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Soups, Stews & Stories: An Investigative Reporter's Global Quest to Nourish the Soul (Hardcover)
First as an Army photographer, then as a reporter, Andy Schneider traveled the world. As he collected facts and photos, so he collected recipes. Hundreds of them. Lamb in Christchurch, New Zealand. Golden trout in Snake River, Idaho. Sweet potato pancakes in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Black ice lobster in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Wild mushroom soup in the Deschutes National Forest of Oregon. Hurricane vegetable paella in Homestead, Florida. Map Debat patriot stew in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Eggplant caponata in Palermo, Sicily.
When Andy cooked, the air was redolent of herbs, spices, browning butter and searing meat.
His descriptions of the kitchen's sounds and smells could border on the religious. "You must stir the roux constantly, '' he wrote, "never leaving the pot, not to pee, yell at the dogs or answer the door, until the roux is a dark, rich mahogany or chocolate in color. Anticipate a wonderful aroma when the roux is nearly just perfect...You could be looking at about 30 minutes depending on the heat. It seems to go faster with zydeco playing in the background.''
Bowls, cutting boards, pots, pans, jars, bottles, broth cans-all painted frequently in sauces and juices-littered the counters before dinner was served. Andy appeared to believe that the bigger the mess, the better the meal, especially if, borrowing from Tom Sawyer, he had friends around willing to clean up after him.
The dishes Andy collected were delicious, of course. But the stories that inspired them were delectable. Although he only got around to writing down a fraction of them-he had planned to publish this cookbook later-he shared them like condiments when guests remarked on a serving.
Soups, Stews & Stories: An Investigative Reporter's Global Quest to Nourish the Soul includes many of those stories, along with the recipes they led to. It is your posthumous invitation to sit at Andy's table.