This book, The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution (2007) is the latest in a series of wonderful books about cooking by the brilliant Alice Waters who first came to our notice with her books about Chez Panisse.
I don't cook much, but I nonetheless borrow Alice Waters' books from the library because they aren't just a collection of recipes. They are informative and entertaining discussions about food: where to get it, how to handle it, how to combine it, how to serve it.
This book is no different except that it covers more ground than Waters' Chez Panisse Fruit, Chez Panisse Desserts, and other earlier books. The book is worth reading for the chapter on beans alone. Check it out.
Serendipity Day at the library is always fun for me. I wander around and pick books off the shelf almost arbitrarily and take them home to look them over. Usually I find I'm not all that interested in the book about agronomy in subtropical Africa or the latest novel by somebody I've never heard of (and will never hear of again), but sometimes I hit on a treasure.
Such a treasure is The Book Lover's Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them, by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen.
Recipes range from tea cakes (mentioned in The Great Gatsby) and oatmeal cookies (apparently that was the kind of cookie envisioned in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie) to Mr Casaubon's Chicken Noodle Soup (from Middlemarch) to pork roast with cabbage (served by Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.)
There is so much food in literature. The book offers a recipe for oysters (mentioned in "The Walrus and the Carpenter"), fried green tomatoes (featured at the Whistle Stop Cafe), strawberry fudge (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), liniment cake (Anne of Green Gables), tarts ("Mr and Mrs Dove," by Katherine Mansfield and Jane Eyre), punch (Pride and Prejudice), onion soup (Les Miserables), and . . . and . . . and . . .
Along with quotations from the books that inspired these recipes are quotations about books and reading, all of them inspiring. I haven't made anything from these recipes, but the book is so readable I don't need to use it in that way to enjoy it.
"My family can always tell when I'm well into a novel, because the meals get very crummy." -- Ann Tyler
Tillamook ice cream may just be the most delicious food in the world. Certainly it's the most perfect ice cream. It comes from a dairy in (you guessed it) Tillamook, OR.
The town of Tillamook was founded by Scandinavian dairy farmers at the end of the 19th century. The lush Oregon coast grasses made for heavenly cow pastures, but what to do with all the milk?
The obvious answer -- at least it was obvious to the coastal dwelling farmers -- was to make it into cheese and sail it up the coast to Seattle.
These folks and their cows have been making cheese, butter, and ice cream since 1909 and they're getting better at it all the time. Alas, you can get Tillamook ice cream only in Washington, Oregon, and northern California.