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.
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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.
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.
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.