Thursday, January 8, 2009

Comfort Reads: Cookbooks & Essays

I don't know how anyone could not fall in love with Niloufer Ichaporia King after reading one or two pages of My Bombay Kitchen. The woman has a joy de vivre that permeates her thouroughly introduced and detailed recipes, providing a read that's nourishing on more than one level. Subtitled " Traditional and Modern Parsi Cooking" even the non-cook stands to benefit from reading the pages full of advise on ways to steam perfect rice, the purported Parsi obsession for eggs and proper limeade, which draws equally on Indian culture and the farmer's market ethos of the Bay Area. The book was prominently displayed at Boulettes Larder when I stopped in after Christmas for some chai spices. One of the cooks told me 'that's a great book," and indeed, another chef with high standards, Alice Waters, who has eaten many a King meal, wrote the foreword. Both the kick-off piece by Waters detailing King's home-cooking, extensive knowledge, and ties to Chez Panisse, as well as the lengthy introduction about Bombay and coming to the states by the author, could have fit into the new volume of "The Best American Essays." Curated by another fave writer Susan Orlean, the essays I've read thus far are—many culled not-too-surprisingly from The New Yorker and more than one from a culinary magazine —offer up more odes to the well as comfort during edgy times.

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