Growing up in a traditional Chinese household, Joanne Chang didn’t experience sweet desserts after meals until she was introduced to them by friends. Luckily for us, she did indeed develop a sweet tooth which led her to a serious interest in desserts and pastries. Sure, she dabbled in consulting after graduating with honors from Harvard with an Applied Mathematics and Economics degree, but soon enough, she began her career in food. After working at a few restaurants in Boston, she took the opportunity to work as a pastry cook at Payard Patisserie in New York before returning to Boston to open her own bakery. The name of that bakery, Flour, comes from the idea that even the most complex things start with basic elements. Today, there are three locations of Flour Bakery and Cafe, and Joanne is also an owner of Myers + Chang with her husband Christopher Myers. Last October, her book Flour was released, and I’ve been having a great time baking from it. The book will be celebrated this Sunday at the The Beard House in New York where Joanne will prepare a sweet and savory brunch including her famous sticky buns, smoked salmon tartines, bacon quiche, and brioche doughnuts with chocolate pudding. I managed to steal a moment of her time this week to ask, what are you reading?
Thai Street Food by David Thompson- a truly gorgeous book. As inspiring as Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet was to me when we first opened Myers+Chang. The recipes are all authentic and he doesn't take shortcuts. His exploration of the street foods of Thailand make you want to jump on the next plane to SE Asia. The photos are mouthwatering and the people watching from the book's vantage point is like being there.
My Bread by Jim Lahey- I love his method of bread baking and have had such success with it at home. I love bread and My Bread allows me to enjoy it more easily at home.
Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson- I'm as in love with this book as I am with Tartine, the pastry book. The methodical and professional explanation of how to make bread are terrific for someone like me who knows a bit about bread but wants to learn more.
The Sweeter Side of Amy's Breads by Amy Scherber- Amy's Breads is my must-see place whenever I go to NYC. Of course the breads are great but over the years I've fallen in love with Amy's scones and cookies and cakes, all of which are in this book. She has a great matter of fact way of explaining the recipes and stories behind them that I always enjoy reading.
Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton- My husband got an advance copy and I read it in one sitting. Prune is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC and I found Gabrielle's life story fascinating. She's lived about a million lives in one and she's the real deal.
Thank you for participating, Joanne. Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.
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