I have a confession. My food shelf has been growing. And it's not accurate to call it a shelf. In truth, as I mentioned in the previous installment, it's a food section. Some recent additions are:
This isn't a cookbook. If you can't read it, the subtitle is Food Names and the People and Places That Inspired Them. Organized by the meals of the day (dinner, breakfast, and lunch) then type of dish (appetizers, entrees, beverages, etc.), it's a book of fun little stories that discuss the history of various iconic (and, in my opinion, sometimes random) dishes. And while it's not technically what I would consider a cookbook, the back section includes recipe cards for selected items discussed within the book.
Some of the entries are more interesting than others (as, I'm sure, are the foods themselves). But it's pretty easy to find a great little nugget of interest. For instance, here's the entry for carpaccio:
Comprised of paper-thin slices of raw beef, served with salt, pepper, and olive oil, the dish was created in 1950 by Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of the famous Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, and named for the painter Vittore Carpaccio (1455-1526), supposedly because the red of the meat reminded Cipriani of the color often used by the artist. The dish was inspired by the Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo, a frequent patron of the bar, whose doctor had placed her on a diet that forbade cooked meat.
Bean by Bean; a cookbook, Crescent Dragonwagon
First off, what's up with that name?? Really?? And it sounds like she(?) hangs out with others of similar names. In the Acknowledgements she thanks "Chou-Chou Yearsley" and calls her(?) a "strang of purls." But I digress....
The chapters are equally kooky. "Hummus, Where the Heart Is: Leguminous Starters" and "Beans and Grains: Earthy Soul Mates" as chapter titles don't exactly make me want to dive in, but the content is better than the names indicate. I'm trying to eat foods to lower my triglycerides (all my other cholesterol numbers are fine), so beans with their high fiber and good protein are definitely on the list.
I look forward to making some lentil soups and finding some good black eye pea recipes to perfect before next January (yes, I know I have time). :-)