Books ‘n’ at

I used a gift certificate from work to pick up two food-related books this weekend: The Complete Book of Mexican Cooking by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz, and The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm. Haven’t cooked anything from the Mexican book yet, but it seems, in my limited understanding, like a reasonably comprehensive guide to Mexico City cooking. Should be fun. The Bladholm book…

OK, here’s the thing about the Bladholm book. The introductory material is fairly Orientalist.
Here’s an example of what I mean:

You pull open the door and a string of brass bells jangle, ushering you into
another land. The heady aromas of cardamom, black pepper, perfumed
incense, and rose-scented sweets fill the air. You are surrounded by
exotic provisions with colorful wrappers and labels. The strains of a
sitar resonate from a far corner. There is the rustle of a saree…

And so on and so forth. This is worthless at best and racist at worst. However, the explanations of various spices, their origins, uses and alternate names, are incredibly useful, as are the sections on cooking instruments and produce that are hard to find in the US. I’ll at least stop confusing kalonji with black cumin!

If you’re going to be in Philadelphia this weekend (and I am not), the White Dog Foundation is sponsoring a local food event at Yard’s Brewery:

Yards Kick Off Event:
All Local Ingredient Cheese Steaks
(Pastured Beef and Veg.) * Hand Crafted Ales * Live Music * Dunk Local Food
Leaders in Dunk Tank
Sunday, July 15th 2:00pm – 6:30pm2439 Amber Street, Philadelphia, PA. Located in the
Kensington neighborhood of Philly. The brewery entrance is on Martha Street
close to Hagert St.
There will be a dunk tank at the event in which Local Food
Leaders (including Judy Wicks) from Fair Food, Farm to City, Reading Terminal
Market, The Book & The Cook and The Food Trust will be submerged — that is,
provided you can hit the target.

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