My mother called me the other day and said, “I hate when people start saying that summer is half over.” What is it about August 1st that shifts everyone into panic mode? I don’t welcome the end of summer but I’m already poring over cookbooks and thinking of cooler temps for baking and cooking. While I enjoy these dog days I’ve started thinking about all the foodie books I want to read this fall and reminiscing over some of my favorites. Although I love my men chefs and foodie writers, these three women are powerhouses in their respective careers. Like a fabulous French baguette, tough on the outside and soft in the middle Ruth Reichl, Amanda Hesser, and Alice Waters are worthy of adoration and emulation.
Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl broke my heart with it’s honesty and welcomed me in with it’s comforting recipes.
There was a bottle of wine in the basket, a long green one, and we stuck it in the pool to chill before pulling off our clothes and jumping in ourselves . . Then emerged into the sunlight to drink the wine and eat the cool cucumber sandwiches.
The story of Alice Waters & Chez Panisse made for some delightfully scandalous beach reading.
In August 1971, Alice started hiring. There were no job descriptions. Experience was not required. Alice simply knew that she would know who was right for Chez Panisse.
Cooking for Mr. Latte taught me to appreciate the finer ways of home cooking, including the recipe for Chocolate Dump-It Cake. It became a staple anytime a quick dessert was necessary for two or ten.
There were a few natural choices. A couple of years ago, my mother taught me to make her dense but moist chocolate birthday cake. She calls it “dump-it cake” because you mix all the ingredients in a pot over medium heat, then dump the batter into a cake pan to bake. For the icing you melt Nestle’s sem-sweet chocolate chips and swirl them together with sour cream. It sounds like it’s straight from Pillsbury Bake-Off, but it tastes like it’s straight from Payard. Everyone loves it.