I have found myself, as of late, fascinated with the story of poets, true or fictionalized. Detailed accounts of their everyday lives. Think stories by Bolano, Hemmingway, or Fitzgerald. I am reading “The Book of Salt” because it touches on two of my favorite interests: Vietnamese culture and the lives of poets. And it was a gift from my mother. She knows me damn well!
This book explores the kitchen lives of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Tolkas. One vacation in San Miguel de Allende I read through Tolkas’ Aromas and Flavors of the Past and Present as if it were a book of poetry and collected words of flavor, spice, and food treasures from around the world. So in full circle, I am now reading this lush and lustful account of the Parisian kitchen manned by Trac. It is lovely and spellbinding. It is layered and complex much like the poetry of Stein and much like the recipes of Tolkas. Read The New York Times book review here.