Gourmet books: originality and reflection in focus – Le Devoir

This text is part of the special Pleasures notebook

No, the age of the web and social networks has not sounded the death knell for gourmet books! As companions to our everyday cooking – sauce stains included – our bedtime reading and festive occasions, these works also represent beautiful objects on the living room table or tools for passing on. Their task is therefore not limited to providing us with recipes, and their world is full of suggestions that need to be discovered in order to leave the beaten path. Here are some examples of nourishing—and varied—reads to inspire you ahead of the Montreal Book Fair, which opens November 22nd.

Geek gastronomy

You (maybe you) have a passion, in whole or in part, for computers, new (and old) technologies, video games, fantasy and science fiction, comics, role-playing games and pop culture. Their profiles and interests are of course all unique, but they often have common references and a dream universe that we can see on their t-shirts, their film and game collections, their mastery of costuming… and their recipe books!

Geek gastronomy, a true phenomenon in Europe and the United States, is growing every year and has its apostles. On our side of the world, we can think of Tom Grimm, an American who began his career as a bookseller before embarking on the adventure of genre cookbook publishing. From Harry Potter to Mario Bros., including the Stranger Things and Wednesday series, or even the Lord of the Rings saga, the author often creates simple recipes whose titles and iconography evoke these imaginary universes.

In the Old Continent, French chef Thibaud Villanova founded the Gastronogeek brand in 2014 and has since been the prolific author of around twenty sagas-inspired recipe books (Star Wars Cantina, Les Asterix Banquets, etc.). Animations (Cooking in Ghibli, The legendary recipes of Dragon Ball, two books about the Disney universe, etc.), video games (Assassin’s Creed. The Culinary Code, Cooking in Zelda) or even popular trends such as baking or vegetarianism. For his latest work, Kdrama. The best recipes from Korean series, Villanova has collaborated with another self-professed geek, journalist Marie Palot, to offer recipes that borrow from both Korean culinary traditions and iconic scenes from series such as Nevertheless, Squid Game or Love in the Moonlight . This makes this book much more than just a product that follows a trend; We learn a lot about Korean culture and at the same time immerse ourselves in the unbridled creativity of these series and the typical imagery of pop culture. In short, here you will find surprising gourmet literature to discover if you haven’t already.

Adventurous gastronomy

The idea of ​​testing your own sense of taste while traveling is nothing new. Some TV personalities, like the late chef Anthony Bourdain (Parts Unknown) and journalist Julie Andrieu (Fork and Backpack), who traveled the world in search of culinary traditions, influenced a generation of chefs, journalists and bloggers.

But adventure goes without planes and borders and can be experienced through a random outdoor excursion in our forests, our mountains and our coasts. Chef Stéphane Modat summed it up perfectly: He is a fan of hunting and fishing, but above all the joy of meeting friends in nature and cooking. His books “Hunting Cuisine” and “Fishing Kitchen”, published in 2018 and 2019 respectively, are true bibles about game and fish in Quebec and show us, in pictures and words, snapshots of these adventures on our soil.

In a similar vein, but even more colorful, the book Hooké published this fall is a living ode to our Canadian territory. An area that Fred Campbell, founder of Hooké, a company that promotes nature and responsible and ethical hunting and fishing, has explored from side to side, bringing with him lots of souvenirs in his backpack or boat, knowledge and observations. Thanks to chef Jean-Philippe Leclerc, himself a fan of hunting, fishing and game cuisine, this book takes on a gourmet dimension with around twenty recipes inspired by the adventurer’s various travel destinations. A way to escape from everyday life without leaving the house, whether in winter or summer.

Scientific gastronomy

Science seems light years away from our often emotional relationship with food, but let’s remember that it is the basis of many dishes and techniques we know today. It also allows us to look at the products we consume differently and even opens up the field of possibilities in the kitchen.

We remember, for example, Papilles et Molecules (2009), this work by François Chartier that introduced us to the art of the sometimes surprising molecular harmony of ingredients. Well, this fall, Doctor Stuart Farrimond offers us to analyze the aromatic families of 60 spices from around forty countries in “The Science of Spices”. What sense? This is of course about understanding them better, but also improving their taste and using them creatively in cooking. A very well written book that is accessible to everyone.

We would also like to highlight the publication of the Végécurieux research study. 12 scientific bites to get a taste for plant-based foods, where Martin Quirion has made it his mission to green our plates. This very well-documented essay looks at the evolutionary, nutritional, ecological and ethical aspects that prove that our relationship with meat is primarily cultural and that a paradigm shift is therefore possible.

Thoughtful gastronomy

Our diet doesn’t just consist of food. Every product we consume has a story that is interesting because of its richness or, more commonly in our society today, because of its political nature.

Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at Dalhousie University specializing in the agri-food industry and a regular speaker in the Quebec media, enjoys using books to analyze and popularize complex concepts. Regarding his latest essay “The Piece of the Cake,” which deals with global food issues (including the consequences of armed conflict, land grabbing and the hegemony of multinational corporations), the researcher says: “Everyone hears about these issues, but only a few actually do .” she understands. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to explain them clearly and to advance their thinking. »

At least apparently, in her new essay “A Village in Cheese,” agricultural and food specialist Suzanne Dion tells the story of the Louis d’or dairy in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick in a slightly lighter tone. Through the evolution of the Morin family over five generations, it is possible to draw parallels with the careers of many farmers in Quebec and question the future of this local agriculture. Bright.

This content was created by Le Devoir’s Special Publications team, reporting to Marketing. The editors of Le Devoir did not take part.

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