I have always described myself a voracious reader, devouring books, and books of any kind. Cara Nicoletti is the same kind of reader, loving books probably a little more than I do (if that’s even possible! In Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books, she talks about some of her favorite books, and the memories that she associates with these books, and recipes that correlate with those memories, and the books’ themes. As a trained pastry chef, she now works as a butcher, which she describes as a family business. Interestingly, she also has an English degree from NYU, and her love of food and books inspired her to start the blog Yummy Books.
The blog has an amazing recipe index that will make you drool – and the recipes that she shares in the book are some that I can’t wait to try. Although I love to cook, I doubt that I can recreate some of her dishes. It sure doesn’t hurt to try though! The Chocolate Babka recipe looks amazing – and reminds me of a certain hilarious Seinfeld episode. Her recipe for Biscuits with Molasses Butter sounds perfect for a chilly Spring morning (or any other morning, or any time during any time for that matter). It goes along with her memory that she shares about To a Kill a mockingbird, one book that she describes as a favorite growing up.It was a book that her father passed down to her, one that conjured up so many images and ideas of the south.
“Along with the characters, I fell in love with Southern food, too – or at least with the idea of it. There were cracklin’ bread and scuppernongs, dewberry tarts, peach pickles, hickory nuts, cherry wine, butter beans, and a Lane cake ‘loaded with shiny’ – I barely knew what any of it was, but I knew it all sounded better than anything I ate at home.”
The book is separated into three parts: childhood, adolescence and college years, and adulthood. Her school years are filled with books that are usually required reading – but they include some really great books, Anna Karenina, Middlesex, Great Expectations. In adulthood she gets deeper into books, and loves discussing them with friends. It’s here in this last section that she talks about her experiences in New York, and what really inspired her writing. She talks about her first crappy apartment in Brooklyn, which appropriately sounds like the size of a shoe box. Here, to make the apartment livable, she christens the kitchen with book-inspired baking. She describes losing a job that she seemed to like, and the impact that had on her life. It’s very personal – and I love that about the book. So many of my favorite books bring good feelings and good memories.
If I were better with words, and a better writer (and probably at cooking & coming up with great recipes), I feel like I could’ve written this book. I love talking about books – and I guess she really does too! I enjoyed her stories, and have read and enjoyed some of these books – and I’d really enjoy trying out some of her recipes!