Food (Books) For Thought


Food (Books) For Thought


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Back from the annual Munich book fair, we’re counting up our winnings (and eyeing some new ones to bag later). Once again, cook books and chef tomes remain a hot category.

Our hot picks included a few books on tacos, Mexico’s quintessential comfort food rumored to be the new burger. Tacopedia by Deborah Holtz and Juan Carlos Mena documents almost everything you’d want to know about the much loved corn tortilla – from taco recipes and descriptions of ingredients to profiles of taco places to check out. Pastry-turned-Mexican cuisine chef Alex Stupak’s Tacos: Recipes and Provocations dives into the taco craft, from making fresh tortillas with variations of grains and flavor infusions, to fillings traditional and creative, sweet and savory. For those looking for recipes of more Mexican food, Mexico from the Inside Out by Enrique Olvera of Pujol, ranked 16th  best at the 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants, includes a portfolio of the sophisticated dishes served at Pujol, to recipes of more accessible dishes that Olvera enjoys at home with his family.

Desserts have a fashion timeline of their own and while we’ve seen the heyday of cupcakes and frozen yogurt, the macaron trend continues to grow as well a renewed relevance of French cuisine.  With our love for Pierre Herme’s macarons, it’s with no surprise that we picked up a copy of his latest cookbook, Pierre Herme Macaron: The Ultimate Recipes from the Master Patissier– a heavyweight cookbook filled with glossy pictures of drool worthy macarons, and more. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely be inspired to roll-up your sleeves and try out some of the recipes in your kitchen.

Singapore-based chef Andre Chiang will be publishing his culinary philosophy, Octaphilosophy, which attempts to identify the eight elements of his cuisine. The release is slated for April 2016, and hopefully will be easier to get hold of than a table at his latest experimental haute cuisine establishment in Taipei, RAW.

Naming Chinese cuisine as one of the greatest, legendary Ferran Adrìa recently said during a visit to Hong Kong that the next challenge of western cuisine is to incorporate China. To do so, Chinese cuisine needs to create elements for the west to understand it. Mission Chinese Food Cookbook by Danny Bowien, of the wildly popular Chinese restaurant in San Francisco, may be doing just that through his signature recipes of Chinese food and American classics “mash-ups”. Bowein, a Korean-American and a quintessential “third-culture” chef in our book, also tries his hand at Mexican cuisine.

As predicted in our Future of Food report, third culture chefs are challenging existing notions of traditional cuisine and increasingly interpreting food from a melting-pot of personality, history, and sense of place. A classic example of this phenomenon is Dale Talde’s Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from the Philippines to Brooklynand Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong (Spring 2016 release), which document these hybrid culinary influences.

Along with cross-cultural inspirations, on the rise is the recognition of regional cuisines. The Great Australian Cookbook features tried and true Aussie classics to contemporary recipes that celebrate Australia’s local cuisine. Dan Hunter of regional Victorian restaurant Brae contributes to this encyclopedia of home-friendly recipes compiled by veteran food writers.  Also worth checking out, chronicled by award-winning food and travel journalist Joe Ray is Sea and Smoke: Flavors from the Untamed Pacific Northwest, a travelogue of how two-time James Beard award-winner Blaine Wetzel “created a world-class dining destination in an unlikely place”.

With the holidays just around the corner, these titles may be just the right gift for the foodies on your list.

Paul Calder

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