Let’s admit it: Picking out the perfect Mother’s Day gift is hard. Flowers die in days. Perfume spills. And no one wants junky jewelry.
But books? Ah, a book will always fit and will never need ironing. Even better, it invites the reader to relax, so in honor of the upcoming holiday, I asked some local experts for food-themed book suggestions.
Park Road Books store owner Sally Brewster recommends The World in a Skillet: A Food Lover’s Tour of the New American South by Paul and Angela Knipple, which showcases the global influences shaping the ways we cook and eat throughout the region.
Brewster’s husband Frazer Dobson doesn’t even like creamed corn, but the recipe from Charred and Scruffed: Bold New Techniques for Explosive Flavor On and Off the Grill by Adam Perry Lang with Peter Kaminsky “will make you fall to your knees.”
Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America by Gustavo Arellano is an entertaining look at a culinary phenomenon from the columnist best known for his syndicated feature ¡Ask a Mexican!
Warning: Fries and pies abound in The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels, the latest from legendary food writer John T. Edge.
Paper Skyscraper’s Tim Hamilton recommends Food Rules: An Eaters Manual by Michael Pollan with illustrations by Maira Kalman. It’s catchy, colorful, and wise.
Fans of M.F.K. Fisher will want to read An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. The thought-provoking collection of essays even includes a chapter on how to boil water. Fish: Recipes from the Sea by the editors of Phaidon Press and Carol-Jane Jackson is both beautiful and useful; its chapters divide fish by variety and it presents more than 200 recipes.
Customers at The Book Mark are fond of Giada De Laurentiis, reports owner Kathy Friese. Known for her popular “Everyday” series, De Laurentiis has a new book, Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner. Friese’s clients also like Ree Drummond, who went “from high heels to tractor wheels”; her new book is The Pioneer Women Cooks: Food from My Frontier.
What do food writers read? Everything. Here’s what I’m perusing – and planning to cook from this spring. The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen is the newest book from the accomplished author and James Beard award nominee Jennifer Trainer Thompson. It offers clever takes on familiar recipes, such as Green Eggs and Ham.
Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth author Eric Herm examines the challenges of modern-day agriculture, and writes, “You say a little prayer and take a shot of tequila. Some years, more tequila is required than others.” It’s a powerful read.
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef is Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir of the author’s hardscrabble years as a vagabond whose life ultimately yields unexpected joys and successes.
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, by Savannah bakers Cheryl Day and Griffith Day, boasts “more than 100 recipes from the best little bakery the South.” Stay tuned for updates on my results.
In the meantime, happy reading, happy eating, and Happy Mother’s Day!