The joy of cooking … and sex

January 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

You’ve doubtless heard the expression “Food is love” — but it’s rarely so literally expressed as in Kim Sunee’s memoir, “Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home.” Abandoned by her mother in a Korean marketplace at age three, Sunee was adopted, along with another Korean baby girl, by an American couple and raised in New Orleans. She came closest to finding a sense of belonging when she worked in the kitchen alongside her adopted grandfather, Poppy. “Suzy and I are the only Oriental girls, as we are called, in our school,” she writes, “so the comfort of Poppy’s kitchen after school every day, the promise of his home-cooked meals, are a refuge … solid food to remind us that we exist, that we live in a new world where we have not been forgotten” …

In Brief: “Trail of Crumbs” (The Barnes & Noble Review)

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Eat this, not that

January 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

Michael Pollan’s new book, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” the follow-up to his widely praised “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” should probably come with a warning: After reading this book, you may never shop, cook, or eat the same way again.

Or maybe that’s a promise …

Review: “In Defense of Food” (The Barnes & Noble Review)

In search of happiness

January 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

As a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, Eric Weiner has spent much of his career traveling to some of the world’s least happy places — Iraq and Afghanistan among them. With his first book, “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World,” he decided it was time for a change of approach. “What if, I wondered, I spent a year traveling the globe, seeking out not the world’s well-trodden trouble spots but, rather, its unheralded happy places?” he writes …

In Brief: “The Geography of Bliss” (The Barnes & Noble Review)

Making scents of it all

January 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

Perfume — love it or hate it, you probably don’t know much about how it’s made or the people who make it. Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic (yes, you heard me right), would like to change that. Burr’s revealing new book, “The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York,” aims to bring consumers “behind the curtain” of the perfume industry, despite that industry’s best efforts to keep its art and science out of public view. To that end, he interweaves the stories of two perfumes — the high-end Hermes scent Un Jardin sur le Nil, created by veteran perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, and Coty’s Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, which the “Sex and the City” star guided to an unusual degree — from conception to launch …

In Brief: “The Perfect Scent” (The Barnes & Noble Review)

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