We first wrote about Chitra Agrawal when we discovered her Brooklyn Delhi products. Since then she’s been up to a lot more than just jarring delicious pickled things from India. Her latest edition to your Indian food education comes in book form with Vibrant India. South Indian cooking is not the Indian dishes that commonly pop to mind for us Americans. Having a South Indian mother-in-law has schooled me on these flavorful and light regional tastes. Chitra draws from her mother’s cooking bringing Bangalore all the way to Brooklyn where she adds her own twists to these vegetarian classics. I’ve often proclaimed, “I could go full vegetarian.” after eating at my in-laws for a weekend. As a pretty serious carnivore, that says a lot about her book and the deliciousness potential. Point is, there’s something for everyone in this book. Vegan, vegetarians, paleo or carnivore the flavors and simplicity will swoon you. We promise.
All Books Stuff
We’re back from our Nordic adventure. If you’ve been following the IG story you know. Now that we’re settled back in BK, expect an onslaught of Nordic and North Euro finds and events on the blog this week. Kicking it off is this bible of new, and old, Nordic cuisine from the man who made it an unignorable culinary trend. Of course, Magnus Nilsson doesn’t call it trendy. He just calls it his childhood food. Part of his notoriety and the cuisines attention stems from his restaurant Fäviken in Sweden. Currently ranked the 25th best restaurant in the world and with two Michelin stars, it’s almost impossible to get a seat. Incidentally, it’s almost impossible to get to as it’s a 7-hour drive from Stockholm. All part of his plan and experience. In comes The Nordic Cookbook. Broken up into sections, you can find classic Nordic favorites and New Nordic expressions woven together as you flip the pages. Ingredient lists read as you might expect. Lingonberry, juniper, pine, pig trotter, fiskbullar and blodpalt, to name a few. Winter is coming in quick. Perfect time to grab this book and make some hearty, comfort cozy for you girlfriend.
Here at FT HQ, we’re used to chicken of the fried, roasted, baked, and, well, eaten variety. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk up the alternatives, like David Ezra Stein’s “Interrupting Chicken”, an illustrated story-within-a-story book geared towards the sleepy little chicks in your life. Let’s hope this funny, not-so-cautionary tale about a young chicken named “Chicken” who can’t stop interrupting his bedtime story succeeds in easing your clutch into quick and uninterrupted slumber instead of, well, the opposite. If, on the other hand, you’re reading this to your brood in Bushwick after a drink and draw, all bets on sleep are off. You know as well as we do you’ll finish the story at Roberta’s.
We’re going to let the book jacket write this one for us because it’s succinctly so many things we live for. The Mad Feast is a richly illustrated culinary tour of the United States through fifty signature dishes, and a radical exploration of our gastronomic heritage. We’re kinda obsessed with dishes that define cities and states. Matthew Gavin Frank does just that and digs in the history of each to boot. If you follow the Drool List, you know we’re entering travel season. This one makes us want to dust off the luggable loo and mount up the truck for an epic cross country zig zag…again.
It’s not often the person we spend our work week five feet from publishes a food book. It’s even less often there’s a city-specific theme which awakens our travel bug gene. Nina, as us lucky insiders know to call her, hails from Athens Georgia, the Classic City, in the shadow of Hotlanta. Nina lifts this veil in a who’s who, foodie filled, Athenian hardcover. Classic City Cooking is perfect for those Georgian friends or people like us who just added another city to our gastro-travel list. If you’re in NYC and want to celebrate all things Athens, her book party is on September 16th. You’ll find us in Athens ASAP, book in hand.
Alex is an awesome illustrator based in Wisconsin. About a year ago he Kickstarted an idea for this book focused on famous characters eating only Junk Food. The results, besides a successful funding, was this 112 page turning masterpiece. if you have a favorite hero character chances are s(he)’s been n a strict diet of devil dogs and Big Gulps thanks to Alex. The Famous Chunkies is now in regular stock these days so pick one up for your favorite junk food obsessed bestie. They will either love you or hate you for it. Either way, I think you win.
I’ve know a few starving artists in my day. In fact there was a time in the 90’s where I actually was one. Although todays newly minted “starving artists” don’t really seem starving and, not to be too judgy here but, no so much artists. More like graphic design graduates that took their senior project to ETSY, Bushwick or Instagram. It’s why Sara Zin and her The Starving Artist Cookbook gets props from the whole FT crew. Sometimes just making sh*t for YOU is the best foot forward. Way to keep it real and delicious Sara.
With the every exploding foodie craze devouring New York, a book like Ina Yalof ’s Food and the City is a peephole into the minds of those on the front lines. Cutting through the clutter of food tweets, Instagram gasto-sensational pics and verbose bloggers (present company included) Ina interviews New York’s pro chefs, restaurateurs, line cooks, street vendors, and purveyors getting to the root of their passion for their daily grind. In a lot of ways, this will reground us all to why we care so much about this newly crowned food lifestyle popularity in the first place.
10 years ago I read a book called “The History of Food” which chronicles human eating habits from the hunters and gatherers we started as through the birth of restaurants and into today’s modern industrial food complex (disaster). A History of Food in 100 Recipes sets out to drop the same knowledge but in a more approachable less academic prose. There’s pretty pictures too which softens some of the more aggressive and outright despicable turns in our food history. For anyone who wants to not only what we eat but why we do, this is a great read.
For a city with such an indulgent gastro presence a book is a no brainer. But until now there has not been a single portfolio that encapsulated the “right now food magic” from across the entire city in one trend telling, step-by-step, storytelling cookbook. Montreal Cooks Book fixed this by bringing together heavy hitter natives like Jonathan Cheung, Tays Spencer, Gail Simmons. The book chronicles 40 local chefs best recipes and stories capturing the NOW of the Montreal food scene from the artery clogging indulgences to the surprising fresh and local.
We left New Orleans with a copy of John Kennedy Toole’s a Confederacy of Dunces in our digital back pocket. We were inspired to read the comedic, novel depicting Ignatius J. Reilly’s exploits because of Cynthia LeJeune Nobles’ cookbook of the same name. The Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook is a series of dishes inspired by 1960’s New Orleans and Ignatius’ favorite foods. The research that went into this book is incredible. I’m not sure which one I suggest you read first. Maybe read them both and cook simultaneously for a real immersive trip.
Books seem useless these days. The content on the other hand is invaluable. Sometimes great content can’t be found with a Google search and New Orleans: The Underground Guide is one such unicorn. Packed with hidden gems, secret places and local flavor, Michael Patrick Welch outlines the food but takes it much farther. With music and art at its core this guide book will keep you far from the French Quarter disaster and get you deep into places that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
You might know chef Ripert from his acclaimed and record holding, New York City restaurant Le Bernardin. You might know him from cameos on No Reservations with his pal Tony Bourdain. You might know his as the charming french guy with the piercing blue eyes who picked up your wind blown umbrella while struggling down 51st Street. I know him as the guy who loved my mom’s chicken cacciatore recipe after I told him the contents of the mini sandwich I served him during a Michelin awards ceremony. And, you may not know him at all. In either case, his memoir, 32 Yolks, will fix that. Starting at the beginning and ending sometime around now, follow Chef Ripert’s ups and downs in and out of the kitchen. Truly avec Eric.
From destruction comes the new. There’s lots of ways to say that, some more poetic than others. There’s even more ways to see that. Hurricane Katrina was heavy on the former before even a trace of the later was anywhere in sight. During the aftermath, rebuilding and rebirthing, The Times-Picayune became a post-hurricane swapping spot for recipes that were washed away. Marcelle Bienvenu decided to take 250 of these salvaged gems and create Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found. Not only does this book champion one of the greatest cuisines on the planet but it chronicles one of the most devastating events to hit the United States through the stories of the recipes creators.
If there’s one book you load up on your kindle before landing in the Crescent City make it Eat Dat. It’s been a long, long time since we saw a food guide as comprehensive as this. It makes sure all the famous restaurants are included while rounding out the 250 spot hit list with places locals might haven’t even heard of. Things are changing quickly in New Orleans. Hopefully Michael Murphy will keep the book as updated as possible. For now, be sure to pick up a copy when you’re prepping your JazzFest bag.
Questlove has lots of jobs as he self confesses in an article I was recently reading about the musician turned, Tonight Show band leader turned writer (amongst 15 other jobs). His long running, highly acclaimed, Food Salons have always been on our radar as grandfathers of the underground supperclub movement. Appearances on Bourdain’s show and a journey into a fried chicken joint restaurant proves that of his 15+ jobs food sits close to the center. With Something to Food About, Questlove explores the very thing that drove us to use the kitchen for our art, creativity. Through the interviews of 10 chefs he explores how cooking fuels creativity and relates to their world vision. In his own words. ” Food is fuel. Food is culture. Food is history. And food is food for thought.” On the heals of the incredible Netflix series a Chef’s Table, this exploration of food as a vehicle to express creativity gets even more love. This time ?uestlove.