Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya Von Bremzen. This was a fascinating memoir, in which Anya goes through several decades of Russian history, discussing the impact of events on her relatives and herself. She does much of this reminiscing through the lens of food, which I found very creative. It was a moving and eye-opening book, and reading about life under the regimes of Stalin and Lenin was very sad. This book was a bit heavier on the history than I thought it would be, and there were a lot of historical facts to keep track of, but it was extremely interesting! (although I could have done without some of the sexual references) It also made me realize how I should really appreciate all of the food that I have-on a whim, I can drive a block to the grocery store and buy bananas, which were a treat for many people in the USSR. My cupboards are full of incredibly tasty food, where so many people in the Soviet Union-even withian the past several years!-had nothing. I recommend this book to adults who love food and are interested in learning more about Russian history and culture.
Mastering the Art of French Eating, by Ann Mah. Ann's husband is a diplomat, and when the two of them are sent to live in Paris for his work, she is delighted...until her husband's assignment is suddenly changed, and he's sent to work in a war zone while she stays in Paris. At her husband's encouragement, Ann decides to visit various regions of France to learn about the food there. This book spoke to my creative nonfiction-loving heart. I loved seeing Ann travel around and talk with locals in small cities about the food which they made and loved. This book included recipes for the food that she ate, which I thought was cool, too. I recommend this book to people who love food, love France, or love creative nonfiction.