Often cited as the most influential food book ever published in the western world, The Physiology of Taste was written by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Born in 1755 in Belley, France, “B-S” grew up to become first a lawyer and then a judge in provincial France during, well, a fairly tumultuous time in European history. The details of his life are fascinating. My copy of TPT includes a brief biography containing lines like “crossed swords with Robespierre” and “incurred the displeasure of Napoleon”. While he did live in exile in America for a short while, B-S managed to keep his head and most of his property throughout the Revolution and the Napoleonic years. It was in the last years of … Continue reading.
Michael Ruhlman is one of my favourite food writers, and a handful of his books have changed the way I think about food and cooking. I’m convinced that his book Ratio is the single most powerful and pragmatic cookbook ever written. He had a hand in The French Laundry Cookbook, one of the most influential cookbooks of the last twenty years. In his narrative Soul of a Chef he describes the discipline and dedication required to work in kitchens like that of The French Laundry. And of course there is the seminal book Charcuterie, a collaboration between Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn that almost single-handedly started a cured meat revival in restaurants and home kitchens and backyards across … Continue reading.