I like to give my thoughts on new cookbooks from time to time here at Sippity Sup. And that’s sorta what I plan to do today.
The new cookbook currently in my hands is from Lucy Lean. It’s called Made In America: Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food. It’s a visually stunning book, introduced by Joseph Bastianch and filled with American recipes from this country’s greatest cooks. A bushel of the best in fact. I quit counting at 50 and there were still loads left to count.
This book is filled with great recipes reinterpreted by great chefs– just as you would expect. But there are stories attached too. Stories about food, sure, but also stories from the lives of your favorite cooks.
The kind of stories you fantasize hearing as you sit around a big communal table at one amazing dinner party.
Which got me thinking. What sort of story would I contribute to a meal such as this? Well, as I was thumbing through the book, I came across an Apple Chess Pie (pg 310) from Evan Kleiman of Los Angeles’ iconic Angeli café. I knew immediately I would be making that pie for you today and sharing my story about Angeli café– a restaurant that holds a special place in my heart.
There are a lot of cookbooks out there. Too many of them come from expected sources and feature too many of the same recipes highlighting whatever ingredient du jour is making the Iron Chef circuit.
I tend to skip right past those books when I am choosing a cookbook to bring to you here. Thatâ€™s because I love the cultural aspects of food and cooking as much as I do the eating! There is so much to learn about other parts of the world and other peopleâ€™s lives and food is a great avenue towards understanding other cultures.
These are the reasons I was drawn to this book, Nirmalaâ€™s Edible Diary. This book is satisfying to me on many levels. It is colorful and simply laid out. There are (almost) enough great photos of interesting dishes and beautiful places to keep me glued to this book for long stretches of reading pleasure.
What makes this book special though is the adventurous spirit that weaves itâ€™s way through the pages. The author herself, Nirmala Narine, personifies that spirit.
Well, Diane Morgan has done it again. There are some cookbook authors that you just know can hit the ball good and solid every time. Diane Morgan is just such an author. She seems to have found a formula that just keeps working.
Thatâ€™s because she is a sensible cook and a straightforward writer. Dianeâ€™s approach to food is practical. She seems to know just what her audience expects, and she delivers exactly that. Yet somehow, without ever straying too far from the tried and true she manages to bring something fresh and modern to her work as well.
When I first picked up her latest title from Chronicle Books, The New Thanksgiving Table, I was a little confused. After all, I considered her previous book The Thanksgiving Table to be the definitive guide to this particular holiday.
But I have to admit, I was taken with just how easy this new book is to read. Which to me translates into a cookbook that is easy to use as well. It is laid out with plenty of space between the text and recipes. The useful information is highlighted with simply shaded boxes. The ingredients are in bold type, which makes list making a breeze. So despite my pre-conceived notions of redundancy, I found myself already liking this book.