One of the places I definitely wanted to take my mom to was the Fremont library. It is, after all, one of my favorite hangouts! So we hit the library to check out some cookbooks and magazines for the rest of her stay here.
Here’s what I picked up:
Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen – Elizabeth Andoh
I can’t remember where I first heard of this book, but it is gorgeous! And oh, Japanese food… my favourite.
In 1975, Gourmet magazine published a series on traditional Japanese food —the first of its kind in a major American food magazine — written by a graduate of the prestigious Yanagihara School of classical cuisine in Tokyo. Today, the author of that groundbreaking series, Elizabeth Andoh, is recognized as the leading English-language authority on the subject. She shares her knowledge and passion for the food culture of Japan in Washoku, an authoritative, deeply personal tribute to one of the world ’s most distinctive culinary traditions. Andoh begins by setting forth the ethos of washoku (traditional Japanese food), exploring its nuanced approach to balancing flavor, applying technique, and considering aesthetics hand-in-hand with nutrition. With detailed descriptions of ingredients complemented by stunning full-color photography, the book’s comprehensive chapter on the Japanese pantry is practically a book unto itself. The recipes for soups, rice dishes and noodles, meat and poultry, seafood, and desserts are models of clarity and precision, and the rich cultural context and practical notes that Andoh provides help readers master the rhythm and flow of the washoku kitchen. Much more than just a collection of recipes, Washoku is a journey through a cuisine that is rich in history and as handsome as it is healthful.
The Moon Opera – Bi Feiyu
Nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008
The debut novel of one of China’s rising young literary talents—a gem of a book that takes a piercing look into the world of Chinese opera and its female stars In a fit of diva jealousy, Xiao Yanqiu, star of The Moon Opera, disfigures her understudy with boiling water. Spurned by the troupe, she turns to teaching.
Twenty years later, a rich cigarette-factory boss offers to underwrite a restaging of the cursed opera, but only on the condition that Xiao Yanqiu return to the role of Chang’e. So she does, this time believing she has fully become the immortal moon goddess.
Set against the drama, intrigue, jealousy, retribution, and redemption of backstage Peking opera, The Moon Opera is a stunning portrait of women in a world that simultaneously reveres and restricts them. Bi Feiyu, one of China’s young literary stars, re-creates all the temptations and triumphs of the stage the world over in this gem of a novel.
Integrating both Maori myth and New Zealand reality, The Bone People became the most successful novel in New Zealand publishing history when it appeared in 1984. Set on the South Island beaches of New Zealand, a harsh environment, the novel chronicles the complicated relationships between three emotional outcasts of mixed European and Maori heritage. Kerewin Holmes is a painter and a loner, convinced that “to care for anything is to invite disaster.” Her isolation is disrupted one day when a six-year-old mute boy, Simon, breaks into her house. The sole survivor of a mysterious shipwreck, Simon has been adopted by a widower Maori factory worker, Joe Gillayley, who is both tender and horribly brutal toward the boy. Through shifting points of view, the novel reveals each character’s thoughts and feelings as they struggle with the desire to connect and the fear of attachment.
Compared to the works of James Joyce in its use of indigenous language and portrayal of consciousness, The Bone People captures the soul of New Zealand. After twenty years, it continues to astonish and enrich readers around the world.
Bold as Love – Gwyneth Jones
I’ve yet to read anything by Jones, so why not start with this one which won the Arthur Clarke Award in 2002.
The Home Secretary of the UK decides to recruit a Countercultural Think Tank of pop stars in order to make the government look too cool to be overthrown. It’s just another publicity stunt for the rockers, until the shooting begins. Now, Slater and her friends must find a way to stay alive, and overthrow the dominant social order, while the UK disintegrates under their feet. Will rock & roll’s revolutionary promise finally deliver, or will ethnic violence drown hippie idealism in rivers of blood? Either way, the world will never be the same.
And here’s what my mom got:
Fresco: Modern Tuscan Cooking for All Seasons– Marion and Vincent Scotto
This collection of 120 delectable recipes from Fresco by Scotto, a popular Tuscan-style restaurant in New York, features healthy, uncomplicated dishes using the freshest produce of each season. Forty full-color photos depict the dishes and the ingredients used to make them.
Confessions of a French Baker: Breadmaking Secrets, Tips, and Recipes – Peter Mayle and Gerard Auzet
Attention bread lovers!
In the first of his famous books about Provence, Peter Mayle shared with us news of a bakery in the town of Cavaillon where the baking and appreciation of breads “had been elevated to the status of a minor religion.” Its name: Chez Auzet.
Now, several hundred visits later, Mayle has joined forces with Gerard Auzet, the proprietor of this most glorious of Provençal bakeries, to tell us about breadmaking at its finest.
Mayle takes us into the baking room to witness the birth of a loaf. We see the master at work–slapping, rolling, squeezing, folding, and twisting dough as he sculpts it into fougasses, bâtards, and boules.
Auzet then gives us precise, beautifully illustrated instructions for making sixteen kinds of bread, from the classic baguette to loaves made with such ingredients as bacon, apricots, hazelnuts, garlic, and green and black olives. There are tips galore, the tricks of the trade are revealed, and along the way Mayle relates the delightful history of four generations of Auzet bakers.
One of Provence’s oldest and most delicious pleasures is now available at a kitchen near you, thanks to this charming guide. Read, bake, and enjoy.
Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy – Frances Mayes
Frances Mayes, whose enchanting #1 New York Times bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun made the world fall in love with Tuscany, invites us back for a delightful new season of friendship, festivity, and food, there and throughout Italy.
A companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany is Frances Mayes’s passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa’s ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives her lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life. Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.
Who can resist a chickpea fritter in Nice, a kebab in Athens, an aniseed cookie in Tuscany, hummus in Tel Aviv, stuffed zucchini in Genoa, or a potato omelet in Spain? Cold or hot, sweet or savory, street food is everyone’s temptation.
Anissa Helou loves street food. When she travels, she stops at every tea cart, sandwich stand, and candy stall to trade stories with local vendors and learn the recipes that tempt the crowds. Join her on a fascinating adventure around the Mediterranean, where eating on the street is a way of life. Learn the secret ingredients to the perfect Stuffed Mussels sold on the streets of Istanbul. Come along to a Berber woman’s Moroccan Bread stall in Marrakech. Buy a sweet, sticky Semolina Cake from a cart in Cairo. From simple salads to fragrant barbecues to irresistible dips and drinks, each dish can be enjoyed on its own, or two or three may be combined to make a meal. With lively black-and-white photographs from Anissa’s travels and more than eighty-five fast, flexible, flavorful recipes, Mediterranean Street Food offers home cooks the chance to experience the tastes of distant lands without leaving the kitchen.
This is a book for people who love those markets. For people who are happy to wander through the streets of their cities and come upon places where the air smells of peaches and corn and farmers sell fruits and vegetables they pulled from the dirt only hours earlier. It is, above all, a book for people who understand that good products demand only one thing of a cook: Respect.
Energizing, Inspiring, Edible, and Exciting: That’s what bestselling author Katherine Whiteside says gardening ought to be. Whether you have a half acre of land in the country or a tiny patch of grass in the city, whether you’re an experienced digger or you’ve never held a trowel, Whiteside offers forty-one versatile projects that will make anyone into a proud gardener.
In The Way We Garden Now, Whiteside, known as House Beautiful’s Garden Goddess, tackles every aspect of creating beautiful and personal gardens, from making a new bed to adding decorative details. Always down-to-earth, Whiteside believes that “fretting over having a perfect garden is not fun, but getting out there and accomplishing basic garden goals will always leave you happily fulfilled.” To that end, she shows how to create the garden that’s just right for you by mixing and matching projects according to your skill level, space limitations, climate, and even how much time you have. The Way We Garden Now is graced with whimsical watercolors, fun sidebars, and Whiteside’s expert tips. In five accessible sections, she teaches you how to:
-Get going with ten easy, manageable projects that will turn your yard into a garden while helping you master basic garden chores
-Surmount design dilemmas with solutions such
as hedges, paths, and patios
-Organize ornamentals—from containers to a
-Add edibles: Start a small salad garden that can evolve into an organic herb and vegetable potager
-Be a gardener for all seasons with summer bulbs, winter gardens, spring shows, and more…
With all the information about the supplies you’ll need, preparations to make, and even a helpful rating of how big an undertaking each project is, this is an indispensable book from a wise and witty mentor—a gardener who has been there and tried that.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
What did you get from your library this week?