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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Author Archive: "Megan"

Gabrielle Hamilton: The Interview

Gabrielle HamiltonGabrielle Hamilton's restaurant Prune, a little 30-seat spot in New York's East Village, quickly made waves when its doors opened in 1999. Hamilton had originally set out to cook for her neighbors but soon found herself hosting visitors from everywhere — all made the trek to experience, firsthand, her rustic, bold, and unpretentious food.

As it happens, Hamiltion is as adept at expressing herself on the page as she is on the plate. She skillfully chronicles her unorthodox childhood and unexpected path to celebrated chefdom in her captivating new memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter.

We couldn't agree more with Michiko Kakutani's review in the New York Times:

Though Ms. Hamilton's brilliantly written new memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter, is rhapsodic about food...the book is hardly just for foodies....[Hamilton] is as evocative writing about people and places as she is at writing about cooking, and her memoir does as dazzling a job of summoning her lost childhood as Mary Karr's Liars' Club and Andre Aciman's Out of Egypt did with theirs.

Whether reading ...

Erin Morgenstern: The Interview

Erin MorgensternAll this summer, Erin Morgenstern's debut novel, The Night Circus, has been garnering extraordinary buzz in the book world, which is especially remarkable given that it doesn't go on sale until September. Happily, all of the attention is well-deserved. Morgenstern has woven a compelling story around her beautiful, mysterious circus, inhabited by rich characters you'll have a hard time being apart from.

The Night Circus pulls you into a world as dark as it is dazzling, fully-realized but still something out of a dream. You will not want to leave it.

So says Téa Obreht and we completely agree. Even the toughest of us couldn't get over how enchanting (note, we use that word sparingly) the story is, and we knew we had to share the magic with as many readers as possible. What better way than to make it the latest selection for our subscription club, Indiespensable.

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Megan Zabel: The Night Circus is an amazing story. Where did it come from?

Erin Morgenstern: First of all, thank you. The story came about as an accident. I started writing the novel several years ago, and I never really planned for ...

Mission Street Food

This first book from McSweeney's new cookbook imprint perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the both the publisher and the featured restaurant. Mission Street Food (the restaurant) is a shifting entity that's difficult to define — and this unconventional recipe collection perfectly captures the project's charm, while setting the scene for a whole new breed of cookbook. If you liked Lucky Peach, you need Mission Street Food.

Chris Ying: The Interview

Chris YingIt's safe to say that whatever publisher McSweeney's does, they do with flair. Lucky Peach, their new quarterly food journal, is no exception.

Lucky Peach is the brain child of McSweeney's Books co-publisher Chris Ying (who serves as editor-in-chief), acclaimed chef David Chang (of Momofuku fame) and food writer Peter Meehan. Each issue of the quarterly will focus on a theme. Issue one, which debuted this summer, is all about ramen, a 170-plus-page "ramencyclopedia," featuring contributions from Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, Harold McGee, and other big hitters. The final product is a beautifully designed, eclectic collection of essays, photography, travel writing, and recipes.

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Megan Zabel: How did Lucky Peach come to be?

Chris Ying: In 2009, we put out McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #33, "The San Francisco Panorama." In that 300-plus-page newspaper we did a food section, which included a "How to Make Homemade Ramen" spread. Through that I met Peter Meehan and Dave Chang. Their Momofuku book was coming out, and I was trying to get a hold of them to excerpt a recipe. When we eventually met up, we hit it off and had some good ...

1, 2, 3 Sew

Every so often a sewing book is published that exhibits the seemingly difficult to achieve trifecta of craft guide success: the instructions are clear, the skill level is accurate, and the projects are practical and stylish. 1, 2, 3 Sew is the book that I wish had existed when I decided I wanted to learn how to stitch. The designs are refreshing in their simplicity: no tassels, no extraneous pockets, no overdone embellishments. The book's jacket copy states that usability was valued over everything else, and it shows. You will actually want to make and use these projects, and you'll be proud to give them as gifts.

Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It: And Other Kitchen Projects

Karen Solomon, author of the popular Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It offers more DIY kitchen goodness in this followup containing 75 new projects. Skip store-bought versions and make your own cereal, vanilla extract, bagels, smoked cheese, chocolate hazelnut spread, and corn dogs. Make your own corn dogs!

Amy Bryant Aiello: The Interview

Amy Bryant AielloWhen I discovered Artemisia, a treasure of a shop in Southeast Portland which primarily features terrariums, I remembered how mind-blowing terrariums seemed as a kid. The ability to build a tiny world felt so powerful and important — you could create a climate! In Artemisia, I felt that same sense of awe all over again, only this time it was a result of the sophisticated aesthetic applied to the craft by shop owner Amy Bryant Aiello. Her terrariums are simple, yet otherworldly, and somehow convey a sense of calm; I feel like just gazing at them lowers my blood pressure — not to mention how stylish they look perched on the bookshelf.

In Terrarium Craft, Aiello shares 50 of her enchanting terrarium designs, all perfect hybrids of gardening plus crafts. Each project is captured with beautiful photos and straightforward directions on how to create them yourself.

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Megan Zabel: How did you get into making terrariums?

Amy Bryant Aiello: Growing up, my father worked as a naturalist. He taught children and adults about nature and plants and animals. I basically ...

Cooking in the Moment

Cooking in the Moment is a vibrant seasonal recipe collection paired with lush photos and insightful commentary. James Beard Award nominee Andrea Reusing hit this one out of the park; it's a must have for every farmers market fanatic.

Heidi Swanson: The Interview

Heidi SwansonHeidi Swanson, creator of the beloved blog 101 Cookbooks, offers nearly 100 of her go-to recipes in Super Natural Every Day, the follow-up to her James Beard Award-nominated cookbook Super Natural Cooking.

With a focus on whole grains, minimally processed sweeteners, and fresh produce, Swanson's recipes are simple, nutritious, and delicious. We don't blame you if that combination of adjectives leaves you skeptical, but trust us on this one. The results are hearty and satisfying; many of these meals have already become some of our weeknight staples. As an added bonus, the recipes are paired with over 100 of Swanson's lovely photos and her own design work, making Super Natural Every Day a charming package you'll want not only for reference, but to curl up with for some quality time.

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Megan Zabel: What were your intentions when you started 101 Cookbooks in 2003, and at what point did you start to look at it as a career?

Heidi Swanson: I think at the time I was craving a creative outlet. My site is an ongoing recipe journal, eight years old now, and it's where ...

Super Natural Every Day

This cookbook has blown me away. I've made three meals from it in the last week, and they've all been delicious, easy, highly adaptable, and healthy! There doesn't seem to be anything that writer/photographer/designer/food blogger Heidi Swanson can't do, and, fortunately, she does the food bit exceptionally well. The legions who follow will not be disappointed in this beautiful, useful recipe collection.

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