Charming journal of three globe-hopping months, largely around Southeast Asia, by a pair of seasoned food professionals.
With five James Beard awards and more than a dozen cookbooks and travel guides under their belts, the Jamisons in 2005 cashed in years of frequent-flyer miles and planned an itinerary guided by nostalgia, curiosity and, most importantly, taste buds. They started in Bali, where the couple reminisced about their honeymoon there 20 years earlier, participated in a cremation ritual and sampled traditional smoked duck in the home of their driver. Their exploration of the Australian wine country came alive under the guidance of a series of welcoming local farmers and vinters, and they splurged on some five-star dining in Sydney. Singapore stood out largely for the abundance of street vendors dishing out everything from oyster omelets to banana fritters. The next stop was Thailand, where they happily navigated the produce markets of Chiang Mai with a fellow culinary enthusiast and tried to dodge tourist traps in Bangkok and Phuket. They took a memorable houseboat trip (complete with professional chef) in southern India and hosted an impromptu cooking demonstration in China before fleeing Asia for South Africa. There, they went on a safari cookout and sampled the unique fusion cuisine of Cape Town. No culinary journey would be complete without a stop in France, and for the Jamisons that meant returning to their favorite inn, La Riboto de Taven in Provence. Finally, the couple headed to Brazil for a special stay in Salvador, vibrant capital of Creole culture. Despite their distinguished stature in the food world, husband and wife write with a wonderfully humble, familiar touch that makes world travel seem as accessible as it is exciting.
The appealing Jamisons prove themselves consummate guides to culinary travel.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)