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FOOD - Books Feature!

Books for cooks

Volumes of food porn, kitchen science and gastronomic philosophy that earn their place on the shelf

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An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace, Tamar Adler (Scribner, 250 pages) M.F.K. Fisher, America’s best and best-known food writer, was inspired by the strictures of the Depression and WWII food rationing to write How to Cook a Wolf. Adler, a writer and former Chez Panisse chef, was inspired by both the subject matter and Fisher’s lyrical yet no-nonsense style. This is perhaps the best book about food – not cookbook, though there are plenty of recipes – that I read in 2011.

Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman (The Penguin Press, 240 pages) An expanded version of Pollan’s now-classic Food Rules, enriched by Kalman’s ineffably charming paintings and hand-lettering. This edition reminds you to “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much” but also includes 19 new rules culled from readers of the first edition.

Goofy gifts

Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets “Festive”, Jen Yates (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 232 pages) Yes, this is what the Internet is for. But every person who’s come into my office to gawk at the tower-of-cookbook that starts to form in late October picked this one up, and every one laughed out loud. (Sorry, I mean LOL’ed.) A perfect present for baking aficionados or other people for whom you have no idea what to buy.

The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men, Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin (Smart Pop Books, 248 pages) Not at all goofy, really, but still pop-culture enough to fall in the “gag gift” category. Gelman and Zheutlin have painstakingly recreated menus and recipes from establishments that appear on the television show, some of which hold up a half-century later and some of which are noteworthily hideous.

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