walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

books

I dunno if I've mentioned these; I'm going to assume not and apologize if I'm being repetitive.

I finally got around to reading _Dead as a Doornail_, the current Charlaine Harris (author)/Stackhouse (character) in mass market paper (I won't buy these in hardcover. Yet.). The Bards appear from Shakespeare! That was kinda cool. No big role; just shakes Sookie up a bit. I really want to know if Lily is pregnant again. :(

I'm in the middle of _A Fistful of Charms_, the latest Kim Harrison. Jenks is big (Rachel is now working demon magic with Ceri's assistance) and they're in Mackinaw tracking down Jax and Nick and some artifact. I have high hopes we'll see Rachel were (as in, change shape to an animal) some time in the course of this book.

I'm also in the middle of _The United States of Arugula_ by David Kamp, a gossipy survey of foodie culture in the US, more or less starting with Childs, Claiborne and Beard and moving along swiftly from there. He gives a bit of an overview of earlier than that, which is nice, because he includes gossipy bits about writers on that topic (Levenstein, Hess, etc.). For the first chapter or so, I kept going, I have that book, and that book, and that book. It was a little odd, even for me.

Most of my 20th century stuff comes from Shapiro (Perfection Salad, Something from the Oven), so not on the foodie end, but more what they were reacting against. Of course I know the Pike Place Market story, but I didn't know anything about how Dean & Deluca got started, or Williams-Sonoma, or The Silver Palette (I had thought the cookbook was before the shop, and boy was that wrong). I knew some of the Chez Panisse story from _Organics Inc_ and its discussion of the baby lettuces craze; Kamp seems quite comfortable going into detail about who was sleeping with whom, when (and who wound up needing legal representation when they dove into a drug-soaked hole and knifed someone). There's a good chunk on Wolfgang Puck, and tiny bits about everyone from Tassajara to Moosewood, Niman Ranch, Whole Foods, balsalmic vinegar, sundried tomatos. . .

I don't know that I would rely on this guy for comprehensive (he notes that he didn't cover regional as well as the two coasts, and he's very New York/Bay Area centric within the coasts). While he is happy telling you some sharply opinionated stuff, he's usually quoting someone _else's_ opinion, and giving you chapter and verse on how he came by that opinion. Until I hear he's unreliable, I think this is the good stuff.

And a ton of fun to read. I haven't finished it yet, so I don't know how well he covers the Food Network; it looks promising.
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