The winter break gave each of us on the Edible Orlando staff a little extra time to find new friends received as gifts or bought with welcomed gift cards, to feed our word addiction, as well as to brush off some well-loved book on the shelf. With selections from how-to prepare new cuisine, to fiction set in and around food, you’ll notice a delicious thread.
Publisher Kendra Lott
My holiday read was a book I first read over a decade ago, My Kitchen Wars by acclaimed food historian Betty Fussell. It’s a gripping (and gossipy!) post-WWII memoir about her rocky marriage to a distinguished college professor, with luscious details about the lavish Julia Child-inspired dinner parties she threw in order to sublimate her thwarted ambitions to be an academic herself. Food, philandering and fun facts!
Editor Katie Farmand
I’m reading My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life right now, Ruth Reichl’s latest book, which is a recipe book intertwined with her account of the year following the closing of Gourmet magazine. She is such an incredible storyteller, and the recipes are written very casually — like an email from a friend. It’s delicious in every way.
Managing Editor Pam Brandon
For Christmas I received a fabulous storybook, Far Afield, Rare Food Encounters From Around the World, that takes you to Japan, India, Kenya, France, Iceland, Mexico, Hawaii, Peru and Uruguay with photos, stories, and recipes — perfect for armchair traveling this time of year. Wakame Butter Scallops from Kyoto, Japan; Lomo Saltado from Peru; Xocolatl from Mexico… mmmmmm!
Editor-at-Large Heather McPherson
I recently revisited Frank Stitt’s Southern Table. Even with its thick Alabama accent, the same flavors and textures can be found in Central Florida. From the Chicken Saute With Lemon, Capers and Breadcrumbs (thank you Lake Meadow Naturals for the protein) to Winter Fruits (Florida oranges and grapefruit) in Spiced Syrup, each recipe showcases the potential of our region. Stitt has a gift for range and restraint so that plates are nicely balanced.
Contributing Writer Kirsten Harrington
Just finished reading Super Sushi Ramen Express and loved the detailed descriptions of the fish markets, ramen dishes, and other exotic creations. The author brought his wife and two kids along, so reading about his children’s impressions of eating snake and sushi was fun, too.
Contributing Writer Robin Draper
I have lots of cookbooks, but my favorite standby is Good Catch, Recipes & Stories Celebrating the best of Florida Waters. Why? Because I am a huge proponent of everything Florida — including seafood (and all food) from Florida. It’s my go-to cookbook, for everything… seafood identification, recipes, best restaurants, and how-tos.
Contributing Writer Brooke Fehr
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. My Life in France, by Julia Child and Paul Prud’Homme, chronicles Julia’s time in Paris in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as she awakens to her calling as cook and cookbook writer. My favorite thing about the book? It shows that you’re never too old to find — and pursue — your passion.
I love Julia for her graciousness her frankness. And when I need a go-to method or guideline, I often find it in Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking. Her quiche and pastry never fail me!
Contributing Writer Rona Gindin
I’m obsessed with books by former restaurant critics and by regular folks seeking the origins of foods, yet I found myself oddly drawn into No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of a Chef. Maybe I enjoyed the book because the author, Norman Van Aken, has two restaurants in Central Florida so I have a frame of reference. Honestly, though, I think I enjoyed it because Van Aken wrote it himself and he wrote it skillfully—with heart. The tome is a realistic look at what goes on in kitchens, and in chefs’ minds and lives, that guests never see.
Social Media Kelly Green
Monica Bhide has me dreaming of my bucket-list item of visiting India with her fiction book Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken. We all know that food heals the body, but Eshaan must discover if it heals the spirit as well. Smell and taste your way through India while rooting for the protagonist to find a way to fill his hunger. When you put it down, find ways of reaching the hungry where you live.
What literary finds currently have you drooling?