Being sick last month really helped me get through some of my To Be Read backlog. I finally got around to Fuchsia Dunlop’s memoir of learning to cook Sichuan food (Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper), which was impressive but sort of made me not want to ever go to China. Her description of how to cook a sea cucumber until it tastes of nothing at all was utterly fantastic; I had to read it out loud to every family member within reach. I’m not sure this would be a good book for a vegetarian to read, however – at least not if they’re the squeamish variety.
Then I stumbled across this innocuous little book at work called The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister. I started to read it one day at lunch and it proved to be so charming that it took a massive amount of willpower to go back to work and not just read the entire thing on the kitchen sofa in the sun. It was sweet and cleanly written and had some of the most loving descriptions of food I’ve ever come across. It was unrealistic in places and more than a bit fluffy, but it made me very happy. And sad when it was finished. Sigh.
Most recently, I discovered the library had acquired Molly Wizenberg’s new book, A Homemade Life. I read her blog, Orangette, most weeks, so I was happy to take it home and try it out. It was a very quick read, since the chapters are interspersed with blog-like recipe introductions. It was odd reading a memoir by someone near my own age, especially since her life so far has been fairly normal – but the stories about her father and the history of her relationship with her husband (whose pizza shop in Ballard we are eagerly awaiting) are very sweet and honestly told. Parts of the book are set in Seattle or Bellingham, which gives it a nice familiarity.
What food-related books have you read recently?