Book Reviews

Third Thursday Potluck Cookbook
by Nancy Vienneau

Mint Tea & Minarets
by Kitty Morse

Prospero’s Kitchen
by Diana Farr Louis and June Marino

Mushroom: A Global History
by Cynthia Bertelsen

One Straw Revolution
by Masanobu Fukuoka

Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie
by Peggy Wolff

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
by Annia Ciezadlo

unrest
by Chloe Yelena Miller

The Hungry Ear
by Kevin Young

Best Food Writing 2012
by Holly Hughes

Dinner: a Love Story
by Jenny Rosenstrach

My Kitchen Wars
by Betty Fussell

American Cookery
by Laura Kalpakian

Apron Anxiety
by Alyssa Shelasky

Cucina Povera
by Pamela Sheldon Johns

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen
by Laurie Colwin

The Social Life of Coffee
by Brian Cowan

The Raw and the Cooked
by Jim Harrison

Modernist Cuisine
by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet

Horsemen of the Esophagus
by Jason Fagone

Coffee Philosophy for Everyone
by Scott F. Parker and Michael W. Austin

Corked
by Kathryn Borel

Food Rules
by Michael Pollan

On Reading
by Rilke and Ruskin

America the Edible
by Adam Richman

Interview with the author of Party Girls,
Diane Goodman

Death Warmed Over
by Lisa Rogak

How to Cook a Crocodile
by Bonnie Lee Black

Great Food,
All Day Long

by Maya Angelou

Love Bites: Marital Skirmishes in the Kitchen
by Christopher Hirst

Best Food Writing 2011
edited by Holly Hughes

Balzac's Omelette
by Anka Muhlstein

The Little House Cookbook
by Barbara M. Walker

Muffins and Mayhem
by Suzanne Beecher

As Always, Julia:
The Letters of Julia Child and Avis De Voto

More...

Boozehound
by Jason Wilson

The Particular Sadness
of Lemon Cake

by Aimee Bender

The Bluberry Years
by Jim Minick

Livingston and the Tomato
by A. W. Livingston

Tomatoland
by Barry Estabrook

Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey
by Robert V. Camuto

Best Food Writing 2010 edited
by Holly Hughes

Curry
by Lizzie Collingham

Four Fish
by Paul Greenberg

The Physiology
of Taste

by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Far Flung
and Well Fed

by R. W. Apple, Jr.

The Food of a Younger Land
by Mark Kurlansky

The Dirty Life
by Kristin Kimball

Ratio
by Michael Ruhlman

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers
by Jessica Theroux

Blood, Bones & Butter
by Gabrielle Hamilton

Candyfreak
by Steve Almond

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
by Alice B. Toklas

Medium Raw
by Anthony Bourdain

Appetite City
by William Grimes

Twain's Feast
by Andrew Beahrs

97 Orchard
by Jane Ziegelman

Born Round
by Frank Bruni

Cakewalk
by Kate Moses

Full English by
Tom Parker Bowles

Following Fish by
Samanth Subramanian

Eating Animals by
Jonathan Safran Foer

Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese
by Eric LeMay

For You, Mom. Finally
by Ruth Reichl

Farm City
by Novella Carpenter

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant
edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

I ♥ Macarons
by Hisako Ogita

The Hamburger
by Josh Ozersky

Best Food Writing 2009 edited
by Holly Hughes

Gastrology
by Archestratos

Eat, Memory edited by Amanda Hesser

Eat My Globe
by Simon Majumdar

Eating
by Jason Epstein

What We Eat When We Eat Alone
by Deborah Madison

The Sweet Life
in Paris

by David Lebovitz

Modern Spice
by Monica Bhide

 

by Nancy Vienneau
Thomas Nelson, 2014
320 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4016-0517-9

Review by Paulette Licitra

Have you ever been to a potluck? Sure you have. Anyone who is interested in food (not just to eat, but to get in a little deeper) is VERY curious about potlucks. Especially the kind where you don’t know what’s coming. You can watch the serving table as it fills up with dishes and each dish is a big surprise. The fun of seeing the menu fill in and then tasting everyone’s creations is hard to beat.

The personalities of cooks vary as much as fingerprints do. That’s the thrill for me. Personality comes out in the food. A cooked dish is so sincerely, authentically the mark of the person who cooked it.

So imagine having this fun every third Thursday of every month. In Nashville, TN, five years ago, Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins teamed up to host a third Thursday potluck and invited friends and community to join in. And it’s still going strong. The Third Thursday Potluck is a much-anticipated event every month at either Nancy or Gigi’s house. I’m lucky enough to be a participant and enjoy deciding what to cook and bring. And then joining in the fun, the buzz, and chatter of all the potluckers. The ooh’s and aah’s over every dish reveal. The moment when we’re summoned to line up and dig in.

Now we have a cookbook to match! Nancy—who is the Tennessean’s restaurant reviewer, a former caterer, and stellar writer with many other credits —has pulled together recipes of five years of Third Thursday potlucking. Teresa Blackburn, a Third Thursday potlucker and killer food stylist, worked on the book, too. With jump-out photography by Mark Boughton.

The recipes span many types of cuisines, many personalities and showcase each cook’s personal inventiveness. In a way it’s a cookbook of many cooks: Gigi’s Italian-American Fortune Cookies, Jessi’s German Pretzels with Spicy Old-World Mustard, Cathey’s Euphoric Raspberry Mojitos, Joy’s Slow-Roasted Romas, Brian’s Purple Hull Peas with Pork Belly. Often recipes settle into the South easily since that is where all the ingredients (and many of the folks) come from: Mark’s Sticky Onion Oven-Barbequed Chicken, Maggie’s Best Skillet Buttermilk Cornbread, Crab Macaroni and Cheese, The Local Burger. Potluck dishes emphasize the local bounty of the area and also spotlight organic and sustainable produce: Mustard Greens Salad, Kale Caesar, Butternut Squash & Leek Lasagna, Let’s Get Figgy Cocktail.

The recipes shine beautifully (you literally want to make each one), but so does Nancy’s writing. The intro to each chapter sets the scene, makes you feel a part of this potluck, and invites you to do the same kind of sharing and fun in your town.

“The connection is a love of cooking and sharing good food—emphasis on sharing. At the potluck you could meet a food stylist, community gardener, writer, caterer, or food journal publisher, but also a nurse, real estate broker, architect, musician, philosophy student and organic soap maker. It’s always different, just like the food!”

Get the cookbook. Immerse in the experience. Start your own potluck.