I’m back on a reading kick, which so far means reading my favorite types of books – mysteries and books about food. They are my total “comfort reading”. More on the mysteries later – now it’s time for food!
The first food book I read in the past week was No Reservations by Anthony Bourdain. I’ve been meaning to read some of his writing for a while, since folks seem to like it, so when I stopped by the library last week to pick up a book for the metro ride home, I thought I would pick up one of his. This was the only book by Bourdain on the shelf at the library, which is why I picked it. I didn’t take a good look at it before I left and I was surprised to find out that it was really more of a photo essay book, than a memoir or book of essays. It was fine, but didn’t give me much of a sense about Bourdain’s writing – although I really enjoy the essay about Beirut, where Bourdain found himself during Israel’s bombing back in 2006. It gave a real sense of what was lost in that bombing and made this event, which had been an abstract thing to me before, very personal.
Yesterday I finished Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey through China by Jen Lin-Liu, which combined three of my favorite book attributes: writing about food, writing about China, and memoirs. Lin-Liu is a Chinese-American journalist who moved to China in 2000 and eventually decides that she wants to learn how to cook. This book follows her through her course at a Chinese cooking school, studying for her chef exam, and then internships in Chinese restaurants, both small and grand. I found the book enjoyable and the descriptions of food interesting – some sounded delicious, some sounded like I would rather miss them (the restaurant that served the genitals of male animals, for example). I read about Lin-Liu and her book in the Food section of the Post a few weekends ago, and I’m glad I check it out. It made for an enjoyable weekend of reading.