7 new cookbooks to read this summer

Retiring to explore their three cuisines, all beautifully rich in grilled meats, herbs, cream cheese, olives, and Cezanne-worthy fruits and vegetables, she writes: “You can begin to see similarities where political boundaries insist on division and the difference. “Khan, who first fell in love with the area on a family trip as a child, is a travel writer at heart, and each recipe is rooted in a true sense of place. pomegranate and sumac chicken comes from a Syrian doctor who runs a restaurant on the Greek island of Lesvos A halloumi and a salad filled with produce take advantage of the magnificent bounty of Cyprus at the end of summer. fish skewers find her “crossing borders” and “using Turkish fish marinade with Greek garlic potato sauce.” And in a year without travel, it’s hard not to look at the photograph that breaks standard recipe plans: sun-drenched bushels of spices, olives, grapes, pomegranates spilling out into markets; streetscapes in Istanbul and Athens; small towns against the backdrop of the dramatic blue Mediterranean.

About recipes that connect – in the introduction to RICE (University of North Carolina, 120 pp., $ 20), Michael W. Twitty, a food historian, remembers a childhood favorite: his Alabama-born grandmother’s red rice, a spicy tomato-based pilaf, which also serves as a neat metaphor for everyone. delivered. “If you followed this dish through all the moms and grannies that came before it,” he wrote, “you’d go overland from Alabama to South Carolina, then across the Atlantic,” to finally land in Sierra Leone, where jollof rice, an antecedent of red rice, is still a staple in West African cuisine.

Twitty’s slim, stuck volume is part of Savor the South, a series devoted to recognizing the history of the region’s rich culinary landscape (see also: “Okra”, “Jambon”, “Pecans” and “Peaches” ), and here he highlights the different ways in which “rice walked across the South into the hands of slaves and slaves”. He has a knack for presenting history in a way that is both accessible and personal. A recipe for Limpin ‘Susan, okra and rice “staple from the shores of West Africa to the shores of the southern United States,” reads like the thing to eat for a family dinner on Tuesday night ; a recipe for the Afro-Creole dish jambalaya is presented by fellow chef, Wanda Blake, in three short paragraphs; and Twitty himself shares his peanut (peanut) stew recipe, all the more enticing as it recalls his first trip to West Africa.

Fast forward to the modern American South, where fans lining up for pulled pork on white bread at Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, a Charleston restaurant that became virtually iconic on opening day, will be thrilled to know about this latest launch: RODNEY SCOTT’S WORLD OF BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day (Clarkson Potter, 224 pp., $ 29.99), written with Lolis Eric Elie. But whether you’ve eaten at one of Scott’s restaurants or not (there are now three locations), the book will deliver.

There are, of course, the no-frills old-school classics – with surprisingly short ingredient lists – like potato salad with Duke’s mayonnaise and hard-boiled eggs, fried chicken, wings, smoked turkey breast, silent puppies and cornbread with honey butter. What makes this book not the one-note cooking guide just in time for Father’s Day is the memoir section on the front where Scott, a James Beard Award-winning chef and well master, describes her childhood in Hemingway, South Carolina. Cooking his first whole pork when he was only 11, Scott learned from the relentless tutelage of his parents, whose mo was, “When you’re old enough to walk, you’re old enough to work.”

“You can’t summarize those years in a quick conversation,” he writes, and what follows is an overview of every step of the barbecue process, from the construction of the pit (another type of recipe; you’ll need to buying things like 62 concrete blocks and seven lengths of rebar) to build fire barrels and pick the right wood. Only after that you will learn how to cook whole pork. For a certain type of reader, this is on the extreme end of the aspirational spectrum, but even so, it helps to know that you’ll never look at that pulled pork sandwich order the same way again.

For people who don’t think about removing a blowtorch while cooking, there is no better Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift than ZOË BAKES CAKES: Everything you need to know to make your favorite diapers, bundts, buns and more (Ten Speed ​​Press, 272 pp., $ 30), by Zoë François, the Minneapolis-based pastry chef and teacher whose hypnotically photographed confectionery earned her a huge following on Instagram. Even the most novice bake-o-phobe will be unable to resist flagging every page with a note that says “This one!” This one for my birthday! before handing it over to someone else in the house for them to tackle. Fans will be happy to check out all of Zoë’s signatures: these distinctly graphic, cupcake breads and cupcakes with heaps of cloud-shaped frosting and whipped cream; its thorny burnt meringues (natch); cakes garnished with fresh flowers or edged with fences made of candied carrots.

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Linda Jennings

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