Fall In With a Good Read
Had it up to here with the Iron Chefs of the food universe? Nick Rabar describes a very different planet in his novel The Cold Side of the Grill (self-published via Amazon, July 2013). Chef/owner of Avenue N American Kitchen and Avenue N Pantry in Rumford, Rabar tells the story of Jack Cahill, a smalltown guy with a love of cooking. His passion takes him from dishwasher in a local eatery all the way to the Culinary Institute of America – and then on to multi-star venues in Boston and New York.
Jack's success turns out to be more than he can handle – but he is rescued by the love of a good woman. The novel's recognizably human characters deal with life and the multiple challenges of the food world as best they can. Some do it better than others. In the back of the house clashes of big money, big egos and big ambition are both convincing and tantalizing. If you love good food and a good story, Rabar's tale should grab you at the first course.
– John Schenck
When food writer and chef Karen Covey discovered coastal Massachusetts, Li'l Rhody was part of the package. This cultural and culinary love affair eventually led to her new cookbook, The Coastal Table (Union Park Press, 2013), which describes simple, seasonal recipes, along with features of local farms, chefs and restaurants. Covey features many Rhody classics. She declares Dave's Coffee in Charlestown her favorite coffee syrup purveyor, and also encloses a recipe for creamy coffee milk pudding.
Cassandra Birocco's photos focus on mouthwatering seasonal dishes and stunning New England landscapes. Covey's own recipes, as well as those from area chefs, fill the pages. They range from unique fare like bacon jam (where have you been all my life?) to classics with a twist like baked fish with nasturtium butter. The lip-smacking cocktail recipes, picnic ideas and delicious suggestions to help usher in the fall will keep you full of inspiration from beginning to end.
– Eleanor Duke
"When it comes to food, we Rhode Islanders are a quirky bunch." New cookbook Rhode Island Recipes (self-published, 2013) begins with a friendly reminder of Rhode Island's unique flair, then gives us 33 recipes that capitalize on our eccentricities. Rhody natives and food writers and bloggers Lydia Walshin and Jennifer Leal created all the recipes in the book with products from 17 local companies.
Clam and Fingerling Potato Chowder made with Iggy's chopped clams, jonnycakes with roasted red peppers made with Kenyon's Johnny Cake Meal, and Chepachet Farms maple syrup doughnuts, among many another mouthwatering recipes, remind us of the incredible creativity and flavor that comes out of our tiny state. They write, "Yes, we have our quirks, but we Rhode Islanders take food seriously, and we're as proud of the products made by local artisans, farmers and family businesses as we are of our own family food traditions." Agreed!
– Eleanor Duke