Food and drink should engage us in a lively conversation, and foster a spirit of conviviality among our guests. No better chance to reach for that ideal than the extended holiday season. But the task can be daunting. How do you pull it off? Turn to the pros.
Around the shop, when one of us is searching for inspiration or talking through an evening's plans, we tend to crack the spines of a few books and magazines and thumb the pages for clues. It works. These are resources we can hold in our hands, come back to again and again, that help us stay sharp out on the leading edge.
We've recently gotten a bumper crop of new print goodies. Here's a short list of what's in store for those of you who want to host like a pro.
Lucky Peach - out of stock until next issue
A collaboration of Chef David Chang and the McSweeney's empire. Award-winning writing on food and drinks, peppered liberally with incisive wit. Their holiday issue just came out. It's chocked full of international inspiration from the world's most sarcastic foodies. Lucky Peach's site
Hailing from Sweden, published all in English, Fool might be the most impressive food magazine on the planet right now. Long form journalism meets avant-garde cuisine, written in beautifully accessible prose. This is one you'll keep on the shelf for years to come. Fool's site
Art of Eating
The cover of the current issue reads: Is Cultured Butter Better? I can't think of a better summary for this gorgeous, ad-free indie publication. We're long-time subscribers, because these pages are consistently filled with the kind of content that never goes out of style. artofeating's site
The best drinks compendium magazine on the market, by far. Imbibe gets to the point, and always has loads of recipes from top professionals. I often find myself saying, Oh yeah, what about that one Imbibe issue? They did a feature on that. Indelible resource. Currently out with their holiday drinks guide. Imbibe's site
The Bar Book
Famed barkeep Jeffrey Morgenthaler set out to fill a gap in the cocktail literature: technique. The Bar Book is an extensive and easy-to-use navigation of the skills of professional drink-making. It covers everything from handling ice to employing the perfect garnish. And the book itself is gorgeous. Jeffrey's blog
The Essential Cocktail
Dale DeGroff has been widely credited with sparking the "cocktail renaissance." With his new book, DeGroff gets to the heart of mixing drinks through 100 essential cocktails and their myriad variations.
Joe Bastianich and David Lynch, in their modern classic Vino Italiano, offer a beautifully written and precise account of the complex metropolis of style that is Italian wine. Each chapter is its own story, its own region, with the who and what and where all complemented by visual aids. The best book in English about Italian wine.
Proof: The Science of Booze
From the origins of yeast studies, to the ways various cultures break down sugars for fermentation, to the physical process of hangovers, Wired editor Adam Rogers takes the reader on a fact-filled tour of the world of booze. Engaging, informative, and very fun to read!