Saturday, October 15, 2011

What I've been reading

• Macarons by Pierre Hermè

Until about a month ago, this book was only available in French. As soon as it came out in English, I snatched it. And by "snatched it", of course I mean I ordered it on Amazon.

I have been reading, looking, swooning, craving but not baking; at least not yet. I'm a macaron-making virgin so I'm a bit timid about venturing into the magical world of Monsieur Hermè's macarons. All that's about to change though, really soon.
I have to admit, it helps that I have already tasted the real thing.

Can't wait to make:
Salted-butter caramel macarons
Infinitely chocolate macarons
Chestnuts and matcha green tea macarons
Olive oil and vanilla macarons
Raspberry, red pepper and parmesan macarons

• Plate to Pixel: digital food photography & styling by Hélène Dujardin

Can someone fall in love with a book? That's a resounding yes. I'm in love with this one and even though I don't have a dSLR but only a point-and-shoot camera, Hélène has me hooked.

As she points out, "photography is pricey" and you "shouldn't let yourself be dazzled by special features, cool accessories and size". That's some good advice right there. So, I need to weigh my options before I spend precious money on a new camera.

In the meantime, I'm learning some amazing new things, from how a camera really works to composing a photograph for a shoot and valuable styling tips.
This book has opened my eyes to a lot of things I had no idea about.

• Will write for food by Dianne Jacob

I discovered Dianne Jacob through her blog, a great resource and conversation platform for all things food-writing, but it took me a while to decide to buy her book. I'm not an impulse shopper, especially when it comes to books, but looking back, in this particular case I should have gone for it sooner.
This lady knows what she's talking about when it comes to writing about food.

I was inspired to write things I never knew I had in me. Thank you Dianne.

• Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen

I don't remember exactly when or how I became interested in Asian cuisine. What I'm certain of is that I'm crazy about Asian food and I can never say no to a good dumpling, spring roll, fried Chinese bun or Indian samosa.

I have made several recipes from this brilliant book by Andrea Nguyen and they have been successful every single time.
The recipe for Steamed filled buns is perhaps my favorite.

Can't wait to make:
Japanese pork and shrimp pot stickers
Spicy potato samosas
Fried sticky rice dumplings
Milk dumplings in cardamom and saffron syrup

• Δειπνοσοφισταί (Deipnosophists - The Banquet of the Learned) by Athenaeus

This monumental literary work by Athenaus, dating back to the 3rd century A.D., is composed of fifteen books. It is a gastronomic guide, the oldest one in Greek history, that includes information on how food was prepared in ancient Greece. It has priceless historical value as it explores the gastronomic preferences, customs and behavior of ancient Greeks.

I have always wanted to read these books and I'm currently finishing book one; I'm enthralled by it.

You can find it both in Greek and in English.

• The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe

I got this book back in July when I was in Paris.
I'm a Poe fan and this short detective story is probably the best of its kind.
You should read it.
The end.

• Η μεγάλη χίμαιρα, 1953 (The great chimera) by M. Karagatsis

M. Karagatsis is one of the greatest contemporary Greek novelists and one of my favorite writers. I read "The great chimera" recently for the second time and I have to say that I'm fascinated by Mr. Rodopoulos' (his real name) writing as well as by the mystical and deeply symbolic elements that are dispersed throughout the book.

This book is written in Greek. So why am I listing it here? Perhaps you can find the translation.

What have you been reading lately? Do share.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Oh you definitively had some excellent read.Can't wait to see what you produced;))

  2. That is a wonderful list. Inspired to see if my library has any of those (I have Dianne's book)
    I also need a new steamer so I can make steamed buns (my mom used to make those!!)
    I have been reading Discipline book by Dr. Sears (important to understand that concept since Roman is 2!!) Time Out, WHAT?!??!

  3. Magda Hi all I can say is that you are a genius!!

  4. Dzoli — I can't wait to begin my macaron-making adventure. Then I will have a lot to share!

    Nicole — thank you! Steamed buns are sooo delicious. You have to get a steamer, pronto.
    Hehe, I'm having trouble disciplining myself, I can't even imagine how hard it is to have a 2-year old!

    Stelio — uhm, thanks? :)

  5. I have been to a Pierre Hermé store; I was struck by how respectful people were (while forming a line), almost ordering in hushed tone like they were in a museum, and the pastries displayed on velvet cases...I am not sure i would try to emulate him just yet (although I got a brownie recipe I am going to try), but I would love to read his book! (as well as some of the others!)

  6. Good morning, Magda! I always love waking up and finding your posts delivered to my e-mail! I am so glad to know that Macarons is now available in English - I will whetting that ASAP. Not that it was imssible to read the French (both my grandmothers were French) but, when cooking, it will just be easier.

    By coincidence, I am also reading Plate to Pixel - I am learning so much!!! My other book on the nightstand is The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith - the most recent in the Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency series. Have you read any of them? Absolutely charming...

    Other than that, I am up to my elbows in my monthly magazine subscriptions: Saveur, Bon Appetit, La Cucina Italiana, Cooks, Fine Cooking and then the non-cooking ones: Arizona Highways, Smithsonian and Saudi Aramco World.

    Today, though, is the day to make Chiles en Nogada - a very special Mexican dish used to celebrate one of two Independence Days for Mexico - I am a month late, as it was September 16th!

  7. oh goodness, didn't know Macarons was in English, and didn't know Andrea Nguyen had a new book out! Two added onto my list, oh my...

    Thanks for this rundown. So wonderful!

  8. I want to read Plate to Pixel, I'd really like to improve my food photography.

    Working in publishing I actually find it quite hard to read in my own time. I've just started on Liana Krissoff's Canning for a New Generation and Juan Pablo Villalobos’ Down the Rabbit Hole and really enjoying them both.

  9. I want to have Plate to Pixel, but 1 question: Are the recipes measures in metric (gram...) or cups? I don't like to work with cups, spoons.

  10. You have been having some fun. I am now craving milk dumplings in cardamom and saffron syrup, even though I've never tasted them, or even heard of them before your post. I'm currently enjoying reading The Cat's Table. Michael Ondaatje is one of my favorite authors.

  11. I have seen that book by Dianne Jacob floating around and I'm pretty curious now especially when they are all great reviews! Thanks for sharing a wonderful list of what you're doing. If I had time to read the first two books, I would be pretty happy! :)

  12. I'm pretty keen on getting hold of both plate to pixel and Macarons (making macarons properly is on my baby bucket list). For the moment I've just finished reading 'Blood Bones and Butter' by Gabrielle Hamilton, from Prune in NYC. It's a beautiful food memoir. I loved it.

  13. thanks for this great list - i will add these choices to my kindle purchases (if they are available!)

  14. Joumana — his stores are beautiful, like boutiques, filled with edible sweet art.

    David — wow that's a lot of magazines. I don't subscribe to any magazines, I always want to flip through them first before I buy them :)
    That dish sounds wonderful!

    molly — this book of Andrea's is from 2009. I believe she has yet another book out.

    tandcake — I know, it is hard when you work all day to come home and read a book. But sometimes it's all I wannna do!

    Tine — the book 'Plate to Pixel' is about food photography and styling, not a cookbook.

    Denise — I've never read any of his books; he wrote The English Patient, right?
    Yes, those dumplings must be good. I haven't tried them yet but I will soon!

    ChopinandMysaucepan — it is really good! If you are interested in food-writing, it is the book to read.

    tori — oh, I've read reviews about that book, I was thinking about getting it. Thanks.

    Maria — you're welcome! I believe you can find most of them.

  15. Oh, I'm stupid.
    I was thinking about the book from La Tartine Gourmande. I was confused, I'm a little chaotic...

  16. That's ok :) That book must be good too!
    By the way, yesterday I caught a glimpse of the book and some recipes in it, and saw that Bea includes measurements both in cups and grams. I'm with you on the weight vs volume thing. In Greece we measure everything in grams. It's so much easier that way, not to mention more accurate.

  17. Indeed! I have the cups and teaspoons at home but never use them. Grams are more accurate, it's so much easier. I definitely gonna buy that book if it works with metric measurements!
    Thanks for the info!

  18. What a great collection of books you're reading. At the moment I'm wading through cookbooks more than anything else! :)

  19. What a great list. I love your macaroons choice, sounds great

  20. I love reading and am never without a book. I read anything and everything. Thank you for this list: there were a few books I have been meaning to buy but had temporarily forgotten about and some other ones I discovered through you.

  21. hello post, I couldn't ignore those elements.