Sunday, January 09, 2011

Five best books on how to cook and how to live

Jason Epstein, the author of Eating: A Memoir, was for many years the editorial director of Random House.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about how to cook, and how to live, including:
Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook
by Alice Waters (1982)

The secret of successful book publishing, as in much else, is to know when you're at the right place at the right time. One night in the late 1970s, I was in San Francisco to join a friend for dinner. He wanted to eat in Berkeley. I resisted. Berkeley meant hippies and macrobiotic restaurants. We crossed the bridge and ended up at Chez Panisse. I was instantly caught up in the spirit of the place, its rightness, authority and charm. When I saw the menu, I thought: cookbook. That night, we had the bouillabaisse, with fennel, saffron and pernod blending with ocean creatures to re-create the Mediterranean in a bowl. Alice Waters, the creator of Chez Panisse, joined us for coffee. She is small and intense, with a hint of other-worldliness signifying genius. Upon the shoulders of Julia Child, Alice had created a revolutionary American cuisine that was both sophisticated and pure. I suggested a contract. She wanted to choose the typography and design. Always the chef.
Read about another book on the list.

Also see the top ten food books of the noughties.

--Marshal Zeringue