Books are probably the collective item that have made me happiest in my life. I've been an avid reader since I was little. In recent years I have tried to branch out a bit and try and balance my favourite kind of reading (trash crime novels) with good quality writing. Food writers now take up some space on my shelves; Ruth Reichl and Jeffrey Steingarten are two favourites. Ruth writes beautifully and frankly, drawing mainly on her own life and Jeffrey writes with the kind of compelling intensity best demonstrated by his food experiments: creating a meat aging locker out of his refrigerator, with an electric fan jammed inside to maintain humidity and air flow.
In New Zealand I get my food writing pleasure by reading either Cuisine Magazine, or Ray McVinnie's weekly offering in the Sunday Star-Times. I've been so pleased to see him on Masterchef. Now I can imagine his voice when reading his work!
I was particularly pleased to come across the Penguin 'Great Food' series at Moore Wilsons the other day.
They are collections of food essays, mainly American writers who have published in the New Yorker or New York Times. Titles I purchased:
Calvin Trillin 'Eating with the Pilgrims'
Dr A W Chase 'Buffalo Cake and Indian Pudding.'
Hannah Glasse 'Everlasting Syllabub and the Art of Carving' (English book for housewives in the eighteenth century)
Pellegrino Artusi 'Exciting Food for Southern Types.' (Italian cooking from the nineteenth century)
Like all Penguin books, the titles are very reasonably priced - these were $12 each.
I keep rediscovering how awesome our local library is too. I've been downloading ebooks from their site, and instead of going to online bookstores to purchase books that I just have to read, I've been reserving them online. Each week when I go to the library there is another reserve waiting for me. It is great. This week I've reserved 'Charcuterie' as I'm keen to find out more about meat preserving. My very short online researching tells me that this is the definitive guide. Since it costs $80 to buy I think I'll keep the peace and just borrow this one!