★ Garden to Glass
Mike Wolf’s Garden to Glass, which explores the intersection of gardening, foraging and beverage design, offers instant appeal. Wolf, who worked with chef Sean Brock at Husk in Nashville, is a curious and passionate guide, taking readers into his garden and onto trails where he gathers ingredients for bitters, cordials, shrubs and more. These are featured in recipes that will enhance any bar program or make you one hell of a home mixologist. Beautiful watercolor illustrations and interviews with specialists give this study of botanical cocktails a dimension not achieved in other guides.
Pity the Reader
Pity the Reader, a hefty, essential new volume of Kurt Vonnegut’s writing advice and life stories, is certainly a book first and foremost for writers, with chapters on plot, character, talent and diligence. But it’s also a gold mine for any Vonnegut fan or creative seeker. Suzanne McConnell, our trusty guide through the book and a student and friend of the late author, exhaustively plumbs Vonnegut’s archives, revealing choice bits from interviews, letters, drafts and published novels. It’s fascinating to observe Vonnegut’s revisions (and rejections) and fascinating, too, to learn how the nitty-gritty of his life shaped his works. And it’s a joy to see how McConnell interacts with the ideas and words of her mentor, weaving and contrasting them with insight from her own multidecade teaching career.
A Place at the Table
Now more than ever, America must celebrate the countless contributions of its foreign-born population. A Place at the Table, a project from the Vilcek Foundation, which recognizes the work of immigrants in the arts, sciences and humanities, takes up this cause in stunning fashion. The editors gather profiles of 40 of the best foreign-born chefs working in cities across the U.S. today and share recipes from each. The result is a trip around the world through cuisine, from Thai Dang’s grilled salmon and snow fungus salad with Vietnamese herbs, to Erik Bruner-Yang’s takoyaki hush puppies, to Maneet Chauhan’s naanzanella. Simply scanning the ingredient lists and gazing upon the photographs of each dish feels like a journey, something of a foodie fever dream.