Meals and Travel (By means of Books) Throughout a Pandemic
I have never been a traveler, but in the last 5 to 10 years I have always wanted to travel a lot. Obviously, now that I have a 4-year-old son, things have changed. While it was not always possible for me to travel where I wanted to go (hello to graduate, repay a loan, and become a parent), I loved turning to books and travel tips, which I had already written. I have a pile of Lonely Planet and Moon guides on the shelf and a pile of other books such as travelogues and anthologies related to travel near my work desk.
Especially since home-based COVID-19, I’ve always wanted to move (or leave home) more. Obviously this won’t happen anytime soon, which is why I had to make it with books. Not only have I been fascinated by books on nature, but books about travel and travel – and much of it has to do with food or cooking. Some of the books I have read have not been selected as one of these but have both. I don’t know what it is, but somehow, it all works together, food and travel. Perhaps it is because food and geography can be so closely intertwined.
Books have allowed me to travel a few months ago, if it were on the same page – and I’ve learned a lot not only about space and location, but also food and nutrition. I’ve read about family traditions and recipes, dinner and immersion, and read poetry about my favorite foods. As a relative newbie in food design and a complete beginner in the kitchen, it has been fun. The interaction between food, space, memories, and stories has taken me countless times. It may not be as fun (or delicious) as going to these places or eating the food, but the books have been a good rest. These are some of my favorites.
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American Cheese: An Indulgent Odyssey Through Artisan Cheese World author Joe Berkowitz
Unlike many people, I have never been a fan of cheese. Obviously, I like it a lot, but nothing great. This can change as you read this book. The passion that Berkowitz brings to these pages can make anyone love a cheese, and the variety of cheese experiments made me hungry just to read them. After an innocent night one Valentine’s Day, a meeting with the cheese sent Berkowitz down to the rabbit hole and went to see the nature of the cheese and make art. From France to New York City to Wisconsin, Berkowitz brings the reader on a cheesecake tour with their loved ones.
Carolina Card: Writers in North Carolina on Edited Food by Randall Kenan
I went to school and lived in North Carolina for a while, and since I left nine years ago, I have been missing it every day. People, communities, food… food. This book was the cure for my life. Food can tell you a lot about the place, and these food-related stories in NC and various cultures do just that, with providers like Lee Smith, Jaki Shelton Greene, Wiley Cash, and Jill McCorkle. Randall Kenan is the editor, and his introduction to the book is a masterpiece in its own right. There are stories about family conflicts, sharing Shabbat food with friends, holiday rituals, and choices about the Carolina barbecue. The recipes included in this book are an added bonus.
Make Me Rain: Poetry & Prose by Nikki Giovanni
I’ve loved Giovanni’s poetry ever since I read Cotton Candy on New Year’s Day back in college, and the new one didn’t disappoint. Where does this book fit in with this list, you might ask? The poems and short stories describe America as a black woman, anti-apartheid and white patriot, celebrating with her family, sex, cooking and pickaxes, and police brutality. The pieces are being researched in America. He goes to Ferguson, in court with Dr. Ford, in the 1960s and Malcolm X, as well as Virginia Tech — also writes about vegetable broth, fruit, biscuits and pancakes, and much more. Reading this should be borne in mind. Nikki Giovanni’s quote is that reading one poem, two, three times is not enough – it’s always too much, and I love her. Her writing comforts her and meets her, confuses and celebrates, and she feels urgent and important right now. If you have read this before, this is one of the things you should look for, and if you have not, then you will probably get help.
Best American Writing 2020 Edited by J. Kenji López-Alt and Silvia Killingsworth
I love this book because it is a good combination of writing and writing food and travel, all wrapped up in one. These pieces touch on topics such as white size and “true” calculations, how to live in the kitchen, food history and distribution, making restaurants accessible to disabled restaurants, supermarkets in need and what’s next, and much more. The sound of each piece varies, and that’s one of my favorite things about these books – you never know what the next article will cover, and in this book, it’s amazing that almost every piece. From Portland to New York to Illinois, and from Benihana to Per Se to Jeni ice cream cones, the book was a journey – in a very special way.
Southwest: True Stories of Natchez, Mississippi author Richard Grant
Natchez, Mississippi, owns the most antebellum houses in the south and still maintains the festivals of the former South, but has also elected a black man as mayor, with over 90% of the vote. The town is meaningless, progressive, and meaningless, but insists on following racist traditions. To outsiders, this does not mean anything. Grant decided to go to Natchez to explore the town and its history, and the people he met there reminded him of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: a memorable people and a history that should go deep.
The Sharper Your Knife, The You You Cry Little: Love, Laughter, and Tears at Paris’s Most Popular Cooking School by author Kathleen Flinn
Lacking all the knowledge in the kitchen, I enjoy watching Food Network and reading recipes. This is the story of Flinn how she lost her job at the age of 36 and decided to spend her money to move to Paris and find a place in Le Cordon Blue, a famous culinary school. It gives readers an in-depth look at what’s going on in the kitchen, and what they write in their writing is good – how to make the food, how the food tastes, and everything else. He connects food and travels with his travels in Paris, and this book is a great way to escape on the Paris road.
The Heat of Salt: Learning the Art of Cooking by Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton
Well, this may seem like an addition to this list but listen to me: it’s a lot more than a cookbook. I write food, a good book, and a place to go — especially when combined with Netflix services of the same name. The pictures are fun, and they are fun to read. Nosrat looks at the best in the world and how the ingredients are used in different places. Even if you are not a kitchen expert, this book is fun to read and have access to from time to time for food.
Have you been reading to escape the ravages of time?