Good ole Literature

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I am an avid reader. I enjoy books from all genres, and figured I would share a few of these titles with all of you. First, because this is a food blog, and that’s why most of you are here, I would tell you of a few of the culinary texts that have inspired and helped me learn along the way…

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The first culinary book I read, at my mentor’s behest, was Soul of a Chef: Journey Towards Perfection by Michael Ruhlman. Telling the story of Michigan’s very own chef Brian Polcyn as he undergoes what many say to be the most prestigious and challenging week of any top tier chef, the Certified Master Chef Exam. This book is what turned the insignificant spark for cooking inside me into the fire that has lead me over the last few years.

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Hervé This, the father of molecular gastronomy, wrote two books that are essential to burgeoning creativity in an aspiring cook. Molecular Gastronomy, and Building a Meal are must-reads for anyone interested by the science of cooking good food.

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Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page have written several wonderful books, and the three I have found the most useful are Becoming a Chef, Culinary Artistry, and The Flavor Bible.

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However, the two books that have served as a reference point and daily studying text for me are The Silver Spoon and mostly, The Professional Chef 9th Edition from the Culinary Institute of America.

Now a list of my favorite non-cookbooks…

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Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. (MUST read)

Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Peaceful Warrior series and Laws of Spirit by Dan Millman

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward (first book I read, will always be a favorite)

Dunesaga by Frank Herbert

Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

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Villains by Necessity is a different take on the end of the world. In a land where good has won out against evil, and nearly everything is pure, a ragtag band of thieves and assassins set out to regain balance before the earth is sublimated and destroyed. An excellent tale about how realities shift based on perception.

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Most of these others are along the lines of spiritual/personal development books, which are all wonderful. But I must recommend that EVERYONE on read Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein’s masterpiece), Perennial Philosophy (Huxley’s comparative essay on the common ground in most religions),Dune, and The Sword of Truth.

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Those last two are beautifully written science fiction stories . In Dune, Herbert has created an entire Universe, with unique civilizations, cultures, religions, messianic myths, languages, and secret societies spanning millennia. No other story has ever been as far reaching or complex as this. As for The Sword of Truth, Goodkind has created a vivid and imaginative world to use as a vehicle for his very strong and clear views on the goodness of man and the nobility of the human spirit. I have, and will continue to, read these stories over and over again.

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“I swear, by my life and my love for it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

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