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Griffin to Go: Savory Summer Reading

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sexdeathoystersI don’t always pour over cookbooks or food magazines on the rare occasion I find time to read. I’ll finish off an Anthony Trollope novel and then dive into the latest Michael Connelly with the same gusto as I would a new issue of Gourmet or Food & Wine.

But it’s surprising that many of the books I’ve picked up in recent weeks have turned to the topic of food.

The first was a given. Robb Walsh’s “Sex, Death & Oysters” (Counterpoint, $25) was my book club’s latest choice. This is an intercontinental romance between the author, known for his “Tex-Mex Cookbook,” and the bivalve.

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I was green with envy as I read of his search for the perfect oyster. His trip took him from his hometown of Houston and the surrounding oyster beds of the Gulf to Ireland, France, the Pacific Northwest, England, Canada and more.

The book comes complete with recipes and tips for shucking your own safely. But it was the oyster names and accompanying illustrations that I found the most beneficial.

Each page made me want want to dash off to the nearest oyster bar for a dozen with stout or minerally white wine on the side.

[amazon-product]0312383282[/amazon-product]Fans of Janet Evanovich’s mysteries will gladly welcome “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen” (St. Martin’s Press, $27.95), the latest Stephanie Plum novel. So should foodies hungry for a good laugh.

Plum, a bounty hunter with a knack for doing the wrong thing most of the time, finds herself chasing the murderers of a TV chef with the spicy name of Stanley Chipotle.

Her best friend Lula witnessed his decapitation, which makes her the target of the killers. To trap them, Stephanie, Lula and Grandma Mazur decide to enter a barbecue cookoff. Trouble is, none of the three has any business being involved in anything culinary, except for attending brunch at the local Cluck-in-a-Bucket.

Maybe all the food talk did it, but I found this Evanovich’s best book in ages, a saucy laugh-riot that had me lapping up every word.

[amazon-product align=”left”]1416580557[/amazon-product]Even celebrity autobiographies have their food sections nowadays. Kristin Chenoweth’s “A Little Bit Wicked” (Touchstone, $25) offers the following recipe for “Kristi Dawn’s No Calorie Left Behind Butterfinger Pie”:

  • Crunch up six king-size Butterfinger bars. Smash them up in a plastic bag or beat them with a rolling pin while they’re still in the wrapper. Exercise your aggressions. Very therapeutic.
  • Take a twelve-ounce deal of Cool Whip and mix it up with the candy-bar shrapnel.
  • Plop all that into one of those graham-cracker crusts. (Just get over yourself and buy the premade kind. Don’t be all Barefoot Contessa about it.)
  • Freeze! No, not you, the pie. I mean freeze in the freezer; not in the theatrical sense. This is important. If you skip this step, people will assume it’s French onion dip and stick their potato chips in it.

[amazon-product]1594743347[/amazon-product]The final book has plenty of eating it, but it’s not at all appetizing. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (Quirk Books, $12.95), by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, features the beloved saga of Elizabeth and her Darcy sorting out their tangled affairs while hordes of the undead traipse through England in search of some snacks. Puerile and a perfect morsel for making one forget the heat.

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One Response to “Griffin to Go: Savory Summer Reading”

  1. Trish Megan says:

    John, you had me laughing out loud with this witty article on books and food.

    Way to go