Archive: Cook's Library

A Growing Appetite for Portland

I want to thank all the Portland-savvy readers who shared their eats and drinks picks over the past few days. Your enthusiasm is inspiring and made me want to stay in Portland for several more days. Here's to a Portland visit in 2007! Before hitting highway I-5 Friday afternoon, we made a stop in the Hawthorne District for a quick stroll, and of course, a visit to Powell's Books for Home & Garden. One of the many specialty stores of the Powell's book empire, PBHG is a misleading, understated name for what could easily be the most comprehensive collection of cookbooks for sale in the country. For the stalwart devotees of New York's Kitchen Arts and Letters, this is not to say KAL is without its high standards of culinary stackdom. I love the place and will pop in when on the Upper East Side. However, PBHG is probably the...

By Kim ODonnel | August 28, 2006; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Easy Breezy Reads

I'm an August baby -- but that's not the only reason I consider it a month of romance and intrigue. For four-season denizens, August is the last big pause before the insane frenzied pace of 21st century urban life resumes. August allows us to stand still and breathe -- the salty air of the ocean, the perfume of a peach, the smoky fumes of a neighbor's char-grilled burgers. It's the last chance for a swim, an evening with the fireflies, or a date with all those books you've wanted to meet. And maybe, just maybe, there's still enough time to get out of Dodge before the school bell starts to clang clang clang, the whistles blow, the highways bend, the days get shorter and we wake up it's Thanksgiving for crying out loud. Congress takes a break in August -- why not the rest of us? A week from today,...

By Kim ODonnel | August 9, 2006; 11:24 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Gluten-Free True-Blue Breakfast

Always on the lookout for new cookbooks, I was eager to crack open my newly arrived copy of "World Vegetarian Classics" by American-Brit cook Celia Brooks Brown. In addition to penning cookbooks, Brown appears on BBC's food channel and is a private chef, whose celeb client list includes Chrissie Hynde and Stella McCartney. When shopping for a new veggie title, I was particularly drawn to Brown's assertion (stated on her Web site) that "Vegetarian food still has a boring, brown, 'socks and sandals' stigma" which she has endeavored to reverse. If photos are an important ingredients in your cookbooks, this title will appeal; they are big and beautiful and dotted throughout the book. Brown has compiled 220 recipes from around the world, neatly organized by continent. Although keen to try the Pacha Rice (Egypt) and the Akara with Pilipili (black eye pea cakes from Nigeria), I made a beeline for...

By Kim ODonnel | July 17, 2006; 09:52 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Rainy Day Reads

With the nonstop onslaught of rain over the past two weeks, I've been staying dry indoors and devoting some attention to my growing bedside mountain of books -- both brand-new arrivals and seasoned veterans. Baja California is the intriguingly long peninsula that juts south from San Diego, Calif., into what is a different country, literally. Although separated from the Mexican mainland by the waters of the Gulf of California, Baja is 100 percent Mexico, amigo. West coast chef Deborah M. Schneider, who caught the Baja bug 20 years ago, shares her culinary adventures from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas in "¡Baja!: Cooking on the Edge." Inspired by the variety of fish and shellfish, fruits, veggies, herbs and chiles along Baja's 2000 miles of coastline, Schneider shares the recipes she learned in the villages, be it street food or campfire lobster. Cookbooks that teach geography are among my favorites, and in...

By Kim ODonnel | July 6, 2006; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Only in New York

While not eating in New York this weekend (stay tuned for a dining report later today), I went window shopping, one of the best ways to walk off calories in the mecca of design and fashion. Setting off for a long, post-prandial stroll down Fifth Avenue, I had no intention of buying anything, let alone shoes, one of my top retail weaknesses (I'm also a sucker for books), but there it was, the 57th Street location of Arche. It's one of my all-time favorite pit stops for Frenchy shoes that I rarely can afford. The newly launched sale strengthened the temptation, and lo and behold, I walked out two pairs heavier. The mini-version of the "Art and Cook." cookbook. (Kim O'Donnel) Another favorite haunt (also on West 57th) is Rizzoli, the most stately and grand of any book store I've ever laid eyes on. Is it the store's mansion feel,...

By Kim ODonnel | June 27, 2006; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conscience-Raising Foodbookery

In yesterday's post on culinary reading, I mentioned two distinct trends in food titles this year -- culinary memoirs and an umbrella topic that includes buzz words such as organic, sustainable, ethics, ecology and politics. As a culture, we are starting to wake up to the harsh reality of environmental destruction and its far-reaching impacts on the food we put in the shopping cart and ultimately in our mouths, and we're seeing these revelations show up in droves on bookstore shelves. The list that follows is just a sample of the body of work focused on food politics, authored by experts in a variety of fields - journalism, cooking, conservation, science, agriculture and public health. It was Michael Pollan's " ">The Omnivore's Dilemma" that got me thinking in a profound way about the food chain, akin to how I felt a few years ago when I read "Fast Food Nation"...

By Kim ODonnel | June 8, 2006; 08:41 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Books to Chew On

After a thorough scouring of book shelves and review lists, it seems that 2006 is the year for two genres among food-centric titles: culinary memoirs and organic/sustainable/food ethics and politics. In a typical year of recent memory, it's one or two (tops) foodie auto-bios that get released - "Garlic and Sapphires" by Gourmet magazine's Ruth Reichl was last year's big chow, for example. This year, it's a veritable literary smorgasbord, with at least eight new titles to sink your teeth into, from a motley mix of great writers, chefs and critics. Here's what's on the menu:...

By Kim ODonnel | June 7, 2006; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

 

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