Discover more from Stained Page News
New Food Scholarship Prize; A Cookbook Author Tribute Song
Cookbooks in braille, book deals, a BLUE cover, and honestly a lot more!
Howdy cookbook fans!
Hi y’all, frankly there is too much cookbook news today for me to say much up here so let’s get to it! (Thank you to everyone who checked in with me after last week’s issue, I am doing much better now xo.) COOKBOOK NEWS LET’S GET IT!
Kitchen Arts & Letters Announces the Nach Waxman Prize
In honor of Nach Waxman, the late founder of Kitchen Arts & Letters, the New York culinary bookstore has announced the Nach Waxman Prize for Food and Drink Scholarship, a $5,500 cash award given to the author of a book that “highlights a book of scholarship which invites the general public to seriously consider issues in culinary and beverage history, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, geography, and related fields.” The award will be given each year to a book published in English the calendar year prior, with a shortlist announced in April and the winner announced in May. Info on how to submit here.
So much of the stuff I do is online where nothing really lasts. There might be really good recipes that I make that just after a couple of months just vanish into the wild of the internet. I wanted to focus on making something that might be more timeless.
The Creative Brief with Frances Abrantes Baca
The vivid, oceanic blue of Love Japan’s cover stops me in my tracks every time I see it. It’s unusual to see blue as a dominant color on American cookbook covers, as it is considered somewhat of an appetite suppressant. But this cover could not look more delicious. Photographed by Yuki Sugiura and designed by Lizzie Allen, Love Japan jumps off the shelf not just for its jewel-like tones, but also for the exceptionally lovely styling of authors Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel’s “Lox Bowl,” one of their signature dishes.
Okochi and Israel are the proprietors of Brooklyn’s Shalom Japan, a restaurant that melds Japanese and Jewish cuisines (reflecting each chef’s cultural heritage). The authors are also a married couple and parents of two young children, and Love Japan features the food they prepare in their home kitchen. “We wanted to make all of the food feel achievable,” remarks Israel, and indeed, the ease and immediacy of home cooking permeates the entire book. The Lox Bowl feels especially accessible and familiar, its ingredients readily identifiable and simple to prepare.
The simplicity of the Lox Bowl on Love Japan’s cover is, however, subtly elevated by several small but important details, making this relatively modest home-cooked meal feel like a work of art. The striking blue surface recalls the sea, and its distressed texture lends a faint sense of movement to the shot—like shifting waves. This eye-grabbing color packs an especially potent punch as it’s paired with bright pink-orange lox. Blue and orange are complementary colors—opposites on the traditional color wheel—and their combined values produce a sort of visual electricity that pops off the cover. The touches of green bring balance to the composition, and help soften the brilliant pink salmon. I especially love the sliced avocado, whose imperfect—but creamy and rich—texture grounds the clean, crisp beauty of the other ingredients. Allen sets the quiet, classic typography in a bold yellow-green that mirrors the tones of the vegetables and chile mayo. The clincher for me is the bowl, whose black, white, and blue striations remind me of salmon skin. It’s as if the meal is held within the glimmering, delicate scales of the fish itself.
Sugiura’s photograph—enhanced by the work of the authors, designer, and stylists Lisa Masuda and Suzie Myers—masterfully achieves what every cookbook strives for, namely to capture a book’s essence in one gorgeous, memorable, and compelling cover image. Its unmistakably Japanese spirit shines forth in its artful presentation and its deep blue ai-zome indigo tones. But we also see lox and capers, and are reminded of the Jewish flavors woven throughout Love Japan. The entire package is quietly triumphant, an ode to the warmth, comfort, and beauty of a cross-cultural family meal.
AWARDS SEASON The An Post Irish Book Awards 2023 shortlist has been announced! In the cookbook category, we have: Bored of Lunch: The Healthy Air Fryer Book by Nathan Anthony, Paradiso: Recipes and Reflections by Denis Cotter, The Gathered Table: A Taste of Home compiled by Gather and Gather Ireland, Spice Box by Sunil Ghai, Flavour by Mark Moriarty, and Home Kitchen by Donal Skehan. Congrats to all! [Irish Central]
Coming Attractions: MF Doom Tribute, benny blanco, Paulie Gee’s, Preppy Kitchen!
I don’t normally cover fandom cookbooks, but, well, 1. this is more of a tribute cookbook and 2. it’s MF Doom, come on. In the unofficial Doom’s Bistro, illustrator Ben Gore shares “over 60 recipes for foods and drinks directly referenced in the music of MF DOOM.” Don’t worry, I already bought my copy, so go ahead y’all. Out TOMORROW! Blue Monday.
Music producer and famously famous person benny blanco1 to write Open Wide, “a cookbook and guide to throwing the greatest dinner party of all time.” (I have a feeling some Roman Emperors might beg to differ on that but okay.) The book will feature menus and over 100 recipes alongside “contributions from Matty Matheson and Lil Dicky to Hailey Bieber and Billie Eilish's mom.” Famous people party! Dey Street, April 2024.
Paul Giannone and Mary Ann Giannone, proprietors of Greenpoint, Brooklyn pizzeria-I-have-very-much-enjoyed Paulie Gee’s, will write an untitled cookbook of 75 recipes and “secrets to the success of their 44-year marriage and 13-year restaurant partnership.” I am both surprised this book doesn’t exist already and also wondering if the pizza market is bloated! Most don’t have their story, though. Thoughts in the comments? Union Square & Co, pub date TBA.
John Kannel, author of last year’s The Preppy Kitchen, to write Preppy Kitchen: Super Easy, which will cover the same “family favorites” style cooking as his first book, just…super easy! Written with Rachel Holtzman. Simon Element, pub date TBA.
ACCESSIBILITY ALERT In Canada, Jamie Oliver’s next two books, 5 Ingredients Mediterranean and a children’s novel called Billy and the Giant Adventure, will be published simultaneously in both digital and physical braille on the same day the print editions are released. A brief search indicates cookbooks published in braille to be a somewhat random lot, so I’m sure some new releases are welcome among them! The books will be available on November 14. [Press Release]
Please Behold This Banger of a Donna Hay Tribute Song
So I was going to link to the above video regardless because, well, there aren’t that many tribute songs written for cookbook authors. But um “Donna Hay” by the Australian band Cookbook Book Club actually kind of slaps? Getting lofi Le Tigre vibes off it. The “band” (I cannot tell if this is parody or not) has three other songs on YouTube: Best Thing Since Sliced Bread, Recipe for Disaster, and Surf ‘n Turf. I mean, I think it’s supposed to be funny but I also think they actually like Donna Hay and also the song is actually good. IMO.
This song came out in 2019 but the Australian cookbook author was just on a radio show in which they asked her about it: “At first I thought it was someone taking the mickey out of me!” but “I sort of realised it was real when somebody else sent me a video one Saturday night, because they were in a pub playing it live…And my friends had just stumbled into this pub to have a drink, and then they were hysterically laughing!” Bless everyone involved in this, the band, the pub, Donna’s friends, Donna. Do Ottolenghi next, y’all.
Above, the trailer for season 2 of Julia, which premieres November 16 on Max. [YouTube]
In this story on books banned by prisons: the most banned book in America is a cookbook called Prison Ramen, by Clifton Collins, Jr. and Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez. [Time]
To be perfectly honest, before this article came out I didn’t know much about cookbook author/blogger Tieghan Gerard—of Half Baked Harvest fame—for some reason I had gotten in my head years ago that she wrote health food cookbooks? And thus didn’t cover her. Anyway, uh, that’s apparently not her deal at all—and also there’s a whole lot else going on there. [NYT]
Pal of SPNlooked at a recent spate of cookbooks that tackle not just getting dinner on the table, but also getting dinner off the plates: dishwashing talk ahoy!!! [Mess Hall]
How DC’s Bold Fork Books became a literary destination. (Feeling personally called-out by that lede.) [InsideHook]
The cookbooks every Australian family had in the 90s. [delicious.]
Bon Appetit picked the 23 best cookbooks of fall the old fashioned way: by cooking from them! [BA]
Are cookbooks still worth it? [Deseret News]
Stained Page News Classifieds
Five Things I've Learned is where writers, musicians, artists, and other creative thinkers share live, online classes. Up this month, two-hour sessions from fellow Substack writers Maya C. Popa, Liza Donnelly, and—live and online tonight—the great Cheryl Strayed. Visit myfivethings.com to discover personal invitations from these great writers. Subscribe to MyFiveThings on Substack, to sample the first five minutes of almost 100 great classes, get class discounts, and learn about new live sessions! Subscribe today!
Email me to run a classified ad in an upcoming issue!
That’s all cookbook pals! I’ll see you next week.