A new crop of food books by Northeast Ohio writers takes buying locally to a new place: the bookstore.
Cleveland chefs, plenty of meat, and a 100-year-old landmark offer lots to read about, hundreds of recipes, and plenty to chew on.
For those who have faithfully made the trek to West 25th Street for meat, produce and countless other food items, Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years & Still Cooking, by Laura Taxel and Marilou Suszko, will bring back plenty of great memories ($39.95 hardcover, Ringtaw Books, University of Akron Press).
This book tells the history of the city’s oldest public market and is being released to coincide with its 100th anniversary celebration.
Carefully researched by Clevelander Taxel (Cleveland Ethnic Eats) and Suszko, of Vermilion (Farms & Foods of Ohio and The Locavore’s Kitchen), the book not only offers pages of history, profiles of vendors, and beautiful photographs (many by Barney Taxel, Laura’s husband, but also historical photos from the market, its vendors, and other local collections).
Perhaps best of all are the personal memories that dot the bottoms of the book’s 200-plus pages, where dozens of market customers, vendors and employees share how the market has been a part of their lives.
In the Kitchen with Cleveland’s Favorite Chefs is Cleveland food writer Maria Isabella’s first book (Black Squirrel Books/Kent State University Press, $34.95 hardcover).
She started by posing one simple question to 35 area chefs: “If you were suddenly to get a call at home from good friends who wanted to stop by, what you would prepare for them in one hour or less?”
The book is a collection of their answers for simple, three-course meals that come together in short order for chefs. For the rest of us, the cooking may take a little longer, but the recipes offer plenty of inspiration when faced with the daily “What to cook for dinner?” question.
The book has more than 100 recipes and color photographs illustrating the dishes.
Isabella not only selected Cleveland’s finest when posing her query, including Michael Symon, Zachary Bruell and Dante Boccuzzi, but also included lesser-knowns, including the executive chefs for both the Cleveland Browns and Indians, and the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.
For those who want to learn more, Isabella has a book talk and signing coming up in the Akron area. At 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14, she will be at the Mogadore branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 144 S. Cleveland Ave., Mogadore.
Speaking of Symon, Cleveland’s Iron Chef has devoted his new book to his love of meat. Michael Symon’s Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers ($35 hardcover, Clarkson Potter) was written with the help of Cleveland food writer Doug Trattner.
Symon is an unabashed meat lover and in his second book pays it appropriate tribute. There is the obvious beef, pork, chicken and turkey, but also lamb and goat, and a whole chapter on wild game — duck, venison, rabbit, and even wild boar and elk.
A final chapter on vegetables and sides helps to round out the meat feast.
The homage to meat continues in the latest book by Cleveland Heights food writer Michael Ruhlman and chef Brian Polcyn, Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing ($39.95 hardcover, W.W. Norton).
The pair’s previous collaboration, Charcuterie in 2005, explored and explained French methods for curing meats. Salumi reviews Italian methods for salting and curing meats and offers recipes and instructions for creating those favorites — prosciutto, lardo and pancetta — in an American home kitchen.