Back to school in editorial land means delivery upon delivery of fall’s most exciting book titles. For a food editor, this equals a delicious pile of noteworthy cookbooks, and 2014 is ushering in no less than a smorgasbord from some of my favorite chefs and restaurants.
It's official. Print is not dead. The 2011 fall cookbooks have been landing on my desk as swiftly as leaves from an autumnal tree—with a bit more of a thud. Here are my picks.
DO-THE-RIGHT THING BOOKS
After reporting on the publishing experiments turning up around San Francisco, we asked the city’s writers what they’re reading these days, and they were happy to share. Look for Required Reading every week.
Sasha Wizansky is a founding editor of Meatpaper, the print quarterly about all things meat and carnivorous culture. She is author of Your New Glass Eye.
Magazines: I've always been interested in periodicals, especially the quirky and independent ones, and it seems my subscription list keeps growing: Cabinet, Esopus, Bidoun, Gastronomica, Print, Diner Journal, The Believer, McSweeney's, and The New Yorker. My life would be pretty different if the New Yorker ceased to exist. An ideal rainy day activity is curling up on the couch with a pile of print, which, it turns out, is nowhere near dead.
Novels: I haven't really caught on to micro-blogging or other short-form communication, and too much onscreen reading makes me dizzy. A good chunky novel still has the power to seduce me, especially when it spins an old-fashioned yarn. I keep up with Jonathan Lethem's novels for his vivid and offbeat storytelling. I loved the characters and slippery satire of Chronic City.
Meat of the Matter
Marissa Guggiana’s Primal Cuts (Welcome Books, $38) is proof that our obsession with butchery and whole-beast cooking hasn’t yet reached a saturation point. Filled with interviews from butchers and chefs, recipes, and charts (on topics like sharing a cow)—Guggiana’s book is a modern meat manual that celebrates the craft of old-world butchery and sustainably-raised meat without resorting to overwrought praise and glorification.
As the second part of our series of guest food bloggers, 7x7 welcomes food stylist Katie Christ. Katie worked as Culinary Producer for the first season of Top Chef and in 2008, she won the first ever Food Network Challenge for food stylists. Tune in to get a taste of Katie's inspirations as she eats and drinks her way through our fair city.
Get out of the kitchen and read something, will ya?
As a chef, I think one of the most important things you can do is to continue learning. This can be accomplished in several ways, including doing a stage at another chef's restaurant, watching interesting food shows on TV (and by interesting, I mean Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmerman, not Rachel "EVOO" Ray), and by reading books. Lots and lots of books. I have a ton of food-related books, mostly piled in my office at work, because there's no place to put them in my little apartment. Behold a list of my favorites:
As they say: Don’t judge a dog walker by its cover … or something like that.
Celia Sack, whose identity for the past 10 years has been as co-owner of the Noe Valley Pet Co., is pretty much the last person you’d think would make the leap from selling Nyla bones to antiquated cookbooks. On November 8th, she's opening Omnivore: Books on Food, located just around the corner from the Pet Co. on Cesar Chavez in a former butcher shop. (When she told me this I had a butcher shop déjà vu—like everything these days is being opened in a former butcher shop—call me crazy.) You also might not assume that Sack has a library of 5,000 books stored in the Castro District home that she shares with her partner Paula Harris (the other owner of the Pet Co.). Formerly a rare book specialist at Pacific Book Auction Galleries, Sack will be carrying hundreds of books—both brand, spanking new and very, very old—on everything from raising pigs to cooking pork.
This is such an obvious fit for SF.
There so many great cookbook stores around the country but none here. I love to cook and my collecting interest has always been food books, particularly ‘Victorian era professional’—they’re not cookbooks, they’re more about how to set up a pastry shop and display your popular penny cakes in a display. For some reason that’s fascinating to me.