Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sunday Salon--Cookbook Reading in Bed

The Sunday Salon.com

Over the last week, my daughter caught a cold, and then my husband got it, and then I got it. I have been recovering slowly, but haven't had any time to blog.

I have had a chance to read, but I haven't been able to concentrate on anything for any length of time. So one thing I like to read in short bursts is cookbooks. Often I take them up to bed with me. I don't often eat in bed, but I'll read about cooking and eating there. I love to fantasize about cooking, probably more than I like to actually cook.

I received some really good cookbooks this holiday season. I've been leafing through them quite a bit while sniffling and using up whole boxes of tissues, and tossing them without making it into the wastebasket.

One of my lovely sisters-in-law sent me Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking, which has all kinds of good cooking tips, and recipes, and like all of Julia Child's books, is really fun to read. I challenge you, however, to read her writing without imagining her voice. Or without imagining Dan Aykroyd doing Julia, "I've cut the dickens out of my finger!"

Reading Julia's Kitchen Wisdom inspired me to finally get a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which, of course, has become a bestseller again since the movie "Julie and Julia" came out, and which also makes for interesting reading.

I also read food blogs fairly religiously. I've been reading Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks, which inspired me to get a copy of her book, Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into Your Cooking. This has recipes, but it's also a sort of primer on natural foods and has a section called "Build a Natural Foods Pantry", which I found informative.

I also reacquainted myself with Mark Bittman, and his tenth anniversary edition of How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition), Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food I always enjoy his writing style, when I read him in the New York Times, or here in this book. And this book is a great cooking reference.

And for dessert, I decided to lighten up, while still feeding my chocolate habit, so I've been drooling over Camilla Saulsbury's book Enlightened Chocolate: More Than 200 Decadently Light, Lowfat, and Inspired Recipes Using Dark Chocolate and Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. A girl after my own heart, she adds chocolate to almost everything. Chocolate for breakfast? Why not?

And as for coveting non-cookbooks, this Sunday's New York Times Book Review features a review of Patti Smith's memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids, which sounds fascinating, and which I'm really looking forward to reading at some point.

How's your reading going this week? Any new books you're coveting?

15 comments:

litlove said...

I know there are thousands of miles between us, but I swear my son just came down with that same cold, and I am just waiting for the snowball effect to begin. Sigh. I never think to read cookery books as comfort (more they reproach me with all the recipes I said I'd try and haven't), but it's a nice idea for reading on days when time or concentration are lacking. Do hope you are all feeling completely fit again soon!

Anonymous said...

Try Julia's onion soup. Not too hard and really great. In Super Natural Cooking try the wheat berry salad on page 52. I do it with barley or quinoa. And Mark Bittman has a new book called Kitchen Express which is a collection of some of the fab quick ideas he has published in the NYT. Not really recipes but quick ideas for throwing together ingredients.

I heard Patti Smith interviewed on NPR about the book and she sounded so normal!

Hope you guys are all feeling better.

Liz

Ti said...

I hope you feel better. Pouring over cookbooks is one of my favorite things to do. At the moment, I am coveting Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet as I am flirting with the idea of going vegan.

I saw the book some time ago but after her stint on Oprah, it's got me thinking more seriously about the vegan lifestyle.

If you want to see the video clip, you can find it here:

http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Alicia-Silverstones-Shopping-List

SmallWorld at Home said...

I love cookbooks. Just watched "Julie and Julia" this week and loved it!

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--I hope you and your hubby don't get the virus! Cold and flu season is such a nightmare when you've got kids bringing bugs home from school. I have many reproachful cookbooks, too, but then I move on to the next one that is fresh and hasn't made me feel guilty yet!

Liz--Ooh, I will definitely do Julia's onion soup. And the Super Natural Cooking wheat berry salad--I noticed that one while flipping through the book. I wonder if the Bittman Kitchen Express includes that great article he did in the NYT about 100 salad--it had great ideas in it, and I remember cutting it out and putting it somewhere...

On Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks, I made her Roasted Pumpkin Salad and it was really good, you may want to give it a try.

Ti--veganism makes sense to me, I'd have to make a leap to do it, though. I'll check out Silverstone's book, and the Oprah clip--thanks!

SmallWorld--I really enjoyed Julie and Julia, too. Though I could probably watch Meryl Streep brush her teeth for two hours and find it entertaining...

Book Dilettante said...

If you are in the U.S - Readers might be interested in a cookbook giveaway featuring the fruit quince - Simply Quince, a cookbook by Barbara Ghazarian. Quince has to be cooked, though. Visit Cookbook giveaway. Contest ends Feb. 28

Gentle Reader said...

Book Dilettante--thanks for the tip, I'm going to go check that out. I like quince paste eaten with Spanish cheese, I wonder if I'd like quince in other things?

Dorothy W. said...

Sorry about all the colds! No fun. I hope you're all better now. I'm so not a food person and so it wouldn't occur to me to read cookbooks, but I can imagine the pleasure of flipping through them, if I were someone who did indeed like to cook!

Literary Feline said...

I'm sorry everyone's been fighting colds. I am glad you have been able to find comfort in cookbooks. :-)

I am hoping to turn off my computer soon and curl up with a good book after dinner. If I don't fall asleep first! I can't believe how tired I am.

I hope you have a great week!

Bookfool said...

Oh, so sorry about the colds but it sounds like you're making good use of your down time. I'm not a cook, but I love reading cookbooks and sometimes I make suggestions when my husband is trying to find substitutes. Amazingly, they almost always work. It's probably because he's cooking, though. :) Hope you're all better, soon.

Gentle Reader said...

Dorothy--I feel much better, but my little one is still sick. Ugh, cold and flu season is a misery! Maybe I'll make soup...

Wendy--Curling up with a good book after dinner sounds just about perfect. Then get some rest!

Bookfool--I'm jealous. My husband used to cook so much more, when he worked at home. Now he's in an office, so he doesn't cook at all! There are trade-offs, though ;)

Bookfool said...

GR,

There are definitely trade-offs. My husband is a messy cook, so it means a lot of cleaning for me. But, I like his cooking. :)

Stefanie said...

Very nice of your daughter and husband to share the cold with you. I am glad you are on the mend and hope that very soon are you completely well!

Gentle Reader said...

Bookfool--I'm a messy cook, too, so I can relate. Love when my husband does the dishes!

Stefanie--I know, what was I doing teaching her to share?

Shyamsundar said...

Very nice.i love reading cookbooks and sometimes I make suggestions when my husband is trying to find substitutes. Amazingly, they almost always work.yeast infection