books: cooked

i picked up the latest book from michael pollan a few weeks ago and finally got around to reading it last week.
(well… technically i’m getting ahead of myself… i still have a few pages to go.  but anyways. )

i definitely count myself among the converted pollan devotees.  i love his books.  everything he writes makes me constantly put down the book and say to someone close to me, “did you know…”.
his books tend to take you on a fantastic journey of culinary and evolutionary discovery and delves deep into the plants themselves and our relationships with them.

this new book is, much like several of his others, divided into 4 sections; fire, water, air and earth.  each one tackles an ancient form of cooking and how it not only changed our lives in the past, but how it continues into today.

so far i’ve ready with earnest through tales of authentic barbeque in the deep south of america in the fire section… ancient one pot cooking techniques and water’s important role in transforming the food we eat… and into the wonder that is the modern loaf of bread and how we got to this point…

now i’m on the last section; earth.  which is, in all honesty, the area that i know the least about.  i know that the paleo school of thought is VERY huge on fermented foods, but i am still an inexperienced young grasshopper.

but so far, its definitely making me super interested in making my own sauerkraut and beers and other delightful things.



books: learning about wheat belly & paleo life

i’m one of those people that absorbs knowledge. when something tweaks my interest (and even when it doesn’t) i soak up every detail.  because i am an insufferable know-it-all.
i absolutely LOVE knowing lots about a subject… because i love engaging in intelligent conversation.
there’s nothing that irks me more than when i can’t contribute because i have no knowledge on the subject at hand.

the subject that has captured my interest lately is food and diet.
obviously i sold myself on wheat-free when i tried it and found an immediate difference.  but it was a book that put it on my radar to begin with.

jen wrote a post about it a few months ago and spoke so passionately about it that it immediatly convinced me to at least try it for myself.  she’s since taken down the post and done a blog revamp, but is still on the wheat-free wagon.

the book in question: Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis

i started reading the blog at but didn’t actually pick up the book until last night.
i have some itunes $ to blow, so i thought getting it on my ipad would be perfect.

it’s very science heavy and very interesting and at times, downright scary.
i raced through it last night, but will definitely give it a second read.  i was thankful for my ipad’s ability to highlight passages for future reference, because there is much that absolutely blew my mind.

i know a few people that have gone the one step further and started on paleo… and while i don’t see myself giving up dairy, i still want to read up on it and see what its all about.
so i picked up this book: The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

apparently this is “the place to start” if you’re considering paleo and i’ve had so many people raving about it, so i figured it was also worth sticking on the ipad and giving it a read.

again, i’m not sure i’m going to try to pick up a full paleo diet, but i have an increasing amount of friends that are in love with it, so i’d like to understand the science behind their passion.

now, with a whole new lifestyle on the horizon… this also means figuring out a whole new way of cooking.
which means, a cookbook is in order.
i did some searching and there’s a couple that caught my fancy, but i decided on this one: Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield

i chose this one based on overall good reviews on amazon & itunes, but also on the food style.
in order to incorporate paleo dishes into our diet at home, it’s important that they still feel like “normal food”, otherwise the husband will not partake.
i’ve just started flipping through it, but i hope to find something good for dinner that i can try out.

i actually read cookbooks like they’re novels.  i read them cover to cover and absorb ideas.  it’s very rare for me to sit with an actual recipe and follow it to a T.
but i have a feeling that with this one, i’ll actually have to follow some recipes.

the biggest roadblocks i foresee with going full paleo is dairy, corn & beans.  i love that stuff.  hummus is my lifeline.
sooo… we’ll see.  but, i remember feeling the same way about giving up wheat and now i have no interest in it at all, so i recognize that my attitude may change on this front.
anyways.  at the very least, i am totally open to incorporating paleo dishes into my wheat-free lifestyle… and of course, i’m stoked to learn about something new.

also, i’d love any other book suggestions that anyone has.  not just in regards to diet & lifestyle.

travel: book reading

here’s a fun news flash… i’m a book nerd.  my friends, most of them, also book nerds. my husband, definite book nerd.

because of that, when we travel, there are extended conversations of what books are being brought and why.  there is also book trading, bargaining and for all intents & purpose, almost a psuedo-book club.

it’s good times.

in addition to being book lovers, myself & most of my friends are FAST readers.  and that’s no joke.  we devour books and race through them in a day or two max.  so when you’re on, say, a week long vacation, that’s at least 4 books that you have to bring.

i have a pretty solid reading regimen for my travels… i bring an old favourite (usually one of two that are my “travel books”) and i bring a few new ones.  then, i buy a magazine at the airport in each direction and sometimes another book, if something catches my eye. so basically by the time i get home i’m lugging around 3-4 books and a couple magazines.  every time.

my standby travel books are my two favourite books.  they’re both books that i love deeply, and while i could pick them at in any place, at any time and start reading, i have that ridiculous drive to finish it front to back whenever i see them.  book 1 is fear & laothing in las vegas by hunter s thompson and the second book is the witching hour by anne rice.  no lie, i have read one of these books (sometimes both) on every single vacation that i’ve been on in the last 10 years.
i’m on my 3rd copy of the witching hour and my 5th copy of fear & loathing.

i hard-core LOVE this book.  and funnily enough, i’ve come across a few friends lately that have never read it… so i’ve been lending it out.  and because i’m OCD about this book, every time i lend it, i have to reread it again because its out.  so right now i’m about 2/3 of the way through it and i’ll probably finish it on the plane.  and maybe start it again if i rip through my other reading, lol.  i never ever get sick of this one.

my “new” reading for this trip is two food books… the first is from anthony bourdain, and while it’s not “new”, it just arrived in my mailbox from amazon last week, so it’s new to me.

i think that the knowledge that anthony bourdain is fucking awesome pretty much goes without saying, so i’m stoked to read this.  also, i’ve been watching a LOT of No Reservations lately, so it’s kinda timely for me.

the other pick is from jeffrey steingarten, who my fellow food lovers might recognize from being the most frequent judge of Iron Chef America.

both books are about food, travel & humorous observations, so i think they’re perfect for my hawaii trip.

then, on the back up reel is my ipad… i didn’t get a chance to download as many books as i would have liked, but my time has been at a bit of a premium lately.  so i grabbed basically a bunch of books that i already own in hard copy and put the on my ipad, so if the mood strikes me to continue reading the witch series from anne rice, i can do that… or if i wanna jump to vampires, well, i can do that too.

having my ipad has made traveling infinitely more awesome.  it’s so freaking handy to basically have a hand-held computer… and really, in the usa especially, free wireless is everywhere, so it’s even better.

but the whole book thing has been especially great.  don’t get me wrong, the ipad will NEVER replace my books, but they sure do make travel reading easier and more accessible.  no longer do i have to lug around 5 books on my trip, now i can load up hundreds on my ipad and read whatever i want, whenever i want.  technology is magic.