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.
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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 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.
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.
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.