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Journalist. Food Writer. Producer.

Through the aisles and into the kitchen

I'm always fascinated by the books that line people's shelves. But the ones I find the most interesting are their cookbooks.  I keep my cookbooks in plain view in my kitchen, so if I am standing at the counter, or looking into the refrigerator, I only have to cast my eyes slightly to the left for a little inspiration.

I learned to cook through cookbooks. Correction: I learned to cook through cookbooks I borrowed from my local library.  For the latest episode of Assis Toi, I tracked down the person responsible for many of the current selections that line many a shelf in the various libraries of Halifax, Kristina Parlee from Halifax Public Libraries.  Kristina is a food lover, and she and I have often suggested places to eat - and books to read - to each other. I also met up with Lindsay Cameron Wilson, a Halifax-based cookbook author, TV show host, recipe developper, mother, and much more. Lindsay also used to live in London, and for a time worked at the famous Books For Cooks store in Notting Hill.

In case you missed it when it was on the air this morning on your local CBC Radio station here in the Maritimes, you can stream it here, or download the podcast here. And don't forget to check out this week's episode of Have A Seat - where Kristina, Lindsay, and I continue our chat about all things culinary AND literary.

For those of you who were wondering about those titles mentioned in this week's episodes of Assis Toi and Have A Seat, here are some of the cookbooks - and their authors -  mentioned by Kristina, Lindsay, and myself. 

Hot Sour Salty Sweet, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. This is THE book that started it all for me as a writer, as a home cook, and as a lover of food writing. 

In Have A Seat, Kristina and I talked a little bit about japanese cookery, and she mentioned Japanese Farm Food, which looks wonderful. I mentioned that she should check out Kansha and Washokuby Elizabeth Andoh. I even did a piece for Assis Toi last year about Washoku, with the help of Ami Goto. 

Kristina mentioned that she came to understand indian cooking techniques thanks to Madhur Jaffrey. Jeffrey is essentially THE person to talk to if you want to learn about the intricacies of indian cookery.  She also suggests checking out some of the titles put out by America's Test Kitchen, and is also a big fan of The Flavour Bible. As for restaurant cookbooks, she was also instrumental in making sure that there are copies of Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook. And for those of you who can't afford to buy a copy, you can always borrow the Noma cookbook. 

As for Lindsay Cameron Wilson, you can check out her cookbooks on her website. Wilson is also a fan of Skye Gingell's A Year In My Kitchen (a book that I also enjoy), but most importantly, she talks about Family Life by Elisabeth Luard.

Happy listening, reading, and cooking.