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Washington Reads (Summer 2006) - The Tastes of Washington

As we begin to enjoy the sunshine and rain of another Washington summer, I look forward to the fresh and abundant flavors of the Pacific Northwest. The Tastes of Washington, this quarter's Washington Reads theme, is inspired by the season's senses. From farmers markets to gourmet grocery stores and restaurants, residents and tourists discover and enjoy unique fresh produce, seafood, and other culinary delights. In exploring this idea, I discovered many books, including novels and children's books, which incorporate food, particularly food typical of Washington fare. Some selections discuss life in historical times through the acquisition, preservation, and preparation of daily meals.

A future Tastes of Washington II will explore the many incredible recipe books which feature food abundant in the Northwest.

Adult
An image of the book cover, Bread Alone. Hendricks, Judith Ryan. Bread Alone.

This debut novel is well-crafted and very readable, as is its sequel, The Baker's Apprentice. The story, characters, and relationships ring true. The novel provides a bonus of real bread making techniques and wonderful bread recipes.

An image of the book cover, Feasting and Fasting with Lewis & Clark Holland, Leandra Zim. Feasting and Fasting with Lewis & Clark: A Food and Social History of the Early 1800s.

This captivating and comprehensive narrative of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the food that fueled the journey, is grounded in extensive research. From the President's gourmet cooking to the banquets served by the tribes, it is a highly readable account of the culture of food in the 1800s. The inclusion of maps and illustrations makes this a solid reference work

Cover art credit:J.K. Ralston, courtesy: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial/NPS

An image of the book cover, Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries. Kirchner, Bharti. Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries.

A story of pastry wars in Seattle, with a young, Indian-American, pastry chef who is both flawed and endearing. Her remarkable relationships and self-discovery weave an interesting and delicious plot.

Young Adult
An image of the book cover, The Way We Ate: Pacific Northwest Cooking, 1843-1900 Williams, Jacqueline B. The Way We Ate: Pacific Northwest Cooking, 1843-1900.This is an accurate look at the drama of pioneer life in the Pacific Northwest through their food. The author takes a comprehensive look at: the history; the equipment including ice boxes and Dutch Ovens; the ingredients, with water and flour as staples; and the methods, including picking, drying and preserving; and more.
Children
An image of the book cover, Nineteenth-Century Lumber Camp Cooking. Fischer, Maureen M. Nineteenth-Century Lumber Camp Cooking.

This book discusses the daily life in early Pacific Northwest logging camps. Children can learn about history and make the food with recipes from the camps. Abundant photographs and illustrations help to bring history to life, and additional sources and “words to know” sections are helpful. Grades 3-6.

An image of the book cover, Lying Awake.  Illustrated by Christine McCroskey. Furbush, Helen. Lying Awake. Illustrated by Christine McCroskey.

This is a charming story set on Lanie's grandfather's boat, with an eight-year-old listening to the sounds of the marina and recalling her tide flats adventures with her grandfather. The words are set to the rhythmic rocking of the boat, and accompanied by beautiful watercolor pictures. Children learn about cooking on a boat, along with the recipe for the grandfather's molasses crinkle cookies. This is an engaging book to read with children. Ages 6+