Before Saturday's game, we had time to explore the lovely shops and cafes in Williamstown. My favorite was Water Street Books, which turned out to be the Williams College bookstore. There was quite a bit of activity that morning (kids making Christmas ornaments, books being gift-wrapped, hot chocolate and cookies offered) which, combined with the cozy atmosphere, made me wish I had hours for browsing.
My sole purchase (amazing will-power was exercised, believe me!) was Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. This has been around for a while, but a paperback edition was recently introduced. Since I love cooking, eating, and The New Yorker, this collection looks like a sure winner!
The essays are grouped in sections including: Dining Out, Eating In, Fishing and Foraging, The Pour, Fiction, and more. Cartoons are also liberally sprinkled throughout the collection.
I sampled "Don't Eat Before Reading This" by Anthony Bourdain, originally published in 1999. It includes such pearls of wisdom as:
"In New York, locals dine during the week. Weekends are considered amateur nights - for tourists, rubes, and the well-done-ordering pre-theater crowds. The fish may be just as fresh on Friday, but it's on Tuesday that you've got the goodwill of the kitchen on your side."
"Most chefs believe that supermarket chickens in this country are slimy and tasteless compared with European varieties. Pork, on the other hand, is cool... Pork tastes different, depending on what you do with it, but chicken always tastes like chicken."
Most of this essay, and much more, was included in Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential. The audio version is read by the author and very well done. It offers a whole new perspective on dining out!
I hope to occasionally share other essays from this collection in future Weekend Cooking posts.