“Books that Cook is a savory concoction of prose, poetics, and recipes that narrate U.S. history and memory through the optic of the cookbook since the eighteenth century….Because food anchors our humanity in the ways that it is consumed, circulated, produced and represented, Books that Cook is a delicious, accessible, and versatile contribution to the growing field of food studies, particularly as it relates to issues of history, memory, and identity.”
"Books that Cook, an ingenious collection of food-themed American writing, is organized like a meal, from starters to dessert….No matter what your food or reading preferences are, you’ll find something delectable in Books that Cook.”
—Southern Maryland Magazine
“Because food anchors our humanity in the ways that it is consumed, circulated, produced and represented, Books that Cook is a delicious, accessible, and versatile contribution to the growing field of food studies, particularly as it relates to issues of history, memory, and identity.”
—Blog of the American Studies Journal
"A book that cooks isn't just a cookbook. A book that cooks can also be a memoir with recipes, an essay collection that embeds cookery into the writing, or a foodie fiction that includes instructions on making various dishes to reveal character, build a climax, or create symbolism. Authors of such cooking books want readers to consume them in more than one way: with the eye, the mind, the heart, and the mouth."
"The volume includes poems, stories, and essays, along with recipes, and some of each are original. There are beloved bits, too, from Laurie Colwin’s classic piece on three repulsive meals to Maya Angelou’s caramel cake. The perfect gift for your summer hostess who loves to read, cook, and consider."
"The perfect book to accompany a meal, this anthology also contains recipes ideal for literary discussions. The editors, both professors of English and writing, have sifted contemporary American literature for poems, essays, and fiction in which food plays a prominent role. The pieces they’ve gathered use dishes as touchstones for exploring culture, ethnicity, and more."
—Politics and Prose
"This delightful collection of prose, poetry, and essays, all introduced by excerpts from important, American cookbooks dating back to the 1700s, explores the way food reflects and creates culture. An important addition to the study of gastronomy, it features the work of such contemporary authors as Maya Angelou, Nora Ephron, and Alice Waters, and is organized like a cookbook with each section including at least one delectable recipe.”
"An observation made by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor in Books that Cook explains the broad appeal of this enjoyable collection of contemporary American writing about food: 'Everybody eats!' As the anthology also shows, however, cooking and eating are shaped by society, culture and individual needs more than by simple nutrition."
"I hadn't considered that cookbooks are a form of literature before, but I'm sure thinking about it now. It explains why I hate to cook but I love reading cookbooks... It's a lovely book for any foodie or for anyone with an interest in how we write and talk about food."
—Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
"Readable and entertaining. . . . The editor's skill at serving up mouth-watering selections is repeatedly demonstrated throughout the text. . . . From their enthusiastic flour-to-elbows perspective, Books that Cook is more than simply another anthology, it's a living text to be taken into the kitchen and spattered with sauces and gravy."
"A buffet of poems, stories, essays and recipes. . . . Food lovers and cookbook collectors will savor this literary stew."
"Books that Cook offers lively, varied reading . . . this is a collection well worth the devoted food reader's time."
"Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite have compiled a fabulous collection to satisfy even the hungriest of literature lovers. . . . Because it is a mixture of new and old treasures, you will feel like you've just finished a meal and provided impeccable table service. It's that good."
—San Francisco Book Review
"This book is a collection of stories, memories, literature, and poetry of food and cooking. With various writers and chefs sharing their experiences with and thoughts on food, this book takes the reader into the world of food literature and food sociology. . . . The work is one a reader could happily read cover to cover, or, as with a good meal, savor one piece at a time. . . . This book will delight foodies, food historians, anthropologists, cookbook enthusiasts, and any literature fans who like to eat."
"With much to be savored, this collection shows the ways that poetry, prose, and fiction can act just as cookbooks do—moving their readers to bake, to roast, to sear and sauté. Cookbooks really do cook: they act in everyday life, are read and re-read, are dog-eared and oil-stained, their pages rumpled by errant splashes of water and tomato sauce. The same, I suspect, may happen with this book. Books That Cook belongs not on the nightstand in the bedroom, or on the bookshelf in the office, but on the counter in the kitchen!"
—Daniel J. Philippon, University of Minnesota
“Books That Cook reveals how food is fundamental in marking distinctions of power, gender, race, and sexuality within literature, history, and the contemporary moment. Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite offer a smorgasbord of recipes to tempt our palates as well as our minds, engage our senses and our kitchen cookery. You will not be able to put down this delicious addition to the field of food studies.”
—Psyche Williams-Forson, University of Maryland, College Park
“Books That Cook offers a delicious collection of contemporary American writing that treats the human condition in relation to food, eating, and cooking. Food serves as a powerful hook into conversations about class, ethnicity, gender, politics, and aesthetics; this collection’s juxtaposition of cookbook and story, poem, or essay makes that conversation possible.”
—Scott Miller, Director, Sonoma State Writing Center
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