The Hungover Gourmet


THG Recommends These Food, Drink and Travel Books

These are our current picks from our shelf. To order the book or find out more simply click the title or the book cover image to launch in a separate window. To shop at – and support THG in the process – click the amazon ad in the right column and shop as you normally would.

Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America by Amy Sutherland
If anybody thinks that the male-oriented world of competitive sports goes too far will have their eyes opened by Amy Sutherland's fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny look at the world of cooking competitions. From local contests to biggies sponsored by the likes of Sutter Home Wines and Pillsbury, this book looks at the unique personalities who have turned these little competitions into big business. Highly recommended!

Super Chef: The Making of the Great Modern Restaurant Empires by Juliette Rossant
Don't crack open SUPER CHEF looking to glean details about how cooks like Wolfgang Puck, Charlie Palmer or Todd English became great chefs. (Check out BECOMING A CHEF below for that.) Instead, this is more cautionary business tome than cooking lesson. At times drier than my mom's Thanksgiving turkey, the book brightens up considerably when it has a juicy personality – like English or the gals from Too Hot Tamales – to discuss. If you can get through the first two chapters, this one picks up steam.

Harvesting the Dream: The Rags-to-Riches Tale of the Sutter Home Winery by Kate Heyhoe and Stanley Hock
I never expected to enjoy a book about the American winemaker synonymous with cheap white zinfandel. But I give credit to authors Heyhoe and Hock -- their breezy magazine style of writing makes this a snappy read, perfect for the beach or back porch with a cool, refreshing glass of your favorite adult beverage close by.

Beer Can Chicken by Steve Raichlen
It's almost amazing to think that it took me 30-plus years to put together the business end of a chicken and a can of sweet, sweet beer over a raging inferno. When we did – KAPOW! The results were nothing short of a flavor explosion! We can't take all the credit, of course, we had a little help from Steve Raichlen and this indispensible little book which features wild and wacky ways to cook on your gas or charcoal grill.

Becoming a Chef

Becoming a Chef by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
An incredible volume for anyone seriously considering a career as a chef, as well as those of us that like goofing around in the kitchen on the weekends. The authors interviewed some of the top chefs in the country, unearthing their backgrounds, and getting their input on the best way to achieve your dream as a professional chef. If, like me, you just like whipping up a grand meal on the weekend or holidays, this is a superb place to read up on techniques and great recipes. Each chef provides classic recipes from their restaurants, and each one I've made has been an instant favorite!

Mexican Kitchen

Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen

For years I thought that "Mexican food" meant getting take-out from Taco Bell. Moving to Philly was an eye-opening experience as I discovered places like Taco House (down the block from Dirty Frank's and home of the Slutty Meat Bomb), Mexican Post, and eventually Hot Tamales. I'm just getting into making my own authentic Mexican cuisine, and this tome is an essential guide through the world of street kitchens and full-scale Mexican cuisine. I might not ever be able to recreate the beauty of the Mexican Pizza, but this book'll guide me along the way.

License to Grill

License to Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

Those of you that are regular readers of THG know that we tackled no less a subject than grilling for our first issue. I grew up at grillside, making everything from dogs and burgers to chickens and turkeys on that wonderful contraption. This is a follow-up to The Thrill of the Grill, and though I haven't read that guide, this is still a classic for any grill-chef's shelf. Recipes, frequent tips, and a great cover design to boot!

Sheila Lukins USA Cookbook

Sheila Lukins USA Cookbook

I enjoy Lukins' cookbooks and this one brings together over 600 recipes from all regions of America. And when you say "American cuisine," what springs to mind? Chili, steaks, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes? You'll find them all within these pages, plus plenty more. Lukins' style keeps things from getting dry, and there's wine and beer suggestions with many of the recipes so you won't get dry either!

The Joy of Cooking

The all-purpose edition of this kitchen classic has caused almost as much controversy as the leader of the free world playing grab-ass with a pudgy intern! Imagine a feature in Time regarding the first update to Joy since 1975?! Yikes people, there's much more important stuff to be concerned with. I guess the brewhaha resulted from the coin payed out for the use of the name, as well as how the editor went about soliciting chapters. Who cares?! This puppy compiles years of food history and info in one handy volume no serious cook should be without. I'm not crazy about how the recipes are structured, but that's a small complaint.

Patio Daddy-O

Patio Daddy-O

Unlike Joy of Cooking, I don't expect Patio Daddy-O to cause a lot of controversy among the culinary elite! I'm not even sure how much you'll use this for actual cooking, but it is a great compilation of 50s barbecue/retro accessories and outdoor kitsch. Wonderfully designed and cleverly written, there are a couple great recipes that we've whipped up for our own outdoor cookouts, namely a hot and spicy coleslaw and some atomic-powered drinks. More fun than useful, this would make a great gift for any of your hipster friends longing for the era of loungewear and Dean Martin records!

The New Basics

The New Basics by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

This cookbook elicits different responses from different cooks. I happen to find the information contained within its pages essential, easy-to-follow, and insightful. Other chefs find it confusing and too wordy, overshadowing the recipe with tales of how they got there. Hmm, maybe that's exactly what I like about it. I don't think I could give a better review than saying that my copy is currently in three pieces, the pages are stained with sauces, wine, and stock, and it's the first source I consult when creating a new dish. Highly recommended.

The Frugal Gourmet by Jeff Smith

This was the first cookbook that I ever received, so I guess it's appropriate that I feature it first in our "classics" section. Along with the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and The New Basics (see both below), this is the most dog-eared, battle-scarred book on the shelf. In fact, it's currently coverless thanks to more than 10 years of use. A former boss bought me The Frug when I was headed into my first apartment, and this book did me good and got me thoroughly hooked. From quick and easy dinners (I still whip up Pan-Fried Chicken Strips when asked) to great appetizers, this is a treasured volume. Highly recommended.

Shaken Not Stirred by Anistatia R. Miller and Jared Brown

I probably shouldn't drink least if I'm going to be around people. This thoroughly addictive drink turns me from a happy, fun drunk into a surly, opinionated, and boisterous lush in a matter of minutes. So, why do I love them sooooo much? Who knows, maybe it's the Bond appeal, or the fact that I'm 35 and I think I'm getting too old for the beer thing. Anywho, this little classic compiles more info about martinis than should legally be allowed in one place. There's martini lore, martini recipes, variations on martini recipes, and arguments about how the martini was invented and how it got its name. Whew. Nifty, and no bar should be without one. Just don't invite me over for any.

Real Beer and Good Eats by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly

Beer and food, food and beer. They go together like Rock and Doris, John and Olivia, ramalama and ding-dong. No book explores that relationship better than this one, which treats the history of beer and its place in our cultural landscape better than any I've ever come across. Plus it contains a kick-ass Warm German Potato Salad recipe that completely justifies its price. Interesting as a food and beverage history as well as a wonderful collection of real food recipes.

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