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#31DaysintheKitchen: a reading list.

Here’s what I’ve been reading in October:

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  1. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant and What we eat when we eat alone: Remember the trip to Knoxville where I started the eggplant book? I ordered both of these after seeing What we eat at McKay’s, too. They’re full of easy recipes for one as well as food essays. They’re giving me lots of ideas for writing about food after these 31 days are up.
  2. Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: This is full of all Julia’s basic recipes with variations. Her recipe instructions are direct and short but clear, and this is going to help me keep mastering the basics, like making a roux and a simple vinaigrette.
  3. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: I love reading the beginnings of cookbooks, and here, Ree lays out how she ended up a chef and writer. I don’t think I ever really knew that cookbooks had more to them than recipes—they’re just as fun, for me, as reading poems or stories. And the step-by-step photos are awesome.
  4. Julie and Julia: Not in the pictured pile, but I read this after watching the movie version and in only around 3 days. It was really good—and I made potage parmentier because of it—but I wasn’t sure about Julie’s attitude toward cooking. To me, it’s something we come to with humility, and we need not freak out when things go wrong…but Julie does just that quite a bit. Maybe I’d be the same if I was trying to make an aspic in a tiny New York kitchen, but still. Regardless, it was really interesting to read about a blogging/cooking project.
  5. How to Build a Better Pie: Picked this up at McKay’s in Knoxville. The photos in here, y’all. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes. And I learned what a pie bird is from this book…adorable.
  6. Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof: Oh, I haven’t talked about Ina yet, have I? I mean I haven’t talked about Ina yet on this blog post. Her cookbooks (and food) are gorgeous. Clean and simple. She includes her ideas behind the cookbook’s theme as well as suggestions for how to shop for groceries and plan parties well.

Also currently reading Shauna Niequist’s Bread & Wine (which is incredible – I’ve laughed and cried and wanted to gather up all my people and cook dinner for them while reading it), Best Food Writing 2011, and Jane Hirshfield’s Given Sugar, Given Salt.

What are your favorite food-related books? Which cookbooks do I need in my collection?

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