Book Reviews

The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire
by Gaylord Brewer

The Banquet of Donny & Ari: Scenes from the Opera
by Naomi Guttman

by Michael Pollan

Revenge Baking
by Randon Billings Noble

Biting the Apple
by Jeanie Greensfelder

Best Food Writing 2014
edited by Holly Hughes

Creamy and Crunchy
by Jon Krampner

Biting through the Skin
by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau

Feeding Orchids to Slugs
by Ann Mah

Mastering the Art of French Eating
by Florencia Clifford

Ivan Ramen
by Ivan Ramen

Third Thursday Potluck Cookbook
by Nancy Vienneau

Mint Tea & Minarets
by Kitty Morse

Prospero’s Kitchen
by Diana Farr Louis and June Marino

Mushroom: A Global History
by Cynthia Bertelsen

One Straw Revolution
by Masanobu Fukuoka

Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie
by Peggy Wolff

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
by Annia Ciezadlo

by Chloe Yelena Miller

The Hungry Ear
by Kevin Young

Best Food Writing 2012
by Holly Hughes

Dinner: a Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach

My Kitchen Wars
by Betty Fussell

American Cookery
by Laura Kalpakian

Apron Anxiety
by Alyssa Shelasky

Cucina Povera
by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen
by Laurie Colwin

The Social Life of Coffee
by Brian Cowan

The Raw and the Cooked
by Jim Harrison

Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet

Horsemen of the Esophagus
by Jason Fagone

Coffee Philosophy for Everyone
by Scott F. Parker and Michael W. Austin

by Kathryn Borel

Food Rules
by Michael Pollan

On Reading
by Rilke and Ruskin

America the Edible
by Adam Richman

Interview with the author of Party Girls,
Diane Goodman

Death Warmed Over
by Lisa Rogak

How to Cook a Crocodile
by Bonnie Lee Black

Great Food,
All Day Long

by Maya Angelou

Love Bites: Marital Skirmishes in the Kitchen
by Christopher Hirst

Best Food Writing 2011
edited by Holly Hughes

Balzac's Omelette
by Anka Muhlstein

The Little House Cookbook
by Barbara M. Walker

Muffins and Mayhem
by Suzanne Beecher

As Always, Julia:
The Letters of Julia Child and Avis De Voto


by Jason Wilson

The Particular Sadness
of Lemon Cake

by Aimee Bender

The Bluberry Years
by Jim Minick

Livingston and the Tomato
by A. W. Livingston

by Barry Estabrook

Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey
by Robert V. Camuto

Best Food Writing 2010 edited
by Holly Hughes

by Lizzie Collingham

Four Fish
by Paul Greenberg

The Physiology
of Taste

by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Far Flung
and Well Fed

by R. W. Apple, Jr.

The Food of a Younger Land
by Mark Kurlansky

The Dirty Life
by Kristin Kimball

by Michael Ruhlman

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers
by Jessica Theroux

Blood, Bones & Butter
by Gabrielle Hamilton

by Steve Almond

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
by Alice B. Toklas

Medium Raw
by Anthony Bourdain

Appetite City
by William Grimes

Twain's Feast
by Andrew Beahrs

97 Orchard
by Jane Ziegelman

Born Round
by Frank Bruni

by Kate Moses

Full English by
Tom Parker Bowles

Following Fish by
Samanth Subramanian

Eating Animals by
Jonathan Safran Foer

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese
by Eric LeMay

For You, Mom. Finally
by Ruth Reichl

Farm City
by Novella Carpenter

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

I ♥ Macarons
by Hisako Ogita

The Hamburger
by Josh Ozersky

Best Food Writing 2009 edited
by Holly Hughes

by Archestratos

Eat, Memory edited by Amanda Hesser

Eat My Globe
by Simon Majumdar

by Jason Epstein

What We Eat When We Eat Alone
by Deborah Madison

The Sweet Life
in Paris

by David Lebovitz

Modern Spice
by Monica Bhide


REVIEW by Amanda Dambrink

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
by Alice B. Toklas
Harper Perennial, August 2010
Paperback 320 pp., ISBN: 978-0061995361

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book finds new life in a paperback edition released this year by Harper Perennial, fifty-six years after its original publication. Far from seeming outdated or tired, this fusion of refreshment and remembrance is as lively and amusing as ever. Toklas's personable style and relatively arbitrary selection of recipes may not satisfy all of her modern readers, but the Cook Book is sure to satiate those of us who crave stories as much as we do a delicious meal.

Chapter headings such as "The French Tradition," "Murder in the Kitchen," and "Food in Bugey During the Occupation" indicate that the Cook Book is more than a mere compilation of recipes; Toklas intersperses recipes among anecdotes of her travels through the French countryside with her partner, Gertrude Stein. For example, readers learn how to cook "Duck with Orange Sauce," but only after first learning how Toklas's pet duck, Blanchette, came to be served in orange sauce for dinner one night after being chased by a neighbor's dog and then put out of its misery by the cook. And before getting to the recipes a few chapters later in "Food in the United States in 1934 and 1935," Toklas writes about Gertrude Stein's reluctance to visit the United States given the poor reputation of American food. Stein was finally persuaded to visit the U.S. only after an American friend mailed a menu from the restaurant of one of the hotels where Toklas and Stein would be staying: "The variety of dishes was a pleasant surprise even if the tinned vegetable cocktails and fruit salads occupied a preponderant position." Alas.

Readers may at times find themselves reading more for Toklas's accounts of country life and Parisian parties than for her recipes—some of which require inordinate amounts of time to prepare (see "Clear Turtle Soup" on page 126, which has a preparation time of four days) and ingredients that may be hard to come by (unless a local butcher carries boar, pigeon, and frog legs). That said, there are plenty of less complicated yet still tantalizing recipes such as Gazpacho of Segovia, Chicken Montsouris, and Toklas's much-sought-after Haschich Fudge, "which anyone could whip up on a rainy day."

This Cook Book is the result of Toklas's years of culinary and life experience, cooking her way through several decades of parties for friends and artists, serving up braised grousse and brioche from recipes gathered from all over France and the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. With this paperback reprint, Alice B. Toklas reminds readers why we find the old French lifestyle so charming—and its cuisine so desirable.

December 19, 2010