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Author Archive: "Emily"

Cooking and Delicious Days

It's dark pretty much all the time here, which means I'm spending my free time at home browsing through cookbooks. I've always found that a good meal shared with friends makes winter days feel warmer and lighter. In that vein, and partly to fill my new bookshelves (I work for a book company, I can't have empty bookshelves!), I hauled a pile of cookbooks home with me the other day. One that gave me pause, however, is The Silver Spoon — Italy's Joy of Cooking, finally translated into English. Despite Georgie's recommendation, I was nervous because it's huge and, frankly, I was worried that the collection's comprehensive nature would make the recipes a bit dull and repetitive. But also, no reviews yet! I think cookbook reviewers are also feeling a bit of trepidation about testing over 2,000 recipes. Well, from Munich-based blog Delicious Days comes the book's first review, which is both comprehensive and positive, so now I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get dirty. (Note to self: Trust Georgie about books.) NPR also ran a piece on The Silver Spoon this week, and their website features a few of the book's recipes so you can test drive this tome before you buy.

I find myself turning to Nigella Lawson quite a bit lately. A friend who knows how much I love to bake gave me a copy of Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I never would have picked it up myself because, well, I'm just not the domestic goddess sort. But much to my chagrin the book quickly became one of my "go-to" cookbooks. Her onion pie makes a great, easy, winter supper, and her chocolate cherry cupcakes (which I translated into chocolate raspberry) are now famous among my friends.

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

Finally, someone willing to admit just how dirty a kitchen can get! Powell's story is at once a comic tale of struggling to find one's balance in the adult world, and a witty exploration of why — and how — we cook. Gastronomes, as well as those more inclined to order take-out, will enjoy Powell's down-and-dirty journey into French cuisine, but her depiction of America is the secret ingredient that holds the whole recipe together. A nourishing read if you love to cook or would rather stay out of the kitchen altogether.

The Remains of the Day

Heralded upon release for its elegance and restraint, The Remains of the Day has become a classic of British literature — and one of my favorite books! Ishiguro's simple, painstakingly precise language beautifully captures a man and an era that prized decorum above truth, with perilous results. A gorgeous novel.

Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed

Part scientist, part cook, and all storyteller, Shirley Corriher gives you the tools you need to 'fiddle' with a recipe. She gives cause and effect of ingredients, techniques, and methods for your culinary science experiments. Whether your dish succeeds or fails, you'll know why.

Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed

Truly for the foodie, this book is a wonderful find. Shirley Corriher deconstructs — in an easy-to-understand manner — the science behind our daily cooking endeavors. Ever wish your pie crust was just a bit flakier, or your roast more tender? Corriher explains how our food cooks — or doesn't — and what you can do to achieve the exact final product you desire. I read this book in bed at night from cover to cover (well not all in one night!) — definitely my idea of a real page-turner!

The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

This cookbook is a winner! I love Middle Eastern food and everything I have made from this book has been wonderful. I cooked a dinner entirely of Roden's dishes for friends, and they bought the book on their way home. Roden intersperses her recipes with vignettes of history and folklore surrounding her subject, as well as instructions on particular techniques, ingredients, and recipe variations, all of which make this book a rich read and an enticing resource.

The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern

I love to bake, but I especially love to play with flavors that surprise and awaken your taste buds. The Last Course beautifully presents Claudia Fleming's masterful and extremely innovative pastry creations. The recipes are straightforward and precise but, more importantly, they are clearly wrought from years of work and experimentation. Fleming has carefully distilled and focused the inspiration for each into a perfect balance of ingredients and sensual experiences. And even if you don't cook your way through this book, it still makes for a wonderful, and instructive, read — I highly recommend it. Just make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand — you will get hungry!

The Polar Express

Could a bookseller's favorite book really be a children's Christmas picture book? I am often asked to name my favorite book — an impossible question to answer, really — and I find myself mentioning The Polar Express time and again (not without a small amount of embarrassment — aren't I supposed to come up something just a bit more erudite?). The Polar Express does exactly what every good book should do — it draws you in from the very first, pulls you along, and leaves you sad to turn the final page. But it will also give you a renewed appreciation for the importance of wonder and magic in our daily world. Chris Van Allsburg's mysterious yet enchanting illustrations will captivate you — with each reading I find myself poring over every page, exploring newfound details.

English Creek

I fell in love with Ivan Doig's writing as a teenager, but I still find it captivating. Through the eyes of Doig's young hero, we watch the coming of age of a family in the American West. The story alone will prevent you from putting this book down, but the beauty and compassion of Doig's language will truly leave their mark.

The Magician’s Assistant

Ann Patchett's writing delves into a new world with each successive novel. This time she takes us on a captivatingly American journey of love, loss, and redemption. Patchett uses a delightfully modern story to explore timeless questions that will resonate with many readers: what is the true nature of love, and how well do we trust ourselves to find it? Patchett's prose is careful and measured, yet also lush and elegant; she fully assumes the role of her heroine while encouraging us to take her hand on this surprising journey. The Magician's Assistant is fun, endearing, kind, and moving; it expertly explores new territory in the complex search for love.

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