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With liberty <em>au jus</em> for all

Tasty reads

“THE UNITED STATES OF ARUGULA: HOW WE BECAME

A GOURMET NATION ”

Restaurant gossip meets food-culture sociology in this addictive read by Vanity Fair arts writer and irreverent foodie David Kamp. His new book traces America’s gastronomic shift over the past 50 years, name checking every figure from Pierre Franey to Larry Forgione and showing how we moved from convenience foods to “Iron Chef” competitions. The season’s best culinary history, from the co-author of “The Film Snob’s Dictionary.” Who knew? (Broadway Books, Sept. 12)

“HEAT”

Since its release, “Heat” has, well, lived up to its name, generating quite a bit of it. New Yorker staffer Bill Buford chronicles his bustling, grease-spattered, knife-wielding stint in the cramped kitchen of Mario Batali’s NY hot spot, Babbo, as well as an apprenticeship with, among others, a poetic butcher in Chianti. Buford gives the phrase “Slaves of New York” new meaning. By Bill Buford (Knopf).

“MY LIFE IN FRANCE”

Like a long-simmered cassoulette, “My Life in France” had been brewing in Julia Child’s mind since 1969 – “the France book” she used to call it. In the last years of her life, she got together with her grandnephew Alex Prud’homme to write about her time in France, the seminal years that shaped her love and knowledge of French cooking. A sensual, tender, memoir bursting with evocative black and white photos as well as Child’s signature joie de vivre .By Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme (Knopf).

FOOD & BOOZE : A TIN HOUSE LITERARY FEAST ”

From Elissa Schappell’s “Ode to a Martini” to Lydia Davis on “Eating fish alone” – Food & Booze is a witty and whimsical literary buffet of culinary essays and recipes from seven years of Tin House magazine. Also includes pieces from Grace Paley, Steve Almond and Francine Prose, among others. Illustrations by Nicole J. Georges (Tin House Books).

“THE BON APPETIT COOKBOOK”

On the occasion of its 50 th anniversary, Bon Appetit has gathered over 1,200 recipes from its archives – everything from basic soups and salads to meatless entrees and cocktails. Especially helpful is “Notes from the test kitchen,” a section of “tips, techniques and advice” from the magazine’s editors. Added bonus: purchase of the book comes with a year-long subscription to Bon Appetit Magazine . Edited By Barbara Fairchild (Wiley).