Delish Foodie Books

A weekend of travel by ferry and van has helped me to whittle away my stack o’ foodie books

I eat omnivorously when I review restaurants but my family keeps vegan at home. Works for us. What’s next? What’s still more stringent than veganism? How about a raw diet? I didn’t think it was for me but I read Kate Magic’s Raw Magic, Superfoods for Superpeople (Process Media) nonetheless. It was every bit as colorfully loopy as it sounds (The woman’s name is “Magic,” after all.) But it makes some strong arguments for going raw—the strongest being the photo of a bikini-clad Kate Magic. I don’t know of any other chef who could run a photo like that and keep things appetizing.

Magic looks great and she clearly has a sparkling attitude. She often effuses things like, “There are certain foods that when you eat them, your body is in heaven, your cells start singing, your mind becomes ecstatic.” She convinced me to try preparing some recipes with Spirulina…we’ll see how it goes. This book is focused on the more unusual raw foodstuffs. Most of the recipes in this book are pretty simple to prepare and Magic has young children—so many of her recipes appeal to kids. Magic and this book come to us from Jolly Old England—long a hotbed of veganism and raw eating. The book is endorsed by none other than Boy George!

The Urban Homestead, Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (Process Media) has changed my life. I’ve ordered copies for some of my favorite people. My “homestead” is in Sag Harbor Village but this book has taught me so much! How to plant, how to can, how to start sour dough, how to save energy. I mean, I thought that I knew how to do some of this stuff already but this book takes such a holistic, no-nonsense approach I was floored AND IT’S REALLY FUNNY! The ethos is “stick it to the man so you can do your own thing and still have time to drink at your local bar.” Right on. Thank you Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen—when the zombies come my family will be ready! (Though, in the mean time, we’re going to hold off on the whole “humanure” thing.)

Pies, Glorious Pies: Brilliant Recipes for Mouth-watering Tasty Pies by Maxine Clark (Ryland Peters & Small) is a gorgeous little tome with photos by Steve Painter. Just the thing to drool over when planning the traditional Memorial Day blow-out.

Herein a master pie maker reveals her recipes—several different crusts, of course—and techniques. She’s English, she knows from pie and she has all the vintage pans and pie birds and whatnots. As a pie baker, I didn’t expect to find much new information but Clark brings together the different pies worldwide—pie, torta, beef en croute, tourtiere, koulibiaca, puffs, pithiviers, pasties, empanadas, samosas, tarts—all in one place. Very handy, though my attempt to make a vegan version of her Keema Bridies didn’t work out too well. Oh well, there’s a few weeks left to practice, practice, practice before the season hits.

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