Can A Book Make You Smile? Food And Travel Tips To Increase Happiness

Can A Book Make You Smile? Food And Travel Tips To Increase Happiness

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Food and travel are deliciously entwined — forks in the road, scooping up horizon-savoring experiences. Here are 16 sweet reads that stir a strong sense of place: travelogues spiced with foodie know-how; cookbooks layered with regional flair; memoir-luscious looks at culinary-focused passions, places and people. They all offer plenty of shaking, steaming and sizzling ideas to quicken your explorer-at-heart pulse.

Photo credit: © Laura Manske

Where do you want to go?

1  CIAO! CHOW!  

Pasta, Pane, Vino: Deep Travels Through Italy’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding. A James Beard Award-winning writer, Goulding jumpstarts this ode to Italian nourishment by reproducing correspondence between himself and Anthony Bourdain. Then Goulding dishes out enticing details about Italy’s diverse culinary regions, weaving in anecdotes about bakers, chefs, shepherds, farmers, fishers and food-feisty grandmothers (for whom he has great affection, dedicating this book to these elder women, the nonne, who have taught the world so much about eating). Dare to read Goulding’s prose and not yearn for Italy. In this Roads & Kingdoms/Anthony Bourdain imprint, Goulding heralds the intricacies of pasta and antipasti. He effuses about the source of the tastiest pizza in the world: Naples, of course. He rhapsodizes about “beauty and the beef,” the interior soul of Sardinia and the glee of agri-tourism (staying in a rural B&B where you can press olive oil, make cheese, watch wine production). He steers readers toward serene villages, swoons over family-run trattorias and sways you to eat like an Italian. He profiles three brothers who are mozzarella kings of Puglia and the Barolo Boys who transformed hilly Piedmont into a world-class wine region. He reminds the reader that Italy is still a young country, to think hyper-local when making choices (dialects, customs, spices, even pasta shapes change from the north to the south), to venture into parts unknown and, perhaps most essential, to surrender yourself to the serendipity of travel. With more than 200 story-telling photos, curling up with this book could make you feel as though Goulding is sitting across from you in a ristorante overlooking a piazza, as he serves you engaging verbal morsels, pushing a platter of formaggio to your side of the table, pouring you another glass of vino. Manga! Manga! 

For vacation information and inspiration: Italian National Tourist Board North America.

2  HEART & SOUL

Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes by Todd Richards. Get set to cheer Richards, a James Beard Award-nominated chef and Iron Chef competitor, who grew up in Chicago’s Southeast Side and, after working in several fame-glam kitchens, opened his own Southern Fried restaurant in Atlanta. This lavishly photographed cookbook with heart-felt prose — marinated in descriptions of Chicago and the South — brims with flavors and fellowship. It is Richards’ “homage to the cuisine of my family and ancestors,” he writes. “These are the ingredients of my people. This is my sermon about my soul food.” His emphasis on the word my is key — for this creative chef goes beyond what is expected of traditional soul food, concocting tempting taste-combos: Collard Green Ramen, Blueberry-Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken Thighs with Golden Beet Hash, Hot-Chicken-Style Country-Fried Lamb Steak, Hot and Spicy Zucchini Slaw, Smoked Catfish Dip with Parmesan Tuiles, Popcorn-Crusted Scallops and Seared Snapper with Red Bean Emulsion. Hungry yet? “Today I know a certain truth,” continues Richards. “Food is a religion of its own. Different regions have produced great preachers of cuisine…. Creating and sharing are both spiritual acts. I happen to create and share food…rooted in African-American cooking traditions… I also…draw inspiration from around the world… It’s crystal clear to me that food brings people together.” Amen.

For vacation information and inspiration: Choose Chicago and Atlanta CVB.

3  VIBRANT VIETNAM

Vegetarian Việt Nam by Cameron Stauch. This devoted dive into veggie-centered Vietnamese cuisine is a ground-breaking cookbook achievement. Many included recipes were originally devised over centuries by Mahayana Buddhist monks. Canadian chef Stauch, who currently lives in Bangkok, delivers an enthusiastic ogle at Vietnam with photos (most by Stauch; several by Evan Sung) that spotlight culinary ingredients, tablescapes and people. His descriptions twirl across a range of edibles — Bánh Mì, street snacks, salads, noodle bowls, light soups, drinks, sweets — revealing respectful points of view and thoughtful motivations. “Whenever I travel, I try to find one of the local breakfast staples for my first meal, a practice that helps ease me into my new surroundings,” he writes, a terrific tip for all travelers. Stauch recounts a sticky-rice vendor in Hanoi, who encouraged him to become a regular breakfast visitor. “Whenever she’d see me approaching, she’d start portioning my order: a mound of plump steamed sticky rice, tinted light yellow with turmeric and plopped into the center of a large piece of banana leaf. She’d liberally drizzle rich shallot oil over the top and garnish it with steamed mung beans and crispy shallots. Each bite offered rich, buttery flavors with a hint of sweet grassiness from the the rice.” Among the nearly 100 versatile recipes packed with herb seasonings and fragrant aromas are Green Mango Rice Paper Ribbons, Star Anise Cinnamon-Scented Pho Noodle Soup, Spicy Lemongrass Mushroom Mince and Soy Ginger Glazed Eggplant. Tangy, peppery, crispy, tender and sweet — a vivid palette of palate pleasers. Read about the maze-like fresh food markets, within which becoming momentarily yet merrily lost is a Vietnam vacationer’s rite of passage. Understand the marvels of a communal hot pot, the ancient temples, the culinary rhythms of Vietnamese life. Gain tips about rice papers, noodles, mushrooms, as well as tofu preparation. “Whether you digest this book in the kitchen, in an armchair or in preparation for travel to this captivating country,” Stauch continues, “I hope you are as fascinated by Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine as I am. I can’t wait to take you on this journey!”

For vacation information and inspiration: Vietnam Tourism and Viking River Cruises Vietnam.

4  NOTABLE NEW YORK

Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights and Every Day by JJ Johnson and Alexander Smalls with Veronica Chambers. A welcome visual oomph this year across much of cookbook publishing is an ample investment in eye-candy photography. This book’s striking photographs by Beatriz da Costa and food styling by Roscoe Betsill infuse this fun fete of Harlem with extra energy. Writes Veronica Chambers in the preface: “Harlem makes you hungry. For food. For art. For music. For street style. For history. For old people. For young people.” Thus this project also wows with lowdowns and highlights about the cultural, culinary, musical and literary mecca that this neighborhood has nurtured: Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, Jessie Fauset. Recipes from Harlem’s two famed, music-promoting restaurants — The Cecil and jazz club Minton’s, both opened by JJ Johnson (a James Beard-nominated chef) and Alexander Smalls (restaurateur extraordinaire, opera singer and Grammy plus Tony Awards winner) — are the foundation upon which this stellar cookbook has been built. Relish the Spicy Prawns in Piri Piri Sauce, Bebop Chicken Chili, Delicata Squash Salad with Yuzu Buttermilk Dressing, Cinnamon-Scented Fried Guinea Hen, Bourbon Apricot Dried Fruit Compote and West African Peanut Punch. Learn about the important Afro-Asian flavor profile, where the Africa diaspora meets the Silk Road. Paraphrasing the lauded Harlem Renaissance poet Jean Toomer: Harlem is the kind of place that calls you from your home and teaches you how to dream. Similarly, this book is a riveting dreamscape and wake-up call.

For vacation information and inspiration: NYC & Company and Harlem. 

5  AWESOME ASIA

Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai & Lao Roots by James Syhabout with John Birdsall. In this book’s preface, Anthony Bourdain pens about San Francisco’s eatery Hawker Fare: “…one of the most important restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. And, thanks to James Syhabout, it also serves some of the most delicious papaya salad and fried chicken I’ve ever had…. This book will make you a better person. That’s before you even try any of the recipes.” Syhabout’s family background is a crossroads of distinct but related Asian cultures: His father is from Laos and his mother is from Isan, a village in Thailand. As refugees from the Vietnam War, he and his family landed in California in 1981. He succeeded in becoming a classically trained chef, masterminding his fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurant, Commis in Oakland. But an ache to return to the food of his childhood propelled Syhabout to throw an impassioned curveball and open his popular Hawker Fare, named after the open-air hawker markets of his memories. Writes Syhabout: “This is a book about forgetting everything you know, about stepping into the void and trusting you’ll land in a better place than you started. I know it’s possible, because I did exactly that…. I was born Somchitch, a crying, two-kilo lump of prematurity, all tangled up with IV tubes in a hospital incubator in northeast Thailand…. Your name is the oldest and most basic thing about you — it’s weird when it just kind of falls away…. The ripples of war can leave your whole family floating in the aftermath…. I started writing a Lao Isan cookbook because I needed to learn something deeper about my own heritage…. You could say that I’m making up for lost time.” Follow Syhabout as he wends his wordsmith way along a dramatic path. Tantalize your palette with easy recipes, novel flavors and aromas. “Each of us lucky enough to have a choice has a duty to pursue work that’s self-fulfilling,” he adds. “This is my way of saying thank you to my parents for coming to America and raising a cook, and bequeathing as a gift such an incredibly beautiful and delicious cuisine.”

For vacation information and inspiration: Tourism Laos, Tourism Thailand, Star Clippers ThailandSan Francisco Travel and Visit Oakland.

6  THE SOUTH & SOUTH OF THE BORDER

Turnip Greens & Tortillas: A Mexican Chef Spices Up the Southern Kitchen by Eddie Hernandez and Susan Puckett; photographs by Angie Mosier. When 17-year-old Hernandez arrived in the USA from Mexico, he did not speak English — but had high hopes of scoring a recording contract with his musician buddies, who formed a band. Thirty years later, this former rock ‘n’ roll drummer, small town mayor and volunteer firefighter has excelled as an accomplished chef, who orchestrates delish dishes at Tanqueria del Sol restaurants, where he is a business partner, in Georgia and Tennessee. “I’m a born-again Southern boy,” writes Hernandez. “I live in a city where I can listen to a bluegrass band on one night and on another night I can go hear the blues…. When I have a few days off, one of my favorite things to do is take a long, slow drive on the back roads of rural Georgia, along the bayous of Louisiana or through the mountains of Tennessee. Wherever I go, I stop at every little café and roadside stand I can to try the fried chicken, the barbecue, the boudin sausage or whatever it is the locals eat…. I have no family photographs to show because my family didn’t own a camera. We didn’t keep scrapbooks. I only have my cooking to trigger memories.” Noteworthy are Hernandez’s stories about Chelo, his grandmother, who sparked his desire to cook. The recipes are a mélange of culinary heritages: Eddie’s Turnip Greens (a Southern staple) are prepared the way his grandmother made them in Mexico; Memphis Tacos are accompanied by a hearty sweet barbecue sauce; Fried Green Tomatillos with Peach Habanero Sauce marries ingredients from both sides of the border; Blue Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with Mint-Jalapeño Drizzle is cooked juicy and crispy in a fraction of the time it takes to cook typical Southern fried chicken; and Ancho Chile Pralines makes Southern pecans sing. Olé, y’all!

For vacation information and inspiration: Visit Mexico, Explore Georgia and Tennessee Tourism.

7  ITALIAN ROMANCE

A Table in Venice: Recipes from My Home by Skye McAlpine. The creator of From My Dining Table, a blog about life in Italy’s Venice, McAlpine has mastered a friendly cookbook in which you can fantasize about strolling the markets of this water-surrounded city, rolling ravioli on her kitchen counter, pan-frying artichoke hearts on her stove, twirling your fork around her bigoli with creamy walnut sauce and dipping your spoon into her chocolate and amaretto custard bowl. She writes: “The story of how the little pink house on a Venetian backwater came to be my home is a surreptitious one. Unlike almost everyone else in my neighborhood, I wasn’t born in Venice, nor is my family from there: we moved to the city when I was tiny…. As is often the way when you come from one place and live in another, I feel no identifiable nationality: I am neither wholly English nor wholly Italian, but I am much of both…. My parents loved few things in life more than to gather around a dining table for lunch and linger there until long past the sun’s setting…. My memories are fully of warmth, generosity, and, above all, fun. Our life played out around the dining table, and it was made richer by the food we ate and by the cast of characters who joined us there. Somewhere along the way, I learned both to cook and to love to cook.” You, too, will be made richer thumbing through this winsome read with graceful cityscape photos and images of food so autentico — Roasted Radicchio with Pomegranate, Baked Polenta with Melted Gorgonzola, Deep-fried Risotto and Mozzarella Balls — that your rumbling tummy hunger (and longing for a romantic Italian escape) will likely rise, questing quick satiation. A spur-of-the-moment plane ticket to Venice, perhaps?

For vacation info and inspiration: Italian National Tourist Board North America, Italia and Venice.

8  OOH-LA-LA FRANCE!

Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like a Local by Clotilde Dusoulier; photographs by Nicole Franzen. Welcome to the City of Light and its ardor for magnifique food, as mapped out by Dusoulier, the creator of the food blog Chocolate and Zucchini. In this book, she extols the multiple indulgences of Paris and salutes international influences — from Morocco, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia and more — on its culinary scenes and daily life: “What I think of most when I wander my hometown is food… From humble stews to sophisticated pastries, vibrant greens to oozy cheeses, the classic to the creative, the familiar to the exotic — it’s all here, waiting for you to hop off at the closest metro station, push open a door, and walk in…. There are so many tasty ways a day can unfold in Paris.” Dusoulier presents a brief history of Parisian cuisine, then divides her chapters — chock full of recipes, recommendations, skilled kitchen notes, photographs and traveler tips — into times of day, from breakfast through late night. Warm up with her Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Frisée with Bacon and Egg, Fish Tagine with Chermoula, Roast Chicken with Herbed Butter and Croutons, Butternut Kibbeh with Spinach, Baked Camembert with Honey and Apple Cider, Spice-Crusted Duck Magret, Mushroom Bourguignon, Floating Islands with Caramel and Strawberries, Earl Grey Madeleines, Chestnut Cream Meringue and Poached Pears in Spiced Red Wine. She advises about choosing breads, wines, cheeses and recommends cocktails (such as the Sidecar, invented at the Ritz Hotel in 1923). Quand est le dîner, s’il vous plaît?

For vacation information and inspiration: France Atout and Scenic River Cruises France

9  LA DOLCE VITA

Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita by Giada De Laurentiis; photographs by Aubrie Pick. For years, Giada has defined her cooking as Italian with a California twist. She has been able to shoot her show, Giada in Italy, on location — initially in the pretty coastal Mediterranean city of Positano and more recently in Florence, the cosmopolitan heartbeat of Tuscany. In this book, the Food Network star has collected many of her choice Italian dishes, adapted for the American cook, particularly suited for her most prized fans. Which ingredients are essential to stock an Italian pantry? What is the best meat for a light bolognese sauce? Why savor aperitivo? How to choose purposeful travel souvenirs? Giada guides. Dawdle over images of marketplaces, cobblestone streets, columned buildings, restos, gardens, shops as well as her Apricot Mostarda, Crab Arancini, Roman Seafood Chowder, Lemon White Pizza, Crispy Chicken Thighs with Peppers and Capers, Barolo-Braised Short Ribs, Creamy Polenta with Spinach and Pound Cake with Limoncello Zabaglione. Upbeat images of her and daughter Jade run throughout.

For vacation info and inspiration: Italian National Tourist Board North America and Italia.

10  COLORFUL CUBA

Cuba: The Cookbook by Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez and Imogene Tondre; recipe photographs by Sidney Bensimon; landscape photographs by Louise Morgan. This hefty and comprehensive book’s 350 bounteous recipes — from Black Bean Soup to Havana-Style Chicken Stew to Dulce de Leche — may seem today to be quintessentially Cuban but were actually birthed from a melting pot of forces. Spanish colonizers brought pork, stews, bean soups to the island. Enslaved people from Africa carried yams, plantains, taro root and okra. French settlers founded coffee plantations. Chinese, who first arrived as indentured servants, popularized rice as a main staple. Haitian and Jamaican immigrants, as well as trading partners Russia and the United States (before the embargo), contributed change-making ingredients and techniques as well. Gálvez has run a Cuban restaurant, authored other cookbooks, hosted a cooking show and has acquired the most extensive assemblage of printed culinary materials in Cuba, which makes her co-authorship with Tondre, who specializes writing about Cuban food culture, an ideal match. Stare at the images of Pumpkin and Taro Root Cream Soup (with dashes of nutmeg), Sweet and Sour Beets, Cuban Paella, Cornmeal with Crabs, Carrot-Peanut Spread, Yuca Flan, Guava Sorbet — as well as the streetscapes of American cars from the 1940s and 1950s — and imagine a trip to Havana.

For vacation information and inspiration: Cuba Travel, Carnival Cruises Cuba and Azamara Club Cruises Cuba

11  SWEET TREATS

Room for Dessert by Will Goldfarb. Chef Goldfarb dazzles guests at his dessert restaurant and cocktail bar: Room 4 Dessert in Ubud, Indonesia (near Bali). This books elegantly unveils behind-the-scenes drapery to showcase Goldfarb’s superb skills and artful combinations of flavors and textures. With humor and intellect, Goldfarb — who has been called the Golden Boy of Desserts as well as a Dessert Physicist — scribbles compelling snapshots about his adventures and odysseys, growing up on Long Island in New York, training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, working at top-of-the-top-notch restaurants around the world, opening his first doors of Room 4 Dessert in New York City before moving to Indonesia and launching a second existence of the restaurant. Writes Goldfarb: “After twenty years as a pastry chef, I think I am just about ready to tell a long story, and I sincerely hope it will be as much fun to read as it was to write. When I started this adventure I was a lot younger, but I have managed to stay just as foolish and naive — despite, or perhaps because of, my experience. What follows will likely be a mix of inchoate thoughts and obscure references, shot through with a dash of pedantry. And also, hopefully, saved by random acts of beauty.” There are indeed a hundred layers of random and intentional beauty in this touching book — life philosophies, travel insights, music references, wacky and wonderful kitchen personalities, slings and arrows, the poetry of pastry, love and solitude, thankful mentorship, swimming against the tide, knowledge clinched. The zen of separating 300 eggs every day. The serious fitness necessary to be a serious chef. The facing of facts and the crushing of dreams. The boosts of accomplishments. The comfort in supportive human connections. The fervor for far-flung getaways. “I have been fortunate enough to learn technique from a French master or two,” he continues. “…creativity in Spain; flavor, depth and meaning in Italy; lessons in minimalism and refinement from both Japanese and Chinese chefs; and now the healing power of traditional wisdom in Bali.” There are 40 recipes from Room 4 Dessert, some with intriguing names, such as Bitter Grandpa, Who Can Resist My Top Gun?, White Chocolate Black Heart, Spontaneous India, Pique Nique and The Color of Money. The photos of desserts are both serene and exciting. A delectable, endearing and highly original read.

For vacation information and inspiration: Bali Tourism Board.

12  SOUTHERN CHARM

Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South by Virginia Willis; photographs by Angie Mosier. Born and raised in Georgia and French-culinary trained, affable Willis, recipient of a James Beard Foundation Book Award, traveled to 11 states in eight months to interview a range of Southerners, such as farmers, catchers, shrimpers, clammers and harvesters, whose narratives beribbon this book. Her essays center on Southern heritage, legacy, traditions, pride — and, yes, complications and tensions, too, such as the imbalance of money and power, as well as racism. She smartly opines about an expanse of subjects — bluegrass and barbacoa, Louisiana rice culture, preserved fruits and veggies. “Memory shapes the story of our lives and allows us to interact with the world,” Willis writes. “This assorted collection of recipes and stories features the familiar — as well as the unexpected, looking beyond the stereotypes and misinterpretations of Southern food and cooking. I strongly believe Southern cuisine is a living, breathing, growing thing. From white linen formal to farm table to well-worn Formica — and with influences from the many diverse people who live here — there’s world-class food in the South. The country is embracing Southern food.” Her recipes speak of diversity and the ever-evolving Southern cuisine; among the tastiest are Meme’s Cornbread and Oyster Dressing, Whole-Grain Parmesan Cheese Grits with Spinach and Shrimp, Gulf Coast Cioppino, Summer Hoecakes, Apple Cheddar Pancakes and Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Peanut Streusel. Perfect for the summer season ahead: Catfish Tacos with Avocado Crema and Pan-Seared Summer Squash with Spiced Lemon Vinaigrette. When Willis writes, “Welcome to the global Southern Kitchen — pull up a chair. Everyone is welcome at my table,” you’ll wish that you could let her know how soon you can be there.

For vacation information and inspiration: Explore Georgia.

13  ISRAELOUSIANA

Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya with Tina Antolini; photographs by Rush Jagoe; illustrations by Frances Rodriguez. James Beard Award-winning chef Shaya has crafted an ambitious, moving memoir about the transformative power of food, cooking, ambition and travel. He writes: “It’s rarely a straight path to our vocation. Few of us grow up saying, ‘I want to be a chef’ (or a doctor or a lawyer or a ballerina) and pursue that with single-minded purpose. We usually end up doing what we do through a series of twists and turns, of meeting people who make an impression, of opportunities that arise, of doors that open and close. My journey to opening one of the most celebrated new restaurants in the country — an Israeli restaurant in the heart of the American South — is one full of those twists and turns. It starts in Israel and wends through Italy and New Orleans before returning to Israel. Food is the thread that runs throughout that whole journey. It has guided my personal decisions as well as my professional ones, and punctuated every memory, every turning point of my life.” Shaya’s path involved significant adolescent struggles (economic, familial, social), the trauma of Hurricane Katrina and a soul-aching search for identity. There are also triumphant jubilations, exultations. Shaya’s award-winning New Orleans restaurants have markedly impacted The Big Easy’s cuisine scene. In this book, recipes are not strictly organized into courses or categories. But important themes do emerge, one of which is family. “Things as simple as my grandmother’s trick of caramelized tomato paste,” Shaya continues. “…as elemental as making dough, as joyful as cooking feasts for a crowd.” Be impressed by more than 100 recipes, among the bright faves: Schmaltzy Potatoes, Cast-Iron Ribeye, Five-Onion Soup with Provolone Toast, Brussels Sprouts with Caraway and Tahini, Yogurt Pound Cake with Cardamom-Lemon Syrup, Peach and Mascarpone Hamantashen and Blueberry Rugelach. Seconds, please.

For vacation information and inspiration: Go Israel and New Orleans CVB + New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.

14  INSIDER INDIA

Fresh India: 130 Quick, Easy and Delicious Vegetarian Recipes for Every Day by Meera Sodha; photographs by David Loftus. As a best-selling cookbook author in the United Kingdom, London-based Sodha follows up her Made in India blockbuster with this sublimely designed book that is tidily stocked with oft-times wondrous vegetable-based recipes, emboldened with flavors. Many of the dishes come from Sodha’s extensive travels in India: gleaned from home cooks, street stall vendors, temple cooks and fine-dining chefs. Some of the recipes have been passed down through her family for generations. And others are shining results of her own imagination and experiments. Writes Sodha: “This is a book all about vegetables, but whether you call it a vegetarian cookbook is up to you. I’m aware that I’ve written it at a time when a change is taking place in our attitudes about both meat and vegetables. More of us are questioning how we farm, how we treat animals and whether how we eat is sustainable…. But my aim with this book is not to preach or to write only for vegetarians: It is to inspire you to cook a different, fresher, vegetable-led type of Indian food. To honor the seasons and what grows in our fields.” Among her showstoppers are Meera’s Sticky Mango Paneer Skewers, Cauliflower and Pomegranate Chaat, Fresh Coconut Rice with Cashews and Shallots, Roasted Cauliflower Korma and Daily Dosas with Coconut Potatoes. There are no-fuss surprises, too: Mushroom and Walnut Samosas, Cashew Nut Fudge, Oven-Baked Onion Bhajis and Beet-Paneer Kebabs. Control yourself when making her Queens Bombay Nuts (Indian seasonings tossed with almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts), because you might be tempted to eat the entire bowl at once.

For vacation information and inspiration: Luxury Gold Insight Vacations India and Abercrombie & Kent India.

15  SOUTHERN COMFORT

For the Love of the South: Recipes and Stories from My Southern Kitchen by Amber Wilson. Southern appreciation is paramount for food blogger Wilson, whose For the Love of The South foodie-and-travel site planted the first seeds that gave life to this enchanting book. “Everything I hold dear about Southern culture rests in its narrative,” writes Wilson. “The photographs…are personal — as personal as the stories I share. The images of satsuma trees, pecan trees and cotton crops are taken on family land. Almost all the silver, cast iron, stoneware and glasses in this book are family treasures…. I was raised in Cajun Country, experienced the boldness of Texas fare, tasted the light cuisine in Florida, plunged my fork into the various influences in Alabama and am now enjoying the harmonious city of Nashville. I grew up in the small town of Lake Charles, Louisiana where the women in my family taught me the importance of our Cajun heritage and, of course, our cuisine. My grandmother’s kitchen will forever smell of homemade roux, and my memories are filled with boudin, crawfish boils and laughter.” Along with time- and money-saving tips, as well as food-shopping advice, the more than 100 recipes are appreciatively uncomplicated, among them: Vinegar Chicken with Alabama White Sauce, Sweet Corn Bisque, Perfect Popovers, Bourbon Marshmallows, Comforting Scalloped Potatoes and — perhaps the most beloved Southern cocktail — Milk Punch. Cheers!

For vacation information and inspiration: Nashville’s Visit Music City and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

16  A MOVEABLE FEAST

Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou. This substantial, meticulously researched cookbook is a gem, not only because of its in-depth and vast culinary information, but also because it includes an overview of Muslim world history, buttressed with helpful maps and stimulating stories. Helou — a prolific food writer, book author, journalist and chef — was born in Lebanon and has lived and traveled in Egypt, Syria, Indonesia, Pakistan, among others countries, garnering more than 300 prime recipes for this project’s breads, fish, meats, rice, spices and sweets. Eye gorgeous photographs, most by Kristin Perers, of dishes connected to Arab, Mughal (or South Asian), Persian and North African kitchens. Consume Helou’s helpful pointers — from baking better to finessing fish to mixing amazing spices. Many cookbooks today speak of distant and unfamiliar shores; Helou’s elucidating Feast goes a step beyond, unraveling and delineating and pruning and clarifying knowledge about which most Americans have no first-hand experience. Let your wanderlust and sense of wonder flourish. Food is a common denominator that crosses borders and brings strangers together. Enjoy Zanzibari Savory Doughnuts, Uighur Scallion Pancakes, Moroccan Meat Kebabs, Lebanese Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce, Qatari Chicken and Rice, Tunisian Fish Couscous, Spicy Noodles with Shrimp, Algerian Fish Cakes, Egyptian Split Lentil Soup, Indonesian Crab Curry, Falafel, Iranian Herb Omelet and Turkish Pickled Green Almonds. And, yes, there is a mesmerizing story about the roasting of camel hump. While it is not likely American readers will pounce on that culinary challenge, Helou’s accessible purview helps us to pause and reflect upon our immense, intriguing, ever-interesting globe and how travel and food present countless teachable moments.

For vacation information and inspiration, go to Egyptian Tourism AuthorityTrafalgar EgyptEmerald Waterways EgyptMorocco National Tourist Office and Trafalgar Morocco.

Source Link:- https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauramanske/2018/05/20/can-a-book-make-you-smile-food-and-travel-tips-to-increase-happiness/

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