Roman-gate Takes; Hints of Fall Cookbooks

Ottolenghi! Tailgating food! Kids' cookbooks!

Howdy cookbook fans!

Before we get to the controversy of the day, just a quick note to say hi. How are you? I hope you’ve been well since I last popped up in your inbox. There’s a lot today, so no recipe. I think it’ll be worth your while, though, because we have THE FIRST GLIMPSES OF FALL COOKBOOK SEASON. Gonna be a good one, folks. Especially if your kids like to cook. Get excited.

As always, if you would like to see me in your inbox again on Friday (and every subsequent Friday), you may become a paid subscriber by clicking the big red button below. And now, on to…the big news.


The Alison Roman/Chrissy Teigen Takes Arrive

Hi— ICYMI, over the weekend there was a bit of a twitter conversation where I was rightly called out for disparaging remarks I made regarding Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo. Even if you didn’t hear about it (!), I feel like this was too important not to share here. I know this is a lengthy note (succinctness has never been my strong suit). I appreciate you taking the time to read.
May 11, 2020

WELL. After newsletter went out Friday, Twitter got ahold of Alison Roman’s The New Consumer interview and went to town. I won’t get too deep into it, but in sum:

In the interview, Roman criticized two women of Asian descent (Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo) for having product lines before mentioning she was launching her own collection. (There were other criticisms, but I’m trying to be brief.) Over a series of tweets, Chrissy Teigen expressed her disappointment in Roman’s words…and also revealed she’s a producer on the show Roman mentioned in the interview. Roman tweeted her first apology. Teigen made her Twitter private. Roman issued a second, longer apology (click through IG above). Teigen made her Twitter public again and responded to the apology. There was also a lot of noise on Page Six.

But that’s not what we’re here for. We are here for the takes. It seems this controversy has made some room for—well, you name it. Essays on viral recipes, cultural appropriation, selling out, snobbery. Here’s what’s worth your time:

  • Food writer Alicia Kennedy parses the Roman controversy alongside the success of Joanna Gaines (who is connected to an anti-LGBT church), in the context of capitalism and elitism. [From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy]

  • Financial Diet editor Kristin Wong examines the privilege of not giving a fuck: “I wasn’t so much offended for Kondo or Teigen as I was frustrated for every person of color who has worked themselves silly only to be viewed as a sellout or spoiled or privileged, especially if that work included navigating discrimination —and it always does.” [Financial Diet]

  • Pop culture writer Roxana Hadadi looks at the controversy that had been simmering (sorry) all along, in the context of Roman’s viral recipe #TheStew and its roots in curry traditions. [Pajiba]

  • Lena Felton spoke with Cathy Erway, author of The Food of Taiwan, about whose voices get amplified in the cookbook world: “My editor always says, ‘Try to make something that ladies will buy in Barnes and Noble in the Midwest…It’s really about how much a cookbook publisher decides to throw their weight behind a certain title.” [The Lily]

  • For WaPo, Molly Roberts examines the viral appeal of Roman’s recipes and the gentrification within cultural apropriation: “Claims to culturelessness have become Roman’s undoing. They are also, however, her secret sauce…the key to Roman’s success is the positive flipside of the culturelessness coin: universality.” [WaPo]

  • Charlotte Muru-Lanning asks, “What do you do when you’re brown and a white woman you like gets cancelled?” [The Spinoff]

  • This went up right before I sent the newsletter, so apologies I haven’t listened yet, but here’s the ever-thoughtful chef/writer Preeti Mistry on the Andrew Talks to Chefs podcast. [ATtC]

  • And, finally, the NYP puts Roman and Teigen’s recipes to the test: “If millennials can only have one culinary hero, who’s got the better food?” [NYP]


Ten Speed and Clarkson Potter Drop Fall Catalogs

The above was the shot. Here’s the chaser: I got ahold of Ten Speed and Clarkson Potter’s Fall catalogs yesterday! These two, both under the Crown Publishing umbrella, are responsible for a large number of cookbooks published in the US each year. Here are some highlights of what we’re looking at for fall:

Ten Speed:

  • We’ve already discussed Yotam Ottolenghi’s Flavor, which has a US pub date of October 13 and a lovely US cover, see above.

  • The first two volumes of former Saveur EIC James Oseland’s highly anticipated World Food series will be out this fall: Paris and Mexico City. Both October 27.

  • Master Jiu’s in Chinatown explores the roots and future of Chinese American food, from chef Brandon Jew of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred restaurant Mister Jiu’s. October 27.

  • MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE: In Bibi’s Kitchen is a book of recipes from grandmothers in eight different East African countries. From Hawa Hasaan, CEO of Somalian condiments line Basbaas Sauce, and cookbook author Julia Turshen. October 6.

  • One I’ve been looking forward to for a minute is New Orleans pastry chef Kelly Fields’ The Good Book of Southern Baking. September 8.

  • And! Oxford, Mississippi chef John Currence’s Tailgreat! Say what you want about football, tailgating food is one of this country’s undersung cuisines. September 1.

  • Last but not least, Julia Bainbridge’s Good Drinks, a collection of non-alcoholic cocktails. October 6.

Clarkson Potter:

  • Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food, out early as discussed October 6.

  • Bon Appetitster Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person, also previously discussed. October 20.

  • A new cookbook from chef Alex Guarnaschelli called Cook With Me. Family recipes, October 13.

  • Milk Bar: Kids Only from, of course, Christina Tosi. October 27.

  • Chef Hugh Acheson’s How to Cook, recipes to “teach young adults the skills they need to improvise in the kitchen.” October 20.

  • Kid in the Kitchen from Melissa Clark. (Notice a theme?) November 10.

Publishers! Email me your catalogs, I’d love to list highlights.


New Enrique Olvera Cookbook: Pujol Veinte

Desde @pujolrestaurant queremos celebrar estos primeros veinte años compartiendo esas enseñanzas y conexiones que ahora valoramos más que nunca. LINK EN BIO.
May 12, 2020

To celebrate twenty years of Pujol, his Mexico City flagship restaurant, world-renowned chef Enrique Olvera will release Pujol: Veinte. Click through the Instagram above for a video preview. Per the restaurant’s website, “VEINTE is a tribute to our farmers and producers. This book is about their stories and their knowledge. A knowledge that echoes vibrantly in every wall of our kitchen.” It seems it will be available in English and Spanish. November 2020, more details to come.


Check this out!

  • House of Dior has released a 1972 cookbook of the designer’s favorite recipes digitally. [Lifestyle Asia]

  • Ralph Nader (yes, that Ralph Nader) on why he wrote a cookbook: “I was very active in food safety laws in the 1960s. And people would say, well, what do you eat? And later on, it occurred to me that it was easy to try to answer that question by putting recipes down.” [NPR]

  • More on Hugh Acheson’s upcoming How to Cook: “I’m sending a daughter away to college in the fall, and I want her to have some cooking fundamentals. This is the vinaigrette to always make, this is how you roast vegetables, this is how you cook a steak and a burger. That’s the first half. The second half is applying the fundamentals for more complex dishes.” [Taste]

  • Cookbook review: Eat Something: A Wise Sons Cookbook by Evan Bloom and Rachel Levin. [Tablet]

  • Book review: American Taco by José R. Ralat. [The Takeout]

  • Cookbook review: Buck Naked Kitchen by Kristen Buck. [AJC]

  • 3 UK chefs on what makes for a good cookbook. [Hypebeast]

  • A cookbook with only one recipe? [Dianne J]

  • 11 enormous cookbooks to stack into a standing desk. (I loled.) [Epi]


    No recipe today, folks, this newsletter is long enough as it is. I will see Friday folks Friday. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and let me know what you’ve been cooking. XO!