If your tug on the Thanksgiving wishbone will be for some variety and spice in your turkey-saturated life, check out these engaging new FOOD-THEMED BOOKS that explore cherished culinary traditions — and turn them on their heads.
Who Put the Beef in Wellington? 50 Culinary Classics, Who Invented Them, When and Why
By James Winter (Kyle Books, $25)
This tasty, trivia-packed cookbook not only can provide the menu for upcoming holiday parties but also spark conversation when polite chitchat fades to awkward silence. The book’s British pedigree — it’s written by the producer of BBC One’s popular cooking show Saturday Kitchen — ensures the featured dishes capture the flavors (and flavours) from both sides of the pond and beyond. Yes, there’s familiar, formal American fare such as Waldorf Salad and Oysters Rockefeller. But readers can also broaden their palates and nourish their appetites for learning with such continental favorites as Salad Olivier and such Down Under desserts as Lamington.
Cowgirl Creamery Cooks
By Sue Conley and Peggy Smith (Chronicle Books, $35)
Part memoir, part cookbook and 100 percent great literary feast for food lovers, this title is a mouth-watering, heartfelt tribute to the art of cheesemaking from two of its finest practitioners: the co-founders of the celebrated Cowgirl Creamery in Northern California. With humility and awe, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith retrace their nearly 40-year journey from being college roommates in Tennessee to their induction into the prestigious Guilde Internationale des Fromagers in Paris. While the spotlight, naturally, is on Cowgirl Creamery’s own award-winning artisanal cheeses, the 75 delectable recipes as well as invaluable storage and serving tips teach readers how to enjoy any cheese at its very best.
Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture
By Dana Goodyear (Riverhead Books, $28)
Looking for the antithesis of the traditional Thanksgiving meal? Author Dana Goodyear has it in this thought-provoking look at the extreme fringes of foodie culture. It’s a world where a triple-dog-dare-you mentality rules and where ash, blood and even hay are prized ingredients. Goodyear’s scope is as wide-ranging as the elaborate multicourse meals she describes, touching on everything from the anti-government anger of the raw-milk movement to the colorful “backdoor men” who sell rare ingredients to top Las Vegas chefs. But as with a perspective drawing, these varying storylines all lead back to a common question — What is food? — that’s worth pondering each time the dinner bell rings.