Friday, October 29, 2010

Melissa Clark, What Are You Reading?

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Melissa Clark when she was in Austin for the Texas Book Festival. Over some bowls of chili and chips and salsa, we talked food, books, kaffir lime trees, and hog roasting parties. Melissa writes the New York Times Dining section column A Good Appetite which is where I found my favorite granola recipe last year. Her new cookbook with essays, based on that column, is called In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite, and it has great chapter titles like “The Farmers’ Market and Me,” “Things with Cheese,” and “Better Fried.” She also writes for Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and Martha Stewart Living. Melissa has written 29 other cookbooks as well including collaborations with Daniel Boulud for Braise, David Bouley for East of Paris, and Claudia Fleming for The Last Course. Earlier this year, The Perfect Finish, which was a collaboration with White House pastry chef Bill Yosses, was released. Coming up on Tuesday, November 2, Melissa will be teaming up with Amanda Hesser for a joint book launch event in New York City which will benefit Wellness In The Schools. Of course she had some interesting titles to share when I asked what are you reading?

I’ve just read American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields by Rowan Jacobsen, I have a feeling it’s one of those “important” books everyone will be reading and talking about – or at least it should be. Jacobsen’s essays are insightful and funny, speaking of the connection between the environment and how it affects the food we eat. Each essay is topped off by a recipe, so, really, there’s something for everyone.

On my beside table now I’ve got A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg. I’ve been a fan of her blog Orangette, and her new book of personal essays and fantastic recipes mines the same rich territory.

And there’s also My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats by Fany Gerson. It hasn’t made it’s way down to the kitchen yet – right now I’m pouring through her highly informative notes on the history of Mexican pastry, they make for superb bedtime stories. I suspect this year’s Holiday Cookies will be greatly influenced by Ms. Gerson. But first on my list of to-try recipes is Chestnut Flan, seasoned with apricot jam.
Then, on my iPhone, I’ve got the Kindle edition of Frank Bruni’s wonderful, equally hilarious and poignant memoir Born Round. I read this astounding memoir when it first came out in hardcover, but recently downloaded it to reread on long subway rides.

Thank you for participating, Melissa. 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
David Leite
Dan Lepard
Carolyn Jung
Joan Nathan


  1. I agree. . Hope I am too, too lazy to deal with it lol

  2. Fabulous selection of reads Lisa. Gotta love the iPhone reading, too.

  3. Fantastic What Are you Reading Lisa! And it's great that you got to meet her and talk about it :D

  4. I've been meaning to read A Homemade life, but have forgotten about that one! Those are great suggestions and how lucky you got to meet that author!

  5. More books to add to my list! I have A Homemade Life on there already - getting closer to it!

  6. Oh what a lovely list and what a fantastic meeting u had!!

  7. I adore Melissa Clark and am so excited to read all of htese books! If she recommends them, I know they must be awesome.

  8. too many temptations here Lisa.


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