Two books on food, with plenty of similarities. Both books seem to require dipping in and out, as they are collections of articles (in the case of the Apple book) and short anecdotes and tidbits of information (in the case of the Salter book). Johnny Apple is the more well-known foodie, having written for the New York Times:
“For years and years there wasnt a food and travel writer alive who didn’t want to be Johnny Apple and have his expense account and his wife Betsey – preferably both. But what they didn’t have, as this feast of a collection demonstrates on every page, was his style, gusto and encyclopedic field of reference. Not to mention his diligence.”
James Salter (who co-wrote the book with his wife Kay) is more known for his literary career, but his (and his wife’s) love for food is obvious. Like Apple, they have traveled around the world and enjoyed many a memorable meal. Apple’s articles of course are more in-depth, more researched, whereas Salter’s book is, as its title states, A Food Lover’s Book of Days. I might have read both of these books faster than they are meant to be read – to be dipped into here and there, really. But the library’s due date was approaching and I didn’t want to renew yet another book.
Perhaps because the Salters’ book is a little more personal, I enjoyed it a little more (I also preferred the simpler, more elegant cover – as well as the wonderful illustrations by Fabrice Moireau – some of his illustrations of Paris can be found here). Besides nuggets of information about ingredients and foods of all kinds, they tell of their dinner parties at home, both successes and what they deem to be failures (although the guests remember it otherwise).
I especially liked Kay’s entry on 7 August, ‘First Home-cooked Meal’ where Kay tells of the first time she cooks for James – a quiche lorraine in 1973. The entry ends with:
“Was it a perfect lunch or a perfect dinner? Whichever, it was only the first.”