The Bookshelf: The New Portuguese Table (and bonus recipe!)

Did you know that Portuguese cooking inspired Manhattan clam chowder? Or that the signing of the Declaration of Independence was toasted with glasses of Madeira? While historically overshadowed by Europe’s major cuisines, the food of Portugal is rich in history and surprisingly influential, and with the recent release of David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table, it may finally start to get a little respect. Leite, who has a trio of Beard Awards for his writing, discussed the new cookbook and the state of Portuguese cuisine at last week’s Beard on Books. A first-generation Portuguese-American who grew up in the Portuguese ghetto of Fall River, Massachusetts, Leite spent his youth at a distance from his lonely heritage. But after his grandmother passed away—taking a memory vault of recipes with her—the author embarked on an

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On the Menu: March 7 through March 13

on-the-menu-erin-gleeson Here's what's happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, March 8, 7:00 P.M. The Art of Craft Though he became a household name as a Top Chef judge, Tom Colicchio has long been a celebrity in foodie circles. The winner of four JBF Awards, Colicchio began his culinary ascent at Gramercy Tavern and has since made an indelible mark on the industry with his empire of Craft restaurants. For this special dinner, he and the chefs of his NYC restaurants will create a menu of their signature straightforward yet nuanced cuisine. Tuesday, March 9, 7:00 P.M. Top Chef Sibling Rivalry Superstar siblings Bryan Voltaggio and Michael Voltaggio kept Top Chef viewers riveted last season with their cutthroat kitchen rivalry. At this exciting event, Bryan

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The Bookshelf: The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor

Simple Fresh Southern After winning the 2007 JBF Award for Cookbook of the Year for the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, Matt and Ted Lee have returned with Simple, Fresh, Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor, a compilation of unfussy recipes for the busy cook. We invited the Lee Brothers to discuss their new title and Southern cuisine at last week's Beard on Books. When developing recipes for Simple, Fresh Southern, Matt and Ted found inspiration in their sprawling cookbook collection. Certain concepts emerged from serious meditation on a single ingredient, like buttermilk; others, like pimento cheese potato gratin and mint julep panna cotta, “hit like a thundercloud." Simple, Fresh Southern finds its balance between Southern food homage and the Lee brothers

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The Bookshelf: Jennifer McLagan Chews the Fat

Fat At yesterday’s Beard on Books, author and self-labeled “fat lady” Jennifer McLagan delighted the crowd with her honest talk on fat, the most misunderstood block in the food pyramid. The discussion was largely based on her latest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, which took home the medal for Cookbook of the Year at last year’s JBF Awards. Raised in Australia, McLagan recalls how she “ate fat with pleasure,” always opening the refrigerator to find three different types: butter, lard, and drippings. Fat was used in everything and no one she knew was overweight, a far-fetched world for Americans who subscribe to a religion of low fat or no fat. McLagan also focused on health benefits of fat, specifically the nutrients in high-quality animal fat that keep us

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Recipe: Jennifer McLagan's Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

Fat For our first Beard on Books of the year, we're tossing those healthy resolutions out the window and sitting at the feet of Jennifer McLagan, chef, food stylist, and fat advocate. She's discussing her latest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, which was named Cookbook of the Year at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Supported by common sense and science, McLagan comes to the defense of this unfairly maligned nutrient, persuasively arguing that fat is indispensable to a complete diet and full flavor. (Not that we ever needed to be convinced of the latter.) The book features recipes that get a boost from clever uses of oil, butter, or animal products. One of our favorites is her Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich: the

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On the Menu: January 17 to January 23

on-the-menu-eileen-miller Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Wednesday, January 20, 12:00 P.M. Beard on Books Winner of the 2009 JBF Cookbook Award, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient with Recipes is Jennifer McLagan's defense of this unfairly maligned food. Backed by science and common sense, the cook and food stylist convincingly argues that fat is an indispensable nutrient. She also reminds us that it's a capable vehicle for flavor: using popular recipes, like the B.L.T. and french fries, McLagan proves that fat takes foods to new heights. Wednesday, January 20, 7:00 P.M. Northwestern Seafood Extravaganza 2009 JBF Award nominee Ethan Stowell understands that sophisticated

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The Bookshelf: Momofuku

David Chang and Peter Meehan discussed the Momofuku cookbook at the James Beard House

Arguably the decade’s most thrilling American chef, David Chang is the guy everyone else wants to emulate. But like his fluid, fast-and-loose menus, the guy’s formula for success is elusive—even to himself. Nevertheless, Chang and his buddy, writer Peter Meehan, dropped by yesterday’s Beard on Books to try to shed a little light on the making of the Momofuku cookbook and the cookbooks they dream of owning.

“I have this neurotic fear that our restaurants are all going to close tomorrow,” Chang confessed. “That’s sort of why we wrote Momofuku—we just wanted to chronicle everything that’s happened.”

Indeed, the book is decidedly Chang’s vision, slamming doors in the faces of convention and compromise. “I didn’t want to include a glossary of ingredients and where to get them,” the chef said. “We don’t spoonfeed

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On the Menu: December 13 to December 19

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House next week: Monday, December 14, 6:00 P.M. Beard Burger ‘Bun’anza New York’s top chefs put their unique spins on the all-American burger. Fabulous wine, beer, and cocktails will be served. Tuesday, December 15, 7:00 P.M. Christmas in Connecticut In the 1945 film Christmas in Connecticut, a stranded sailor dreams of a gourmet five-course feast. Luckily for us, the decadent yuletide meal is no illusion as talented Connecticut chef Dan Kardos joins us at the Beard House with a seasonal and locally sourced menu filled with holiday cheer. Wednesday, December 16, 12:00 P.M. Beard on Books

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On the Menu: December 6 to December 12

Kitchen Here’s what happening at the Beard House and around the country next week: Sunday, December 6, 6:00 P.M. 8th Annual Greens Holiday Party Join the James Beard Foundation Greens as we celebrate the holidays with great food and drink at the 8th Annual JBF Greens Holiday Party at the historic James Beard House. Don't miss this chance to explore our muse's home and sample culinary delights from some of the city's most exciting chefs. Master mixologist Michael Waterhouse will create delectable holiday cocktails using Bison Grass Vodka and Bull Dog Gin and a selection of fine wines from Palm Bay Imports and Stella Artois beers will also be served to keep everyone in good spirits. Monday, December 7, 6:30 P.M. Friends of James Beard Benefit: Milkwaukee

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The Bookshelf: Gastropolis Discussion Recap

GastropolisA food-obsessed city with eight million people has eight million food voices, or at least that’s the premise behind the collection of 18 original essays that comprise Gastropolis: Food & New York City. The book’s editors, Annie Hauck-Lawson and Jonathan Deutsch, joined JBF vice president Mitchell Davis, who contributed to the project, for a fascinating Beard on Books reading and discussion on Wednesday. No book could contain all of the voices of a city, food or otherwise, Deutsch admitted, but in this project they attempted to capture emblematic stories of urban lives lived through food. Anchored in this multifaceted metropolis—where some grow and gather their food while others pay to be waited on and catered to—Gastropolis presents a pastiche of urban food experience, a gastro-polis, literally a city

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