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Showing posts from December, 2017

Steak in Sister Carrie // Cook Your Books

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In this Cook Your Books series, I have chosen 15 books to read in 2017 based on somewhat arbitrarily chosen categories. My theory (bogus it might turn out to be) is that all 15 of these books will somehow connect to food. And I plan to write about that food. And it turns out that these entries are a sort of long-form blog-post. So settle in. This eleventh installment is a book set in Illinois.



Oh, Desire. With a capital "D." There you are. Haunting around Chicago and New York (and their restaurants) in this old chestnut from the turn of the century.

I picked up Sister Carriein the Chicago History Museum gift shop while I was wiling away some time before catching my plane from O'Hare back to San Francisco. I needed a book set in Illinois, and there was no way I was going to write about one of my most loathed books Augie March (with apologies to my father-in-law, who is a big fan) or about the meat exposé The Jungle (a great book, but it seemed, well, a bit inappropriate for…

Lamb Stew with Winter Squash in The Hour of the Land // Cook Your Books

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In this Cook Your Books series, I have chosen 15 books to read in 2017 based on somewhat arbitrarily chosen categories. My theory (bogus it might turn out to be) is that all 15 of these books will somehow connect to food. And I plan to write about that food.  It turns out that these entries are a sort of long-form blog-post. So settle in. This tenth installment is a book of essays.



In this aspect of the challenge, I really did think about choosing a wonderful Wendell Berry collection, but I knew there was an essay on food in that collection, so that seemed to be stacking the deck in my favor. So I went for something that seemed less obviously connected to food.  And I am going to admit, there were a few moments of panic that I would be making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to pack on the trail.


In Terry Tempest Williams' latest collection of essays The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks, she explores 12 national parks and what they mean to her pe…

Steak and Cheese Pie in Grendel // Cook Your Books

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In this Cook Your Books series, I have chosen 15 books to read in 2017 based on somewhat arbitrarily chosen categories. My theory (bogus it might turn out to be) is that all 15 of these books will somehow connect to food. And I plan to write about that food. It turns out that these entries are a sort of long-form blog-post. So settle in. This ninth installment is a book published in the 1970s.

Aghem. I am not sure what possessed me to choose this book, given what we know about its source material.

So John Gardner's wonderful little novel Grendel is a retelling of Beowulf from the point of view of the beast. But here's the rub. The beast eats humans. Both in Beowulf and in Grendel, and I should have known that. I knew that. I took "Beowulf to Dryden" in my first semester in college. I knew that. But I have promised myself I wouldn't preview books to ensure that they have a connection to food (that would sort of ruin the project); but seriously. I have a graduate deg…