The Bookshelf: Foobooz Fall Reading List, 2013


Even if you’re not impacted by the back-to-school frenzy, autumn still feels like a good time to settle in with a cup of something warm and a good book. This autumn’s cookbook releases include some beautiful works from Philly chefs and writers, so take your pick from the official Foobooz Fall Reading List of 2013.

Eating Italy: A Chef’s Culinary Adventure

By Jeff Michaud and David Joachim

This beautiful book follows Jeff Michaud who, alongside Marc Vetri, is the chef and co-owner of Osteria, Alla Spina, Amis, and the newly opened Pizzeria Vetri, through three years spent in northern Italy. Part travel memoir, part cookbook, and part romance, it tells the story of his time apprenticing with butchers and chefs, of meeting his Italian wife (when she came into the restaurant where he was working), and of learning something of la bella paese. Chapters are divided into the northern Italian towns and cities where he lived and traveled, and the recipes, from Apricot and Chanterelle Salad to Whole Roasted Pigs Head strike the balance between inventive and traditional, hewing towards the rustic and appealing over the fussy and fastidious.

Eating Italy [Amazon]

The DiBruno Bros House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings

By Tenaya Darlington

Wisconsin we are not, but Philadelphia is rich in cheese and in the talented cheese makers and mongers happy to share in the delights of the many expressions of milk, rennet and salt. Tenaya Darlington, alias cheese blogger Madame Fromage, has turned a frequent habit of bellying up to the DiBruno Brothers cheese counter into a primer to teach the cheese novice how to do the same. Whereas specific genre writing can readily slide into a territory of extreme nerdiness and specificity, Darlington personifies 170 cheeses into groups based on personality, which keeps her descriptions playful and approachable. Old-school Italian cheeses are Wise Guys, custardy, bloomy rind cheeses are Sugar Mamas, and intense blues become Pierced Punks. With gorgeous photos by Jason Varney, recommendations for beer and wine pairings, and recipes for cheese accompaniments, this book should be required reading for any Philly food lover.

House of Cheese [Amazon]


Planet of the Grapes

By Jason Wilson

Drexel instructor and award-winning columnist at Boozehound, Jason Wilson has launched a series of digital wine guides called Planet of the Grapes. Each guide aims to demystify an aspect of the wine world creating a “new way to look at wine for a new generation. The first volumes – available now – include Alternative Reds, Great Whites, Vino Espanol, and “The Old Stuff” a look at fortified wines and brandies. They might be just the things to read from your iPad while recuperating on the couch from your last Barolo-fueled bender.

Planet of the Grapes [Smart Set]

Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking

By Rich Landau & Kate Jacoby

In a town whose name is often inextricable from a greasy meat sandwich oft soggy with artificial cheese, it’s nice to know that we’ve got Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby to keep a shred of our vegetable virtue intact. The duo behind Vedge, Philadelphia’s very own vegetable restaurant, present this book of more than 100 recipes where vegetables, absent from butter and bacon fat, take center stage. While vegan cookery is often the punch line of jokes, Vedge is proving that roots, shoots, and fruits, employed in sophisticated and thoughtful ways, can be just as stunning as any meat-centric entrée. Recipes include Spiced Little Carrots with Chickpea and Sauerkraut puree, Puree of Chinese Broccoli with Crushed Cucumber and Ginger, and Baked Potato Poutine with Porcini Gravy. Go on Philly, eat your vegetables.

Vedge [Amazon]

Eat Up: The Inside Scoop on Rooftop Agriculture

by Lauren Mandel

In the event that your household is enacting a moratorium on cookbook purchasing, or you prefer your lunch with a side of urban planning, pick up Lauren Mandel’s book. A landscape architect and rooftop ag expert, Mandel’s goal for the book is that it be a useful primer and “a practitioner’s view of how to turn dreams of rooftop farms and gardens into actual spaces that feed people.” The first dedicated to the urban food security strategy of growing food on rooftops, Eat Up examines zoning and building codes, structural and infrastructure considerations, growing techniques, and marketing strategies.

Eat Up [Amazon]

Oh, and by the way? Yes, you could place an order at Amazon for any of these texts (links included). Or you could act like a real Philadelphian and support your own, local cookbook store. Get yourself to Reading Terminal Market to The Cookbook Stall to pick up these titles. If you’re too lazy to make the trip, you can use their brand spankin’ new online ordering system as well.