The Newberry has an annual book fair and bibliophiles are able to find some incredible finds for ridiculously low prices. I love their cook books because I was able to find some really rare stuff there. The Newberry asked its patrons to tweet what they found. I don’t have a Twitter account, so I’m blogging it instead.
Justin Wilson’s Easy Cookin’: 150 Rib-Tickling Recipes for Good Eating by Justin Wilson. I used to love Justin Wilson. His catch phrase was “I garontee!” and he was known for his thick Louisiana accent. He’s also known for recording comedy albums before becoming a celebrity chef. He was also involved in Louisiana politics. I used to love watching his show as a kid, and remember his commercials for Ruffles potato chips. I probably won’t be cooking any of the recipes as none of them are heart-healthy – and some have local ingredients like turtle meat and alligator, which I won’t be able to find in Chicago. Still for nostalgia, I bought the book – and as an added bonus, it’s signed.
Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin. Jacques Pepin is a great French chef based in Connecticut. He’s a PBS legend with a few shows under his belt, including one he had with his daughter, Claudine. At one point he started to do “fast food” recipes, which weren’t copies of McDonald’s or Burger King, but instead easier versions of his dishes that one could cook during the week. Pepin is influenced by Julia Child, in that he’s trying to make French cooking more accessible to American audiences. He’s very charming on TV, very Gallic…
The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines – China, Greece, Rome: Delicious Recipes from the Cultures That Most Influenced Western Cooking by Jeff Smith. The Frugal Gourmet was my favorite cooking show on PBS. Jeff Smith was very enthusiastic about cooking – even though he lived in Tacoma, he recorded the show in Chicago, so I would sometimes recognize the restaurants, shops, and street he’d mention during the show. It was sad when he was caught in a sex abuse scandal – even sadder if it was true. Smith is a good food writer, knowing a lot about the history – he enjoys history a lot, and he incorporates history into his show, often putting together menus that would’ve been eaten in the past.
The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas: The History of the Season’s Traditions, with Recipes for the Feast by Jeff Smith. The Frugal Gourmet loved Christmas, and Jeff Smith had done several shows about Christmas – I have one on video, where he puts together a Colonial Christmas with dishes prepared during Colonial times. This book not only has recipes, but brief histories of Christmas traditions.
The Frugal Gourmet’s Culinary Handbook: An Updated Version of an American Classic on Food and Cooking by Jeff Smith and Craig Wollam. This isn’t a cookbook, but a glossary of various kitchen tools, ingredients, and staples. Wollam was Smith’s chef, and he sometimes appeared on the show, helping Smith out with some of the cooking.
Between Friends: M.F.K. Fisher and Me by Jeannette Ferrary. This book has a bit of a nostalgia thing for me – once when I was sick as a kid, my mom popped over to a Waterstone’s and got me a couple of this book (as well as Boy George’s excellent memoir). M.F.K. Fisher is an incredible food writer – one of the best – and this is a book about a young woman’s close friendship with the legendary food critic.
The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries edited by Maxim Jakubowski. I’m always on the lookout for new writers, and British mysteries are favorites of mine – this collection has Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) and John Mortimer who wrote the fantastic Rumpole of the Bailey series. I’m curious about the other writers – and I’m impressed at how many women are include in the book.
The Best British Stand-Up and Comedy Routines edited by Mike O’Brien. I found the cover fun with caricatures of Lenny Henry, John Cleese, Eddie Izzard, Rowan Atkinson, and Dudley Moore. This book also includes Steve Coogan, Monty Python, Bill Hicks, Greg Proops (Whose Line Is It Anyways?). It’s disappointing that the brilliant Jo Brand is the only woman included (Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Catherine Tate, Linda Smith would’ve been awesome inclusions, as well).
The I Hate to Cook Almanack: A Book f Days – Recipes & Relief for the Reluctant Cook and the Harried Houseperson by Peg Bracken. Bracken wrote the hilarious The I Hate to Cook Book, which has some wonderful recipes written with her withering wit and disgust for all things culinary. I haven’t read this book, so I thought it’ be a fun read.
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh. I love Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, so I picked this book up – it was only a dollar. I’ve never heard of it, but it was on a table full of paperbacks for cheap.