Michelle Obama's Kids' Show Cookbook; Beard on Film?
Plus: remembering Maria Guarnaschelli.
Howdy cookbook fans!
And hello from *refreshes weather app* sunny, 75 degree Austin! It has been a heck of a ride here the past week, and I hope this issue finds you safe and warm and well, especially to my fellow Texans. We have more than thawed out by now, although there’s a ways to go until we recover from this mess. I listed a bunch of ways people can help in last week’s issue.
Today! Michelle Obama’s puppet pals Waffles and Mochi get a cookbook of their own, cookbook authors remember Maria Guarnaschelli, we might get a James Beard movie/tv show (?!), a cookbook benefitting Palestinian skateboard culture, Australian cookbook awards, and figuring out how to talk about milk. Let’s get to it.
I should confess: my then fiction publisher, Atlantic, asked me to look at the proposal. I told them not to bid, because cookery books are expensive to publish and this one wouldn’t sell. Which is why I’m not a publisher. Rightly, Atlantic ignored me and bid, though it went to Ebury and Lavelle…The book would go on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies in the UK alone – so many indeed, that at first Ebury couldn’t keep up with demand.
—London critic Jay Rayner has had second thoughts about the cookbooks of Yotam Ottolenghi, who has gone on to become a 7-million-copy sensation. [Guardian]
Michelle Obama’s Waffles + Mochi Announces Book Tie-Ins
A new book series is coming based on the Michelle Obama-produced/hosted kids’ show Waffles + Mochi. Most pertinent to our purposes here is Waffles + Mochi: The Cookbook, with recipes from the show aimed at helping 3- to 7-year-olds cook with their families. The cookbook will be written with the NYT’s Yewande Komolafe and comes out in November, from Clarkson Potter. Other Waffles + Mochi tie-ins include kids’ books from author Christy Webster and illustrator Sarah Rebar. The show premiers March 16 on Netflix and features cookbook world favorites like Samin Nosrat, José Andrés, and Massimo Bottura. It looks like a lot of fun, check out the trailer above. [Publishers Marketplace]
How do you build a language about a liquid? How do you express this? You can say: this is very good, or nice, or tasty, but that’s too subjective. Winemakers say the reason a particular wine is a Grand Cru rather than a Vin de Table is because of the terroir, whereas what really influences the taste of a wine is the bacteria on grape skins. Terroir is a nonsense, but a good line! What do you need to produce great milk? The answer is: a happy cow in a field where rain has come to make the grass grow, where there is rotational grazing, where the cow isn’t stressed and only has a short walk to be milked twice a day. You’ve also got a farmer who knows if a cow is well, or if the cow is Daisy rather than just #965. The farmer has cultural knowledge: he might be third or fourth generation, he knows his fields, knows his grass. That’s how you make a Grand Cru drink.
—John and Sally McKenna literally wrote the book on Milk. [Echo Live]
Remembering Cookbook Editor Maria Guarnaschelli
Dave Arnold, author of the Guarnaschelli-edited Liquid Intelligence, dedicated an episode of his Heritage Radio show Cooking Issues to Guarnaschelli. Fellow Guarnaschelli authors Rick Bayless, Kenji López-Alt, Jim Lahey, and Harold McGee stop by, as does her daughter Alex Guarnaschelli. [Heritage Radio]
“In a career that began in the mid-1970s, Maria Guarnaschelli brought intellectual heft and curiosity to the cookbooks she acquired and edited, while pushing American cooks and chefs, who had been conditioned to revere “continental” cuisines like French and Italian, to think beyond Europe.” [NYT]
“For Mrs. Guarnaschelli, her manuscripts were not the kitchen equivalent of coffee table books — things of beauty that telegraphed sophistication but rarely imparted it from their places of repose. Rather, cookbooks were essential tools to be written with professionalism and precision.” [WaPo]
You know, the books that exist about Chinese food and Shanghai food, they’re very academic. Don’t get me wrong—they’re good books. But food is just so personal, and so integral to symbolism and family and welcomed in Chinese culture. What I’m writing about is generational cooking. I’m a first-generation Chinese American in an American kitchen cooking these recipes, and I wanted to get that story out there.
—Betty Liu discusses her new cookbook, My Shanghai. [Taste]
John Birdsall’s James Beard Biography Optioned
Production company The Gotham Group has optioned The Man Who Ate Too Much by John Birdsall, a biography of the great culinary writer and cookbook author James Beard, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “My book couldn't be in better hands,” wrote Birdsall on Twitter, referring to David Gilbert and Andrew Sean Greer, the writing team tapped to adapt the book. Dream casting for Beard, to the comments!
Sahten is a new cookbook that *checks notes* “paints a picture of the current skateboarding scene in Palestine, told in the form of a cookbook.” Okay! Proceeds go to SkatePal, which supports “the fast-growing skateboarding community in Palestine.” If you click through and start poking around their site, you will encounter many, many, many adorable photos of kids skateboarding. [SkatePal via @FelicityCloake]
Eater’s Monica Burton and cookbook authors Osayi Endolyn and Toni Tipton-Martin discuss the writing and legacy of Malinda Russell whose 1866 work A Domestic Cookbook: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts for the Kitchen is the first known cookbook published by an African-American author. [Eater]
The longlist for the 2021 Australian Book Industry Awards is out, and under the Illustrated Book of the Year category, we find A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull, In Praise of Veg by Alice Zaslavsky, and To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon. Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage’s Flavo(u)r finds itself in the international category, up against the likes of Barack Obama and Matthew McConaughey. [ABIA]
This year’s virtual Cherry Bombe Jubilee will focus on “the life and legacy of Julia Child.” [Cherry Bombe]
Cookbook review: Chaat by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy. [Wired]
Do you have ties to Tewksbury, Massachusetts? The public library is looking for recipe submissions for a community cookbook. [Tewksbury Town Crier]
Speaking of which, here’s a modern take on community cookbooks. [NYT]
Australian cookbook author Silvia Colloca talks fashion. [SMH]
And that’s it for today! Friday folks will be treated to a grand book deals issue. See you then.