Books Foodies Will Devour

On this episode of The Desk Set, we're exploring Books About Food and Books Recommended By KCLS Staff, two of our favorite 10 to Try reading challenge categories. First, we chat with author and chef Becky Selengut (How to Taste) about the art and science of taste. Then, we explore the relationship between pie and whiskey with authors, bakers, and cocktail makers Sam Ligon and Kate Lebo (Pie & Whiskey). Finally, we visit The Book Larder, a cookbook store in Seattle, to talk to store owner Lara Hamilton. We also share suggestions for other books about food that we think are worth checking out.


Download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify, or stream the episode using the media player below.

A transcript of this episode is available at the end of our show notes. 

Recommended Reading

See all the titles mentioned in this episode 

Looking for more? Check out Britta's picks and Emily's picks for more great books about food.


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The Desk Set is brought to you by the King County Library System. Most of the audio heard on the podcast was recorded at the Makerspace at the Bellevue Library. The show is hosted by librarians Britta Barrett and Emily Calkins, and produced by Britta Barrett. Our theme song is "I Know What I Want" by Math and Physics Club. Other music provided by Chad Crouch, from the Free Music Archive.


Emily Calkins: You're listening to The Desk Set

Britta Barrett: A bookish podcast for reading broadly

Emily Calkins: We're your hosts, Emily Calkins

Britta Barrett: And Britta Barrett

Emily Calkins: In each episode, we'll talk about two themes from our 2018 reading challenge, 10 to Try. Learn more about the challenge and see a list of all the categories at

Britta Barrett: First up, read a book about food.

Emily Calkins: We'll take you on a food lover's tour of the Pacific Northwest literary scene. Get ready for interviews with chefs, authors and more. Have you ever been curious about why some people just love bitter or super spicy foods? What does umami actually mean, and how can you compensate when you've accidentally over salted a dish? Becky Selugnut answers all of these questions and more in her book, How to Taste. She invited us over for tea and a chat about the art and science of taste.

[Theme music]

Becky Selugnut: My name's Becky Selugnut. I'm the author of How to Taste, as well as a couple other books, Shroom, Good Fish, and Not One Shrine. I'm a cooking teacher at The Pantry Cooking School and PCC Markets. I'm a freelance writer for Serious Eats, and I also co-host a comedy podcast called Look Inside This Book Club.

Britta Barrett: You've written about recipes with foraged mushrooms, and cooking with fish, and eating your way through Tokyo. What inspired you to tackle the subject of balance in food?

Becky Selugnut: I was teaching a class at The Pantry on, I think it was soups. It was the end of the class and I was going to just adjust the seasoning on the soup and serve the students. I took a bite and I added a little salt, took another bite, added more salt, added a little bit of lime and added a little bit of fish sauce. Tasted it, was like, all right, turned around and the class was just staring at me and they're like, “That's the class we want to take.” I was like, “What?” They're like, “Everything that just went through your mind in the last two minutes, that what we want to learn.” My first thought was, well you kind of have to be in the restaurant business, or food business for 20 years. That's a horrible thing for a cooking teacher to think, because I want to make the stuff approachable and accessible to people. I started basically watching myself like a zoo animal. Like what are the things that I'm doing? What are the sounds I'm making? What are the gestures I'm making? How do I know when there's enough salt? Et cetera. That turned into a class, and then the class turned into a book.

Emily Calkins: What's the best thing that a budding chef can do to teach themselves how to taste?

Becky Selugnut: That's a great question. You know honestly, and this is not just to say, “Oh, read my book." I wish I had this information when I was in culinary school, because we learned a lot about wine tasting, and different kinds of salt to use, and different types of acidity. We never really understood how exactly to know in your own palate when something is wrong, what to do. That sort of just came with experience. I think a budding chef needs to actually dig into kind of the books on taste and flavor to give themselves a background and to take classes on it and to dive into it, because it's no less important than someone learning wine, taking wine tasting classes. That's everywhere, but has anyone ever showed you how to taste food? No. I literally take people through how to taste food so you can get the most out of it. Without choking.

Britta Barrett: There is a cocktail recipe in your book for a Manhattan. Can you speak to how that recipe can teach you balance?

Becky Selugnut: Sure. A lot of people think about bitterness as something bad only. The Manhattan is one of the most popular cocktails, and for good reason. It's really multidimensional. It's got a lot of natural balance in it. It's obviously a spirit-forward cocktail, but it's got a lot of internal balance. What I decided to just try randomly in my kitchen one day, because I drink Manhattans, is I'm going to leave the bitters out, how does that change the flavor? It was so mind-blowing to me that just one dash of bitters in a cocktail that only has three ingredients, rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters. The absence of the bitters, which is just one dash, so like a quarter teaspoon perhaps, the drink became really hot and boozy, and something maybe your grandfather would enjoy like on a back porch somewhere, like in the moonshine sense. It was cloyingly sweet from the vermouth, and it had no interest. You would taste that and be like, “This isn't going anywhere.” Like if you were bartender coming up with a drink back when the Manhattan was developed, probably in the turn of the century, you would be like, “Well that's not going anywhere. Nobody would like that.” You add that little quarter teaspoon, that little dash of bitters, and all of a sudden it's like a ranch house all of a sudden turned into a castle. It blows out the experience into this multidimensional thing. The booze is less hot and sharp. The sweet vermouth is no longer cloying. The bitters and the complexity of those bitters add all of this deep interest to it. It's perfectly balanced, and that became something I thought would be fun to include as an experiment, and so simple. Just leave the bitters out and see what you think.

Britta Barrett: I love the chapters on bitters. I feel like they're sort of getting their moment in the sun. For a long time people have neglected this area of taste. I'm wondering how much of that is cultural. There are these pictures of me at Thanksgiving as a kid with like an olive on every finger, and a plate of pickles. I, just like, came out loving mushrooms, and eggplant, and Brussels sprouts.

Becky Selugnut: Oh wow. Makes me wonder if you're a tolerant taster actually, which we can maybe have time to talk about. That makes me wonder.

Britta Barrett: It's always been that way, and I especially love like kimchi, and really strong, fragrant foods.

Becky Selugnut: I definitely think you're a tolerant taster. We should definitely talk about this more, because it does so much matter about your genetics. It's all about taste bud density and also exposure. The fact that you came out eating these very strong flavors, and continued into adulthood. Do you drink coffee?

Britta Barrett: I'm drinking it right now. You can't see.

Becky Selugnut: Did you enjoy it when you were a child? 

Britta Barrett: Very early.

Becky Selugnut: Very early. Okay, this is very classic. 25% of the population tolerant taster. Lower density of taste buds. Don't feel bad. It actually means that you're the least picky person in the room, and that all you really require in your food sometimes is more oomph. You're reaching for salt, you're reaching for chilis, you're reaching for big, bold flavors like kimchi because you're literally trying to get more information to your brain. Now I eat the same thing that you eat. I'm an average taster. I have a higher density of taste buds, and I'm like, oh, that's enough, I don't need that much stimulation. My wife April, who's a sensitive taster, aka supertaster, nothing super about it, extremely picky, it's like her tongue is slightly, for lack of a better metaphor, autistic. It's getting incredible information and information overload. She wants to kind of put a blanket around her tongue because it's like too much. Some of the cultures that have the highest level of bitterness in their foods are actually genetically more likely to be tolerant tasters. Indians and Chinese genetically are a higher percentage of tolerant tasters. Women are more likely to be supertasters, or sensitive tasters. All these things really do play a role. You can push people so far, you can help people learn how to taste more acutely to their taster status. You can help people, sensitive tasters, learn how to use salt to suppress bitterness so they enjoy their food more. At some point you just are going to smack up against, you just personally as a tolerant taster, you're going to need more salt and more information. You're going to often feel like food is not horrible, but bland and boring. That's what you require, so knowing what that is and knowing how to work around it is good information for chefs and for home cooks.

Britta Barrett: It's so interesting when cooking for other people, trying to sort of calibrate to an expectation that there will be less of those things, especially when it's a spicy dish. I'm curious, I know that you teach classes, if you find that when couples are coming together that there are common themes.

Becky Selugnut: Okay, I feel like I'm a marriage counselor at my How to Taste classes, because I often get these couples coming in, and one of them has dragged the other one because they're like, “It really annoys me when you put salt all over my food, or ketchup, or sriracha.” Yeah, and at the very beginning of the class, as I start teaching, you see one turn to the other with just this like, “Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's why you're here." Then I quickly tell people that every single person is right at the table, and that throughout the class they're going to learn that if they dragged a spouse ... I actually say it because you can see the couples all just there, that you'll be sorely disappointed if you've brought a spouse here tonight to call them out as having a weak palate, or I don't know, an uneducated palate. Everyone's right.

Emily Calkins: I sort of think of cookbooks in kind of two categories. These big sort of foundational or reference books, like How to Cook Everything, and The Flavor Bible, and that kind of stuff. Then sort of unique focus books that highlight a particular style, or an ingredient, or one chef's work. Do you have favorite cookbooks in either or both of those categories?

Becky Selugnut: In the food world sense, some of the ones you just mentioned are obviously key. The Flavor Bible helped me during culinary school especially, to learn about what went with what. Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe also was kind of pivotal to me a long time ago, and still sometimes I'll refer to it. James Beard, Julia Child's books, Jacque Pépin books. Sort of the classics actually have taught me a ton. I also really like The Food Lab, from Serious Eats. Kenji Lopez-Alt, his book is wonderful. Then in the other category, there's just loves, what I call the in case of fire books, which ones I grab before I would leave the house. Just after my wife and dogs, I would grab the Herbfarm Cookbook. Jerry Traunfeld is my mentor. That book is basically part of my soul I think, because I worked through every recipe in that book. Cooking [inaudible 00:10:51] for four years at the Herbfarm. The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rogers is also pretty seminal to me. Then I'm going to call out a book that nobody knows about. It's the Cabbagetown Café Cookbook, and it's only probably going to maybe two of your listeners who spent any time in upstate New York will even know what it is. It's a little hippie café that was in Ithaca New York in the '70s and '80s. They just did food from all over the world, and they did it well. Their recipes were solid, and I learned how to cook with that book through college. I sometimes flip through it. It has duct tape on the binding. It's barely held together, and I have to take that out in case of fire.

Emily Calkins: While we're talking about other people's food writing, do you have favorite non-cookbook food writing?

Becky Selugnut: Oh gosh, so much. It would be so hard to pick.

Emily Calkins: I don't have any new ones. I just always go back to M.F.K. Fisher, because I think she's wonderful in so many ways, but she's so funny. 

Becky Selugnut: Yeah, she's so witty.

Emily Calkins: Yeah. She's very witty. She's very cutting, but in sort of a loving way. Like she does not spare herself from her own sharp observational remarks.

Becky Selugnut: M.F.K. Fisher for sure, because of her wit, and she's an amazing writer. Laurie Colwin, who many of your readers might know because people really love her writing. She's got a book called Home Cooking. She's got this wit, this sharp wit. Her writing is so funny and so right on. I'm reading this book right now by Jane Ziegelman, called 97 Orchard. I don't know if you've heard of this one before. It's the edible history of five immigrant families in one New York tenement. It's really entertaining. It's really great. I would definitely recommend that to your readers as well. I'm also reading Jim Harrison's A Really Big Lunch, and so far really liking it. This insightful writer's baudy, and wild, the Jim Harrison one. The Ziegelman, 97 Orchard is just, I grew up in New Jersey and New York area from a Jewish family, so this is tracing a lot of history of the kind of immigrant families in New York that my family came from.

Britta Barrett: I see another book in this pile. Can you tell us a little bit about the non-food related books that you're reading?

Becky Selugnut: Yeah. I'm reading So You Want to Talk About Race? Really a good book to read. Really a hard book to read, but it's so important I think if you care anything about learning more about Black Lives Matter, and the racial divide, and what can you do as a white person?

Britta Barrett: Ijeoma is from here, right?

Becky Selugnut: Yeah, she is. Ijeoma Oluo. It's great. I really highly recommend it. It's like I've got like the food, and the political, and then I have history. I'm reading Edward Rutherfurd's London, because I'm actually going to London soon. It traces the whole history of London from one family's perspective from like 1000 years ago. It's awesome. Really good. Really dense, it's really big. I'm only about like 100 pages in, and usually, that's the halfway mark for most of my books. This is an eighth of the way through I think.

Britta Barrett: That's a country that's sort of, not necessarily known for bold flavors. Are there any aspects of British cooking that you're really looking forward to experiencing firsthand?

Becky Selugnut: Well, you know, I think that that's like, it's true for sure, if you're going to have just classic British food. Because it's such a welcoming environment to people from all over the world and there are so many people there, so many Indians, and so many Muslims as well, you just have a nice rich diversity of food there. When we go, we're going to be going to an Indian restaurant. I'm looking forward to some of the kind of international food scene in England, and London. That being said, I would never kick a Sunday roast dinner out of bed. I think there's something extremely comforting and wonderful about fish and chips, and roast dinner, and I like that too.

Britta Barrett: Especially with a squeeze of lemon.

Becky Selugnut: Yes, of course, and for you, some hot sauce and more salt.

Britta Barrett: And vinegar.

Becky Selugnut: And vinegar.

Britta Barrett: All of it.

Becky Selugnut: All of it. Just dump everything on top of that.

Britta Barrett: Because I'm one of those tasters, I love garlic so much that when I got to the part of your book where you said that you discovered an allergy to it, I was just heartbroken for you. How did that happen?

Becky Selugnut: I appreciate, I felt that even before I had ever met you. Well, I would actually say, in a kind of First World Complaint moment, that that was really a bad day, a bad couple days, because I love to travel, and I love to eat everything, and I love hospitality more than anything. For me to make people feel at home and give them everything they want, I also like turning that around and being fed by whoever wants to feed me. Now I have this problem where when I travel, or when I go to someone's home, I have to be that person. That was the hardest bit for me. On the other hand, the more important revelation from it is not only have I become much more sensitive to people who have special diets, and eating restrictions. Now I am extremely excited to cook for people who can't have certain things, because it taps into my creativity. I've also learned, partially what inspired me to write the book actually, is how to learn what exactly, what space does an ingredient occupy, and how can you make a substitution based not necessarily on garlic tastes like garlic, but what does garlic do for your food? Garlic does very specific things for your food, and they have to do with several chapters in my book. Bite, which is that sharpness it gets. Sweetness when it's cooked. Aromas, and so how can you reverse engineer garlic so that I can use it in my cooking and people won't know it's missing. For the most part, I've been able to do that. I'll cook an eight-course meal for clients and I'll ask them all at the end of the dinner, what main ingredient that you cook with probably every dish you ever make you reach for, is not in this? They're baffled. They cannot figure out what it could be. They guess all sorts of wrong things, and then finally someone says, “Garlic?” They're like, “No.” It's hard for them to believe. What I discovered is it doesn't taste literally like garlic, but a mixture of caramelized fennel, some truffle salt for the funk and the fennel for the sweetness, some raw ginger for that bite, and a little pinch of this Indian spice called asafetida, which is also sort of that sulfur funk that garlic gets. That mixed together and added to food, you won't know. Unless it was something like 40 clove garlic soup, you would know, or maybe something that had raw garlic, which is just so pronounced. Like a hummus with raw garlic, you would know there was not raw garlic in it. Other than that, people have no clue.

Britta Barrett: That's so creative.

Becky Selugnut: I had to do it out of necessity. Then I'm such a nerd that it made me dive deeper into the subject. My students are always asking me, “How do you know what to substitute one thing for another?” Well, if you don't like capers, you can't just capers out of a recipe, because you're not just leaving capers out of a recipe, you're literally leaving salt, acid, and umami out of a recipe. How do you replace that? Well olives are a great substitute because they represent the same three things. If you don't like olives, or you don't have olives, you need to replace acid, umami and salt. Find three separate ingredients that do that, or find one that has two and one that has one. It's literally math. It's been fun to kind of dig into that stuff and give people more of a concrete approachable map to how to make these decisions. It's not just creativity. Sometimes it comes down to, what does it represent and how do you fit one into another?

Emily Calkins: One of the things that really struck me about the book is what you just said, sort of this balance between the creativity, but also there's a lot of science in it. Can you talk about sort of how you got interested in the science, and then how you do the more scientific part of the research?

Becky Selugnut: Yeah. I have several scientists in my family. I wanted to be a doctor originally. I have a great interest in science just personally, but I'm not a scientist. I consider myself a citizen scientist, someone who just reads a lot about science, and then likes to try and interpret that for a non-science audience, like myself. When I'm researching a new book, especially this book, so science-based, I spend about a year just reading everything I can. I read a lot of books that most people will not want to read so that I could find the three or four gems in them to share. That's interesting to me, and I loved it. I also wanted to be a librarian, you might want to know, because of how much I love books, and reading, and research, and also helping people find answers. I think there's a lot in common between librarians and teachers, and authors probably. I also am humble that I don't know a lot, and I'm always learning, and so going to science means that I can kind of back up my statements with something concrete, versus just sort of saying something just because I've heard of it. It was important to me with something like this not only to give people that kind of dive into the science behind it, because it is very science-based, but also to know that I was on top of the research. That I was providing not only sort of practical information to people on the creative side, but also the science that would give them confidence that this is something that has data to back it up.


Britta Barrett:  On a warm Thursday evening I walked the quiet streets of Spokane until I heard the familiar sounds of laughter and music that indicate you've found some kind of revelry. I had arrived at the Washington Cracker Company, an old converted brick building, and after a quick check of my ID, I was welcomed inside to partake of pie and whiskey, and literary readings inspired by both ingredients. We sat down with authors of Pie and Whiskey to talk about their project, how it came to be, and what pie and whiskey might tell us about American identity.

Sam Ligon: I'm Sam Ligon.

Kate Lebo: He's Sam Ligon.

Sam Ligon: And she's Kate Lebo.

Kate Lebo: Yeah. I'm Kate Lebo.

Emily Calkins: For the uninitiated among our listeners, give us a short history of Pie and Whiskey.

Kate Lebo: Pie and Whiskey started at the Port Townsend writer's conference, where Sam and I happened to meet. I tricked him into making a pie with me. He didn't know that I was a big pie maker. We found that first night that if we made this dessert, and if we added a bottle of whiskey, all these writers that were really kind of nervous, and trying to figure out who was maybe published in the better place, and who was coolest, they would just like stop all of that ridiculousness and like each other.

Kate Lebo: We kind of got this idea, here's two substances that make people like each other. Why don't we throw in some readings? Readings are often boring, we're always looking for ways to engage people who don't normally come to readings. Handing them whiskey and pie seems like an obvious way to do it.

Sam Ligon: Yeah, and I think when it started at Port Townsend we were really just doing it, we were just baking, and we got a bottle of whiskey and said, "Let's invite the other writers." They came, and we had a lot of fun with them, and then we kept doing that at the conference. Then when Kate's first book came out, she was going on the road and looking for ways to promote a book, and it was a pie book. That's when we came up with the idea of the actual reading, which is in a venue, and we picked a venue that held about 300 people that we did not think that many people would come.

Kate Lebo: Right. It's actually just like three blocks from here.

Sam Ligon: It's the Spokane Woman's Club. We also were like, how can we ... You know, we go to so many readings, and so many of them are just bad, they're boring. The writers might be good, but the readings themselves are boring. We were like, how can we make this fun without it being too fun? Because if it's just whiskey, it's going to be not a good reading, because you're not going to be able to hold the room, and who wants to do that?

Sam Ligon: The combination was really weird I think, in that we liked to bake, so we were like, we can bake these pies, and that's something people want. There's a kind of sweetness to it. Then we like to drink whiskey too. I'm like, okay, we'll put those together. Because we had been doing that in Port Townsend, it was a really cool thing.

Kate Lebo: I think it was just kind of Saturday night and Sunday morning. We've had the experience before where we just do a whiskey reading and it gets really dark. It gets really dark, so the pie is very necessary to this component. Just hitting that sweet spot of a really fun party with all the friends that you haven't met yet from your town.

Emily Calkins: How did you go from these live events to selecting some pieces and turning this high energy sort of exciting fun event into a book?

Kate Lebo: Well, how did we do that?

Sam Ligon: I mean, that was the hard part, because we did want to capture the excitement and the energy, and of course you can't really do that on the printed page.

Kate Lebo: My concern was creating a book where it was like, you really had to be there, it was a great party. Who wants that book? We didn't want to make that book. We wanted to make a book, or make the occasion of a book an opportunity to highlight how good this writing was. Kind of what happens when you get these two, pie and whiskey, these foods that are real foods that we imbibe but are also kind of symbols.

Sam Ligon: American symbols.

Kate Lebo: American symbols, and have people engage with them in all these weird ways. The first thing that we figured out was we had to have some kind of structure. We decided eight sections, like eight slices for a pie. Why not? What we also wanted to do was ask some of our favorite writers to just really go for it, give them a lot of room they could take. Then I based pie recipes off of each of those long pieces.

Kate Lebo: The first long piece in the book is Jess Walter's "Whiskey Pie." There is this great scene at the very end where two brothers are drinking a very, very soupy pecan pie. It's soupy because they put like a fifth of whiskey in it. That inspired these pecan pie shots, where you take pecan pie filling, you caramelize it, you smush it into a muffin tin so it gets that kind of shot shape. Pop it out, paint it with chocolate, fill it with whiskey, take the shot, eat the shot.

Emily Calkins: Oh my god.

Sam Ligon: It's fantastic.

Kate Lebo: It's awesome.

Emily Calkins:  Yum.

Sam Ligon: It is so good. Every one of the recipes Kate developed, developed out of the long stories.

Britta Barrett: At the reading this week there was a huge diversity in pieces. Folks talking about a lot of grandmothers, inheritance, decolonizing whiskey as an indigenous woman, your piece as a sort of prayer for health insurance, as the lapsed Catholic, and what I think was an imagined conversation with an elected official.

Sam Ligon: Cathy McMorris Rogers is our rep from the fifth district. She's in Congress.

Britta Barrett: There's this huge breadth of ways that people interpreted the theme. I was just wondering, when you go to select the pieces, do you sit down with a bunch of like printouts? Do you get them over emails? Is it just you two?

Kate Lebo: You mean for the book or for the reading?

Britta Barrett: For the reading.

Kate Lebo: Oh yeah, no. We just pick writers we think are great and say, "Do whatever you want."

Britta Barrett: Is that the first time you're hearing them do this?

Sam Ligon: No. Well, it's the first time we're hearing them. Like in Spokane we make a chapbook of the night, so you get a book of the reading. We put that together, so we've read everything and we edit it a little bit. Not much, because everybody knows what they're doing. We've read them before, but we haven't heard them. When we do it in Missoula, or if we do it in Seattle, if we do it in Missouri, we've never heard any of it before, we have no idea what it's going to be. We give the writers prompts, but they don't use them, and we don't care if they use them. It's weird how it comes together like that.

Kate Lebo: Right, and some people will, when say, “Will you write about pie and whiskey?” They'll be like, “I kind of hate pie and whiskey. I hate the way that this is a symbol of an America that I don't recognize or feel safe in, or excited about right now.” They will come and they will use pie and whiskey as an opportunity to critique where we are at as a country.

Sam Ligon: Which we love.

Kate Lebo: Through those substances, and that's awesome. That's part of the ... This container has to be that large for it to be interesting. We're excited when people take that prompt and really mess with it like that.

Sam Ligon: If we're going to bring alcohol front and center like that, we've got to welcome the problem with alcohol. We're going to have people come in who do not drink, who have stopped drinking and are going to write about how alcohol did them.

Kate Lebo: Right.

Sam Ligon: I think that's a good part of the event too. Just that we want a lot of different kinds of voices about these substances. Again, also about the American thing, we didn't know obviously how the election was going to go when we started this process. We knew where we stood a little bit as a country. When we were putting this book together we realized, this is really American [bleep]. There's something about these two things. You're not going to do this ... You know, American is apple pie, and something about whiskey, it just feels... So that comes through the writing. People are writing about weird American stuff.

Kate Lebo: I think that Saturday night and Sunday morning thing feels really American too. That we're both, we're a nation of bars and we're a nation of churches, and both of those influences, the way that they smash together makes good writing.

Sam Ligon: I think that's why we can get some of the sweetness. Like Jess can often go sweet without feeling sentimental. He's one of the few writers I think who can do that. Jess doesn't ever feel sentimental, I don't think. When Jess does these turns in his stories, and they're also can be really offensive and subversive, but he can get to that sweet spot that is beautiful, that's like the pie I feel like. Joe Wilkins does that too. Sherrie Flick does that in here.

Kate Lebo: Nina Mukerjee Furstenau has a really cool long piece in here. She's Bengali, and grew up in Kansas. She was writing about this tension between wanting to fit in and wanting to stand out, like wanting to be exactly who she was in this very, very white place, where she was clearly not ... Didn't have the, what did she call it? Like the same already understood story as all of the other people that she went to school with. The process of writing this essay ... Here, let me start over. Her story, she really gets into a moment with her family and a pie. She passes off a store-bought pie as her own, and she's lied about it, and everybody loves the pie.

Sam Ligon: She calls it pie fraud.

Kate Lebo: Right, and they really want to bring her into the family. They're like, “You made this beautiful pie.” She's just like, “I'm living this lie."

Sam Ligon: It's fantastic.

Kate Lebo: I haven't quite gotten to the point that I was hoping to make with that exactly. I think just that the occasion of having to write about this very American foodstuff when Nina, I mean she's a food writer. She's writing about her Indian heritage. She's writing about Midwest food. The ccasion of this cool piece where she was able to hold both the tension of, “I want to be part of this family and part of this community.” With, “I want to be myself and I don't want to have to blend in with all of the predominantly white culture around me.” It's really cool.

Emily Calkins:  Speaking of food writing. Outside of the pieces from the events and from the book, do you have a favorite, or a momentary favorite, cookbook or a piece of food writing?

Kate Lebo: This is called Curry, it's by Naben Ruthnum. He also writes Noir under a different name, I think Nathan Ripley. This is a really cool, literary study of South Asian diasporic literature, and the way that food shows up within those books to kind of mark them as South Asian. Then the way that it also becomes this horrible cliché that these writers are feeling bound by. He's super funny, super smart, just goes into it. Totally recommend it. I think food writing is, sorry, I just think food writing is such an interesting genre too for the way that we expect it to teach us something practical. I mean I guess we expect fiction to teach us how to be better people. Sam would say people say that, right?

Sam Ligon: Maybe. Yeah.

Kate Lebo: Sam would argue against that utility.

Sam Ligon: Right.

Kate Lebo: That's not really what we want fiction to do.

Sam Ligon: I don't think. You have another complaint about food writing.

Kate Lebo: I do have another complaint about food writing that I think so often the genre requires a kind of palatability that makes it so boring. Just so much food writing is really boring to me. I'm not talking about food journalism. I think that's a completely different genre. I think I'm talking about the form that I work in, which is often the personal essay. The food personal essay, when it is hobbled by that palatability, is just mind-numbingly boring and I can't stand it. Which is why I like this book, and this book.

Sam Ligon: There's a series in our paper of just ... How often does that run? Monthly? Of food writing which is stuff happened ... What is that called? What does she call that?

Kate Lebo: I think she's just calling it "Personal Food Story."

Sam Ligon: It's just people writing about food in their lives, and it's writers in town.

Kate Lebo: They're not food writers.

Sam Ligon: They're not food writers. They're writers who are writing about food. It doesn't feel like it's in that ghetto of, “I'm going to do food writing now.” Because we can all write about food, and so I love those pieces when I encounter them. Going back to that simplicity thing, Kate also likes really, really complicated cookbooks. Everyone else in the country ... Ottolenghi, those books.

Kate Lebo: Those aren't that complicated. Once you start making them you're like, “Oh, let's layer some vegetables."

Sam Ligon: They're not complicated to you.

Kate Lebo: Let's get some sauces, let's like put twice as much cheese and twice as many herbs on as you think it should have. Then put it on a platter and you're done.

Sam Ligon: It's a gigantic platter of food, and it's pretty complicated. There's a lot of steps. There's a lot of steps in it.

Kate Lebo: There's a lot of steps, but there's not, there's a lot of steps because they're written down. There's so many types of cuisine that become just impossibly complicated when you try to write them down, because they really are practices in the kitchen. Trying to record all these gestures makes it this impossible document that nobody can follow. I think the cool thing, the frustrating thing about writing recipes, is there's a point within the specificity that you're going for that actually the more information you give people, the less they will understand. It goes the other way too. If you don't give them enough information, of course, they won't understand. It's like, how do you get that sweet, sweet spot? I think that is what we encounter in some really complicated recipes, is just this is a recipe that you probably need to learn in person. It's being extracted from a cook's practice, and it actually doesn't really work in the same way once it's been extracted. It has to be within that continuum of their practice.

Sam Ligon: I mean, I'm just thinking of some of the recipes too that you wrote in this book, in the Pie and Whiskey book. How you do it and then couldn't quite replicate it, and then had to change and then couldn't quite replicate it. Then had to keep adjusting it until it could be replicated.

Kate Lebo: Right. The pecan pie whiskey shots.

Sam Ligon: Exactly.

Kate Lebo: Because I don't know how to do caramel. I learned for that book. I'm pie, not candy.

Emily Calkins: Yeah. It's totally different.

Britta Barrett: Do you have a secret to a perfect pie crust?

Kate Lebo: You've got to keep the butter cold, and what are my two things?

Sam Ligon: Use your hands.

Kate Lebo: No, I used to have it, it would just roll off my tongue, and I've taken a break actually from this.

Sam Ligon: The best tools are your hands. I used to make crusts with, people will use a pie cutter or food processor, and Kate doesn't do that. When you use your hands, as long as they're not too hot, that's crucial to a good crust.

Kate Lebo: Yeah. I think just keep the butter cold, keep the water cold, don't touch it too much, go by feel. Bake with somebody else. He's really good at it. That's the best way to learn. I mean, I love pie it's-

Sam Ligon: Make a lot.

Kate Lebo: What?

Sam Ligon: Just keep making it.

Kate Lebo: Sure.

Emily Calkins:  Practice.

Britta Barrett: I'm from the south originally, and I think of pecan pie as sort of like our pie.

Sam Ligon: Totally.

Britta Barrett: I'm curious if there's one that you think of the Pacific Northwest as like, "This is our pie."

Sam Ligon: I mean in this region it's definitely huckleberry because I think the huckleberries are better on this side of the state. You can't get huckleberries anywhere else in the country.

Britta Barrett: I had never heard of them until it was an option at brunch this morning in my mimosa, I was like, “One please.”

Sam Ligon: Right.

Kate Lebo: Absolutely. Yeah.

Sam Ligon: For me, like here in this part of the state I think huckleberry.

Kate Lebo:  On the west side I would say apple. I just, living in Seattle, living in Bellingham, I'm from Vancouver, we just always had these incredible heirloom apples to work with. My favorite is Gravenstein that's grown over there, and I'll combine that with an Akane apple. You can't get those kinds of apples out here. The same kind of apple, like the Gravenstein apple on the Eastside, just will not be as good.

Sam Ligon: No. Yeah.

Kate Lebo: That's just, that's the climate, that's cool. It's a Westside pie and-

Sam Ligon: I love the bumbleberry, pies you make too. All the berries that we get in the Northwest, and I love the blackberry pie. Kate always puts thing with them. I used to think, living not in the Northwest, I didn't eat blueberries for years because they were so bland and boring. You can get good blueberries here that really taste like something. When Kate does like blueberry oregano or blueberry thyme.

Kate Lebo: No.

Sam Ligon: What was the oregano one?

Kate Lebo:  No. I actually don't do oregano that often.

Sam Ligon:  What was the one?

Kate Lebo:  I did this test where I just put like 10 kinds of herbs with 4 fruits. What we found was that oregano was good with all of them, but only pretty good.

Sam Ligon:  Was it a raspberry oregano.

Kate Lebo:  No. I just-

Sam Ligon:  Don't talk about oregano?

Kate Lebo: Don't talk about oregano.

Sam Ligon: I would say oregano. What I want to say is oregano. You used oregano in every pie.

Kate Lebo: It was thyme.

Sam Ligon: Blueberry thyme.

Kate Lebo: Blueberry is really good with lavender. Raspberry is good with thyme.

Sam Ligon: Blueberry lavender.

Kate Lebo: Yeah.

Sam Ligon: Raspberry thyme. Then what was another herb that you used?

Kate Lebo: I've done mint in blackberry, that's really good. You've got to go easy on the mint. Go over it starts to be really weird, but just a little bit is perfect.

Sam Ligon: We get good peaches too, so peach pie is really good, and peach whiskey is really good. What else do you put in peach?

Kate Lebo: I've been messing around with elderflower liqueur in peach, because I like that flavor. Bourbon's always good. I put ginger in peach pies. Honestly, I don't want to mess with it too much.

Emily Calkins: That's how I feel about peach pie.

Sam Ligon: So good.

Emily Calkins: Yes.

Kate Lebo: Yeah.

Sam Ligon: They're good.

Kate Lebo: They are really good out here. That's my new thing, now that I can't have the apples I want, I can have the peaches I want that y'all can't get over on the west side. Sorry.

Emily Calkins:  That's true. My farm share in the summer, the peaches come from Okanogan.

Kate Lebo: No, those are amazing. I know those peaches.

Emily Calkins:  Yes.

Kate Lebo: Yes. In Omak?

Emily Calkins:  Yeah.

Kate Lebo: On man, those are good.

Sam Ligon: In the South, you know, you do cream pies, custard pies, nut pies. Here we don't do any of those really. I mean, people will do, we really just do fruit.

Kate Lebo: Yup.

Sam Ligon: We do love a fruit.

Britta Barrett: Before I moved out here, I think my concept of the Pacific Northwest was very colored by my re-watching of Twin Peaks.

Kate Lebo: Oh sure.

Britta Barrett: Cherry pie was, in my mind, like the pie.

Sam Ligon: Yeah, and we do cherry pie too.

Kate Lebo: Have you had that cherry pie at Twedes?

Britta Barrett: I've been there since the renovation when they rebooted, they renovated, and I think it's under new ownership. People told me for so long the pie was terrible.

Sam Ligon: Horrible.

Kate Lebo: It was hilarious.

Britta Barrett: Like comically bad. I was out there in the past year and I enjoyed the pie.

Kate Lebo: It's pretty good?

Britta Barrett: Maybe it's new pie. They told me they were making so many of them every week to keep up with the demand and the renewed interest of fans. It looks a lot more like it did before, so maybe give it another shot.

Kate Lebo: Cool

Sam Ligon: Kate was writing a piece for, you know-

Kate Lebo: Visit Washington, or something.

Sam Ligon: Some tourist magazine.

Kate Lebo: It was one of those hilarious freelance pieces where they're like, “For $150 will you tell us the best pies in Washington State for the entire state?” I foolishly said yes.

Sam Ligon: We are all over the state. We drive, we are in a lot of places.

Kate Lebo: Yeah, we are in a lot of places. I spent my entire fee on bad slices of pie.

Sam Ligon: Gas. That was the thing, we did not have one piece of pie that was anywhere near as good as one of ours.

Kate Lebo: Except there was one in Roslyn, at the Roslyn café, that was being made by the daughter of the owner of the general store on that same street, so you could get it on like Fridays, which of course that's the perfect story. You're like, I'll take it.

Sam Ligon: That was a huckleberry pie, right?

Kate Lebo: It was huckleberry, blackberry.

Sam Ligon: It was fantastic.

Kate Lebo: They had to stretch, because huckleberries are super expensive, so they stretch, them, but still really good.

Sam Ligon: We do, we get good cherries over here too. When we get cherries, and when do we get them, June, July?

Kate Lebo: July.

Sam Ligon: We get like 35 pounds.

Kate Lebo: It's right around 4th of July.

Sam Ligon: It's just fantastic. Then we pit them all night. It's fun.

Emily Calkins:  Do you have a favorite pie and/or cocktail recipe in the book?

Kate Lebo: I'm proudest of the funeral pie recipe, which is based on Judy Blunt's recipe. There's a great writer and a great book. Have you read Breaking Clean?

Emily Calkins: Mm-mm (negative).

Kate Lebo: Wonderful memoir. Came out in I think 2001, of growing up in Eastern Montana. Judy is just like this powerful writer, baker, teacher. She bakes with us in Missoula, and she made this funeral pie. It is sour cream, it's raisins, it's lots of spices, and it's actually good.

Sam Ligon: It's really good.

Kate Lebo: There are many versions of this pie that are no good. I adapted Judy's recipe by making crème fresh instead of using sour cream because originally this pie would have been made to use up cream that had gone bad on a farm.

Emily Calkins: Yum.

Sam Ligon: Right. It's rotten pie.

Kate Lebo: Right.

Sam Ligon: Judy's funny too because she's so good, and she's a pie lady, so she's competitive. If we say, “Oh, we're going to be in Missoula, can you contribute four pies?” Judy will be like, “Sure.” She'll bring 12.

Kate Lebo: Oh yeah.

Sam Ligon: 12 different kinds.

Britta Barrett: Is it also made for the occasion of someone's death?

Kate Lebo: Yes.

Sam Ligon: Funeral pie is. Well and it's because you can make it all year round, is the deal, right?

Kate Lebo: That's what I'm guessing.

Sam Ligon: The mythology.

Kate Lebo: That's what some of the writing that I've seen about it. I haven't seen anyone really go in depth and do research, research research. The way that we haven't seen that around funeral potatoes.

Sam Ligon: Right. The cocktail recipes were fun because they're also all history based. It was also a lot of them were written around the time of the election, so they were, there's a little rage in the cocktail recipes.

Emily Calkins: Yeah, they're quite pointed some of them.

Sam Ligon: We got one review by a reviewer in DC that she said, “I don't understand this book, because you can make these pie recipes, but I don't know how to make these cocktail recipes.” All you got to do is make a Manhattan. That's all you have to do.

Emily Calkins:  Make a Manhattan and have a, you know, a little laugh.


Emily Calkins:  The Fremont neighborhood is beloved for its Cuban sandwiches and chocolate factories, but there's another destination food lovers must visit, and it isn't a restaurant. The Book Larder is a unique bookshop that offers new and vintage cookbooks, food writing, author events, and cooking classes. Shop owner, Lara Hamilton, joined us to talk about her favorite books about food.

Lara Hamilton: I'm Lara Hamilton. I am the owner of Book Larder, which is a cookbook store in Fremont, and I don't know. What else would you like to know about me?

Britta Barrett: Tell us a little bit about the store.

Lara Hamilton: The store opened in 2011 with the idea that cookbooks should be sort of a living thing for people. We were very much opening in the era of online recipes really taking off, online bookstores really taking off. I still felt like there was a need for, and a real desire for, people to touch, and hold, and interact with cookbooks. We opened the space in 2011, like I said, with a kitchen in it, so that we can teach cooking classes, and host author events, and so when people come here to shop, or to meet an author, or whatever, they can also taste something from a book. They can have sort of a much more, a deeper interaction I guess, with both the subject matter and the book itself.

Emily Calkins: When you're thinking about living cookbooks, what do you look for in a cookbook? What makes a great cookbook, in your opinion?

Lara Hamilton: I think a great cookbook obviously has very well written recipes. To me, that means that they are descriptive, that they are as accurate as possible, and that they teach you something whether you're a new cook or an experienced cook. I also think a great book needs to have a strong point of view and a really good voice from an author, just like a novel would. Because I think that's what separates a cookbook from just going online and randomly searching for recipes, is that you understand, when a book is well written, what the person's perspective is on food. How they approach cooking and how they approach recipes. You can decide whether or not that works for you, and it just helps you engage I think much more fully with a book.

Emily Calkins: Do you have a set of cookbooks or a single cookbook that you go back to time and again?

Lara Hamilton: I always say that my gateway cookbook, and I continue to go to it regularly, was Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I was a vegetarian when I bought that book. We actually got it as a wedding gift, I didn't buy it. For me, that was just a completely eye-opening book as a vegetarian, because the food was fresh and vibrant. She had that strong point of view. She shared stories about her life, and there were little vignettes with the recipes. Vegetarian food doesn't have to be brown and boring, and she sort of I think was one of the authors that really helped bring it out of that sort of fake meat era. There's that book. I really love Jerry Traunfeld's Herbfarm Cookbook. I've owned that for a long time, and I go to that regularly. I think because it has beautiful recipes, but also depth on growing and using hers, which again, when I was a vegetarian, but especially now that I'm not, are just such an important part of cooking. I feel like that really teaches you something. Then more recently a book that I'm using a lot is Joshua McFadden's Six Seasons. He's a Portland chef, and the book is ... So often chef cookbooks can be very much sort of restaurant recipes that can be difficult for a home cook to replicate. These are very accessible home recipes that really cover the breadth and depth of vegetable cooking. Not necessarily vegetarian, but lots of interesting ways to use vegetables. As someone who's been cooking them for a long time now, I sometimes will read one of his recipes and just think, “Why have I never thought of that?” Like so obvious. I use that book a lot and really enjoy it.

Britta Barrett: I'm someone who has a tiny apartment and even tinier kitchen. I rely way too heavily on takeout, and delivery and subscription boxes to feed myself. I'm trying to cook more. A few of the cookbooks I've loved recently were Cherry Bombe, Dining In, and Salad for President. Do you have any other suggestions for someone who maybe doesn't have like a fully stocked pantry, or all the gadgets, and wants to make simple but interesting recipes that, if I'm being honest, also look kind of nice on Instagram?

Lara Hamilton: Yeah. You know, Amy Pennington, who's a local author, wrote a book a few years ago called Urban Pantry. That, I mean I will be honest, does not have lots and lots of photos in it, when you think of kind of the Instagram thing, but you will get dishes that will be very Instagram-worthy for sure, and will also be very delicious. She wrote that from the perspective of someone who was living in a small space. If you were going to have sort of core ingredients, what should those be? She even talks about like, how should you store them so you can see them easily and have them not take up a lot of space, and things like that. I think that's an excellent book.

Britta Barrett: That sounds perfect.

Lara Hamilton: Yeah. There's also a really great book by Klancy Miller called Cooking Solo, that I think is great for people who are just cooking for themselves, but want to do that in a way that ... Well, let's just put it this way. When you're cooking for yourself, you're worthy of a good meal, right? Everyone is, and so I think sometimes people can think, “Oh it's just me, I'm just going to eat a bowl of cereal, or whatever.” Or, “I'm just going to make myself the same bowl of pasta that I've eaten every night for the past month.” She has a lot of great ideas for scaled down, fresh, delicious recipes for one. Sometimes where you make like a couple of other components that you might use in another dish. That's a really excellent book as well.

Britta Barrett: Have you noticed with reader interest lately that there's a new avocado toast, or poke bowl, that there are food trends that are emerging right now?

Lara Hamilton: Well, I will say, I do think the vegan, I think veganism is becoming more prominent. I've really noticed, we import a lot of books and so I pay a lot of attention to what's going on in the UK. Over there it's really taking off, and we've definitely found an uptick of people who are newer vegans coming in really wanting to figure out how to eat that way. I think it's environmental as much as anything else. Sometimes people are doing it for health, but I think there's just a lot more awareness of sort of plant-based eating and the benefit it can have for the planet.

Britta Barrett: Ironically I have the opposite problem. I'm a former vegan, and I have no idea how to poach an egg. I feel like I'm still learning some of those basics.

Lara Hamilton: No, I feel you. I'm a former vegetarian, and so people will come over to my house and I've roasted a chicken, and then I have no idea how to cut it. Yeah, and they're always surprised. It's like, "You own a cookbook store. How can you not know how to do this?"

Emily Calkins: I'm also a former vegetarian, and I was a vegetarian in high school, and college, and a little bit after, and that's when I learned how to cook, so it's the same thing. It's like, oh my god, I have to carve this chicken now. My husband's like, “I just really want a steak for my birthday.” I'm like, I don't know how to cook a steak."

Lara Hamilton: Yeah, exactly.

Emily Calkins:  Do you want an elaborate cake? No problem, but that's a whole ... We're always learning, right?

Lara Hamilton: Absolutely.

Britta Barrett: Are there any Pacific Northwest authors who you think really highlight the bounty of our region?

Lara Hamilton: Oh there are so many. Well. Renee Erickson. I think her book, A Boat, A Whale and a Walrus, really beautifully captures the produce and the sort of basically everything we have available in the northwest. She again kind of takes that seasonal menu approach to the book, and it's just really lovely, comforting food that sort of uses all of our star ingredients. I mentioned Jerry Traunfeld's book. I think that's wonderful. Jonathan Sundstrom's Lark book is sort of a quintessential guide to Northwest cuisine. Tom Douglas wrote Seattle Kitchen I think in 2000. I mean, that book is a classic as far as I'm concerned. I mean, it's got several go-to recipes in it that I've been making ever since I first bought the book. There are so many. Then you've got authors like Rachel Yang and Hsiao-Ching Chou, who are sort of using the northwest produce, but they have other great traditions on top of that. Rachel is Korean and Hsiao-Ching Chou is Chinese, and so they bring their backgrounds which are also kind of quintessentially Seattle as well.

Britta Barrett: Final question. KUOW recently threw out to its listeners and readers if there was one Seattle dish, like our version of the Philly cheese steak, that Seattle should be known for, what do you think is an iconic Seattle food? Their stipulation was you can't say the hot dog that has cream cheese on it.

Lara Hamilton: You can't say that?

Britta Barrett: Yeah.

Lara Hamilton: See, it's so funny because I didn't grow up here, but what I would say is teriyaki.

Britta Barrett: Yeah. I was so surprised when I found out that, I believe it was started here.

Lara Hamilton: It was invented here basically, yeah. I mean, I moved here from the Midwest, whenever I moved here. I was really taken aback by how many places basically just sold chicken teriyaki, and I was like, what is the deal? You know, I expected to see certainly a broader set of ethnic restaurants, but there was this very specific dish that seemed like it was everywhere. Yeah, I would say that's probably, I would say that is our dish.

Emily Calkins: I want to see a teriyaki renaissance in Seattle, because you're right. I didn't grow up here, but I came here a lot as a child, and I feel like they used to be everywhere. Now they kind of have gone away.

Lara Hamilton: They have, yeah.

Emily Calkins: I want to see teriyaki come back. That's what I was going to say too, is teriyaki.

Lara Hamilton: Yeah. There's a place that just opened on the corner basically, here in Fremont, right up from Book Larder, that is called Fremont Bowl, and they have teriyaki. It's pretty good. They could be out there helping revive it alongside the poke. That's their other big thing.

Emily Calkins: Yeah. Well thanks so much for being with us today.

Lara Hamilton: Yeah, of course. Thank you. It was my pleasure.


Emily Calkins:  Another Ten to Try reading challenge category is, read a book suggested by KCLS staff. To help you cross of two categories at the same time, we'll share the best books about food that we've been reading lately. My first pick is What She Ate, by Laura Shapiro. This is six sort of mini-biographies of notable women that focus on what the women ate and didn't who they ate with, how they cooked, and all of these details about food in their life. The women included are Dorothy Wordsworth, the poet's sister. Edwardian chef, Rosa Lewis. Eleanor Roosevelt. Eva Braun, Hitler's consort. Author Barbara Pym, and Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor of Cosmo. Shapiro uses documents from journals, and menus to reconstruct the culinary lives of these women. The book is full of fascinating insights that you might not get in other places. For example, the Roosevelt White House was known for being a terrible, terrible place to eat at. Everyone in Washington, DC knew that if you wanted a good meal, steer clear of the White House. Yet, Eleanor refused to have the chef fired. Read the book to learn why. My next pick is The Cooking Gene, by Michael Twitty, a journey through African-American culinary history in the old South. I should start by confessing I haven't actually read this, but it's been on my to-read list for a while, and since it won the James Beard Award for both writing and book of the year this year, I feel confident recommending it anyway. The author is a blogger and a food historian, and the book follows his travels through the south, looking at the culinary history especially of enslaved people and the way that it impacted Southern cuisine in general. It combines elements of genealogy, memoir and food writing. It sounds fascinating, sobering and delicious, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Britta Barrett: Some of my favorite food books include Cherry Bombe, which is a cookbook based on a magazine of the same name. They strive to support women in the world of food by sharing their stories. This cookbook highlights stories and recipes from amazing women you might know, like Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef, icons like Martha Stewart, but also supermodels. For example, you can learn to make Karlie Kloss's spicy ginger cookies, or Chrissy Teigen's crab and avocado rolls. There are also recipes from some of my favorite restaurateurs, like local chef Renee Erickson, Jessica Koslow of Squirrel in LA, and Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. There's a little passage in the introduction that I think sums it up perfectly. “We prefer a recipe that's the equivalent of a sweater borrowed from a girlfriend, a dog-eared book your sister lent you, or the weird knickknack that belonged to your grandmother. Dependable, interesting, nostalgia-inducing, and maybe even a little quirky.” I think that just sounds so lovely. Another one of my favorites is Hot Dog Taste Test, which is this irreverent, hilarious book from Lisa Hanawalt, an artist who has published graphic novels, but is probably best known as a producer and designer for the Netflix series Bojack Horseman. I fell in love with Lisa's drawings when they were gracing the pages of the now-defunct food magazine Lucky Peach. Hot Dog Taste Test is gratefully not about the titular subject but instead contains things like her James Beard Award Winning illustrated story when she followed a chef around the city of New York tasting all of the delicious street food it had to offer. She also provides David Chang approved baking tips, advice on which wine pairs well with a good cry, and has some controversial thoughts about eggs.

Emily Calkins: What is a controversial thought about eggs?

Britta Barrett: Well she agrees with me, which is that the eggs most people love are the worst ones.

Emily Calkins: What? I must know more.

Britta Barrett:  A poached egg.

Emily Calkins:  What?

Britta Barrett: It's my nightmare. Just like the goo. I know that people love to even just like take Instagram videos of them like cutting into it at brunch, but it's not for me, and not for her.

Emily Calkins: Shame. I think a poached egg is a delicious egg.

Britta Barrett: Most people would agree.

Emily Calkins: You are not wrong. That's a controversial thought about eggs for sure.


Britta Barrett: Thanks for listening! You can find all the books mentioned in today's episode in our show notes. 

Emily Calkins: The Desk Set is hosted by librarians Britta Barrett and Emily Calkins, produced by Britta Barrett, and brought to you by the King County Library System. 

Britta Barrett: If you like the show, be sure to subscribe, rate, and review us on Apple Podcasts.