Food Book Fair Authors Share Their Favorite Cookbooks

food book fair

Jeni Britton Bauer, Owner of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Author of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and the forthcoming Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts

Tell us about your favorite classic cookbook or food-related book and how it transformed your relationship with food or informed your style of cooking.

Almost impossible. But probably my favorite book to read and to cook from is an unusual find. It is an original copy of the Pennsylvania Railroad Dining Car Department Cooking and Service Instructions published in 1947. I have read its 200 pages cover-to-cover several times over in the many years I’ve owned it. It is a souvenir from that time, and vividly illustrates that what we eat is a reflection of now as it was a reflection of the 1940‘s and the expectation and preferences of those who frequented train travel. It was a time when people dressed up for meals – especially meals in public and the dining cars were swanky! What I love about it is that it is edible American history.

Tell us about your favorite modern cookbook and like above, how it transformed your relationship with food or informed your style of cooking.

I’m settling on Breakfast, Lunch, Tea by Rose Carrarini of the Rose Bakery in Paris. Her recipes are humble and well-made, with the tastiest ingredients and a few creative flourishes here and there. It’s proof that it’s not radical, new ideas that rock the world, but subtle tweaks, great ingredients, and perfect execution.

Favorite Brooklyn-based restaurant and why.

I LOVE Saltie. The sardine sandwich and killer seasonal fruit galettes feel like the right thing always, but especially when it’s raining. There is something to the idea of kick-ass fast meals, over slow wine-soaked meals, that I’m really drawn to these days. That said, I recently had a killer steak and a thousand sides at St. Anselm and some orange wine that I will have to do again soon. And I had an unforgettable pasta with bottarga at Battersby. I mean, really, how can you choose one? It just depends on your mood, calendar, and the weather.

Jeni will be at the Food Book Fair panel: Food + The Midwest on  Friday, April 25 at 12 p.m.  

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