Published September/October 2010
A Chapel Hill resident and acclaimed cookbook author (her latest is A Love Affair With Southern Cooking) who’s a member of the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, Jean Anderson knows that all cookbooks
aren’t created equal. Here, she shares her picks for the three cookbooks every home chef should keep at the ready.
By Nick Malgieri
I trust this über pastry chef implicitly and own all of his cookbooks. Being a devout chocoholic, however, and being forced to pick just one Malgieri book, I choose Chocolate. I have watched Malgieri work with chocolate, temper it, tame it, curl it, ruffle it, shave it and shape it into flowers of extraordinary delicacy. These are the magician’s tricks he passes along before dishing up a to-die-for collection of pies and pastries, cakes, cookies and candies.
How America Eats
By Clementine Paddleford
Before Craig Claiborne there was Clem, the first journalist to cover regional American cooking seriously, to criss-cross this country by land, sea and air (sometimes piloting her own Piper Cub). Paddleford wrote with substance, style and refreshing doses of sass. On commuter trains heading into NYC from Westchester, Long Island and elsewhere, her New York Herald Tribune food features were required reading – discussions of them soon followed over cups of office coffee.This book puts Paddleford’s best columns and recipes between two covers, and it’s worth seeking out online or in antiquarian bookstores. Note: For a lively biography of this feisty Kansan who conquered New York, check out Hometown Appetites (Gotham, 2008). It was co-authored by Chapel Hillian Kelly Alexander and Cynthia Harris, manuscript/collections archivist at Kansas State University.
Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets
By Deborah Madison
Broadway Books, 2002
I think Madison’s a genius and thought so the instant I tasted her beet soup at a little Santa Fe restaurant years ago. It was the color of crushed carnelians, its flavor deeply earthy. Decades later, when I lunched with Madison at her Santa Fe home, she served another amazing soup – a recipe test for a cookbook-in-progress that was a perfectly seasoned blend of butternut squash and tofu. I was stunned to hear her say, “I am not a vegetarian” (she’s the author of several brilliant vegetarian cookbooks). What Madison is – no question – is a locavore, the farmer’s best friend and maybe his fairy godmother, too. I find the recipes in Local Flavors both inspired and approachable – things like white pizza with sage, warm corn custard with berries, chilled sun gold soup and rustic tart of quinces, apples and pears. Just leafing through this book makes me grab my steno pad. I’m scribbling a shopping list because I’ve got a heavy date with the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. CHM