Bon Appétit! Snacking through September

This month, we're doing things a little differently - rather than focusing on a particular genre, we're looking at a theme! We're going to be talking about something universally appreciated, a core aspect of civilization and community building - food. If there is one constant across every culture, it's the feast - and for September we're picking an entrée and a side dish from a real smorgasbord of books, fiction and nonfiction, centered around food! From novels whose plots are built around restaurants or festivals to cookbooks to histories of particularly beloved ingredients, any foodie will find intellectual nourishment to their taste.

September's Main Read is brought to us by Dean, who has more than a bit of experience with diners and dives across the U.S. - it's seldom possible for a hunter to get a homemade meal, although you'll never find one without plenty of salt. Check it out:

Retro Pies: A Collection of Celebrated Family Recipes 
Dean, in case you weren't aware, is particularly fond of pie.
Ever wonder where the old saying "they've cut corners" or "cutting corners" came from? Pie making! Supplies were scarce for the colonists and using a round pan stretched pastry. These early pies were also stretched in another way - the crust itself was thicker and the filling much shallower. The first pies were made from wild fruit and vegetables available in the New World: the predecessor to our Concord grape, blackberries, Salmon berries, pumpkin, native nuts, and a long list of other delights. As orchards began producing a supply of fruit, pies grew in varieties as well as the amount of filling.
Who doesn't love pie?! In Retro Pies, Linda Everett shares bits of history and helpful baking tips in a cookbook chock-full of awesome pie recipes - including meat pies, sweet pies, and, of course, fruit pies! The book is also studded with stunning vintage illustrations that seem to be taken directly from some 1950's issues of Good Housekeeping.

The Main Read this month is also a quick read - but you're going to want to take your time with it, if you're planning to make these pies. These are truly from-scratch, full-flavor recipes!

Dean also brings us this month's Quick Read, the first in a comic book series for those of you with the stomach to handle it:

Dean likes this series; it reminds him that there's always a worse job he could have.

Slow-simmered shredded chicken, vegetable, and three-bean soup.

Tok atok atok
Tok atok atok 
Tok atok atok
Tok atok atok

"AAAHHH!!! Ow--Shit...Goddamn..."

End prologue.
Tony Chu has a very special gift. He's cibopathic, which means he gets information psychically from the food he eats. If he eats an apple, he might see the orchard it grew in or glimpse the man who sneezed on it at the grocery store; if he eats bacon, he might learn what farm the pig came from or relive it's slaughter. Beets are safe; he eats a lot of beets. Unfortunately for Tony, the Special Crimes Division of the FDA has a particular interest in his abilities - after all, it's a very handy way of determining how or why a person died.

Dark, gory, and frequently hilarious, John Layman's Chew - brilliantly illustrated by Rob Guillory - explores a world where chicken is illegal (but still delicious), filled with a colorful cast of characters possessing food-related special abilities. Not for the squeamish, the comic book series also explores the more familiar (and complicated) world of relationships between friends and family members.

Hungry for more books about food? Perhaps in a different genre - or maybe you're looking for a cookbook for particular dietary needs? Let me know, and I'll pass on the request to Dean, who needs something to do between banishing demons and battling leviathans, anyway.

Happy snacking - er, I mean, reading - and we'll see you back next month for some more recommendations from the Readers Advisory Committee!

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