We like consuming words on the page almost as much as we like consuming food on the plate. Welcome to the Scout Book Club: a brief and regular rundown of what we’re reading, what’s staring at us from the bookshelf begging to be read next, and what we’ve already read and recommend.
Foam of the Daze (aka: Froth on the Daydream), by Boris Vian | This French flapper-esque piece of sci-fi psychedelia, originally published in 1947 as L’Ecume des jours, contains some of the most vivid, inventive and disturbingly written portrayals of food that have crossed my eyeballs in recent memory: an errant eel is lured by flavoured toothpaste to a bathroom faucet, only to become the delicious main course of a chef-prepared meal; the nuance of a piano tune’s speed, volume and mood hammered out on the keyboard combine to produce its corresponding “pianocktail” concoction…to name just a couple of memorable passages. A good dose of humour (and a cast iron stomach) are a recommended prerequisite – but if you love literature and food, then do yourself a favour and read it, regardless. — Thalia Stopa, Contributing Editor
FIND IT: Getting your hands on a copy of this novel will require a bit of effort. If you’re up for the challenge, though, then a thorough tour of Vancouver’s used book stores is a good place to start. (Impatient? When last checked, Abe Books is well stocked with secondhand copies.)
The Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle (January 30th, 2018) | In The Culture Code, author Daniel Coyle covers the finer points of what bonds us together, including prominent themes of safety and vulnerability. Coyle effectively demonstrates his ideas by sharing captivating real-life examples of high-achieving teams who have mastered the art of group bonding. (As a longtime hospitality worker, competitive sports player, and obsessive NBA fan, his story about how the San Antonio Spurs use wine as a bonding elixir, and the chapter devoted to famed New York restaurateur, Danny Meyer, explaining his ethos on team stewardship, especially spoke to me.) Saying that The Culture Code is extraordinary and brilliant is not an exaggeration. Regardless of your relationship to the hospitality and sports industries, I think this book offers up insights that anyone will find invaluable. — Jamie Mah, Scout Contributor
NEXT UP: Savor: A Chef’s Hunger for More, by Fatima Ali with Tarajia Morrell | Food-lover and storyteller, Aman Dosanj (The Paisley Notebook), turned us on to this award-winning posthumously published memoir about a renown young Pakistan-born queer woman chef’s come-up, penned after being diagnosed with bone cancer. Not a light read by any means, by the sound of it, but one that we’re looking forward to digging into. — TS
FIND IT: As of time of publication, Savor is available as a special order from Massy Books.
Why You Should Grow Forgotten Food | Indigenous gardening, agricultural heritage, seed diversity, monoculture conspiracies – all themes covered in Joel Balsam’s in-depth story for Beside Magazine. Read it here.
Sandwich Magazine | The latest print issue is all about ice cream sandwiches. The perfect food for ice-cream- and sandwich-lovers, or complete sacrilege? No matter where you fall on the food purist scale, you’ll doubtless find something of interest in the backlog of Sandwich Magazine articles available online (plus plenty of inspiration for your picnic basket) here, including smart content on food sustainability, cool industry folk, food history, and global perspectives. — TS
Making the Case for (Moderate) Alcohol Consumption | A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing UBC Professor Edward Slingerland about his then-new book, Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization, for my Track & Food podcast series. This follow-up article, published on Medium on July 2nd, is Slingerland’s response to newfound regulatory pressure concerning the amount of alcohol one should drink, and a call to action for the hospitality industry to fight back. — JM
Talking with Peter Singer, Hero of the Animal Rights Movement | The Tyee picked up this lightly edited interview with pioneering author, Peter Singer (initially published in Yale Environment 360) where he discusses his recently updated and re-issued book, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals. The seminal animal rights book was initially published in 1975 and now, in 2023, is once again a relevant must-read. — JM
Undercooked: The Curious Case of TV’s Ur–Chef Show ‘Kitchen Confidential’ | The Ringer recently dropped a behind-the-scenes revisit of Kitchen Confidential, detailing why life in the kitchen can be a cruel beast, even on television. The ill-fated 2005 kitchen sitcom was based on Anthony Bourdain’s famous book of the same name, and starred (then-unknown) Bradley Cooper. — JM
WORD | tianguis: an open-air market or bazaar that is traditionally held on certain market days in a town or city neighbourhood in Mexico and Central America.
Got a book that you think we’d dig? Let us know in the comments below or by emailing thalia [at] scoutmagazine [dot] ca.