It’s that time again– where curling up inside my warm house with a good book gets high on my list.  Here’s a reading list of some of my favorite food books, and others I hope to tackle this winter:


The Seasons on Henry’s Farm, by Terra Brockman.  I love this book for so many reasons.  I feel the rhythm of the seasons, and the harmony that is in our world for all of us, but that I race past most minutes of most days. It’s easy to read if you’re really busy, as each chapter is very short and covers one week on the farm.  It starts in November with the planting of the last (or first) crop of the season: garlic.  But it’s Brockman’s imagery that gets me the most.  Just reading her thoughts looking back on a freshly planted field of garlic, black soil and white clove paper– the farm in black tie.  I have read this book a few times, savoring the recipes and stories of food, love of family and the earth that feeds us all.

Farm City, The Education of an Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter. FUNNNN-ie! Here’s a lady learning to farm in the inner city– with all its attendant characters and funkiness.  The book has three chapters:  “Turkey” , “Rabbit” and “Pig.”  She is a grown-ass woman with the courage of her convictions, actually taking on the experiment of only eating what she can grow and find at the end of the season.  Living in Chicago, I appreciate someone trying to carve out a lifestyle like this in a big city.  But mostly, I love her sense of humor, and lightheartedness toward the rest of the world. I need to get me more of that.

The Soul of a Chef, by Michael Ruhlman. The love the author has for food and the people for make it.  This book is really three books in one. In the first story, you’re immersed in the Certified Master Chef Exam — it gets us as close as I think one can come in terms of learning how difficult achieving excellence in this world is.  Secondly, we’re whisked to Lola in Cleveland, with the wonderful story of this great little place with characters to match. I remember hearing about the Chef/Owner buying a car for his dishwasher.  Without the dishwasher, the restaurant stops cold. Third section is called “journey Toward Perfection” referring to Thomas Keller and the French Laundry.  (Don’t miss making Lola’s beet salad dressing recipe in the back of the book, it’s great.)

The Sharper the Knife, the Less you Cry, by Kathleen Flinn.  I was given this book many years ago– time for it to come down from the shelf and go to the top of the pile next to the bed.

Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.  My client, Chef Christopher Thompson of Coda di Volpe recommended this book to me.  To continue my artisanal meat education that Chef Chris has been so patiently gracious to begin with me.  I think I’m going to skip to the chapter on country ham.

Besides these, I love reading cookbooks, just to read them.  Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home is on the frequent play list for now.

Until next time, I’m grabbing my favorite wool blanket and a cup of Mariages Frere’s Pleine Lune — mmmmmm!

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