Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tasty Tomes- NOLA Eats, Beekman Boys and The Last Call



I've read some delicious food writing lately and of course, want to share the literary love....

Hungry Town is written by Tom Fitzmorris and is a riveting, rollicking culinary history of New Orleans. New Orleans is the very definition of a food town. It's history is fascinating and the descriptions of the food are mouth-watering. The shot through the heart comes, of course, with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the stories of the resident's struggle to overcome and re-open their businesses(or open new ones) leave you with a lump in your throat. The book is bittersweet in more ways than one...the stories of the lives and livelihoods Katrina stole are heartbreaking....but this book was released before the current tragedy of the BP oil spill. Reading about the wrenching survival tales post-Katrina while simultaneously watching the news reports on the heinous mess that has been inflicted on the region again leaves you feeling helpless and infuriated. The news story of the 134- year-old oyster company closing due to the spill just makes me sick....I guess they're an example of what the BP CEO would consider the "small people"....Ugh.

On a far lighter note, I recently finished The Bucolic Plague by Josh-Kilmer Purcell. I'd read his memoir I'm Not Myself These Days and really relished the bone-honest retelling of his drug-fueled days as an ad exec by day and drag performer by night. This book serves as a quasi-sequel that features he and his doctor beau's adventures becoming gentleman farmers and buying a historic mansion and farm. Again, Kilmer-Purcell's honesty is the highlight, whether he's talking about raising goats, his relationship with Dr. Brent or even Martha Stewart herself. This book is more biography than food writing but it certainly qualifies with it's tales of growing food, including that one perfect tomato. Since reading it, I've seen the first episode of the Planet Green series The Beekman Boys which continues their foray into farming. I had a goat named Betty for a brief time many moons ago and watching the Beekman's goats makes me want them again. I also can't believe I just put that into print as I've since turned Keith onto the book and he's been wanting to put us on a farm for years. As it is, he's constantly after me to allow chickens in our backyard and oh, did I mention the bees? Yeah, the K-man wants bees for honey as well. In the backyard. If I can get a rooster that crows songs like the Beekmans (Madonna at 6 am anyone?), well , maybe....


My current read is Last Call, Daniel Okrent's ripping history of the rise and fall of Prohibition. I'm only halfway through it but so far it's an amazing read. The incisive look at all of the characters involved makes the book an absorbing read... I will elaborate further when I finish it. I'm simultaneously reading Anthony Bourdain's new book Medium Raw. That will require it's own post when I finish it. I just can't easily sum up Anthony Bourdain.

One quick, final note...I was skimming through the latest Mental Floss book which is a collection of interesting facts called In The Beginning. I'm a fan of the Mental Floss magazine(I'm a trivia geek), not to mention the awesome Mental Floss board game that Ronnie and Jeff turned me on to. One section of the book is dedicated to food and drink. Did you know....

As early as 610 AD at either an Italian or French monastery, monks would bake little treats for their students to reward them for learning their scriptures. The monks would bake them to resemble pious children praying, with three holes in the center to represent the Holy Trinity....and the pretzel was born. Well, whaddya know...

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey-

I want to read all of these books! And make sure Keith sees the post on DailyKos called "The Great Bee Swarm of 2010" or something like that--it is posted right now and it is an amazing story complete with photos.

Miss ya!

Kaki

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