Mindful of our beloved home cooks, we cruised by local independent bookstores, including Bound to Be Read Books in East Atlanta and A Cappella Books in Inman Park (holler to Eagle Eye Book Shop in Decatur and Charis Books in Little Five Points). We found some solid culinary picks, a few surprises, at least one bookstore cat (Kona, we're talking to you, dear puss), and rediscovered the joy of actually roaming around a real live bookshop. We fit in one stop at Barnes & Noble in the Edgewood Retail megalopolis. Even if you prefer going indie, you may want to browse the B&N chain's more-than-decent collection of familiar and less mainstream food and drink mags, including The Local Palate: Food Culture of the South, Lucky Peach, Draft, and Imbibe. Here are just a few of the mostly 2012, mostly Southern-inspired cookbooks and food reads that grabbed our attention this year:
Fire In My Belly by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim. The most inked, most recognizable, and probably one of the most liked chefs in Atlanta dedicates this tome to all the "amazing women" in his life. The "Top Chef" and Woodfire Grill alum offers seasonal recipes, presented with passion and purpose in a format that reminds us of a well-stuffed scrapbook. Gorgeous photos of ingredients, finished dishes, and notes by Atlanta photographer Angie Mosier. A must-have. Andrews McMeel Publishing. $40. pp. 341.
The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America's Best Restaurants on Wheels by John T. Edge. Who has the stamina (some might say obsessiveness) to track and collect the recipes from truck food chefs across the country? John T, that's who. The author, educator, master storyteller, and director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, teamed with photographer Angie Mosier to document these culinary vagabonds in L.A., New York, Portland, Minneapolis, and beyond, gathering recipes, tips, and cooking techniques along the way. Very rock-and-roll roadie approach. We like. Workman Publishing. $18.95. pp. 304.
more books after the jump
Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler's Journey Through the Soul of the South by Susan Puckett. Okay, so it isn't officially out until after New Year's (mark your calendar for a release party happening Jan. 8 at Manuel's Tavern), so your giftee may have to settle for a pre-order, but we're excited about this one, an exploration of the region with photographs by Delta resident Langdon Clay. Check out the notes from this hungry traveler, native of Jackson, Miss., and former food editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at her new blog. University of Georgia Press. $24.95. pp. 286.
Thomas Jefferson's Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America by Thomas J. Craughwell. Julia Child wasn't the only one who brought French cooking techniques stateside. In 1784, the founding father took his 19-year-old slave, James Hemings, with him to Paris to master the art of French cooking. "In exchange for his cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom." A fascinating read that includes 12 of the original recipes. Quirk Books, $19.95, pp. 256.
The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer (Reprint Edition) by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune. Grab a growler, it's time for a review. This primer on craft brews celebrates beer's complexity, sophistication, and flavor. (You know, what you do every day after work.) It covers the history of and science behind beer, plus offers notes on food and beer pairing, tasting, and homebrewing. Perigee Trade, $16, pp. 336.
Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking (Reprint Edition) by Craig Claiborne, with foreword by John T. Edge and Georgeanna Milam. How can you not adore this ham- and biscuit-loving, storytelling Southern gentleman who became a culinary icon and New York Times food writer. I mean, he worked with a damn old-school typewriter in his kitchen. Hardcore. In this personal cookbook, you'll find basic yet classic recipes from his own kitchen, his Mississippi childhood, and his friends, including some of the South's best cooks. University of Georgia Press. $29.95. pp. 392.
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. Nathalie Dupree is the Queen Bee of Southern cooking and, in her words, "Southern cooking is the Mother Cuisine of America." Don't hurt yourself lifting this hefty volume to the kitchen counter. She's got a thing or two to teach y'all. Gibbs Smith. $45. pp. 720.
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink, edited by Kevin Young. The distinguished poet, author, and Emory professor put together this anthology of food-focused works intent on feeding the soul. Not a recipe collection but a very satisfying read. Poems by Kevin Young, Elizabeth Bishop, Billy Collins, Frank O'Hara, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Mary Oliver, and others. Bloomsbury USA. $25. pp. 336.
Editor's note: This post has been updated
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