Howdy cookbook fans!
And welcome to Tuesday! Heads up that there are notes on some programming changes at the bottom of this issue. I was originally going to put together a reader survey, since it’s been a minute since we’ve done one of those, but I really just have one question for you. I appreciate your input, reply directly to this email if you have thoughts on it.
Today! A recipe for citrus polenta cake by San Francisco chef Elizabeth Binder, as we start to pull out of the winter doldrums. It’s from Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection by Lindsay Gardner, and it’s just the thing for slightly sunnier days ahead. Also, Binder says you can eat for breakfast, and I have never met a breakfast cake I didn’t like.
Garden update! I have a dozen or so teensy tiny green tomatoes! Very exciting. We had an intense hail storm in the middle of the night a week or so ago, so I was thrilled to see the tomatoes didn’t sustain too much damages. Everything is in the garden now except for okra and crowder peas, which I’ll probably put in when the lettuce bolts. Oh! And the new baby fig has put on leaves. I am so glad it likes its new home.
Friday folks! I am doing personal cookbook recommendations this week and still have room for a couple more! Email me what kind of thing you’re looking for and I will do my best to come up with some good options for you:
The Art of Eating Prize Announces 2021 Longlist
The prestigious Art of Eating Prize awards “the year’s best book about food (or food and drink together)” and comes with $10,000 for the book’s author. Previous winners have included Caroline Eden’s The Black Sea (2020), Brooks Headley’s Superiority Burger Cookbook (2019), and Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Bangkok (2018). Generally speaking, I find this prize consistently goes to good books (as opposed to merely popular books), and perhaps that has to do with its all-star judging panel of chefs, authors, and journalists: Maricel Presilla, Helen Rosner, Frank Stitt, David Tanis, and Nicole Taylor.
This year’s longlist, no surprise, is full of absolute bangers. Will Caroline Eden pull a repeat win? Will a region-spanning odyssey like Chaat, Aegean, or In Bibi’s Kitchen take the prize? How do you even compare Bill Buford’s narrative about cooking his way through Lyon or Marcia Chatelain’s history of Black fast food franchise owners with, say, Nik Sharma’s exploration of the science of flavor? Will Michelle Polzine’s many-layered baking book take this particular cake? Much to ponder, best of luck to the judges. I do not envy their task ahead. Here’s the list:
Aegean: Recipes from the Mountains to the Sea by Marianna Leivaditaki Interlink Books
Baking at the 20th Century Cafe: Iconic European Desserts from Linzer Torte to Honey Cake by Michelle Polzine Artisan Books
Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore by Darra Goldstein Ten Speed Press
Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy Clarkson Potter
Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking by Bill Buford Alfred A. Knopf
Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley Ten Speed Press
The Flavor Equation: The Science of Great Cooking Explained by Nik Sharma Chronicle Books
Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain Liveright Publishing
In Bibi’s Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries that Touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen Ten Speed Press
Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou by Melissa M. Martin Artisan
Parwana: Recipes and Stories from an Afghan Kitchen by Durkhanai Ayubi with recipes by Farida Ayubi Interlink Books
Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia from Hinterland to Heartland by Caroline Eden Quadrille
Linda McCartney Recipes Get an Update in New Book
The recipes of Linda McCartney, photographer and vegetarianism advocate, will get a refresh in an upcoming cookbook. Called Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen, the book will contain 90 of McCartney’s greatest hits, given a 21st century makeover by her kids Mary and Stella and widower Paul, who you perhaps know from his career in music. McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998, wrote three cookbooks during her lifetime: Linda McCartney's Home Cooking, Linda's Kitchen, and Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals. This book, published by Seven Dials in the UK and Little, Brown in the US, will come out in June 2021. [The Bookseller, h/t People]
Above: a free set of digital recipes cards based on the Oscar-nominated film Minari, illustrated by Naomi Otsu. Recipes are for Korean classics like galbi-jjim and kimchi jjigae submitted by the cast. [A24]
Upcoming Houston restaurant March will boast a library of 250 culinary titles; the owners refer to the menu as “research-based.” [Resy]
I wrote a spring cookbook guide for chefs and cooks and etc. for Plate! Head on over to see my picks. [Plate]
Chef Scott Peacock on his collaborator and mentor, legendary cookbook author Edna Lewis. [BA]
HUZZAH! Ten years of Seattle cookbookery shop, Book Larder. Congratulations! [Seattle Times]
The cookbooks to guide you out of quarantine. [Atlantic]
The Washington Post offers an entry to my favorite genre of news story, the Hey! Get Your Cookbooks (and Sometimes Kitchen Equipment) at the Library! piece. [WaPo]
And the great Nach Waxman weighs in on 10 favorite out-of-print books. [KAL]
Citrus Almond Polenta Cake
Excerpted from Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection by Lindsay Gardner. Copyright © 2021 by Lindsay Gardner. Recipe © 2021 by Elizabeth Binder. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York. All rights reserved.
I am often asked for the recipe for this unforgettable cake. I first put this on the menu at Bar Bambino, where it was an instant success. It has the most amazing honey notes, which come from the combination of the citrus, almond, and polenta, and is decidedly delicious. Sticky sweet and crumbly, moist on the inside and crusty on the outside. Fabulous served for dessert (or even breakfast) alongside an espresso.
Serves 8 or more
Butter, for greasing the pan
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks from large eggs
1 pound plus 4 ounces granulated sugar
1 pound almond meal
1 1/2ounces polenta
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest and juice of 1 orange, 1 lemon, and 1 lime (use a Microplane)
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
Mascarpone cheese, for serving
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease a 9-inch springform cake tin with butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Fold in the almond meal, polenta, and baking powder. Add the citrus zest and juice to the cake batter and mix well to thoroughly combine.
Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes before checking with a skewer. The top should have a firm crust and the inside should be moist but not wet. Cook for additional time as needed (be patient—this cake sometimes needs more time than expected). Remove from the oven and cool in the tin.
Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve with whipped mascarpone.
Programming note: I am constantly fine tuning how this email works, and after some deliberation, I am planning on essentially swapping paid and free issues. I think this will be beneficial to everyone: free subscribers will get access to the best SPN issues, while paid subscribers will get those posts as well as the truly niche, nerdy cookbook news posts that form the heart of SPN while maintaining their commenting privileges and access to the cookbook club.
All subscribers will get:
Posts by contributors, like this recent story on Japanese American Community Cookbooks.
Seasonal book previews.
Essays and other stuff I write.
Cookbook reviews, eventually.
Paid subscribers will get:
Weekly digest issues like this one, including news, recipes from recent releases, links to good stuff on the internet, and book deals.
Access to the Stained Page News Cookbook Club, which will have a few minor changes coming to it as well.
Ability to comment on all posts.
Pride in supporting the best lil indie cookbook newsletter in the business.
If you’ve got strong opinions either for or against this change, respond directly to this email.
As always, thank you so much for reading. See Friday folks Friday.