What’s New in Culinary Books

Pigs and hams, barbecue and ice cream — all are foods associated with joy and love and celebration. In the United States, anyway.

And writers take these foods and weave words around and around like so many carefully knitted stitches, creating new books, making this year an exciting time for food and history lovers.

The increasing onslaught of books on preserving and preparing traditional foods promises to create a generation of cooks far more savvy than those of the previous one. Starving for knowledge, yearning to break free of Big Food, cooks will find much to chew on in the following list. Note that some of the books have not yet been published, but that’s OK.

Having something to look forward to makes life magical, conjuring up images of birthdays and other holidays, regardless of culture. One reason why saints’ day feasts and seasonal festivals helped people in the past in dealing with the harsh mundane.

And these books conjure up that delightful, delicious feeling of anticipation. A true reason to celebrate.

97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, by Jane Ziegelman

Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York, by William Grimes

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, edited by Joan Reardon

Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, by Robert Moss

The Book of Marmalade (ENGLISH KITCHEN), by C. Anne Wilson

Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition, by Georgia Pellgrini

Food and Language: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2009, edited by Robert Hosking

Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best – Over 700 Recipes Show You Why, by Darina Allen

The Fruit, Herbs & Vegetables of Italy (1614), by Giacomo Castelvetro; Gillian Riley, editor

Game: A Cookbook, by Tom Norrington-Davies

Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter, by Bruce Weinstein

Ice Cream: A History (Shire Library), by Ivan Day

The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time, by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger

THE NOBEL BANQUETS: A Century of Culinary History (1901 – 2001), by Ulrica Soderlind

Pig: King of the Southern Table, by James Villas

Pomodoro!: A History of the Tomato in Italy (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History), by David Gentilcore

The River Cottage Preserves Handbook, by Pam Corbin

Storied Dishes: What Our Family Recipes Tell Us About Who We Are and Where We’ve Been, by Linda Murray Berzok

Table Settings: The Material Culture and Social Context of Dining, AD 1700-1900, by James Symonds

Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire, by Andrew Dalby

Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens, by Andrew Beahrs

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5 comments

  • Yes, I posted it today – thanks for your kind remarks about “Southern Cooking”. I’m much more familiar with that one, and know where some of the goofs lay (one of my favorites is “Mrs Brook’s Chess pies” – it was from my great-grandmother (other side of the family) and the proportions are way off. I tried to straighten it out when I was a teenager.)

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  • Marion,

    What a wonderful message about your grandmother. I have the Southern cookbook and love it to pieces, literally, as it is falling apart. I’d love to see the picture of her with James Beard. Is it on your blog anywhere?

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  • GREAT list, Cynthia! I know I’ll be checking out that first book for sure. I lived on Orchard St. as a child!

    Thanks for sharing…

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  • You may wish to check out Marion Brown’s “Pickles and Preserves” which was published in the early ’50s for an unusual collection of very old pickling recipes. It was reissued as an inexpensive paperback a few years ago. Her “Marion Brown’s Southern Cooking” was the bible of my mother’s generation and has been continuously in print since it was published in 1950. (Disclaimer: I’m her granddaughter, but we don’t get anything from sales of the book, and I’m still annoyed my brother made off with her files.) P&P was significant when published – I have a wonderful photo of my grandmother and James Beard, both with cocktails and cigarettes in hand, promoting the book.

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