Sunday, August 05, 2007

What I'm Reading:
"Heat" by Bill Buford, and
"Uncommon Carriers" by John McPhee

I actually read John McPhee's "Uncommon Carriers" a couple weeks back. It's a series of long-ish essays on (mostly) goods transport in the U.S.: long-haul trucking, coal trains, river barges. It's worth it for the peek inside UPS's sorting facility alone. I confess I did skip over his account of retracing a historical river journey with a buddy, but enjoyed the rest of the book quite a bit.

I'm in the middle of Bill Buford's "Heat," which mixes a profile of Mario Batalli with Buford's own experience learning to work as a line cook in Batalli's restaurant, Babbo. I've never seen Mario's show (no cable; and currently no TV at all, for that matter), but I've heard enough about him. This is a fascinating peek inside a successful restaurant kitchen and an interesting examination of a chef's rise to stardom. If nothing else, I'm going to try Buford's "recipe" for linguini with clams. It's a couple of paragraphs in the middle of the book, just part of the narrative, but he makes it sound perfect and easy.

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