In Search of Total Perfection, by Heston Blumenthal

In Search of Total Perfection, by Heston Blumenthal

Any man who sticks his head-chef into an MRI machine and feeds him chilli-infused oil to see which areas of the brain “light up” in response to capsaicin deserves my respect. When the same man puts several pieces of marinated chicken into the machine to see how deeply each different marinade penetrates, I am consumed with the urge to commit bigamy (sorry, Spouse, I love you and all, but you have never put chicken in an MRI machine for me).

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Like Water For Chocolate

Like Wtaer for Chocolate by Laura Esquival

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This is one of my all-time favorite books. Originally written in Spanish as Como Agua Para Chocolate, it is a love story, recipe book, and ethnic soap opera all rolled into one.

The book tells the story of Tita, the youngest of the three de la Garza sisters, who is forbidden from marrying, since family tradition dictates that she must care for her mother – the domineering Mama Elena – to the end of her days (sound familiar?) Keep reading…

The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Mistress of SPices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Mistress of SPices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

I must say that I avoided adding my thoughts on this book to the FTB blog until arm-twisted into doing so by three persuasive readers. Why? Well, just because a book features spices as an integral part of its name (and plot), doesn’t necessarily mean the book has anything to do with food.

However, several interesting email exchanges later, I am willing to concede that maybe – just maybe – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices is not only about food and its ability to heal, but also about travel – physical and metaphysical. Keep reading…

A Cook’s Tour

A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain

A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain will do anything in his quest for the perfect meal, even it means traveling with gun-toting maniacs in Khmer Rouge territory in Cambodia, slaughtering a pig in Portugal, eating a beating cobra’s heart – even selling his soul to TV (in his own, albeit borrowed, words: “We’ve already established you’re a whore. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”) Keep reading…

Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

If you’ve watched ‘No Reservations’, the television travel show hosted by Anthony Bourdain, you probably think of him as a chilled-out and somewhat zany seeker of gastronomic pleasures, willing to try anything once, and prepared to go to any lengths to try it.

What you probably don’t know (I certainly didn’t!) is that he is also a CIA-trained chef (not that CIA, dummy, the Culinary Institute of America) and a kickass writer. Kitchen Confidential is a no-holds-barred memoir of Bourdain’s journey from oyster-struck young boy to his ultimate goal: Chefhood. Keep reading…

Climbing The Mango Trees

Climbing The Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey

Climbing The Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey

If you’re a fan of Madhur Jaffrey‘s cookbooks, you’re familiar with her inimitable ability to evoke almost tangible images of good food, the people who cook it, and the places she travels in search of it.

Unlike Jaffrey’s previous works, however, Climbing The Mango Trees is not a cookbook. It’s a memoir peppered with evocative imagery, black and white photographs from the family album, and personal anecdotes that transport you to another time and place.
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Eating India

Eating India by Chitrita Banerji

Eating India by Chitrita Banerji

As the name suggests, Chitrita Banerji’s “Eating India” speaks of the author’s voracious appetite for all that’s desi – not just the food, but also the history, the culture, the sights, sounds, and colors, the religions… you get the picture.

Part travelogue, part treatise, Eating India traces Banerji’s personal journey in quest of culinary “truth.” Instead of simply documenting India’s multitudinous regional cuisines, she poses a question: in today’s global context, how exactly do we define the term “authentic”? Keep reading…