Tuesday, November 2, 2010

food writing and a note on hot dogs

I was killing some time at a bookstore the other night and came across a few interesting books. Normally my impulsiveness would take over and I would come home with at least 3 of them. But instead I stopped, took a deep breath, paid for the chicken book I came for and got outta there. I was hoping you guys could make some recommendations for me. Have you read...

 The Geometry of Pasta
Caz Hildebrand & Jacob Kenedy
This book seems to have everything you could ever want to know about pasta. The design and illustrations alone are reason enough to add this to my library. NPR reviewed it here:

Fannie's Last Supper by Chris Kimball
The author serves a 12-course Christmas dinner in his Vidtorian home, based on a meal from The Boston Cooking School Cookbook by Fannie Farmer  in 1896.
I love the concept of this book. He cooks everything exactly as it was prepared in 1896, on a wood stove. I also love how mega-nerdy this guy is.

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
This one is in rotation on my shelf right now. It's basically Eat, Pray Love... plus with culinary school, minus Julia Roberts/Elizabeth Gilbert (blegh).

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
I'm not sure if I'm ready to read another one of these. I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle recently and while I really enjoyed it, I found it to be a bit preachy at times. But that's a whole other post...
I haven't read any of Michael Pollan's books, but I know some of you have. Are they any good?  Which one should I start with?

 As for hot dogs...

The following post has been rated PG-13 for grotesque imagery.

It is my personal belief that hot dogs have gotten a bad rap. In a country whose beef standards are dictated by McDonald's, it's kind of strange that the vast majority of Americans scoff at the hot dog. When was the last time you felt the need to rationalize eating more than one in a day? Or tried to order a chili cheese dog at a restaurant without feeling immense shame? Or explained: "They're not for me; they're for the kids..."?

enjoying a Grey's Papaya hot dog in NYC, in broad daylight.

Perhaps it is because the words drum up images of ground cow toenails, or stringy horror-film-esque entrails. How far we've come (or gone, as it were) from the days when hot dogs brought to mind good ol' times at the ball park, or coneys served by waitresses in roller skates.


We haven't quite adjusted to the change in weather, which is why we haven't been as motivated to venture out to the grocery store, let alone cook a meal. So we've been relying on the Art of Reinventing Leftovers. Tonight's dinner is brought to you by Mandi's Vegetarian Chili (which we haven't given the recipe for yet, but stay tuned...). We bought some organic turkey hot dogs, and wheat buns (happy, hippies?). And after slapping on some cheddar cheese, chopped red onion and veggie chili, had a delicious dinner fit for Mudville's own Casey himself.

it's a beautiful thing

Give the hot dog some love! Don't be ashamed. What are your favorite mouth-watering hot dog toppings? Who serves the tastiest dog? If you need to post anonymously, we understand.

Food writing: What are your recommendations?

Tomorrow, Alyssanne will post her pumpkin scone recipe!


  1. As for Michael Pollan, I was told to start with Omnivores dilemma. You really should read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Of course also preachy, but really well written.

  2. Thanks, I will. I've also heard that about Eating Animals, but I love JSF. I'll most likely read it. :)

  3. You have to buy that Fannie's Last Supper book! That sounds so interesting!
    And for some reason, hot dogs remind me of the fair. Maybe its a Southern thing?

  4. There is NOTHING embarrassing about eating hot dogs. My favorite is at the baseball park, with nothing but ketchup. mmmm, I want that. Or a corn dog! I want that too.

  5. My name is Rachel, and I love hot dogs.
    The first step is admitting it, right? But I'm not giving them up. My favorite is a "dirty water dog" from a street bender. Long & skinny, with mustard & ketchup. I squirt the condiments on top of the dog, then flip the dog over so they're on the bottom, where I won't bite into them. Weird, I know.

  6. I also was intrigued by the Fannie Farmer book, though I haven't read it. As for Michael Pollan, I read excerpts from "In Defense of Food" and really enjoyed it.

    And hotdogs? I'm with Rachel -- I put the condiments on the bun (usually mustard and relish) and then put the hotdog on top so I don't bite into the condiments. :)

  7. michael pollan's most interesting book is "botany of desire" - it was written before the preaching began, but started him examining the relationship between humans and food. read it.

  8. I'll usually stick w/ slaw and mustard but whatever you do....DON'T SPLIT THE BUN IN TWO PIECES...can't eat it, period.

  9. I read "Omnivore's Dilemma" and liked it. It was a bit too baby-boomer-yuppie-boho, but the thesis ("Eat local and ethically") was strong. I tried to read "In Defense of Food" right after, but it was more of the same, and I needed a break.

  10. like i said, orange tree slaw dogs! plus a walk around the regency mall.