Friday, May 20, 2005

Five Favorite Books

Ashleigh at Stitched in Holland has tagged me for the latest meme--5 favorite books.
Thanks Ashleigh!

1. Total number of books I've owned.
You MUST be kidding.

2. Last book I bought.
Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud by Jonathan Safran Foer. I devoured it on vacation then passed it along to my mom. If you haven't discovered this new and very young writer you are in for a treat.

3. The last book I read.
Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America by Linda Shapiro. This is a fantastic book I have been meaning to review. It was a great read. The book focuses on how the food industry tried to shape how and what we cooked, after the Second World War. There are detailed stories about people you know like MFK Fisher and Julia Child and James Beard and then there are stories about people you probably never have heard of like Poppy Cannon and Marjorie Child Husted (one of the masterminds behind Betty Crocker and an early feminist).

4. 5 books that mean a lot to me.
Ok I know Ashleigh requested cook books so I'll focus on those. In no particular order:

The Joy of Cooking--my first "real" cookbook, a very thoughtful gift from my sister. It's the book I turn to for pancakes, biscuits, pie crust, cobbler, beef stew, good old fashioned American food. A close second is Fannie Farmer which functions in exactly the same way for me.

The Victory Garden Cookbook--a great book to help you figure out what to do with all kinds of vegetables. I was pleased when I recently heard Ruth Reichl praising this book as a favorite too.

Affordable Elegant Meals. This book rocks! I have tried more recipes from it than any other book I own. Really. It's out of print but easily available for purchase online. The soups and casseroles are the best. I love the Chicken & Escarole Soup, the Greek Meatball & Zucchini Soup, the Rich Red Spareribs, the Spicy Pumpkin Muffins, I could go on and on about this one.

Something by Nigella Lawson. A tie between Nigella Bites and How to Eat. I don't know anyone who doesn't like Nigella. She's funny, down-to-earth, passionate about food and her recipes WORK. She makes me rethink basic things like roast chicken and introduces me to wonderful new things like a summer salad of watermelon and feta.

Not a cookbook, but a favorite nonetheless. The Butterfly and the Diving Bell. Whenever I get down I reread this tremendously inspiring book. I have given away more copies of it than I can remember. It was written by a former Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby. He was physically paralyzed but his mind was alive and filled with hope and humor. I have read that Julian Schnabel is directing an upcoming feature film adaptation which will star Johnny Depp.

5. Which 5 people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?
Karletta a most delightful food blogger I had lunch with today, Sam because I really want to see what books she likes, Lulu same thing! Pim because I hope it will encourage her to end her blogging sabbatical and Gastronomie just because.