Ginette Mathiot wrote books that bring up long-lost taste memories in France, much as Marcel Proust’s oft-quoted prattle about about madeleines. Only her work proves infinitely more readable and enjoyable. She also basically sticks it to Julia and makes French cooking seem less like a prolonged session at the dentist’s. One of her books, Je … More Who was Ginette Mathiot? And Why Should You Care?
If, like me – overwhelmed by the hundreds of possible choices in front of you at the grocery store or local wine shop – you’ve ever stood in front of the endless shelves of stunning wine bottles and felt like just closing your eyes and grabbing a bottle, any bottle (preferably one on the lower … More Unquenchable: Natalie MacLean’s Terrific New Book on Wine
Another good appetizer is stewed white mushrooms, with onion, you know, and bay leaf and other spices. You lift the lid off the dish, and the steam rises, a smell of mushrooms … sometimes it really brings tears to my eyes! ~~Anton Chekov, “The Siren” With the publication of Gourmet magazine beginning in 1941, stories … More A Russian Cook
Black Friday marks the first “official” day of Christmas, er, shopping, that is. (You know it’s almost Christmas when the day after Halloween, the grocery stores start hauling out the red ribbon and fake mistletoe.) A bit premature, but that’s cultural change for you. Used to be that you couldn’t find a bit of tinsel … More Christmas Cheer, or, Fire Up the Reindeer
A novel about an arrogant food critic could only happen in France. Bien sûr! Some time ago, I set myself the challenging and Sisyphean task of reading Muriel Barbery’s first novel, Une gourmandise, in French. (Barbery’s reputation rests on her extremely philosophical second novel — The Elegance of the Hedgehog [what a title!], which took … More La Toussaint:* The Saints and Souls Who Preserve Us
People today seek a connection with the earth in many ways. The shape of that seeking takes many forms. First it was buying a house in Tuscany, making dreams of Paradise concrete. Or at least set in rough stone. Now it seems to be goat-herding and cheese making. Truthfully, there’s something about herding that calls … More Goat Song: Romancing the Pastoralism (Not)
A review of Susanne Freidberg’s Fresh: A Perishable History (Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2009) The debate continues on the local foods argument … To listen to many food activists talk these days, one would think that for dinner — up until now — most people just simply stepped outside their doors and plucked fresh … More Fresh: A Look at the Meaning of Freshness and the Refrigeration Revolution
Like Susan Bourette in Meat: A Love Story My Year in Search of the Perfect Meal (did she get this subtitle from Roy Andries de Groot, a food writer popular in the sixties and seventies who wrote In Search of the Perfect Meal (1986)?), many people temporarily eschew meat at some point in their lives. … More Reveling in Books: Fresh, Bones, Fat, and Meat