Friday, January 14, 2011

Addie Broyles, What Are You Reading?

A couple of years ago, I read an article on that ended with a call to local food bloggers to send the names of their sites to the author. That was written by our very own Addie Broyles, the food writer for The Austin American-Statesman. Shortly thereafter, I met Addie in person and because of her started meeting several of the other Austin food bloggers. Addie writes Relish Austin which is a printed column for the Statesman and also a blog on She was recently named one of the top 10 people to watch in Austin in 2011, and she was picked as the top local food celebrity by The Austin Chronicle. Addie is also hosting a new public television show called Austin Supper Club. They’ve just wrapped shooting for the first episode, and it should air on KLRU later this year. After doing so well at bringing together the Austin food bloggers, Addie will present the panel “Building Community in a Blogger-Eat-Blogger Word” later this spring at SXSWi. She’s busier than ever these days, but I was able to grab a moment of her time to ask what are you reading?

Farm City by Novella Carpenter
I'm a little late in reading Novella Carpenter's excellent memoir about how she and her boyfriend created an urban farm in a less-than-stellar part of Oakland. Rather than start from the moment she became a gardener and backyard chicken fanatic, she starts the book from when she's already relatively experienced in producing her own food. Her writing really carries the book; there have been dozens of similar books about people discovering their love of growing and producing food that have come out in recent years, but hers has been the most enjoyable to read.

Rocky Comfort by Wayne Holmes
Talk about off the radar. Wayne Holmes is a noted storyteller and author who grew up in the same small town in southwest Missouri that I did. He is still living outside Aurora, pop. 7,000, where he wrote this memoir of what it was like growing up in rural Missouri during the Depression.

It was an honor to be hand-gifted this book from Wayne at my grandmother's 80th birthday party last year, where I got a chance to ask him some food-related questions about his youth. This was a time when, if you didn't have much money, you lived off the land, which means you ate off the land. His family regularly ate possum, rabbits and squirrel they killed, and his retelling of killing a jackrabbit for Thanksgiving reminded me of why I so loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books that were written about a time only 70 years before Holmes was born. He captures the language and spirit of Missourians in a way I've never read before ("Even the littlest squirrel or rabbit will make the gravy stink," he writes about killing young wild animals.) and that made me find a new appreciation for the state I call home but don't know if I'll ever live in again.

High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking by J.M. Hirsch.
Cookbook-wise, I've been enjoying this book from J.M. Hirsch, who is the Associated Press food editor. He's a gifted recipe writer and, because he is a busy working parent, too, he knows the pressures that families face when trying to come up with weeknight meals. The book has tons of quick, easy and (here's the tricky part) inventive recipes that I feel like cooking after a long day of work.

Thank you for participating, Addie. Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.


  1. I am interested in reading the book about the urban farmer, less about the guy who ate squirrels although i am sure just as worthy of reading. Thanks for this weekly column, Lisa, it is a wonderful way to keep abreast of what is going on literary-food circle wise!

  2. Me too :) I love getting these updates, I'd love to read the Urban Farmers story, sounds interesting - in my fantasy world I imagine I could get into growing things but the fact that most of the pots in my courtyard haven't even been planted out for spring, let alone summer kinda tells me I'll never get around to it... :) But, a girl can dream can't she!!

  3. That high flavor, low labor cookbook is one that I really need to get my hands on! Quick meals are a must when I really should be spending my time studying, but I do NOT want to skimp on flavor!

  4. The urban farming book is on my nightstand to start as soon as I finish the Mondavi epic. What great and diverse reads here. I look forward to checking out the others.


Blogging tips