I140004120101_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_v56508045_ chose 2 of the handful of cooking books that came out this summer.  Cooking has become a huge industry.  Even last night when we returned to the Little Owl – still excellent – Gabriel, one of the owners, proudly told us that the chef will be in 2 episodes on Food Network in the fall.  He is going to be a contestant on Iron Chef – that is huge – and he is one of five chefs chosen for a special Thanksgiving cook off.  You must tune in to find out who wins both.  So, food is big.

As a rule, I have found all of the food related books start off with a big bang and fizzle out in the end.  Wolfgang Puck, Julia Child and Jacques Pepins life stories.  Michael Ruhlman’s, the Making of A Chef and the Soul of a Chef.  Even his latest, The Reach of a Chef.  Regardless, they were all enjoyable and each had some memorable chapters.

Heat by Bill Buford kept me going until the last 45 pages.  I assume he was thinking about "when you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" when he came up with the title.  I finished the book but could have done without each tale.  What is intriguing about Buford’s book is he actually did what every at home cook, who loves to cook and has thought about opening a restaurant or become a caterer or going to culinary school, dreams about.  With that thought in mind, it is a very insightful and fun to read his book.  The realities of working in a restaurant vs. working your kitchen. 

Bill learned how to bone a duck because he boned 150 of them at a sitting.  His love of food and the history of food is clear through out the book.  He really enjoyed the path he took.  He began in Mario Batali’s kitchen at Babbo.  Then took that to another level and went over to Italy and study the art of making pasta.  That wasn’t enough so he went back to Italy to work with the master of pork (the same guy that Mario’s Dad learned from).  Then decided he should go back one more time and learn about beef since he already mastered pork.  Next? 

If you love to cook.  Read the book.  Even if you don’t get through the end.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Shelley (Pink House)

    I agree completely with you about this book. I’ve been reading this since it first came out. At first I really liked the book – couldn’t stop. Then slowed down in the middle because it seemed to skip around and jump from one topic to another. Then it just bogged down for me in the pasta-making chapter. I felt the writing fell apart. Or perhaps the editing. I’m going to make myself finish it, but I wish it would have been as good as the beginning all the way through.
    I’m assuming you’ve read Amanda Hesser’s book, “Cooking for Mr. Latte” ? I LOVED that one all the way to the end.

  2. Peter

    What about The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan? A slightly different beast but it doesn’t really peter out at all. By the way, ate at Little Owl last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. As an added bonus, it’s in the building that’s the exterior shot for the apartment building in Friends where they all live.