Bread & Brew: Feed your soul with these cookbooks
There's something about a beautiful cookbook that feeds the soul, even if we never intend to use any of the recipes.
To many, cookbooks provide more than just instruction. Their photos, stories and personality-driven prose are a source of creativity, wonder and inspiration — a unique expression of the passion, comfort and joy that food has the power to bring.
One of those newest cookbooks to hit the shelves is from the chef/owner of Kachka restaurant, which has become an acclaimed hotspot since launching in Southeast Portland in 2014, with a second location to open in 2018.
"Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking," by chef/owner Bonnie Frumkin Morales and Deena Prichep (Flatiron Books, $40), goes on sale nationwide Nov. 14.
The first cookbook of Russian recipes to be published in the United States in nearly 30 years, this 400-page volume serves up traditional family classics, as well as some of Kachka's signature dishes.
Most of the recipes — including a full chapter on dumplings and one on spirit infusions — have not been published until now.
From the Frumkin family's journey from Belarus to the United States during the Soviet era, to the varied political, cultural and geographic forces at play across the Russian table, the cookbook's stories and sidebars reveal a deeper meaning behind each bite.
In these pages, Morales explores how smoked fish, cultured dairy and a shot of vodka can be celebratory, elegant and as easy as meat and potatoes. It's both rooted in the past, and playful and modern.
To celebrate the cookbook release, Kachka will hold two intimate dinner seatings at the restaurant on Nov. 14 with Morales and her own family members telling stories throughout the night. The seatings will be at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at Kachka, 720 S.E. Grand Ave.
At $100 per person, they'll include dinner, five vodka infusion pairings, a signed copy of the book and gratuity.
• It was a big year for other Portland cookbooks as well.
More than 20 local cookbook authors — chefs, bartenders and other industry experts — will be on hand Sunday, Dec. 3, to sign copies of their own books, just in time to kick off holiday shopping.
The fifth annual Holiday Cookbook Social will take place noon-2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at the mezzanine of Headwaters restaurant, 1001 S.W. Broadway (in the Heathman Hotel). It's free, open to the public, and there'll be signed books and beverages available for purchase. It's hosted by James Beard Award-winning Chef Vitaly Paley and the Portland Culinary Alliance.
From chilies to cheese, meat to soup, Korean to Russian to Southern soul food and around the world again, the books showcase the best of local cuisine.
Many also will serve complimentary bites or samples straight from the pages of their cookbooks.
Authors attending to sign their books include:
Heather Arndt Anderson, "Chillies: A Global History;" "Portland: A Food Biography"
Andrea Bemis, "Dishing Up the Dirt"
Danielle Centoni, "Portland Cooks"
Katherine Cole, "Rose All Day; How to Fake Your Way through a Wine List"
Liz Crain, "Hello My Name
is Tasty; Food Lover's Guide to Portland"
Lynn Curry, "Meat Cookbook"
John Gorham, "Hello, My Name is Tasty; Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull"
Janie Hibler, "Wild About Game;" "Dungeness Crabs and Blackberry Cobblers;" "The Berry Bible"
Martha Holmberg, "Six Seasons;" "Bar Books and Plums," "Modern Sauces" and "Short Stack"
Meri Kemp and Carey Portzline, "Thread & Whisk"
Karen Locke, "High-Proof PDX"
Claudia Lucero, "One Hour Cheese"
Ivy Manning, "Quick Soups from Scratch;" "Better from Scratch;" "Crackers and Dips"
Josh McFadden, "Six Seasons"
Diane Morgan, "Salmon;" "Roots: The Definitive Compendium With More Than 225 Recipes"
Naomi Pomeroy, "Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking"
Deena Prichep, "Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking"
Laura Russell, "Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen," "Brassicas"
Jess Thompson, "A Year Right Here;" "My Rice Bowl"
Cheryl Wakerhauser, "Modern French Pastry"
Rachel Yang, "My Rice Bowl"