Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Food & Drink Non Fiction & Fun

I meant to post about these books in the Fall but somehow the post got lost. These books are each a lot of fun and good no matter what the season. 

Drinking the Devil’s Acre A Love Letter from San Francisco & Her Cocktails. 
If you love San Francisco you will be absolutely charmed by this book. Author Duggan McDonnell is something of a renaissance man—a barkeep, author, historian, a teacher and has been involved in the introduction of a pisco and Jardesca. He’s also a wonderful writer. The book details secret bartender formulas, stories behind classic and contemporary cocktails as well as recipes, stories from many eras in our city by the bay, and so much more. Learn why so many cocktails in San Francisco use citrus, why San Franiscans love the negroni and all things bitter, how tequila made its way to California etc. It’s a pure pleasure. 
The Mad Feast An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food
This book is an “anti-cookbook.” It is a series of surprising essays about iconic but sometimes notorious foods associated with different states. These are not just happy-go-lucky tales but often decidedly wacky untold stories about the pecularities of our culture and its intersection with food. Read about how the lack of traditional ingredients led to the California roll, the link between the Marionberry and slavery and cannabalism, and personal stories from the author about love, life and his experiences here there and everywhere. For a culinary book, it’s truly a wild ride. 

Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese
I thoroughly enjoyed Gordon Edgar’s first book, Life on the Wedge. His humor and his worker perspective make his writing about cheese unlike any other. Cheddar is a bit more academic and esoteric, there are whole sections on arcane agricultural history and cheesemaking that dig deep, but all in all, it did make me see cheddar in a new light. The book helps to set the context for a cheese that’s become so commonplace that we barely give it a second thought. My favorite bits were about different cheddar cheeses, cheesemakers, and anecdotes about his road trips and judging competions. Interestingly enough a book about cheddar ends up telling us something about ourselves and our own relationship to culture, if you’ll pardon the pun. 

Eatymology: The Dictionary of Modern Gastrononmy 
As a wordy girl, this book makes me happy, it defines 100 new words that relate to food. Will you take a janopause next year? Visit a cat cafe? Sure you know what umami is, but kokumi? If not, you need this book. It’s a really fun read and definitely something you will want to work your way through before the aporkalypse. Written by the creator of the Twitter sensation "Ruth Bourdain." 

Disclaimer: I received these books as review copies and this post includes affiliate links.