Last month, Mechanics’ Institute staff members explored love and longing, and this month we’re ruminating on sustenance and fellowship. We will select some of our favorite cookbooks, from the aspirational to the eminently practical. Come check out our staff picks on the second floor to see what we’re cooking. There will also be plenty of delicious fiction on display to satiate your literary appetites.
Taryn recommends The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola (FIC)
Recently released from prison, Florent Quenu struggles to forge a new life with his brother, living in the newly rebuilt Les Halles Market. Florent is soon caught up in a dangerous maelstrom of food and politics within the huge labyrinthine market. Amid intrigue among the fishmonger, the charcutière, the fruit girl, and the cheese vendor, we see the dramatic difference between “fat and thin” (the rich and the poor) and how the widening gulf between them strains a city to the breaking point.
Heather recommends Modern Art Desserts : Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art by Caitlin Freeman (641.86 F855)
I love looking at art but I can't decide what I miss most now that SFMOMA is closed for reconstruction: the permanent collection on display, or eating dessert at the rooftop cafe. This book will give you a chance to try your hand at making the Mondrian cake. Good luck, and if your efforts are successful, be sure to share the results with your friendly Mechanics' Institute Library staff!
Diane recommends The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman (641.5 P437)
I am a cookbook snob and for me to purchase a cookbook it has to have three things: beautiful photography, mouth-watering sounding recipes that I believe are within my capabilities, and accessible/everyday ingredients. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook was a by-product of The Smitten Kitchen blog (http://smittenkitchen.com/) which my daughter introduced me to a few years ago. The chef/author, Deb Perelman, creates and records her recipes in a tiny New York City apartment kitchen. I can relate - my first NYC apartment had a kitchen so small that it had no drawers (which I realized on the day I moved in)! Every recipe I have tried from her cookbook has been delicious and even resembles her beautifully photographed creations. A few other cookbooks that meet my stringent prerequisites are Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery (641.5944 K29b) and Salad for Dinner: Simple Recipes for Salads That Make a Meal by Tasha DeSerio (641.83 D451).