Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Beautiful Cookery

Penguin's Great Foods Series, image @Washington Post
The days are cold here in New York City (except when they're not and we're having a weird 50-degree-day in January that makes me fear for our planet, but I digress...), and little makes me happier than hunkering down at home with something delicious to eat and something delicious to read.

Food is my favorite thing to read about, and I read and re-read my two favorite books - MFK Fisher's The Art of Eating (relation to food obvious) and Joseph Mitchell's Up In The Old Hotel (relation to food less obvious, but the way he wrote about it whenever it is mentioned in this tome, proves he loved food as much as I do). Both books feel like old friends, and I've worn out more copies of each than I can recall.

Two book series recently helping me get through this winter, which will both most likely meet the same fate as Ms. Fisher's and Mr. Mitchell's, are Penguin's Great Food series and The Canal House cookbooks.

Great Food is a series of lovely paperback reprint versions of volumes of classic food writing and cookery.  You can see all the titles in the series here.  The covers were designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith and the books are so beautiful you'll covet them just for their looks, but they are such yummy reads you'll be happily bending those spines in no time.

The Canal House, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, image @NJ Monthly
My obsession with the seven-volume (currently), self-published Canal House Cookbooks stems not just from their being gorgeous and interesting reads, full of recipes you'll want to cook (and the recipes work!), but also because I'm obsessed with Lambertville, New Jersey, where The Canal House resides, and want to live there myself.  Long-time friends Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton write and cook together on a daily basis there and, lordy, am I envious!  They sometimes post playlists, and their blog makes me drool.

A volume from either of these two food series would make a lovely gift, and the entire set of each series, or both series if you're particularly flush, would probably make your favorite food-loving friend your bitch for quite some time, or at least get you a good home-cooked meal or two.  I already own both series, so you'll just have to ask me nicely for something to eat.  I'll certainly say yes



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