Friday, July 2, 2010

David Leite, What Are You Reading?

Because of David Leite, we all tested a certain chocolate chip cookie technique having to do with leaving the dough in the refrigerator for 36 hours before baking. David is a James Beard Award-winning food writer, and his site, Leite’s Culinaria has won several food blog and food web site awards as well. He writes for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appetit, and many other publications. His new book, The New Portuguese Table, won the 2010 IACP First Book/Julia Child Award. Now, David is busy working on a book proposal for a new cookbook. I asked him: what are you reading?

Right now I'm finishing up The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. What intrigued me was the premise: Rose, an ordinary young girl, suddenly begins tasting in her food the emotions and hidden secrets of the person who made it. The novel is set into motion with Rose's shuddering at her mother's desperate sadness after dipping into the lemon cake of the title, which she made for Rose's birthday. Later she correctly intuits her infidelity because, after years of empty-feeling dishes, she suddenly bites into an uncharacteristically hopeful and sunny forkful of dinner.

Bender's spare but evocative language kept me highlighting passages and descriptions on my iPad: Of Rose's father: "He always seemed a little like a guest to me." Of the school nurse:"She was the chaperone of broken bones." Most telling, of her mother, who clearly favored her son: "She was the best with activities: I cherished this time with her, warmed like baby chicks by the orange-red coils of the wall heater." Bare-boned, gorgeous, sad.

Thank you for participating, David. Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.

Previous WAYR posts:
Jaden Hair
Michael Ruhlman
Monica Bhide
Michael Natkin
Sara Roahen
Andrea Nguyen
David Lebovitz
Rick Bayless
Tara Austen Weaver
Mollie Katzen
Deborah Madison
Soup Peddler
Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan
Robb Walsh
Kim Severson


  1. Two wonderful sounding books!



  2. Now I know who to attribute the 36 hour cookie dough recipe, which I love. The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cakes book sounds like an imaginative read. Terrific!

  3. Wow, I don't read much fiction but the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake sounds just intriguing.

  4. would love to get that Portuguese book. Thanks:)

  5. I love the title of the book he's reading. I may just need to add that to my reading list. :)

  6. The book sounds excellent! Definitely something I'd like to read.

  7. Nice to read about David Leite. Did you get the Portuguese book, Lisa? Or have you seen it? I've not heard anything about it. Will look for it.

    The book David is reading sounds most intriguing. And rather a surprise kind of read actually.

  8. I saw an ad for that book recently in the New York Times book section. Made me curious. Now, with this endorsement, I'm definitely going to put it on my list of summer reads.

  9. David Leite's chocolate chip cookie technique is masochistic - who could possibly wait 36 hours to bake them?! 8-P

    Aimee Bender's book sounds lyrical and sounds a bit along the lines of 'Like Water for Chocolate', which I loved. It's going on the (ever expanding) list!

  10. So happy to see David featured here. I adore whimsical food literature and am adding this title to my ever-growing list of reads.


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