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In our Phone a Friend column, we'll be asking some of our friends around the food world about how they cook and eat. And we want you to join the conversation, too.
Today: We talk to a few experts about which books to curl up with this fall.
Let us not let apple season and decorative gourd season overshadow one of the best parts of fall: cookbook season. We've rounded up our favorites and will continue to write about them as the season progresses, but we wanted some outside opionions, too. So we asked a few avid cookbook readers which titles they're excited about -- here's what they had to say:
Nozlee Samadzadeh, writer, developer at 29th Street Publishing, and editor at The Morning News: I was a child of 11 in 1999, but I was a child who already loved food and cooking. I can still quote, from memory, entire swathes of an essay in Food & Wine that a woman named Gabrielle Hamilton wrote about a restaurant called Prune that she had just opened; it was full of intoxicating, mysterious phrases like "the East Village" and "Triscuits and sardines" and "jelly jars for wine glasses."
It'll come as no surprise that the cookbook I'm most looking forward to this fall is Prune -- because 15 years later, nothing has changed.
More: So much to read, so little time -- here are Food52's cookbook picks for fall.
Celia Sack, owner of San Francisco’s Omnivore Books: I love Charleston chef Sean Brock's Heritage; he has brought back Southern heritage foods through seed saving and traditional farming and revitalized the dining scene down south. The book is beautiful, and he uses ingredients born and raised in their native homes. His passion for history matches my own.
Other cookbooks I'm looking forward to reading this fall:
Flour + Water: Pasta is a great book from Bay Area chef Thomas McNaughton. I love single-subject cookbooks, and there few books out there with an intensive focus on making your own pasta.
- The authors of The Flavor Bible have come out with a new resource, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. Based on the same principles of their original work, this focuses on how to pair vegetal flavors and how to achieve balance with your ingredients. Their legions of fans will rejoice.
More: You'll definitely need a cocktail to sip on while you read.
- Renee Erickson's A Boat, A Whale and a Walrus is so delightful. Flavors of the Northwest are celebrated by a Seattle restaurateur -- including lots of easy pickles and salmon. I love the way she's organized the book by menus: New Year's Eve, Fourth of July, even her birthday. Very celebratory and inclusive.
Matt Sartwell, co-owner and Managing Partner of New York’s Kitchen Arts and Letters: If I had to suggest just one book that should not be overlooked, it would be Jennifer McLagan's Bitter. It's amazingly smart and surprising, and anybody who cares about understanding flavor should take a serious look at it.
First photo by James Ransom