Summer Reading Lists

So, it's officially June, and that means one thing for certain: the A/C will likely be no match for the ungodly sweltering summer heat about to inflict us here in Nashville.

I know, it's not Mississippi/downright Deep and Dirty South, but it's already 90 degrees here today and I just don't think I have another heat-induced hissy fit left in me. My 28 years in this humid-ass place known as the South have used up those sweaty tantrums.

Luckily, my favorite summer pastime known as Being Lazy as all Get Out is already in full swing, with my first session turning out better than expected yesterday evening. With an icy beverage within reach on the coffee table and a supplemental box fan running at full-speed on my outstretched form on the couch, I held court in the living room with a couple books to while away the sultry night.

I present to you the first of several, the one, the only....

Summer Reading Lists for Those of Us Who Really Like our Food, MmmKay?

1) The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, by David Kamp.
I'm only several chapters in, but it's evident that this guy did his research. Starting out in 1939 USA when no such thing as a "foodie" or even food journalist existed, Kamp maps out how Americans wound up with a fondness for all things artisan. Think Williams-Sonoma. Think Dean & DeLuca. Think I'm gonna need to whore myself out to afford all this food-kind of places.

2) A Stew or a Story: An Assortment of Short Works by M. F. K. Fisher and Joan Reardon
I already finished this one, but if you're aren't familiar with the late California food aficionado Fisher, you're due to discover her charm and wit. She's the kind of woman I would have loved to have saddled up to at a cocktail party in the 1940s.

3) Any of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks, particularly Feast:Food to Celebrate Life and Forever Summer. This woman can not only cook and look ravishing while doing so, but she's a clever writer as well. Also a person I wouldn't mind getting chummy with at a party. I made the Scandinavian vodka-marinated beef and boiled potatoes with dill from Feast and it rocked my world. It was the first cookbook I've ever checked out of a library that actually tempted me to consider the consequences of not returning it.

4) Cornbread Nation 4: The Best of Southern Food Writing Y'all get to a library and reserve this, y'hear? If you ever wondered what poke salad is, where to find some moonshine, a history of Southern Cola (with the terms of "Pop" and "Soda" defined), the delicate issue of race and class in Southern food, and other intriguing deep-fried, Moon Pied topics.

Stay tuned for more suggestions of what to read when it's hotter than Hades outside and you JUST CANNOT DEAL.