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.
More Culture Stuff
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.
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.
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.
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.