Acclaimed Kentucky pastry chef Stella Parks's fine new cookbook hasn't even been released yet, and it's Amazon's best seller in the "Dessert Baking" category. Admiring reviews arrive daily. This week in American desserts celebrated in new cookbook by Lexington baker, Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader said "Parks reveals the stories behind the sweets you think you know, and how to make them better than you ever though possible." Jane Black, writing for the Washington Post yesterday, calls Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts "one of the most engaging baking books to be published in years," and says "Parks adds a remarkable new voice to the world of baking books." Hear our fun Hot Water Cornbread radio show featuring Stella here. Go Stella!
So that's part of what I have been reading on summer break. And here's more.
- Twenty-five years later, "the town that beat Walmart" is back on the map, by Danielle Renwick, for New Food Economy. This adds to the case made in The Town That Food Saved (about Hardwick, Vermont) that an economic generator based on organic food production can catalyze sustainable growth and development. Stories about good agriculture in cold places make me wonder "Why not Kentucky?" where the climate, soil, land and people could grow even more great food and food businesses.
- Addressing one of summer's most beloved foods, Mac Stone offers a splendid description of the approaches Elmwood Stock Farm uses to grow sweet corn organically in What Makes Beautiful Sweet Corn? Mac adds to the known list of farmers' market shoppers' etiquette, too.
- Two excellent stories from New Food Economy about sustainable growers responding to the fluidity of the current food system:
- What's on the table at Amazon's secret meeting with cattle ranchers? by Joe Fassler, and How Amish farm produce gets to Whole Foods—without the internet, tractors or phones by Karen Gardner.
- Jennifer Scales wrote How to get kids involved in the kitchen for the Des Moines Register. I think the age recommendations are a bit high—meaning children can do some of these tasks at younger ages than the article suggests—but yes! Children can help cook and shop for food at almost any age, making everyone happier and equipping the young ones to be solid contributors at home and self-sufficient once they leave home.
- And in other news about young people and food, here's a West Coast trend I hope rolls east at tesseract speed: school kitchens designed for scratch cooking, classroom teaching about food and health, and community gathering. A hearth at school! Audrey Garces wrote SFUSD cooks up new meal plans for students for the San Francisco Examiner.
- In (Not) Responding In Kind, Ryan Koch, the founder and leader at Seedleaf, offers another in his series of provocative reflections on working toward a just food system through growing and sharing food. "We answer the world’s old story of scarcity with small plots of abundance." It's a lovely read.
Respect and applause to Lexington's restaurants who made their own Lexington Eats Week after an earlier version fell through. Courtesy of Edible Louisville & the Bluegrass, here are the details. Last day for the wonderful deals is Saturday, July 29.