Our Book Editor Beth Goehring's Delicious Book SelectionsTHREE CHEFS TELL THEIR STORIES THROUGH DELICIOUS RECIPES
Do you know someoneâ€”perhaps itâ€™s youâ€”who reads a cookbook as if they were reading a novel? A really mouth-watering cookbook is an absolute pleasure to read. Each recipe is like a chapter in the story. Appetizers and soups introduce the bookâ€™s mood. Entrees bring the action to a climax. Desserts deliver the resolution. Ingredients blend--some dominating, others playing second fiddle--just as characters do.
When I read a novel, I â€œwatchâ€? it unreel on a screen in my mind. When I read a deliciously written cookbook, I see myself at the cutting board, licking dark chocolate off a wooden spoon, or seasoning with herbs and spices to taste, bending down to look in the oven, presenting and devouring the finished dish. Just as I can live vicariously through a novel, imagining myself seducing a duke in Regency England or strutting down the halls of Conde Nast in Manolo Blahniks, I can eat pasta everyday with Giada de Laurentiis or buttermilk biscuits with Edna Lewisâ€”and not worry about the calorie count! And like a favorite novel, I can re-read a good cookbook again and again.
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"Francois Payardâ€™s loving tribute to all things dark, decadent and chocolate."If youâ€™ve been to Payard on Madison Avenue in New York City, youâ€™ve been to a chocoholicâ€™s paradise. A third-generation baker from Nice, France, Francois Payard has written cookbooks before, but Chocolate Epiphany (Clarkson Potter, April 2008) is his piece de resistance. Beginning with breakfast (so far beyond pain au chocolat, youâ€™ll be setting your alarm for the crack of dawn to get in every sinful calorie), he proves there isnâ€™t a minute in the day when a chocolate delight isnâ€™t worth eating. The sensuousness of the photos will convince you to keep this cookbook by your bedside when itâ€™s not open beside the stove.
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"A riveting life story told in mouthwatering recipes for traditional Chinese foods."Cecilia Chiangâ€™s The Seventh Daughter (Ten Speed Press, October 2007) is both a traditional cookbook of northern Chinese cuisine and her amazing life story. As a well-born girl in Beijing, she wasnâ€™t allowed into the kitchen with the servants, so she learned about how food should taste and be served from her mother whose bound feet made visiting the market a test of endurance. After a harrowing six-month flight into Free China dodging Japanese soldiers, Cecilia settled in Tokyo to start a family. On a trip to San Francisco, a sudden decision to invest in a restaurant started her legendary career. No one who ever enjoyed her hospitality at The Mandarin in Ghirardelli Square will ever forget it. Anyone who cooks from The Seventh Daughter will savor her rich and dramatic memories as much as the robust recipes.
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"A portrait of America with irresistible food and the roadside culture of the towns along the Mighty Mississippi."
I bet Alton Brown could charm the recipe for classic Coca-Cola out of CEO Neville Isdell. His Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, April 2008) is a journey up the Mississippi to make you forget Huckleberry Finn. In a motorcycle pack with a bunch of guy friends, he stops at roadhouses, juke joints, hot dog stands, diners, and restaurants where the food, however simple, is to die for. Along with lots of recipesâ€”some the real deal, others â€œinspired byâ€? dishes whose secret ingredients Alton Brownâ€™s superhuman taste buds re-createdâ€”you will learn so much fun trivia, youâ€™ll be dining out on these stories for years. With tons of wonderful photos (Alton at Kleibertâ€™s Alligator and Turtle Farm alone is worth the price of the book), this cookbook-cum-travelogue is one in a million.
History, cultural tradition, geography, nutrition, hedonismâ€¦what donâ€™t you learn from a really good cookbook! Even if youâ€™re a Calamity Jane in the kitchen--and I admit Iâ€™ve had my fair share of culinary disastersâ€”you can appreciate the joy of a wonderful cookbook.
ABOUT BETH GOEHRING:
I am so excited to write about books for CESLIE-The Womenâ€™s Networkâ„¢. Reading is not only a lifelong passion, but itâ€™s my job. As the editor-in-chief for a group of book clubs that includes Book-of-the-Month ClubÂ®, The Literary GuildÂ®, Doubleday Book ClubÂ®, Mystery GuildÂ®, and The Good CookÂ®, I hear the early buzz about what will soon be hot in everything from autobiography to zoology. In any week, my colleagues and I review hundreds of upcoming books to choose those that really deliver, whether itâ€™s with fascinating characters, an unforgettable story, a vicarious thrill, a wealth of useful information or compelling inspiration.
Hands-down, the best thing about my job is finding that hidden gem, a novel that wasnâ€™t lavished with a huge marketing budget, not for lack of charm or quality, but because of a publisherâ€™s limited resources. When I can make a match between one of these unsung heroes and a grateful reader, then Iâ€™ve done my job well!