Cooking is always about so much more than food: a doorway to memory, a connection to community, a source of inspiration, and a spark to the imagination. Cooking is how we tell the story of ourselves. As people with long culinary histories, Jessica Maher and Todd Duplechan know this--it's no surprise that I got a little lost on a recent visit to their dreamy new shop, Metier Cook's Supply. At Metier, the cozy, light-filled rooms of a reclaimed South Austin cottage are filled with a perfectly-curated selection of new and vintage cookbooks, gorgeous food magazines, exactly the cooking tools you've been looking for, and exquisite, unique tableware. It's a place for whiling away an afternoon flipping through cookbooks, a place to get your knives sharpened or take a class, a place that makes you want to cook. I visited recently, and we laughed over nostalgic hunting recipes from the 70's, gushed over Sugar & Rice, talked kids and food, and left with arms full of treasures for the kitchen.
Best of all, Jessica shared her favorite reads from the Metier shelves--read on for her picks for us and a recipe inspired by a favorite find of mine from Ceviche, a Peruvian cookbook by British restaurateur Martin Morales.
Los Secretos Del Helado by Angelo Corvitto (second edition, 2011)
This is my ice cream Bible from back in a time when I was making commercial ice cream, but wanted to make it like small-batch restaurant quality. It's a touch cerebral, but so complete in its understanding of texture, taste, technique and equipment. In Spanish and English, hard to find. A great book for any professional cook.
Tender, A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater (2009)
A beautiful book with a guide for growing and cooking your own vegetables with a lot of simple, creative ideas for everyday veggies. The photos are lovely and most of the vegetables are readily grow-able and available in Texas, so it's a win on all accounts.
Nature's Healing Arts: From Folk Medicine to Modern Drugs by Lonelle Aikman via National Geographic (1977)
This book just appeals to me from an anthropological point of view. It covers a lot of different cultural beliefs on natural healing with plants and modern (or at least modern for 1977) views on natural healing versus modern medicine. This is not a guide to healing with plants, but more of a study. Has some interesting photography and illustrations.
OISHINBO Japanese Cuisine by Tetsu Kariya, art by Akira Hanasaki (2006)
This is one in a series of graphic novels about Japanese food culture. It's humorous, informative, fun to look through and just all-around awesome. Not a typical 'cookbook', but a great addition to anyone's collection.
JERUSALEM by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (2012)
Such a beautiful book full of gorgeous photos and inspiring recipes. Encompasses food from so many different cultures in one giant melting pot, and the recipes are simple and delicious. This is what I want to eat every night of the week.
Cherry Bombe Magazine
Amazing periodical out of NYC that celebrates women in all aspects of the food industry. As a woman in food, this is right up my alley. Not that other magazines don't also appeal to women, but there is definitely a unique perspective women have in what seems to be still a male-dominated industry. Just a super-fun read.
Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink by Trader Vic with Introduction by Lucius Beebe (signed first edition, 1946)
I love this just because I didn't realize that Trader Vic was a person and that this book is a first edition, signed copy in good condition, which is rare with a book of this age. It has some racy, humorous illustrations and favorite cocktails from the iconic hot spot.
Cooking for Kids: From Babies to Toddlers: Simple, Healthy and Natural Food by Alain Ducasse (2014)
Having just added to our family with a new little boy, I feel like I needed a refresher on making baby food. This is making baby food on steroids. Great, simple recipes with a comprehensive chart of what to start your baby on and when. I cook almost every night and have always given our first son, now almost 4 years old, the same food that we eat, but this just gives me fresh ideas for a new palate and for cooking with the older boy. Easy to follow recipes and great photos.
Gigante Bean Salad
adapted from Ceviche, by Martin Morales
2 c cooked gigante or Peruvian Lima beans
2 c cooked hominy
1/2 c thinly sliced Spanish chorizo
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 small red onion, diced
1 small-medium sweet bell pepper, diced
1 handful picked Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c olive oil
4 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2" pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Place beans, hominy, chorizo, cherry tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, and parsley in a bowl lare enough to hold everything comfortably. Toss gently. Drizzle salad with lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss again, then add feta cheese and combine very gently to avoid breaking up cheese. Place on serving platter and serve at room temperature or refrigerate up to 24 hours.