NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The epic tale of a brilliant woman who must reinvent herself to survive, moving from Mussolini’s Italy to 1940s Los Angeles—a timeless story of love, deceit, and sacrifice from the award-winning author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
In the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series, a series of possible attacks on British pilots leads Jacqueline Winspear's beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs into a mystery involving First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
More than ONE MILLION copies sold
A TODAY Show Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
A New York Times Notable Book, and Chosen by Oprah Daily, Time, NPR, The Washington Post and Barack Obama as a Best Book of the Year
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Propulsive . . . An absorbing look at small-town Maine and the thwarted dreams of a family trying to transcend it.”—Lee Cole, The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Named a Notable Book of 2021 by NPR and The Washington Post
From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen.
Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen ta
**INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
In the vein of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest, Tracey Lange’s We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame—and the redemptive power of love—in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.
A 2021 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Critical/Biographical
“Jacqueline Winspear has created a memoir of her English childhood that is every bit as engaging as her Maisie Dobbs novels, just as rich in character and detail, history and humanity. Her writing is lovely, elegant and welcoming.”—Anne Lamott
Winner of the SIBA Southern Book Prize for Fiction
“I loved it and devoured it with fury, straight to its blazing end.” —Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK
"A charming, hilarious, feel-good story about the kind of bonds & rivalries only sisters can share. Also, a great present for your sister for the holidays!!"--Reese Witherspoon
Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster.
After a sudden and terrible loss, how does a loving family find their way back to the goodness and peace they once shared? Reviewers and readers have called this literary historical novel "hauntingly beautiful," "a masterpiece of compassion," "a page-turner and an artistic triumph."
Whitaker's breakout novel weaves a crime novel with a western spin and features a self-proclaimed outlaw, 13-year old Duchess Day Radley. The story is based in fictional Cape Haven, a coastal California town in 2005. If a town has a personality, it’s "very Mendocino" in location and demographic. Thirty years prior, a girl was murdered, and teenage Vincent King was convicted as an adult. In present day, Vincent is released from prison, and another murder occurs after his return to Cape Haven. Duchess is related to both victims – Sissy and Star Radley.
The town police chief, “Walk” (Walker), is closely connected to Duchess, her 5-year old brother Robin, the victims, and Vincent King. Walk's personal aspirations and intentions may never have materialized, but he's making it his mission to protect Duchess from herself ...and the town from Duchess.
Through rich character development and a plot with twist and turns, the author has created a story of trust, letting go, and families – the kind that you are born with and, if you’re lucky, the type you acquire. This is a book that is hard to put down… a great read.
When the Stars Go Dark by bestselling author and friend of McLean & Eakin (multiple events!), Paula McLain has departed from historical fiction (The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun), and dropped a stunning psychological crime novel that is atmospheric in its refereces to a true-life abduction and real experience in the foster care system during similar time periods and locations.
Anna Hart is a successful and experienced missing-persons detective in San Francisco suddenly traumatized by her own parent's-worst-nightmare when her daughter is abducted. Hoping to find anonymity and solace, she eventually moves to Mendocino, the only place she felt at home with her foster parents growing up. But her escape coincides with a recent disappearance, and she is drawn into the investigation (unofficially) by local law enforcement – and another abduction occurs shortly thereafter. As she becomes obsessed with the cases, she feels they could be tied to similar unsolved tragedies from her childhood.
With poetic ease, Paula creates characters with issues, flaws, and strengths they never realized or valued. They feel personal, as does the time and place. Probably because, to an extent, they are. The heart of this story and McLain's writing chops are apparent from the beginning to the end of this book.
The Searcher is a departure from this prolific author’s Dublin Murder Squad series. Her protagonist, Cal Hooper, is retired from the Chicago Police Department; is partly estranged from his adult daughter; and is not over his semi-recent divorce. Cal has relocated, in search of quiet -in a tiny town in a small country- which he finds in the house he is renovating outside the (fictional) village of Ardnakelty in the West of Ireland. He is taking his time with the house and getting to know his neighbors and town.
Besides the nesting rooks on the edge of his property, Cal senses he is being watched. His watcher finally approaches – a scrappy adolescent named Trey Reddy. Though Trey is drawn in by Cal (or the other way around) and the work on the house, his ulterior motive eventually reveals itself. Trey’s beloved older brother, Brendan, disappeared months ago and Trey needs Cal’s help finding him. Cal is loath to take on exactly what he has tried to escape, but the local garda have been no help to Trey’s beleaguered family. They, and everyone else, seemingly believe Brendan left on his own accord.
As Cal delves into Brendan’s disappearance, his cop instincts seem to fail him - the harmless neighbor, clannish characters down at the local, and even the market owner and her sister are not all what he thought. At the same time, Cal also starts to rebuild a relationship through phone calls with his daughter, eight time zones away, while teaching Trey all of the manly things – refinishing furniture, plastering, carpentry and hunting – that Trey seems to devour. Only when the adolescent’s welfare is threatened, does Cal fully engage in his investigation.
Tana French weaves brutal acts and circumstances through her beautifully literary narratives of the landscape and nature surrounding them. This book is part coming-of-age story, suspense and crime drama, and Western novel all in one. I couldn’t put it down.
Just coming off a turkey coma, one would think a cookbook would be the last thing on my list of books to review. But, this is Ina’s twelfth (!) cookbook with 85 new recipes, and my cravings just adjusted to the upcoming winter season.
The development of Modern Comfort Food was almost prophetic. From her interview with NPR, Garten says that when she started writing, she knew the book was going to come out right before the election, and people would be stressed. "So I thought, why don't I do something about comfort food? But like with a modern twist, and that's how it started. Little did I know that there would be a horrible pandemic, world pandemic. There would be calls for racial justice. There would be the Supreme Court battle. There would be so many layers of stress that we couldn't even begin to imagine. And it's a terrible time for us, but in a nice way, I'm really happy that I was able to give people the tools to make something really comforting for themselves and their families."
And the tools are Ina-ssential. The book includes my favorite parts of her other publications: a charming history, description, or inspiration for each recipe, scrumptious pictures, and invaluable tips. Her criteria for these new recipes? “Familiar, delicious, and soul satisfying.”
Her inspiration for new ideas and methods appears to come from many sources. She admittingly says blogs and social media are a more-frequented and surprising motivation. And she loves to develop knock-off versions of her favorite dishes made by her oldest of friends - restauranteurs and other chefs. Inspired by one of these “besties,” I can’t wait for snow to try the cheddar & chutney grilled cheese and creamy tomato bisque. Yum. The book is a winner.
From the prize-winning author of The Mothers, Brit Bennett has knocked it out of the park with a novel you will not be able to put down. Lauded by National Book Award-winner, Jacqueline Woodson, as the “real thing;” and Booker Prize-winning author, Bernardine Evaristo, as “utterly mesmerizing,” The Vanishing Half is that and much more.
The Vignes twins ran away in 1954 at age 16 from their home in Mallard, a tiny historically strange town of the Deep South. Fourteen years later, one of the twins returns with a daughter in tow, without her sister, along with very little information about what she has done, or more accurately - what’s been done to her, during her absence.
The novel traverses three generations over a period of 50 years and includes births, deaths, love and secrets – all the usual components of a good family saga. And though the missing twin, who passed as white, disappeared, and has continued to live as a white woman in a very white world, should be the crux of the story, the sister who returns to Mallard defines it. Written in six parts with different narrators, all of their relationships are influenced by the twins’ collective memories – their father’s death, struggles at home, and the early days when they ran away from it all. When fate intervenes, the connections pass to their daughters, though no one is sure what is real.
Several scenes from The Vanishing Half are evocative of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, but make no mistake, Bennett has her own unique voice and content. Beautifully written, brutally matter-of-fact at times, and always compassionate, this is a must-read.
On the few occasions where Penny set an Armand Gamache novel somewhere other than Three Pines in Quebec, my first thought was, "NO! Where are Gabri and Ruth? And Rosa the duck (*uck *uck)?" Even though each crime plot is stellar, I thought the humor (humour?) would be lacking. Not at all. In her new novel, the Gamaches go to Paris and Penny’s funny-bone has become even more subtly devastatingly brilliant. You have to read closely at times to pick up the nuanced exchanges between Armand and his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy, but it’s there. Maybe just more French? Speaking of which, apparently there is much condescension by the French for their Québécois counterparts! (Was I the only one who did not know this?)
The family has come together for the birth of another Gamache grandchild in Paris. After a reunion dinner, Armand’s godfather, Stephen, is struck down by a vehicle in an attempted murder, poorly disguised as a random hit-and-run. Stephen remains in a coma, not expected to live. Another meticulously-plotted mystery ensues that pits mentors against mentees, sons against fathers, and casts doubts on everyones’ perceptions of their previously-held beliefs and prior relationships. While the entire family races to identify the crime and solve its intricate components, the novel showcases hidden talents of characters we thought we knew so well: Armand’s wife, Reine-Marie, is an extraordinary researchist, though because of her work at the Bibliothèque et Archives in Montreal, we shouldn’t be surprised; and Daniel, Armand’s son, is a banker, but also a gifted analyst and contributes much to the outcome of the case, when he isn’t fighting his father.
A few poignant reveals took me completely by surprise (tears!). The book ends with everyone coming back to Three Pines, and I mean everyone… I wonder what’s next? All in all, another big win for Louise Penny.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
"A spectacular novel that only this legend can pull off." -Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST, in The Atlantic
An instant New York Times Bestseller
Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize
A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
"A thrilling debut that deserves your attention." –Ron Charles, the Washington Post
The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of News of the World and Enemy Women returns to Texas in this atmospheric story, set at the end of the Civil War, about an itinerant fiddle player, a ragtag band of musicians with whom he travels trying to make a living, and the charming young Irish lass who steals his heart.
From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Sparrow comes “historical fiction that feels uncomfortably relevant today” (Kirkus Reviews) about “America’s Joan of Arc”—the courageous woman who started a rebellion by leading a strike against the largest copper mining company in the world.
In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie
I always like a cookbook that reads like a novel. But WOW. This book is a carefully curated group of compelling, relevant essays about the various forms of rage – righteous, simmering, paralyzing, and passionate. Not all of the essays are political, but from the book’s foreward to the back cover, the correlation between the last election to our current political climate is apparent. What the essays all agree on is one thing: the transformative power of baking.
Many authors cite the distraction, focus, and inspiration derived from the act of baking, after everything else has failed to assuage their rage. Others describe the benefits of baking as a project with tangible results that provides sustenance to self and others – as opposed to the lack of control we feel during each chapter of the never-ending news. Another author describes her rage as the motivator to get back to baking after a horrific accident, reconstructive surgeries, and rehab. And finally, one writer acclaims the science and facts (not fake news) of baking, and recommends it for aspiring STEM students. Most agree that punching dough is cathartic.
The authors have impressive CVs: Katherine Alford ran the NYT’s 4-star kitchen and spent the last 20 years at the Food Network. Kathy Gunst is a James Beard award-winning author, resident chef for NPR’s Here & Now, and at universities worldwide. The contributors they collected for this book are also impressive – journalists, activists, chefs, writers, artists and even a TV producer - including Ruth Reichl, Ani DiFranco, Dorie Greenspan, and Marti Noxon to name only a few.
The recipes are varied and many are cherished tried-and-true comfort foods. The technical tips and how-to sections are placed throughout the book and are relevant for even seasoned bakers. Parents, share the experience of this book with your kids!
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Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown is a multi-tasking, timely, and poignant novel with an unexpected conclusion. Multi-tasking meaning there are two stories, and recipes (!), and each chapter starts with a real, but amazingly awful quote from waaaay back about being a good wife (the quote from the wife of Dale Carnegie was particularly disturbing and taken directly from her book - How to Help Your Husband Get Ahead in His Social and Business Life).
Alice, recently relocated with her husband to the suburbs of NYC in 2018 is one narrator. She is conflicted about the move away from their lives, her career, and The City itself. Nellie is the other narrator, whose story is told through the notes and unsent letters from the 1950s in a cookbook found in the basement. Alice turns the recipes in this book into a project, while seemingly working on the novel that is her new career. As Nellie’s life and secrets unfold, Alice’s relationship with her husband deteriorates.
This relevant, quirky, and surprising (shocking!) novel ties two generations of women with different issues together and is a cautionary tale for modern relationships. Loved this book - it is a page turner!
New York Times Bestseller | A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick | A New York Times Book Review Notable Book | TIME Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of the Year
#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams successfully portrays the roles of the very rich that seasonally inhabit a small island in Long Island Sound and the year-round immigrant residents who serve them. Their story and secrets are revealed by Bianca, from a working class Portuguese family, and Miranda – whose widowed mother has married into the elite Fisher family.
In this instant New York Times bestseller and “multigenerational narrative that’s nothing short of brilliant” (People), two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present are explored as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner.
From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.
Eve Whalen, privileged child of an old-mone
A National Bestseller!
“The perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day.”
“[A] charmer of a tale. . . Warm, witty and--like any good craft beer--complex, the saga delivers a subtly feminist and wholly life-affirming message.”
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Read with Jenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today • “Everything a romantic comedy should be: witty, relatable, and a little complicated.”—People
Beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs, “one of the great fictional heroines” (Parade), investigates the mysterious murder of an American war correspondent in London during the Blitz in a page-turning tale of love and war, terror and survival.
When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her dea
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey just made my personal Top-10 as in, it has EVERYTHING – a tense but poignant storyline, nature and geographical elements in their most dazzling and brutal states, historical references, native mythical influences, fascinating and noble characters even with their flaws. And love, loss and redemption. Really, it’s a book for anyone to savor.
By the author of The Snow Child (a Pulitzer finalist), it is a fictional account of an Alaskan exploratory expedition funded by the US Military in 1885 to map the Wolverine and Yukon river territories. Led by war hero and newlywed Colonel Allen Forrester, the small group is joined sporadically through their arduous journey by trappers, native tribal guides and possibly a mythical creature whose story spans decades. Their deteriorating health becomes secondary as reality begins to erode with each harrowing encounter, storm and mountain pass.
Back in Fort Vancouver Barracks and in desperate need of a diversion, the Colonel’s wife, Sophie, learns to use a camera and develop film to capture her passion for the surrounding natural elements. As she bucks the traditional role in the military wives hierarchy, Sophie’s housekeeper/companion is recruited to be her assistant (work she welcomes and for which she is well-suited), as her work eventually achieves acclaim and publishing rights.
This work of historical fiction is in epistolary format and provides a “you are there” quality. It expands the disparate voices and impressions of events through correspondence, journal entries, military reports and news articles. The book is peppered throughout with fascinating pictures and maps.
It is apparent that the author’s roots, heart and current home are in Alaska; and that the painstaking tasks of collection and research for this masterpiece were a work of love.
WINNER of the NATIONAL BOOK AWARD and A NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A finalist for the Kirkus Prize, Andrew Carnegie Medal, Aspen Words Literary Prize, and a New York Times bestseller, this majestic, stirring, and widely praised novel from two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, the story of a family on a journey through rural Mississippi, i
The #1 New York Times bestseller!
“Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning
Winner of the Southern Book Prize for Literary Fiction
Named a Best Book of 2017 by the Chicago Public Library and the American Library Association
“Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world.”
Winner of the Southern Book Prize for Literary Fiction
Named a Best Book of 2017 by the Chicago Public Library and the American Library Association
“Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world.”
Are you done with your holiday leftovers? Are you not quite ready to hit the Cooking Light series per your well-intentioned New Year's resolution? Are your tastebuds primed for a 180 degree turn from roasted turkey/beef/pork?As the luckiest girl in the world this holiday season, I was treated to a stellar meal at Nopalito restaurant in San Francisco. Even luckier, the Nopalito cookbook was festively wrapped with my name on it under the Christmas tree.This is rustic, regional, Mexican cuisine at its finest. I have spent many enjoyable hours studying this cookbook. The author, Gonzalo Guzman, was originally a line cook at Nopa restaurant. Apparently the owners were so impressed with his communal staff meals, they conceived Nopalito as their next venture, with Guzman as head chef and partner of the two locations.Ah, but this is not supposed to be a restaurant review, so back to the book!First, the heartfelt preface (by Stacy) introduces the reader to the author, his love for his homeland, and his peers' love for him. The introduction continues his history and principles. Next, the book is informative - some history, sourcing, methodology and an extreme glossary of ingredients (fascinating!). It is relevant and timely as many of us try harder to source locally and seasonally. And finally, it is passionate and the recipes induce mouth-watering cravings. The priceless house recipes included in this book are the foundation of many of the finishes (queso fresco, crema and pickled red onions) or stand-alone items (spiced peanuts). Like other passionate cookbooks, the authenticity of the ingredients (yes, you will embrace lard) and methods can be intimidating, but substitutions are included. And depending on the recipe you choose, the list of ingredients is relatively short and not complicated at all.I feel ready to re-create the BEST MEAL EVER: carnitas with cabbage and carrot salad, tortillas, and tomatillo salsa. But even if you decide not to make your own masa or tortillas, the salsa recipes included toward the back are worth the price of the book alone!
The Very Marrow of Our Bones, by Christine Higdon is a debut novel that spans 40-plus years in the lives of the Parsons family. In 1967, two women disappear from the town of Fraser Arm outside of Vancouver, British Columbia - Bette Parsons is the married mother of five and Alice McPhee is her neighbor. Bette’s 10-year-old daughter, Lulu (Louise), finds a note addressed to her father that reads, “Wally, I will not live in a tarpaper shack for the rest of my life. Love, Bette.” Lulu tells no one about the note. Subsequent investigations yield no results and the town and families are left wondering if the two disappearances involve foul-play, or were intentional on the parts of the women, or are even related.
The events leading up to Bette’s disappearance, along with the stories of her childrens’ lives in the aftermath are told in randomly chaptered time periods and from different points of view. Extended relatives and friends become family as everyone struggles with the hole left by Bette. The observations of the the local preacher’s daughter, Doris Tenpenny, are particularly astute and she becomes one of the family’s strongest allies when her instincts about another neighbor send off alarms. And when the family comes together for an event 40 years later, the emotional impact on each grown child is apparent and diverse.
A recent Kirkus Review states, “There are gaspworthy moments from the beginning to the very last chapter” and calls the book, “An ambitious debut novel that will make you cry, cringe, and laugh.” I wholehearterly agree – this is a great read!
A delicious and sharply funny page-turner about “innocent” Americans abroad in 1950s Siena, Italy.
An evocative and wildly absorbing novel about the Winters, a family living in New York City’s famed Dakota apartment building in the year leading up to John Lennon’s assassination
Have you seen all of the episodes of Cook Like a Pro with Ina on Food Network? (click for more info.) Much to my delight, the book includes even more tips and entertaining shortcuts. As always, beautiful full-color photographs are included, which are so helpful when you want to see what the darn thing is supposed to look like, right? I think the key descriptor in most of the book reviews regarding the never-before-published treasure trove (Food & Wine) of recipes (80+), is “dependable” – an attribute I want when I’m cooking for company.
The book is organized in categories (drinks, salads, dinners, etc.) and includes a chapter of awesome breakfast dishes. The "Pro Basics" chapter includes instructions for making your own ricotta (for the pure at heart) and homemade stock for soups and sauces. The short-rib recipe is delicious and our family is making the shells with broccoli rabe and pancetta during Christmas week with one of the many featured salads. Hungry yet?
Whether you’re adding to your Barefoot Contessa library (click here to view them all) or just want a terrific stand-alone, this is more than a cookbook for Ina fans! And if Santa doesn’t bring you a copy, use that giftcard and gift yourself this book.
A New York Times Bestseller
Named one of the Best Books of the Year (2018) by NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek
This charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about a young woman who longs to be a war correspondent and inadvertently becomes a secret advice columnist is “a jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People)—for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.
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“A powerful, urgent novel that wields issues of gender and class like a blade. . . . This intergenerational novel asks hard questions about who we are, who we can become, and what awaits on the other side of our becoming.
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD “5 UNDER 35” NOMINEE • NEW YORK’S “ONE BOOK, ONE NEW YORK” PICK
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book • A Time Top Fiction Book • An NPR "Great Read" • A Chicago Tribune Best Book • A USA Today Best Book • A People magazine Top 10 Book • A Barnes and Noble Best New Book • A Good Reads Best Book • A Kirkus Best Fiction Book •
“A quick-witted, wry sendup of the advertising industry and corporate culture…A clear-eyed, sympathetic story about complex family ties and the possibility of healing” (The Washington Post).
Finbar Dolan is lost and lonely. Except he doesn’t know it.
Another cookbook that reads like a novel (see review on the Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends). Add the competition element that heats up with boasts and snarky comments between the contestants, and we've got a winner! The authors are New York Times food writers and refer to one another affectionately as "Work Wives." When NYT Restaurant Critic and collegue, Frank Bruni, challenges them to a cook-off to be featured in the paper, it is the start of something big. Kim and Julia set off on a year-long continuous competition that turns into the book, Cook Fight. Frank's original throw-down, The Budget Challenge, featured a six-person dinner party (sans liquor and pantry items) for $50.00. The chapters then go on to include The Comfort Challenge, The Children's Challenge; and subsequently the Picnic, Weekday, Bake-off, Thanksgiving and Open House Challenges. They are arranged by month and I know I will revisit this book often throughout the year. We made the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe for Christmas 2012 and it was a hit! The concepts and perspectives of these two women for each challenge are diverse and fascinating. Although Kim and Julia are completely different personalities and temperaments, they have motherhood, work and a love of food in common. In the end, everyone - including the reader - is a winner.
In his phenomenal debut novel—a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina town—author Wiley Cash displays a remarkable talent for lyrical, powerfully emotional storytelling.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
EDGAR AWARD WINNER * ANTHONY AWARD WINNER
BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE ACCIDENT
Can we ever escape our secrets?
I am anxiously anticipating Extra Virginity: The Sublime & Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller, because at my age, I can use some extra virginity. Seriously. And who doesn't need a little scandal for dessert? The subject of fraud relating to the production and selling of Extra Virgin Olive Oil was introduced by the author in his explosive Aug-2007 article in The New Yorker in which he described the extent of the fraud as follows: "In 1997 and 1998, olive oil was the most adulterated agricultural product in the European Union, prompting the E.U.’s anti-fraud office to establish an olive-oil task force. (“Profits were comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks,” an investigator told the author.)” In a rich narrative, Extra Virginity documents the history of this age-old product as a food-group, health and beauty aid and necessity in certain religious rites; through the current actions of the artisans, activists, analysts and advocates who are trying to keep the industry "pure."
Ever wonder what restaurant employees eat for their Staff Meal? Or for what reason(s)? In Off the Menu, the author of this jam-packed-book-full-of-foodie-heaven has featured Staff Meals from 150 fine restaurants across our great culinary nation. And Michigan is well-represented by Siren Hall in Elk Rapids and Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor.
For some restaurants, the Staff Meal is the test-run of a new menu item. For others who include their local suppliers, it is an opportunity to try a new product (think seasonal heirloom tomatoes). For most, it is the only time that the front and back of the house can sit down together to commiserate on the day's specials, events, successes and failures.... or just about their day in general. Like a family that might be passing ships as they dash out the door in morning , but make it a policy to sit down to the dinner meal together.
Not only are there great recipes, but this book includes a feature on each restaurant and an interview with the owner, manager or chef. Wanna know what food trend that Alex Young (executive chef at Zingerman's ) would like to erase from the annals of history? You'll have to get the book!