I just got an e-mail from Cousin Russ, aka Russ Parsons whose latest book is How To Pick A Peach, out from Houghton Mifflin:
Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review:
Equal parts cookbook, agricultural history, chemistry lesson and produce buying guide, this densely packed book is a food-lover’s delight. California food writer Parsons (How to Read a French Fry) begins with a fascinating tale of agribusiness trumping our taste buds en route to supplying year-round on-demand produce, and how farmer’s markets are bringing back both appreciation of, and access to, local and seasonal foods. He then takes readers on a delectable season-by-season produce tour, from springtime Artichokes Stuffed with Ham and Pine Nuts to midwinter Candied Citrus Peel, and provides readers with the lowdown on where each fruit or vegetable is grown and how to choose, store and prepare it. Along the way, he detours into low-stress jam making, the chemistry of tomato flavor, a portrait of two peach-growing stars of the Santa Monica farmer’s market and why cucumbers make some people burp. For readers who have always wondered where their food comes from, why it tastes the way it does and how to pick a peach, a melon or a green bean, this book will be an invaluable resource. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
So you should buy it.
Where was I?
Right, so Russ has just read Agnes and the book begins with Agnes’s first column about how a good frying pan is the one thing you need in a kitchen, ending with:
Besides the obvious braising, browning, and frying, I can make sauces and stir frys in it, toast cheese sandwiches and slivered almonds, use the underside to pound cutlets, and in a pinch probably swing it to defend my honor. If I could find a man that versatile and dependable, I’d grab him.
So Russ sends me the first line of one of his early columns from the LA Times:
Wednesday December 08, 2004
THE CALIFORNIA COOK
Revolution in the kitchen
By Russ Parsons, Times Staff Writer
As far as I’m concerned, there are only two really important decisions in a cook’s life: choosing a mate and buying a chef’s knife. If that seems like an overstatement, you just haven’t found the right knife.
Great cousins think alike. Of course, I can’t make a peanut butter sandwich and Russ can make anything, but still, you can tell we’re cousins. All we think about is food and love. And sometimes, we can’t tell the difference.
Oh, and while you’re buying How To Pick A Peach, get How to Read a French Fry, Russ’s first book. The New York Times gave it a rave for its “affable voice and intellectual clarity” and Julia Child lauded it for its “deep factual information.”
That’s my cousin, folks. I’m very proud.