Today’s post comes on the heels of two commingled happenings. First, My Head of Culinary is trouncing about in Parma checking out brown cows and pig legs. Second, The Food Book Fair kicks off it’s 2017 edition. So, a book on Italian Street Food is more than appropriate. If any of you have spent any time in Italy, as Paola, the author of this guide to goodness, has, you know getting a bad meal is tough anywhere on the boot. But, the culinary road less traveled lies in the nooks and crannies that are street food. A rice ball, a porchetta sandwich or a panini from a stand or off the beaten path vendor with a tiny hole in the wall (literally sometimes) shop are the true diamonds in the rough of this food gem country. Paola Bacchia was born Australian but has always looked to Italy as her Italian migrant parents made it impossible not to. Her book chronicles the recipes of these undiscovered street classics in a way that only an enamored 1st generation non-Italain can. If this book redlines your drool factor, Paola hosts a cooking school in Melbourne, Australia and annual workshops at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in Sicily where you can taste some of the beauty this book reveals.
More Culture Stuff
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.
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.
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.
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.