Now Reading: Gourmet, Tartine, Momofuku

Three very different cookbooks have been hanging out in my bookcase of food books. They’re mine on loan from the library until I finish them or someone else requests them and keeps me from hitting renew.

Let’s explore.

An edition of The Best of Gourmet from 1988, the year I was born. Finding this felt a little like those lists that tell you what song was No. 1 on your birth date. The book is divided into menus from the previous year with more than 500 recipes, offering pictures along with the menus in the first section and a few illustrations scattered throughout the recipes in the rest of the book. A few recipes are from what was then a new column, “Microwave Mastery.”

The table settings were awesomely gaudy. Look at that decorative plate of a deck of cards. Oh, if you could just see all this furniture. One menu for “tray meals” offers breakfast in a bed that is festooned with ruffles, hearts, and floral decor. I don’t know where to look first.

Maybe just go straight for the recipes. A few that sounded good were Raspberry Oatmeal Lace Cookies, a Potato Pancake with Celery Root and Gruyère, Baked Goat Cheese Walnut Toasts, and a Braised Chicken with Olives sitting on Saffron Rice with Pine Nuts and Currants. Doesn’t that sound good? Why don’t I ever see food at any 80s-themed parties?

Tartine! I’ve been hanging with this book for longer than I care to admit without starting my starter.

We bought a kitchen scale and stocked up on another tool for cutting into the dough… and then there was a move and an onslaught of excuses. Now we’re going to California next week, spending one night in San Francisco and you can bet we’re paying Tartine a visit. Mark Bittman said it was his favorite bakery in the country. I trust that guy.

And maybe this is a better way to go about it. I’ve had everything I need to make this bread except a taste of the finished product to measure my bread against. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I don’t know that I’m making anything from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook anytime soon, but it sure was fun to read. Not that Christina Tosi’s creations don’t appeal to me, because they do. Cereal Milk, yes please, I ate two bowls of cereal a morning in high school. I had to stop buying it all together to save myself.

Then there’s Crack Pie. Chocolate Chip Layer Cake. Corn Cookies. Gimme.

It’s just that a lot of the recipes for the pies and cakes and cookies include references to other recipes to get you to what you want. And I don’t have ingredients like acetate, freeze-dried corn powder or citric acid sitting in my pantry on any given baking day.

One day. How long can I resist a recipe for something called Candy Bar Pie? It’s only a matter of time.

What cookbooks (or magazines, food blogs, etc.) are you reading lately?



6 thoughts on “Now Reading: Gourmet, Tartine, Momofuku

  1. Those metal apples! And is someone fanning the food with that plant frond? I’m in the same situation as you with the Tartine book. Friends gave me it for my birthday back in December and I have yet to start the starter. ooh, maybe we can pick a date to start it at the same time to see what happens on opposite ends of the country. And then we’ll have to do it 😉

    I picked up Rachel Khoo’s two breakfast books in France. One is granola bars + mueslis, the other is toast toppings.

      • I’ve been there a few times. The first time we had a lemon tart and then a berry tart (mixed I think) and then I came back for a ham and cheese pressed sandwich (definitely no ordinary ham & cheese though!). I went another morning for a “meeting” and had a pain au chocolat with coffee — the coffee there is really good too. Never got to go at 5 for the fresh bread. I bet that would be amazing! Let us know how the trip turns out — SF is such an amazing food city. I need to go back soon!!

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