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A CHRISTMAS CAROL

 
 

Who doesn't love a good Christmas tale involving small acts of giving, that makes the heart swell. Only a Scrooge! So sit back a moment and let me tell you my favorite story from this holiday season. A few days before Christmas, a couple came in and asked if we had any books on Kiwifruit. We love a good challenge here, so my stalwart employee and I searched high and low throughout the shop, scanning every shelf until, voila! Jourdan triumphantly held up a thin 1980's New Zealand book all about cooking with Kiwifruit.

It was $7.95.
They didn't buy it.

I took my annoyance to Twitter, where all complaints go to live, and collective outrage soothes all wounds. A stranger weighed in that he was so scandalized, he would buy the book on principle, sight unseen. As he put it, "there's always something new to learn." I sent the book off to Boston, with a request that he simply send me a check for $7.95 plus a little postage. A photo from him on Twitter followed a few days later, with the book propped up next to his orange tabby and a roaring fire. I soon received a check for $30, with the note pictured here accompanying it. The pleasure he, I, and all the folks following the saga on Twitter experienced from this story was worth an entire crate of Kiwifruit. It epitomizes why I'm in this business; the generosity of food people, and the thirst for knowledge that defines book people is the best combination in the world. By the way, his handle is @WeLiveToServe, if you feel like giving him a follow. What a mensch.

Now, on to some end-of-year reports, namely our bestsellers. Folks, we have a record-breaking winner: we sold 865 copies of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by first-time author Samin Nosrat (and charmingly illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton). This is an incredible feat, and I couldn't be prouder of or happier for this dynamic duo. The book teaches readers why the four components of salt, fat, acid, and heat are necessary to successful cooking, and does it in a way that is neither overly simplistic or too scientific. It hits the mark perfectly. Runners up were Ottolenghi's Sweet (570 copies) and Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen Every Day (332 copies). David Lebovitz gets honorable mention for selling 200 copies of L'Appart in one day at his mobbed event. If that's not enough, I spoke about my favorite books, both old and new, in two radio interviews in January: KCRW's Good Food with Evan Kleiman, and KQED's California Report Magazine with Sasha Khoka.

Speaking of mobbed events, an unhappy customer who attended David's signing had some constructive criticism for me: she suggested that we hand out numbers to book buyers at standing-room-only events, so after the author speaks, everyone can line up fairly for the book signing portion. While most of our events are sit-down and lack a confusing scrum, she was absolutely right that our very crowded events can feel out of control, even when we pour whiskey to calm everyone down. So we will debut this method for Jacques Pepin's event in April and see how it goes!

We've got several great events during the month of January, and for the first time ever, we will close for a brief winter break, Jan. 18-23. I'd be lying if I said we were doing inventory then; I'm actually heading to the Sundance Film Festival with some friends. Meanwhile, I hope you'll stop by to enjoy some of our author talks. Have a Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Celia Sack, Owner
Omnivore Books on Food
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Upcoming Events at Omnivore Books

 

 

Sat. Jan. 13 • Marie Reginato • Alternative Vegan: Healthy Plant-Based Recipes That Break the Rules • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE.

Flexible vegans, look no further. Marie Reginato makes plant-based cooking more exciting with over 75 healthy recipes with the option of adding in seafood or eggs. Marie’s recipes are inspired by her healthy-cooking journey and allow for experimentation so you can make each dish your own. Recipes include Cupboard Curry, Minty-Pistachio Falafels, Veggie Filled Miso To-Go, Basil-Stuffed Zucchini Rolls, and Caramelized Fennel and Dill Cakes.

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Wed. Jan. 17 • Maricel Presilla. • Peppers of the Americas: The Remarkable Capsicums That Forever Changed Flavor. 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

This stunning visual reference to peppers now seen on menus, in markets, and beyond, showcases nearly 200 varieties (with physical description, tasting notes, uses for cooks, and beautiful botanical portraits for each). Following the cook's gallery of varieties, more than 40 on-trend Latin recipes for spice blends, salsas, sauces, salads, vegetables, soups, and main dishes highlight the big flavors and taste-enhancing capabilities of peppers. Presilla is the author of La Gran Cocina Latina & Chocolate.

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CLOSED FOR WINTER BREAK JAN. 18-23
 

 

 

Wed. Jan. 24 • Chitra Agrawal in conversation with Nik Sharma • Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

Lifelong vegetarian and chef Chitra Agrawal takes you on an epicurean journey to her mother’s hometown of Bangalore and back to Brooklyn, where she adapts her family’s South Indian recipes for home cooks. This particular style of Indian home cooking, often called the “yoga diet,” is light and fresh, yet satisfying and rich in bold and complex flavors. Grains, legumes, fresh produce, coconut, and yogurt—along with herbs, citrus, chiles, and spices—form the cornerstone of this delectable cuisine, rooted in vegetarian customs and honed over centuries for optimum taste and nutrition.

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Thurs. Jan. 25 • Jonathan Kauffman. Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food.

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Sat. Jan. 27 • Lori Rice • Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

In the age of craft beer, the varieties seem endless. From floral IPAs to rich porters and stouts, and tart lambic ales to gluten-free options, there is a beer for every taste. Food on Tap is an accessible guide to using these delicious brews to add complex flavor and exciting twists to classic and new recipes.

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OFF-SITE EVENT! Sun. Jan. 28 • Spirits Dinner with Thad Vogler at Camino! 5:00 p.m.

Join Bar Agricole owner Thad Vogler as we celebrate his memoir. In By the Smoke & the Smell, spirits expert Vogler takes readers around the world, celebrating the vivid characters who produce hand-made spirits like rum, scotch, cognac, and mezcal. From the mountains of Mexico and the forbidden distilleries of Havana, to the wilds of Scotland and the pastoral corners of France and beyond, this adventure will change how you think about your drink.Tickets here!

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Wed. April 18 • Jacques Pepin and his granddaughter, Shorey. A Grandfather's Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE.

Ever since she was very young, his granddaughter, Shorey, has loved “helping” him in the kitchen. Now that she is twelve, Jacques gives his charismatic pupil a short course on preparing “food that is plain, but elegant, and more than anything, fun.” In the process, he proves himself as inspiring to her as he is to the country’s greatest chefs.

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Omnivore Books on Food • 3885a Cesar Chavez Street • San Francisco, CA 94131
415.282.4712 • Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm