5 Incredible Art/Food/Drink Books of 2014

I discovered these books mostly by browsing at bookstores, which I occasionally do…when I’m on vacation. Otherwise I’m listening to NPR’s Fresh Air, reading the NY Times Book Review and talking to friends about their recommendations. Here are 5 very unusual and exceptional books:

1) Meanwhile in San Franicsco, Wendy MacNaughton. This one I found at Pt. Reyes Books…in Pt. Reyes Station last summer:

meanwhile in sf cover

Artist and writer Wendy MacNaughton spends her time observing people and places, then draws them. How old fashioned. She is amazing.

meanwhile drawing 1

meanwhile drawing 4

meanwhile drawing 2

2) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Roz Chast.  This book came to me because I read the New Yorker, and she is one of their best cartoonists. She is famous for her anxiety-ridden wit. This book is a memoir about her eccentric, hoarding, and aging parents:

chast book cover

chast cartoon 1

Need I say more?

chast cartoon 2

(Double click for a larger image.)

3) Tequila Mockingbird, Tim Federle.  This book Grace found while browsing Copperfield’s Bookstore in Calistoga. She knew it was for me, so she took a photo of the cover and sent it to me:

tequila mock cover

Each drink recipe is named after a famous novel. Skip the bottle of wine and bring this book to your next party!

tequila recipe 1

tequila recipe 2

Get the picture?

(Double click for a larger image.)

4) And now for the piece de resistanceThe Slanted Door, Charles Phan.

the slanted door cover

The long-awaited cookbook from The Slanted Door, James Beard award-winning chef Charles Phan’s beloved San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant.

I have eaten here many times… from it’s beginnings on Valencia Street to it’s beautiful Ferry Building location overlooking San Francisco Bay. I cannot wait to learn how to duplicate his delicious dishes!

slanted door photo 1

slanted door photo 2

slanted door photo 3

5) My Favorite Things, Maira Kalman. And last but not least, from one of my favorite children’s book illustrators, Maira Kalman. She is now writing memoir-like books. This is her latest, given to me by Grace for Christmas:

mairakalman-myfavoritethings cover

Amazon describes it briefly: It is a beautiful pictorial and narrative exploration of the significance of objects in our lives, drawn from her personal artifacts, recollections, and selections from the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

kalman drawing 1

(Double click to enlarge.)

kalman drawing 2

Maybe you remember the kids’ books…

kalman ooh la la

kalman swami on rye

We loved them and treasure them in our permanent book collection.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melinda Basker
    Jan 01, 2015 @ 02:41:53

    Thanks for sharing, Phern. I look forward to checking these out.



  2. Jerry Polon
    Jan 01, 2015 @ 03:11:34

    Q has been making the Slanted Door’s signature dish, Shaking Beef, for a few years. I think the recipe was in the newspaper awhile back. You can consult him when we stop by in a week or two. If I recall the cut of beef is critical.

    Also, I love the Roz Chast, which just oozes cultural glop. (My cultural glop, that is!)



  3. Jill's Journal
    Jan 06, 2015 @ 21:35:03

    The cookbook looks good– might inspire me to cook more again! But especially intriguing is a cookbook my granddaughter gave us for Christmas: “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.” Yes indeed, stuff like tripe, bone marrow, offal innards and the like are given eloquent recipes and photos in this beautiful book. It has inspired my husband to start cooking some of them right away.



  4. Jill's Journal
    Jan 06, 2015 @ 21:46:14

    Tequila Mockingbird will be the perfect gift for Richard’s grandson, Teddy, who is manager/supervisor of the bar in a chic new restaurant in New York. We were there last week while he was inventing a new cocktail, and he invited us to help think up a good name for it, but we failed to come up with anything interesting.



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