One of the nifty things about a blog is that you can easily revisit recipes and make revisions, while learning more about baking, and sharing those discoveries, as you go. When I wrote Ready for Dessert, I was able to update my favorite recipes, many created over a decade ago, and I had fun including the changes I’d made over the years.
Results tagged cookbook from David Lebovitz
A couple of books have been resting on my nightstand for the past few weeks and I’ve been enjoying dipping into each, back and forth. They’re quite different and I didn’t expect to take a shine to them both as much as I did. Both of these authors and books are about teaching people to cook, from different eras and in different styles. And the more I read of each, the more I realized how much the two intersect.
Cooking is something that’s always evolving, whether it’s figuring out how to make a good French baguette in an American kitchen or presenting a technique for making risotto in just seven minutes. The first book is based on the correspondence of a familiar face, someone who wrote a book five decades ago that few thought anyone would have any interest in. And the second is from two modern-day faces that are pushing to evolve what we eat even further, based on a new cooking style brimming with new ideas, techniques, and flavor combinations.
As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
Although many people enjoyed the film Julie & Julia, I would venture to guess that the actual characters are more interesting, and even richer, than what was possible to present on a film screen. Anyone who has watched even one short episode of The French Chef with Julia Child knows that a few minutes of her roasting a chicken tells you just about all you want to know about her. And on the other side, although I didn’t read the original Julie/Julia blog or book, I’m sure she’s a more multifaceted than depicted as well. The film enjoyed a lot of success and pulled Julia Child back into our collective memories.
In this age of e-mail, tweets, and text messages, quite a bit of our lives get lost into cyberspace as we type short notes, then hit the delete button once the information has been processed. The art of letter-writing is on the wane, but evidence of how much we’ve lost can discovered in the pages of As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. Fortunately Child and DeVoto were avid writers and their fervent letters were preserved, and archived, then sorted through by Joan Reardon for this rare look at not just how a cookbook gets published, but a glimpse into the lives of two dynamic women living in separate cultures and gradually discovering what connects them.
2010 was a very big year for cookbooks. And when I say “big”, I don’t just mean there were plenty of great cookbooks published this year, but some of them were huge. Ready for Dessert tipped the baker’s scale at over 3-pounds, and subsequent books that continued throughout the year tested the limits of my strength, such as Bon Appétit Desserts, which weighs in at a whopping 6-pounds.
But as they say, “Size doesn’t matter” and I found myself attracted to a variety of cookbooks of all dimensions. Here are a few cookbooks, baking tomes, and food-related books that were released this year or that I featured on the site in 2010.
You’d never know that Dorie Greenspan only spends one-third of her time in Paris because after reading through this massive collection of three hundred fabulous recipes, she nails the city and the food, including stories and recipes from the restaurants, markets, and most endearingly, her stable of Parisian friends—which makes mine look like the unwashed masses. Her moist French Apple Cake was enjoyed from breakfast around here, and eating cake for breakfast probably isn’t very French, but tant pis.
Like most men (and it seems from my previous post, quite a few women, married or otherwise), have a crush on Sophia Loren. My passion was aroused when I walked by the Librairie Gastéréa and saw her beaming face as she lovingly rolled out sheets of pasta on the book jacket parked enticingly in their window.
So I was happy to have a chance to go inside and see the collection of Henri-Daniel and Tania Wibaut, who’ve owned this shop for about six years.
Seeing as I don’t get out as much as I’d like to, I’ve never really thought about what would be my “desert island” cake. Or should I say “dessert island” cake? As in, what is the one cake that I would want with me if I couldn’t have any other kind. Chocolate figures largely into the equation, but as much as I love Chocolate Orbit Cake or a custard-filled Coconut Cake, I’d have to say that this Almond Cake would be the one that I would choose to sustain me through thick and thin.
We made almond cake at least once weekly when I baked at Chez Panisse, which I’ve adapted from one of my baking bibles, Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere. Lindsey was the executive pastry chef of the restaurant, and co-owner, since the beginning, and she told me she used cook and bake everything in a home oven stowed away in a shed behind the restaurant, which is those days, was akin to the backyard in Berkeley. I always imagine something like a kid’s rickety fort, except one that smelled a little better.
Dinner at Hidden Kitchen
On May 13, I’ll be hosting a dinner at the always-booked Hidden Kitchen in association with the folks at Context Travel. Local food gem Meg Zimbeck will join me, and aside from a super dinner, guests will also get a copy of my upcoming book, Ready For Dessert.
There’s just a few spaces left, It’s now sold out, so if you’ve been dying to try Hidden Kitchen, or would like to get a closer look at that worrisome bald spot that appears to be growing on the backside of my head, you can e-mail your name to be on the waiting list.
During a recent book event in Paris at a local bouquiniste, I met up with Alain Huchet, who sells an extraordinary selection of vintage cookbooks, menus, and gravures, all relating to the pleasures of food and wine.
Naturally, the selection is heavily tilted toward French gastronomy, and I was a kid in a confiserie when I began rifling through the stacks of books. I’ve seen some extraordinary collections of cookbooks; including a pretty good one I left behind : (
But if I had the space to start up again (and beaucoup de euros), this is where I’d start.
Still, looking is free, and look I did. I’m a sucker for any cookbook dedicated to candymaking, baking, and the pastry arts, especially the old French ones, with their faded colored pictures of giant, dinged-up copper pots, and heavily-sugared candies lined up, glacéed and frosted within an inch (or centimeter, I should say) of their lives.