Posts tagged: cookbooks

The Wet-plate process, Dukes and the Iodine State

By , December 24, 2015


2015 has been a generous year for those who love southern writing. Sally Mann surprised us with her lovely authentic memoir, Hold StillSure, she could have used a stricter editor, but if you ever wandered the backroads below the Mason Dixon line, you enjoyed this ride. And it was her appreciation of her Daddy, after all, that went on too long. So, all is forgiven.

Then The Southerner’s Cookbook reminded us that you can never, ever, ever say enough about southern food. Any cookbook that begins with a “Southern larder” section that includes Duke’s mayonnaise is all right by me. This book was produced by the editors of “Garden & Gun” and includes writing by John T. Edge, Rick Bragg and Roy Blount, Jr. The only bar-b-que sauce recipe you’ll ever need (Eastern North Carolina style vinegar-pepper sauce) is on page 234.

Finally, the most spellbinding longing, languid gift of southern writing this year came from Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free. The magic is that the writing is intimate, and yet it turned out that the whole music world was listening. I’ve got a drawer of snapshots he’s never seen that illustrate this turn through the south. Edited perfectly, it left audiences waiting for more.

“As anyone who grew up on the food can attest, life without a little South in your mouth at least once in a while is a bland and dreary prospect” John Egerton





Cookbook review: The Southern Living Community Cookbook

By , December 7, 2014

Southern Living Community CookbookThe Southern Living Community Cookbook: Celebrating Food and Fellowship in the American South
By the Editors of Southern Living Magazine

Check this one out for the appetizers alone, which include:

~Crispy Cheese Wafers
~Chicks in a Blanket with Spicy Mustard Sauce
~A Super Bowl-ready Sausage, Pinto Bean, and Spinach Dip
~Muffaletta Dip
~Easy Sausage Swirls, a 3(!)-ingredient recipe

Perfect for all of your holiday get-togethers.


Book review: British Cookbooks

By , November 3, 2014

River Cottage Veg

River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes

By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall


The joy of this cookbook is its inspired combinations, unlike anything you’ve seen in American cookbooks.  Case in point: red cabbage, parsnip, orange, and date salad.  Really!  Another standout is the warm salad of mushrooms, roasted squash, arugula, and blue cheese.  If that doesn’t say autumn, I don’t know what does.

Two of my other favorites are also amongst the simplest recipes in the book: the leek and cheese toastie (much more than the sum of its parts), and the salad of raw brussels sprouts, apple, and cheddar, which gave a twist to my Thanksgiving table last year.



Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend CooJamie Oliver's Comfort Foodkbook

By Jamie Oliver


I know Jamie Oliver has his detractors, but it really can’t be argued that many of his recipes are amazingly good.  The Super Schnitzel on page 34, which includes blackcurrant jam and a caper/anchovy topping, is—no exaggeration—one of the best meals I’ve ever made at home.


Happy cooking!



Popmatic Podcast July 9th, 2014: Gril is French for Grill

By , July 9, 2014

The Chopped CookbookSummer time is for cooking out so we gab about the best books movies and music to get you grillin’ and chillin’. Did I just write that? Grillin’ and chillin’. I wrote that. Okay. Let’s move on.


Guy on Fire: 130 Recipes for Adventures in Outdoor Cooking by Guy Fieri

ORCA coolers from Franklin, TN

The Chopped Cookbook: Use What You’ve Got to Make Something Great

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer

upgrade your beer with a French press

Beer Cocktails: 50 Superbly Crafted Cocktails that Liven Up Your Lagers, Ales, and Stouts by Howard Stelzer

Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes by Matt Fitzgerald & George Fear

Shaft: the TV Movie Collection

Oldboy Korean original


Big Kids Club at Main Library superheroes creative writing workshop

Sentinels of the Multiverse – Greg called it “Avengers” of the Multiverse

Between the Bars by The Civil Wars

Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Schwartz

upcoming Midnight Movies at the Belcourt
- Heavy Traffic
- Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Night Moves (1975)

The High Window by Raymond Chandler

Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves

If a Tree Falls

Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

This Sporting Life

ESPN 30 for 30: Broke


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Bake some pies: three new cookbooks

By , June 13, 2014

Every day is a good day to eat pie. So why not try baking your own?  We have three new “pie only” cookbooks written by some very talented and creative bakers.  So put on your apron, grab your rolling pin and pie plate, and get busy!

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
Sisters Emily and Melissa Elsen grew up watching their grandma and mom bake pies for the family-owned diner.  The girls grew up and went out into the world, but pie making was in their blood.   The Elsen sisters left behind the careers they went to college for and opened a pie shop in Brooklyn. It’s been so successful they opened a second location in the Brooklyn Public Library, and more importantly for us, published their first cookbook.  Favorite recipe I baked: the green chili chocolate pie on p. 204.


Teeny’s Tour of Pie
Teeny’ s love of pie inspired her to embark on a journey across the country, interning at the best pie shops in the U.S. before opening her very own in Washington DC. Her easy-going, don’t worry if you screw up, words of encouragement sure helped to ease my pie-crust making nerves.  Teeny is a big fan of single-serving teeny pies, and most recipes include variations on how to make them “teeny.”  Favorite recipe I baked: the strawberry rhubarb pie on p. 167.


First Prize Pies
Allison Kave founded First Prize Pies after she won 1st place at the Brooklyn Pie cookoff with her Bourbon Ginger Pecan Pie (p. 170).  Her recipes include some of the most creative culinary ideas I’ve ever encountered.  Plus Allison explains her techniques so well, you’re sure to have success on your first attempt!   I decided to put the avocado cream pie (p. 82) to the co-worker taste test. Admittedly an avocado pie  sounds unusual, so I’m including actual quotes from a few of my taste testers.  Greg said…”Most excellent.  Like a creamier, earthier keylime pie.  Have you ever had one of the avocado popsicles from Las Paletas?  Reminds me of those!”  Teresa proclaimed… “DELICIOUS! Who knew?”  And Bryan said…”This is delicious! This the best creme cheese pie I have ever had but it is green so I can count it as a vegetable right? I want you to make brussels sprouts pie next!”  Well, I don’t know about a brussels sprouts pie, but they sure are tasty roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.

“Candy might be sweet, but it’s a traveling carnival blowing through town. Pie is home. People always come home.” ~ quote from Pushing Daisies, one of the best TV series of the last decade…

Popmatic Podcast May 2014: A Renaissance (of Sorts)

By , May 4, 2014

May marks the joyful return of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. We hark back to the Renaissance, the Dark Ages, and Season 5 of Gilmore Girls. Merriment is had by all.


Tournaments and Jousts: Training for War in Medieval Times by Andrea Hopkins

The Art of Chess by Colleen Schafroth

Shakespeare’s Insults: Educating Your Wits by William Shakespeare

Gilmore Girls Season 5

Big Bang Theory Season Two Episode Two “The Codpiece Topology

The Armada by Garrett Manningly

Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn

Hild by Nicola Griffith

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

Porius by John Cowper Powys

Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters

The Story of Wales

Lancelot of the Lake

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Tenth of December by George Saunders featuring the story “My Chivalric Fiasco”

Donatello’s bronze David

turkey legs


The Guild DVD | YouTube

Four & Twenty Blackbird Pie Book by Emily Elson & Melissa Elson

Ascendant by Drew Chapman

The World of Yesterday by Stephan Zweig

The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz

Under the Skin by Michel Farber

Are you a Tim Gunn or a RuPaul?


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Popmatic Podcast April 2014: Cherry Blossom Festival and All Things Japan

By , April 6, 2014

In honor of Cherry Blossom Festival, we celebrate all things Japan. Greg has been there. If you are Japanese, please to go to town in the comments. And what is tickling our fancy.


The guy that married a pillow could be considered an extreme example of otaku. Read about it here.

Cookpad featuring the recipe family favorite meat miso

Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono

Sonobana Grocery

Akira Kurasawa movies

The Films of Akira Kurasawa by Donald Richie

Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (CD | Hoopla) by Gwen Stefani

Harajuki Girls

Gothic & Lolita Bible

Gothic Lolita Punk by Rico Komanoya

Maneki-neko or “Lucky Cat”

Ascendacies: The Best of Bruce Sterling by Bruce Sterling featuring the short story “Maneki-neko”

The Cat Returns

“Cat Heaven Island”

Nyalan and Deshi feline travel mascots

cat cafes

Haruki Murakami books

Japanese: The Game


Raid: Redemption

Raid 2 official website

Future Islands

Future Islands performing their song “Seasons (Waiting On You)

Two Ten Jack

Izakaya: the Japanese Pub Cookbook by Mark Robinson

Veronica Mars movie

Godzilla featuring Japan and U.S. versions

Bambi Meets Godzilla


A transcript of the show is available upon request.

Book review: Little old lady recipes

By , January 17, 2014

Little old lady recipes: comfort food and kitchen table wisdom
by Meg Favreau

Did your 2014 New Year’s Resolution focus on smart and sensible eating?

Ready to shelve that crazy thought? In that case, have we got a book for you!

Little old lady recipes: comfort food and kitchen table wisdom by Meg Favreau will have you rethinking the way you look at your grocery list. Each recipe is short and sweet with ingredients listed followed by short instructions and a bit of advice. Did you know that crunched cornflakes may be substituted for bread crumbs? That the “surprise” in tuna surprise casserole is a bag of potato chips? Here’s a turnip casserole tip, “small turnips are mild, big ones are stronger. It’s your choice.” And finally, when in doubt, take a covered dish.

Not all the advice given within these pages has to do with food, as evidenced in the following nugget: “Don’t wear dark lipstick. When it shows up on a man’s collar, everyone is going to know it’s yours.”

Every few pages you are greeted by a full page photograph of a sensible looking older lady. These women have hosted a bridge club or two. They provide comfort and encouragement as you unlearn the fundamentals of Nutrition 101. So if you are ready to ditch your 2014 resolution to eat smart, here is your book!

If you prefer a more scientific look at classic recipes, try any of the Cook’s Country TV show cookbooks by the editors of Cook’s Country. You will still get the good old comfort foods, this time though, the recipes are vetted scientifically. The PBS show Cook’s Country is hosted by Christopher Kimball aka. Sheldon Cooper’s older brother.


“I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.” Erma Bombeck


Book review: Pati’s Mexican Table

By , July 23, 2013

Pati’s Mexican Table: the Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking
by Pati Jinich

Thanks to our diverse community of Nashvillians, we have so many wonderful and reasonably priced Internationally-flavored restaurants.  I particularly enjoy Mexican food, and  El Jaliciense on the East Side is one of my favorite establishments.  If you’re like me and love the flavors of Mexican cuisine and are curious to try preparing it in your home kitchen, Pati’s Mexican Table is a priceless resource.

Perhaps you know Pati from her PBS cooking show Pati’s Mexican Table.  She is also the official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC, and Pati often appears in the national media and at the Smithsonian to speak about Mexican culture and cuisine.  Her debut cookbook is so user-friendly, it will quickly put your fear of unknown spices and techniques completely at ease.  She explains traditional Mexican ingredients like queso fresco and jicama in special sidebars, and through detailed instructions Pati illustrates the tried and true cooking techniques of a Mexican kitchen.   My favorite recipe so far has been her smoky chicken potato salad (page 159.)  I’m looking forward to finding a ripe watermelon and some tomatillos to make her watermelon and tomatillo salad with feta cheese (page 53.) And I must attempt to create her guava cheesecake (page 256.)

If you’re already an experienced Mexican home cook, can I come over for dinner?  Just kidding, but I do want to let you know about this year’s James Beard Foundation‘s award winning cookbook of the year, Gran Cocina Latina: the Food of Latin America, by Maricel E. Presilla.  Presilla’s remarkable tome is beautifully crafted, authoritative, and I daresay will prove to be the ultimate resource on Latin American food.


Popmatic Podcast July 2013: Cooking the Books

By , July 16, 2013

Bryan misses an episode of the Popmatic Podcast for first time ever. With grumpy librarian away, the rest of the team raids the refrigerator. They tell you about about their favorite cookbooks, food blogs, and individual recipes. Favorite local restaurants are named but you’ll have to listen for those. Is this the best episode ever? Probably.

Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants by Christine Carroll & Jody Eddy

No Reservations (film)

The $5 Dinner Mom One-dish Dinner Cookbook by Erin Chase
Check out the recipe for skillet shells and beef with peppers on page 133.

Man Tested Recipes  (blog)
Check out their recipe for liquid nitrogen cooled strawberry ice cream.

Big Night (film)

Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee
Check out the recipe for bourbon-pickled jalapenos on page 175.

Edward Lee’s restaurant 610 Magnolia.


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