Books to Feed the Foodie’s Mind: My Berlin Kitchen, Blood, Bones, and Butter, & Sweet Tooth

3 Jun

My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story, with Recipes myberlinstory by Luisa Weiss is a charming tale of a women who finds both love and a sense of home in Berlin.  I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of food, but couldn’t put the book down because of wanting to learn more about her life, love, and travel.  Weiss was born in Berlin to an Italian mother and American father.  After her parents divorced she spent time living in all three countries as well for a time in Paris.  Her background is in publishing; however, she is an avid amateur cook.  Luisa Weiss is the author of the popular blog, The Wednesday Chef where she writes about cooking, her life, and the intersection between the two.  As on her blog, My Berlin Kitchen provides a variety of recipes inspired by her multinational background.  The love story in the book is a beautiful one, but Weiss writes about it in a realistic way including the struggles of her relationship that helps it feel grounded.  Fans of fellow blogger Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia will eat this book up.

Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef  bloodbonesbutterby Gabrielle Hamilton in contrast to Weiss’s book focuses on the life of a professional chef with a not so fairy tale love life.  The book is broken in to three sections “Blood” which deals with her childhood and college, “Bones” with her starting up and working at the popular NY restaurant Prune, and “Butter” with her relationship with her husband and her time with his family in Italy.  I felt the “Bones” section was the most interesting of the three; Hamilton conveyed well the world of the restaurant chef in a humorous and intriguing way.  I, however, found Hamilton to come across as a bit judgmental about those around her and wished there was a bit more introspection on some of reasoning for certain life decisions.  This was especially true in the “Butter” section since she claims that she married her husband as an act of “performance art” so he can have a green card and seems deeply disappointed in their relationship from the beginning, but then goes on to have two children with him.  The book will appeal to fans of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.

sweettoothSweet Tooth: The Bittersweet History of Candy  by Kate Hopkins interweaves the history of candy ingredients and candy making techniques with Hopkin’s travel to key places which played roles in the history of candy including England, Italy, Hershey, PA, and Salem, MA.  Her focus on the slave trade’s role in sugar production provides much of the bitter aspect of the books title.  A cute aspect is in each chapter she details one candy she enjoyed as a child and gives it a point value for how much it was worth in the barter system with other candies with her friends and sibling, this provides a sweet contrast to the more cynical adult perspective that often permeates Hopkins’s travels.  Through her journey Hopkins tries to recapture the magical feeling of a happiness she derived from candy as a child, which she feels as an adult is now missing.  This book will be a treat to travel writing aficionados whether or not they have a sweet tooth.

Foodies will not want to miss the Hoboken Public Library’s First Book Festival on June 8 where Maricel Presilla, who was named the James Beard Best Chef Mid-Atlantic 2012 will be the keynote speaker.  Presilla recently won the prestigious IACP Award for best general cookbook and a James Beard Award for Best Cookbook of the year for 2013 for her years-in-the-making Gran Cocina Latina, an epic look at Latin American cooking.  

For more information:

– Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

%d bloggers like this: