Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Books about People and Food

Over the past couple of years, I have enjoyed reading books with vivid food descriptions. Some true and some fictional. Here is a short list:

1. My Life in France by Julia Child: I am currently reading this book and falling in love with Julia and her husband. This book makes me naustalgic for travel, adventure and cooking. I also purchased Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is working its way through the postal system.

2. Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey: A wonderful story of growing up told through memories of food. It also details how the mass exit of Muslims to Pakistan and Hindus to India affected and shaped the cuisine of Dehli. Great recipes in the back including one for lamb and peas in gravy.

3. The Alice B Toklas Cookbook by Alice B Toklas: I am slowly making my way through this book. I love the insights into each recipe although I have never considered making them. If you ever wondered how to properly prepare squab, this is the book for you, and even if you haven't, it is still an beautiful book about the care and love Alice took in preparing meals for Gertrude.

4. The Book of Salt by Montique Truong: A fictional account of the life of Alice and Gertrude's Vietnamese cook. The descriptions of the food are amazing. I found myself skipping parts of the book to get to the bits about food. Also, it is an interesting take on the French occupation of Vietnam.

5. Hummingbirds Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea: A book based on the life of a Mexican saint. The descriptions of the indegenous food of Mexico and its blending with Spanish cuisine were outstanding and brought another layer to this story.

These are the ones that have stuck with me. I am not sure why. I am excited to start my exploration of French food! If you have any additional suggestions or know a quick way to learn French pronunciation, let me know.


Seph said...

I've always thought it was cool that Julia Child was a spy in World War 2...

i_tried said...

She met her husband in Sri Lanka. I wondered what she was doing there!

Sydney said...

I love the idea that anyone thought Julia Child would be inconspicuous. Anywhere. I went to the Smithsonian exhibit of her kitchen - it's weird to be in a kitchen that is truly built for a 6+' person.

As to French pronunciation, just gimme a call! I'd be happy to pronounce any words needed. And I would be happy to write out phonetic pronunciations too.

Oiseau = wah-zoh
(but with super rounded lips for the "wah" and "oh")

Bouillon = bwee-yon
(but with super rounded lips for the "bwee" and with the "on" shoved so far into your sinuses you can't actually hear the "n")