Carmellini and Schwartz, Yes. Behr and Bittman, No. Five Cookbook Authors Not at the Miami Book Fair

Categories: Cookbooks
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I have come to praise Miami Book Fair International, not to bury it. I mean seriously: Is there any other event of this size that runs so seamlessly and trouble-free year after year? Plus, if not for Mitchell Kaplan, a lot of people in Miami might still not know what a book is.

All I'm saying is that the cookbook authors secured for this year's event are not necessarily the cream of the crop. And there are some legitimate reasons. Many of the top-selling cookbooks of 2011, for instance, were penned by chefs who have restaurants to run and can't be flying off to do every book fair (Heston Blumenthal, Daniel Humm, and so forth). Other authors were simply unavailable due to their own meager personal reasons.

The book fair did manage to get Calvin Trillin, whose The Tummy Trilogy remains one of the best collections of stories about eating ever written (although he is known for far more than food writing).

Other food events include:

This coming Saturday at 11 a.m., Andrew Carmellini (American Flavor), Gabrielle Hamilton (Blood, Bones & Butter), and Jessica B. Harris (High on the Hog) will take part in a reading.

Later on Saturday, at 4 p.m., there will be a See, Learn, Eat! cooking demo with Daniel Orr.

Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine Food) will be joined Sunday at 3 p.m. by Cheryl Tan (A Tiger in the Kitchen) and Mary L. Zamore (The Sacred Table).

BUT, here are five authors who have not only written great cookbooks but also could have taught us all a whole lot about food and cooking.

5. David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop
Miami Heat is more than just a basketball team due for a long layoff -- it's a way of life down here. We all howl for ice cream in the humid hell we call summer, and Mr. Lebovitz has produced one of the best ice cream books ever. Once you master simple recipes for Pear-Pecorino ice cream or Miami-influenced Mojito Granita, you'll never have to put up with those stupid Ben & Jerry's flavors again. Just hearing somebody talk about ice cream can be refreshing.

4. Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food
Who could possibly be more informative about cooking than a man with a cookbook entitled How to Cook Everything? It's a re-release, but Bittman's work has become one of those classic cookbooks that actually get used -- as in pulled from the shelf on a daily basis. Plus he has an extra allure as a speaker in that he has long written the great The Minimalist blog and column for The New York Times.

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