York, wanting change, and hoping also to reconnect with her family roots in China. Her older sister is an attorney living there, so she has a place to stay. However, her familiarity with the language and culture is limited to 'kitchen Chinese'. 

Isabelle lands a job at a magazine for the expatriate community in Beijing and finds a circle of friends. However, her relationship with her big-shot attorney sister, Claire, who's lived in China for a while, gets off to a rocky start, with the two not knowing quite what to make of each other. Isabelle's Beijing immersion provides a refreshing and fun narrative, with insights into modern China and the expatriate experience, making for an enjoyably intriguing read.


Deadline for contributing your post is Friday, July 31, 2020

For the August/September edition, Debra (Eliot's Eats) has chosen Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown (December 2019)

I am always on the lookout for a new Cook the Books suggestion. I was rambling through a book store recently and saw a table devoted solely to Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown. 

The blurb on the inside cover had me. This tale of two women in two different times (yet in the same house) had me. I figured that if the book had "recipe" in the title (and with at least one reference to meatloaf in the first few chapters), I decided I would choose Recipe for a Perfect Wife for my turn at hosting. 

From the publisher: 
In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society.

Deadline for contributing your post is Wednesday, September 30, 2020

To round up the list of selections, for the October/November edition Simona (briciole) picked the novel The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams (October 2017)

This book caught my attention first because of the words "book" and "scone" in the title, then because it revolves around a bookstore, whose owner, Nora, having once been healed by books, has chosen to do the same to other people. And finally, because it is a mystery.

Besides Nora, the society of the title includes three other women, quite different from each other, each with a secret to share, a story to tell. One of them is a baker, one with a special gift (which you will find out about when you read the novel). There are no recipes in the book, but food plays an important role and I hope the story will inspire you. 


Deadline for contributing your post: Monday, November 30, 2020.

Remember that membership in our book club is open to anyone and we hope you will join us by reading these selections and creating inspired recipes. For more information about participating, click here.  

As always, specific announcement posts can be found at Cook the Books at the beginning of each two-month period and the current selection is always shown on the right side of the homepage.

To recap:

April/May: Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman (hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen)

June/July: Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah (hosted by Claudia at Honey from Rock)

August/September: Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown (hosted by Debra at Eliot's Eats)

October/November:The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams (hosted by Simona at briciole)

Happy reading and cooking!


Debra Eliotseats said...

I have the first three in my hands now. I can't wait to start reading! Thanks, all!

Mae Travels said...

Hi -- That's an interesting selection of books. Your group reviews are always enjoyable.

I read "Hippie Food" a couple of years ago -- I liked some of it, not all of it. My review here:

best... mae

Claudia said...

Always fun to start off a new season of books for our Club reading. I just finished Pomegranate Soup, the last of our old batch.

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

Looking forward to this years selections. I have already read Recipe for a Perfect Wife and my post is written.

Lord of Squirrel Head Manor said...

So many great selections!