I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading over the last little while. Much of it revolves around food, but there are books of theology and detective fiction. As I’ve been reading I’m discovering that not everything I’ve read, allows for the longer-form posts that I’m trying to write. So beginning this month, I plan on doing a reading roundup.
Another fascinating book on the slave era roots of Southern Cooking and Hospitality.
I still intend on doing some of the longer posts such as finishing of the trilogy of posts that I began with Holy Hungry, and I will in the next week or so be posting my thoughts on Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police, series. However, I hope at the end of each month to post some reflections on the various books I’ve completed in that month.
Bound to the Fire is one of the more recent publications that examines the complicated and tangled roots of Southern cuisine and culture, and the role that slaves played in creating that cuisine and culture. Continue reading →
Food and memory are linked together at the deepest level of our beings. A mere whiff of a pot of soup simmering on the back of a stove can take us back to childhood. It’s no surprise that on holiday occasions we pull out tried and true recipes, even if we only eat them once a year. It is not the flavours that we long for so much as the memories that come with them.
Few books capture this idea as well asBetween Meals: An Appetite for Paris. The book is A. J. Liebling’s love letter to the Paris that he knew as young man in the mid 1920’s. It is an enduring love, one which withstood the ravages of time and the changes brought to the city he loved. Perhaps one reason for this is that even through the advancing years the outline of the youthful beauty that had so thoroughly captivated Liebling lay still visible beneath the city’s altered surface.
Near the beginning of the book Liebling gives his credo as a food writer: “The primary requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite.” On that score it can undoubtedly be said that Liebling practiced what he preached. Between Meals is replete with descriptions of meals that seem fairly lavish, even when they seem to leave there host feeling ashamed.
A sample: (taken from when Liebling put in a brief stint as a rowing club member)
So we had, as hor d’oeuvre, only a crock of duck pâte, a crock of pâte of hare, a few tins of sardines, muzzle of beef, radishes and butter. Morin, who sat next to me, was almost abjectly apologetic. Two little girls in pigtails served the dinner. They were daughters of the caretaker. He was not the best of caretakers, Morin said, but his wife, the little girls’ mother, was an excellent cook… Continue reading →