We begin, as with so many meals, with thanks. Thank you to our grocery clerks, farmers market vendors, restaurant owners and employees for all you do and all you have given for your neighbors, your customers and fans. Thank you for sharing what Seattle needs: sustenance for body and heart.
To satisfy both, look to the intersection of cookbook and memoir. The library’s ebook collection is filled with ways to sharpen kitchen skills, bring new adventure to pantry staples, and invite guest chefs into your home. These are more than recipes. They are acts of creation and expression, transformed over many incarnations by home cooks and trained hands over generations. American Chef James Beard said “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” What experience will you share at these tables that span cultures and lifetimes?
Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem by Marcus Samuelsson
Red Rooster Cookbook opens with narrative and unique cocktails. In celebration of the borough’s deep Black history and art culture, each chapter shares personal stories, traditions, and playlists of artists to evoke the feeling of being in Harlem. Chefs Samuelsson and Brumfield are important names in culinary consciousness. Their passion for transforming comfort food into a declaration of art and soul from many backgrounds has grown space for artists of all mediums to do the same. Cook, eat and learn from voices inviting you to see what Harlem is made of.
A Common Table: 80 Recipes and Stories From My Shared Cultures by Cynthia Chen McTernan
A Common Table is blogger Cynthia Chen McTernan’s stories and meals that have evolved over years of working, moving, living and blending tastes from different areas of the country and world. Taking elements of her family’s Chinese roots, the flavors of her youth in the American South, and the Korean influence of her mother-in-law’s Hawaiian kitchen, McTernan’s table is filled with fusion. She shares how her cooking has grown from filling two chipped red bowls in a college dorm room to sustaining a growing family and building connections through shared experiences. What will you take away, transform, and add to your own table after sitting down to hers? Enjoy, and pass it on.
L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi
Los Angeles is known for its overlapping and evolving cultures, proudly shared in many mediums including food. Roy Choi invites hungry readers to ride along through his neighborhood and family history, stopping to sample what L.A. can uniquely offer, including his own creation, Korean tacos. Leave assumptions at the curb and put familiarity in the backseat. No corner of the food world is far off in these pages, so be prepared to crave everything. Choi wrote his story to show us all what he loves about his city and the many ways he has shared meals, culture and life with it. Don’t miss this spicy, savory, wild tour.
Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman
Deb Perelman cooks what she wants, taking inspiration from favorite delis and take-out spots. She borrows from family members and creates hybrid dishes based on access to ingredients and personal taste (see her recipe for Riccota blini, resulting in a Russian syrniki recipe with Italian cheese and Canadian breakfast inspired flavors). She advocates food that everyone can make and love, passing on exclusivity and embracing enjoyment. You will too after reading Smitten Kitchen Every Day.
For more food memoirs, check out these documentaries on Kanopy:
- Soul of a Banquet
- Pressure Cooker: Culinary Arts Bootcamp
- American Masters: James Beard America’s First Foodie
~posted by Hannah V.