On the evening of June 25th, over 50 visitors at Santa Clara’s Central Park Library indulged their taste buds on complementary chocolate, with varieties such as chocolate with sea salt, dark chocolate, and chipotle chili dark chocolate. Then the visitors seated themselves for a food writing book talk.
“We’re here to talk about books we love that have to do with food,” says Morgan Rose Pershing, a reference librarian. Also present was Jenn Ramage, a district sales manager for Random House.
Pershing introduced some publishing lingo.
“Food mysteries are a huge genre. These cozy mysteries don’t have a lot of gore, sex or violence,” she says. “A graphic novel has words and pictures. Relish [by Lucy Knisley] is a food graphic novel.”
Pershing and Ramage also shared a number of their favorite non-fiction books spotlighting food. When it came to food memoirs, both women recommended Bill Buford’s Heat, a book about a man’s missteps during his entry into the culinary world, and Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, a book detailing the author’s experience living in France.
“For a food memoir, the essential ingredients needed would be something I haven’t read before, an engaging character, and sumptuous descriptions of food and cooking,” Pershing shares after the presentation.
“For me, a good food book shows clear enthusiasm for the experience, the discovery of the new, whether it’s the discovery of a place, a recipe, or the historical significance of a dish,” Ramage says.
“I’m excited about reading the food books [discussed tonight],” says Alicia Curci, an attendee. “I want to read Heat. My favorite chocolate from tonight was the salted chocolates.”
The event ended with a chocolate and book raffle. Random House generously donated the books.