In this charming, lighthearted collection of essays, Wolf, a commentator on National Public Radio'sWeekend Edition Sunday , explores the foods we eat and the ways they bind us to one another. Much of the book is devoted to regional foods: a Minnesota native of Eastern European Jewish descent, Wolf has an abiding love of kugel as well as wild rice and state fair food on sticks. More than two decades living in the Washington, D.C., area has brought other edible joys, like products from the Eastern Market and a ritual shad roe dinner with friends. While not breaking any new journalistic ground, Wolf reports on popovers and pickled antipasto with enthusiasm, melding personal and culinary history, narrative and instruction. Her how-to pieces delve the difficulties that many home cooks struggle with, such as how to make the perfect roast chicken or rescue a dinner party disaster. Interspersed throughout these ruminations are the recipes she's collected from friends and family. It's clear that Wolf's sophisticated, well-traveled palate coexists peacefully with a predilection for the fuss-free, traditional foods that have never gone out of favor-ice cream with chocolate sauce and meatloaf. Readers will find both her writing and the cooking refreshingly accessible.(Nov.)
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