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.
More Culture Stuff
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.
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.
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.
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.