Medium Raw

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Anthony Bourdain
Title: Medium Raw
Anthony Bourdain is not a chef. Surprised, huh? He comes right out and admits this. He is lot of things- ex-junkie, world traveler, gourmand, adventurer, and a cook – but he does not think of himself as a chef. You’ll learn all this and more in the essays that comprise this book. He discusses aspects of his life and issues that affect the world and food. There are times that instead of attending the Culinary Institute of America, he seems to have taken classes at the Keith Richards Kooking Kollege, majoring in sex, drugs and rock and roll, although he now claims to be a devoted family man. You decide.
P.S. Words of Warning- If you’ll be offended by rough language and graphic sexual references, pass this one up.

My Life in France

From Margaret Mezzacapo

My Life in France

Author: Julia Child

Of the many books on Julia Child’s life that have come out in the past year or so, this is one of my favorites, possibly due to the many photographs sprinkled throughout. While not possessing all the minute details presented in Dearie, another Child biography, this gave you the gist of her life plus some viewpoints from Julia’s side of the story.

White truffles in winter

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author: N.M. Kelby
White truffles in winter : a novel
This literary gem needs to be shared. It is a quiet, intense portrayal of a man who loved two women but whose passion was food. This man is the great French chef Auguste Escoffier and this is his elegant “memoir in meals.” Like his magnificent culinary creations, there is a complexity to this story that evokes the spirit of the time and captures the essence of the man. His was a life of extremes: suffering and captivity during the Franco-Prussian War; wealth and splendor communing with royalty, high society, the powerful, and poverty in his declining years. The cornucopia of images and feelings bombard the senses and creates a rich realism that you could almost touch and taste. Escoffier did not want to be forgotten, this story makes you want to know more about the man who was an epicurean genius yet a sad, idealistic romantic.


From Charlene Muhr
author: Theroux, Jessica
American chef, Jessica Theroux, takes readers on a journey through Italy, from Tuscany to Sicily.  Theroux’s journey was inspired by Slow Food, an organization founded in Italy, in 1989.  Slow Food’s mission is “to promote values in traditional food and preparation and to counteract the trend toward fast food and a faster life.”  On her journey, Theroux visits Irene, a grandmother in the Piedmontese town of Bra, the international headquarters of the Slow Food Movement.  COOKING WITH ITALIAN GRANDMOTHERS is not only a wonderful collection of recipes but each grandmother shares her history, her stories, and her secrets as she cooks alongside Theroux.  The recipes are clear and simple and each recipe is indexed.  Theroux presents an interesting selection of recipes from walnut black pepper cookies, calabrian bread salad, and lasagne with a béchamel sauce, homemade ricotta, and blood orange gelato.  There was an interesting quote in the beginning of the book from  the writer, Laurie Colwin.  “No one who cooks, cooks alone.  Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”

The Mitsitam Cafe cookbook

From Charlene Muhr
author: Hetzler, Richard
The Mitsitam Cafe cookbook
Last year I visited Washington, D.C., and toured many museums.  I had the opportunity to eat at the restaurant, the Mitsitam Cafe, in the National Museum of the American Indian.  I was delighted to discover the Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook which features ninety recipes from the restaurant that are adapted for home cooks.  The Mitsitam (which means “let’s eat” in the local Piscataway and Delaware languages) Cafe Cookbook features recipes from five Native culture areas in the Americas -Northeast Woodlands and Great Lakes, South America, North Pacific Coast and Columbia Plateau, Mesoamerica and Great Plains.  The cookbook is divided into ten sections:  appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, sauces and salsas, breads, desserts, drinks and basic recipes and techniques.  In each recipe there is a sidebar about the origin of the recipe and its ingredients.  There is a special section of the cookbook, Ingredients and Sources which describes recipe ingredients, where they can be purchased and what substitutions can be made.  The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook offers a variety of easy recipes that will delight many palates.

Cook This, Not That

From Gina Scaglione

I finally finished the last book in the series of David Zinczenko’s Eat This, Not That books.  This book is entitiled Cook This, Not That and it is meant to show you the healthiest way posssible to cook the meals that you are already making anyway.  I found this one to be much more helpful to me than the restaurant guide because we rarely eat out.  However, I have marked off many recipes in this book and I intend to alter the recipes I already use to make them fit into our new healthful lifestyle.  I highly recommend this series.

Muffins and mayhem: recipes for a happy (if disorderly) life

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Beecher, Suzanne
Muffins and mayhem: recipes for a happy (if disorderly) life
A memoir laced with recipes.  The author is the creator of,
an online book club. As a member, I know that she prefaces each online
installment with her daily column.  In this book, she details her humble
beginnings as an only child in Cuba City, WI.  In spite of an alcoholic
father and an indifferent mother who doesn’t understand her, she has an
indomitable spirit.  She is not afraid to make (big) mistakes, and to make
fun of herself. She seems to be a business/marketing genius, without any
college degrees.   After a failed marriage, she finds Mr. Right, also
divorced with kids. She and her husband move to Sarasota, FL. She has a
son and a daughter, but hardly mentions them. I would like to have read
why she married him so soon and why in Iowa City, and what it was like to
raise a blended family. Her take on living with an eye disorder was
inspiring (she learned to love the disorder instead of fighting it).

I didn’t like the recipes very much: the potstickers seemed too difficult
and others were too pedestrian.  Some of the chapters are verbatim from
her online column.  The grief over losing her mother is raw and if you
have been in a similar situation, you can relate.

Cowgirl cuisine

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Disbrowe, Paula
Cowgirl cuisine : rustic recipes and cowgirl adventures from a Texas ranch
Successful NY food writer moves with baker/husband to Texas Hill Country. Think: scorpions, campfires, cowboys, ranch life, chuck wagons, horse riding. Excellent recipes for salsas, desserts, meats, appetizers, potato salad, cocktails. Most recipes have many ingredients (15 or more) which is daunting. One sandwich has 21 ingredients!  Warning about handling chile peppers (use rubber gloves, don’t touch face) should be on p. 1, not p. 78.  Great dulce de leche method.  Cooking terms not explained, nor sources for ingredients. Not for beginner cooks.

Spaghetti, Men, and Nancy Drew

From Rosalia Milan:

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci

In this autobiography the author talks about her loves and their connections to food. The first chapter, devoted to her first real boyfriend, felt extremely rushed, and I remember thinking uh oh this is going to kind of suck. But the second chapter, devoted to Giulia’s father (and extremely moving) had much better flow and things seriously improved from there. I love the recipes, which all seem relatively simple and easy to follow and can’t wait to try some of them out.

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak

This book about the woman who created Nancy Drew really helps the reader appreciate how truly ahead of her time Nancy Drew actually was. It gives the history of the two woman behind Nancy Drew, Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Stratermyer Adams. Harriet was most likely the first female C.E.O. and Mildred was a female pilot, journalist and writer of not only tons of books for the syndicate besides Nancy Drews but several of her own series. Anyone who has ever picked up a Nancy Drew and loved it, will love this book, it really cements Nancy Drew as a feminist icon.