Monday 21 December 2009

books of the year

well everyone else is doing their lists and best ofs. One of the perks of Tourism and Food is the amount of eminently readable books that we order in, unlike say faculty of engineering.... - books that you would consider taking home for a bit of light christmas reading.

Guinness toasted 250 years a brewin' and 2 recent publications Guinnesses - the untold story (cant wait for the movie) and The Guinness story, a smaller more pictorial history, from the Obrien Press retell the tale. TV celebrity chefdom remains as popular as ever, so Shooting the cook: a true story about food television and rise of TV's superchefs is timely and apt. 2 contrasting books published this year chart the influence of the french kitchen. 1st Susan Pinkard's A revolution in taste: the rise of French cuisine 1650- 1800. and then came Au revoir to all that: the rise and fall of French cuisine by the American columist and journalist Michael Steinberger. So take your pick
The godfather of molecular gastronomy, Herve This, published Construisons un repas (Building a meal) in english during the year and we saw a new expanded ed of A history of food by Toussaint-Samat.
Best Reference work: The devil's food dictionary: a pioneering culinary refwork consisting entirely of lies.
Best memoir: Anna del Conti's portrayal of growing up in fascist Italy, Risotto with nettles. though The settler's cookbook by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown isn't half bad either
Best compilation: Eat memory: a collection of essays from the New York Times.
Best escapist non fiction: Out of the East:spices and the medieval imagination by Paul Freedman
On the other side of the food pyramid, RTE journalist Philip Boucher-Hayes published Basket case: whats happening to Ireland's food? And in similar vien, equally sobering, Waste: uncovering the global food scandal by self confessed "freegan" Stuart Tristram. And iIf you want to get away from all this food at this time of year, how about Famine: a short history by Cormac O Grada.
Thats me done for the year. Time for down time with caviar , cocktails and chocolate under the tree

Friday 18 December 2009

winter wonderland

Next week in the spirit of christmas the cathal brugha st library will be open from 9am - 5:30pm monday and tuesday and on wednesday from 9 until a time still to be ascertained but probably mid afternoon.
We will reopen on monday, horribly depressed, 4th January 2010 at 9am - operating normal term time hours. As exams will be looming, we will be open saturdays 9th and 16th January 9:30am -5pm, but lets not think about that right now. Enjoy Christmas and healthy hearty New Year to you.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Let them eat garlic

forget the gold standard (previous post) and put all your monies into garlic. In the most recent Economist a quirky little article on China's latest commodity boom The massive boom in garlic prices - currently easily outstripping copper and rising in value by 77% in the Shanghai stockmarket. Garlic prices are soring in China, but driven be warned not by consumers but speculators Apparently what we are seeing with garlic in China at present is "an asset-bubble-foaming stage." The molecular gastronomists would love that. Or Brian Lenehan could use it when next trying to defend the propping up of our deadbeat banks

Monday 7 December 2009

Let them eat gold

In recessionary times GOLD apparently is your best investment. As a present and to help prepare for christmas i've just received some thru the POST - The least of my worries were the postal charges - it came in leaf not bar form. In trying to find how to cook with it i came across this magical little book in the library, Gastronaut by Stefan Gates There are historical references to gilded walnuts and gilded fish in jelly, recipes for gilded sausages and mash, golden wotsits and golden chips. But best of all it justifies the sheer decadence of cooking with gold - really only worth it if you can't actually afford it - otherwise it's just Dublin 4 wheel drive vulgar. It may be tasteless, odourless, infuriating to handle, entirely devoid of nutrients and cripplingly expensive but "Its an alchemical elevation of food, from fuel to wonder, an escape from reality, a flight of decadent fancy" And where would you buy it.
E. Plotons of course in north london - i'm still trying to find a webaddress.