The 600s could be my favorite area of nonfiction. Traditional descriptions of the Dewey Decimal System identify the 600s as “applied sciences” or “medicine and technology.” Basically, this is where you find information on how people make use of science and nature. Books on gardening, parenting, exercise, health, car repair, business management, pets, cooking and more all make their home in the 600s. As a foodie, I love to browse the cookbooks and food memoirs, and here are a few gems I found in a recent stroll through the stacks.
- “Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys” by David Tanis.
“Time at the table is time well spent,” writes Tanis, chef at the critically-acclaimed restaurant Chez Panisse. Tanis does not give you thirty-minute meals or short cuts. Instead, he encourages you to enjoy the journey of cooking, of using seasonal and local ingredients and treating them with care. His techniques are simple, and his recipes are wrapped in eloquently written personal anecdotes. The first section of the book, in fact, deals entirely with his own intimate kitchen rituals, small bites or meals he makes for himself or how the act of peeling an apple can be like meditation. The meat of the book offers up menus to share with a family or gathering of friends. I personally cannot wait for spring to get here so I can try my hand at asparagus scrambled eggs and fennel soup.
- “Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer” by Novella Carpenter.
With a name like Novella, you’re kind of destined to be a writer. And as the child of a couple of back-to-the-land hippies, growing vegetables and raising pigs in the abandoned lot next to your inner-city Oakland home might also seem the natural thing to do. Carpenter describes her adventures in ghetto farming in a rollicking, wry style, making this food memoir stand out from the pack of recent books about local food movement experiments.
- “The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food” by Judith Jones.
If the name Judith Jones sounds familiar to you, chances are you’re a fan of Julia Child (or have at least read and/or watched “Julie and Julia,” the story of Julie Powell spending a year tackling every recipe in “The Art of French Cooking“). Jones is the editor who championed and published Child’s cookbook, and in this memoir, she details her life-long relationship with cuisine and the major role she played in this country’s food revolution.
Found any treasures while browsing the bottom shelves? Let us know in the comments!