I love to read my cookbooks. With all the fabulous food blogs out there and the ease of epicurious.com I often cook from my computer, but that doesn’t mean I don’t use my cookbooks. I browse them. I flip through them. I pull recipes here and there especially if I am hosting a party. A new type of book making their way to my bedside table are novels and stories that include a recipe here and there. They are each different, but all entertaining. They are all written in variety of styles (some more poetic than others). I have yet to try just one recipe from each of them even though I have earmarked plenty. In the coming months, I hope to try a recipe from each and share the experience here.
In the meantime here are the titles and a few words about what I love about them.
The first was actually my daughter’s book. We read it at bedtime, we listened to it over and over again on CDs in the car, and we re-read the book. Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is a quirky little book, but we are in love with it and several other Polly Harvath books. I love the way she plays with words, and people, making “between the line” commentaries all along.
Recently I plucked Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia by Buddy Valastro off the shelf. It was a Chanukah present for my daughter and husband a few years ago because they both loved watching the show and Isabelle and I had visited Carlos Bakery the winter before. Part of what makes a family recipes so fabulous is that those in the family know the stories behind the recipes. Who made them, what time of year they were made, little quirks or tricks that were used when they made them. A cookbook doesn’t have those extra stories, but this one does.
I was recently sent a copy of Steve DiFillipo’s new book It’s All About The Guest: Exceeding Expectations in Business and in Life, the Davio’s Way. I knew very little about Davio’s before this, and truth be told, I was expecting to open the book up and find a long PR pitch for Davio’s. Instead, I found a series of stories about Boston, the city, the people, and the restaurant of course. The voice was not a refined one perhaps, not the most poetic, but very real, down to earth and honest. The stories were funny, sad, entertaining, and surprising. After reading the book, I had the opportunity to dine with Steve DiFillippo at Davio’s to see what the food was all about. I have always failed at making meatballs, but after trying them at the restaurant, I am ready to try again with the recipe in the book. I promise I will keep you posted (no matter how it turns out!).
My current bedtime story, is My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss. I love this book not only because of the recipes. My grandmother is German and is an amazing cook, but she lives in London and I don’t see her often enough (not just for her cooking). Many of the recipes and stories Luisa shares are in Berlin. Luisa also split her childhood between Brookline, MA and Germany so the multiple cultural identities is something that I really relate to as well. I can’t wait to try some of her recipes too.
I love fiction with food themes, too, so much so that I wrote just such a book for kids and their families. I wanted to introduce kids in a fun way to healthy eating ideas. So I created a half dozen stories and used them as bridges to the food articles. And then, along came my blog! Well, I just wanted to say thanks for your reading suggestions. I’ve read a Polly Horvath myself, called The Canning Season. Loved it so much I recommended it in my book :). I’ll be sure to look up your other suggestions, too.
We have The Canning Season, but haven’t read it yet. Be sure to check out Everything on a Waffle. It is wonderful. I’ll check out your book too.