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"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal
Each chapter tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity.
"Parisian Points of View" by Ludovic Halevy is a collection of nine short stories by a largely forgotten 19th century French author. His writing is clever and really quite descriptive, but be warned that if you do not have some understanding of France's political and dynastic issues of the period, you will not understand many of the references and his clever wit. My favorite story was "The Story of a Ball-Dress", which is the original idea of history being told by the costume of the characters, instead of the characters themselves. Well worth taking a look at this book, I think...
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