DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jul 29 2011

ShareReads: Summer Memories Shared…

by ShareReads

ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

Today I’m inspired to share some books I found when I perused the New Books shelves at my local library. I chose two books that seem related to me in some obscure, difficult to explain manner. The first is of local interest, From Mud to Jug: The Folk Potters and Pottery of Northeast Georgia by John A. Burrison. Several decades ago I was fortunate enough to take a class from Burrison when he was a new faculty member at Ga State. I can still recall the ardor he had for local, folk items, so this over size paperback illustrated with lots of color photographs grabbed my attention immediately.

This book offers chapters on the history of folk pottery, two clans (Meaders and Hewells) that represent the long tradition of North Georgia potters, the production process and traditional functions of this type of pottery and all you need to know about the relatively new Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in the Sautee Nacoochee Community. This book delighted the eyes, awakened childhood memories of car trips through the northern part of Georgia with my family, and made me want to head north again to visit the new museum and learn more about folk pottery in general. Toward that end, Burrison included lists of potters and of books on Southern folk pottery.

The second book is Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz, a food blogger par excellence who previously made desserts for Chez Panisse in Berkeley after training as a baker in France and Belgium. I’ve only eaten at CP once, on a late summer day, but I swear it is his chocolate cake that stays “tattooed” on my taste buds and calls me back there again. This is a luscious, large format book also full of compelling color photographs adjacent to complicated but not complex “company and holiday” desserts. I’m told the average adult gains a pound a year. I’ve vowed (unsuccessfully) to make it a cookbook a year instead. My theory is that if you read it instead of doing it, you can learn a lot for when a grand dessert is simply unavoidable—and try to limit the weight gain to a half pound.

Imagine spending an hour or more in your favorite reading place, with something you enjoy drinking when your taste buds need to settle down. Open this book and browse through the hints about ingredients and equipment that he puts up front. Then pick your place to dive in from: cakes; pies, tarts and fruit; custards, soufflés and puddings; frozen desserts; cookies and candies; and basics, sauces, and preserves. Wow, so hard to choose, but feeling faint I go from cakes to cookies and candies and then settle down with the basic, sauces and preserves which offers multiple photos of just how various stages should look when you are caramelizing (both wet and dry methods). I can hardly wait to start making holiday gifts of candied cherries, orange peel and ginger. I know many folks search by ingredients or name and pull their recipes offline now. I’m just not that efficient and pragmatic. I love old cookbooks with ample notes and stains, and big, new cookbooks all pristine and seductive. I can almost taste the photos and do, sometimes, to coax myself into waiting. After awhile my brain is awash in many, varied recipes I want to, will to, make … eventually. Now that is a wonderful hour spent in anticipation and few to no calories (depending on the drink).

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny July 29, 2011 at 10:54 AM

I took Professor Burrison’s folk art class about 7 years ago. It was a great class then too. And what a great book!

Robert P July 30, 2011 at 4:47 PM

I recently read “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” and liked it.

Phoenix P. July 30, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I enjoy reading local authors, too, because it gives one a sense of understanding of the subject matter/setting that another reader would probably not have. For instance, Fred Willard’s “Down on Ponce” hooked me from the beginning because of the dual combination of entertaining writing and the familiarity of the setting. I’d seen the buildings, I’d eaten at the restaurant, and I even thought I’d seen some of the people he mentioned. The book stands out more than others because I had a good mental image of place and setting.

The same goes for Patricia Cornwell’s books, as I lived most of my life in Richmond, Virginia. Reading about places you go and see every day is surreal in a way and more importantly, keeps me reading about them.

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