6 Rhody Reads About Food & Drink

Feast your eyes on these picks with local connections

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Food, glorious food! Rhode Island is a haven for anyone who loves culinary delights thanks to a host of internationally recognized chefs and restaurants. Add to the mix fresh seafood from our shores, an abundance of produce from small local farms, and multicultural entrepreneurs consistently bringing new flavors to the table, resulting in a range of amazing dining experiences. This month’s Rhody Reads highlights contributions to the food scene by six local authors. You’ll find something for every literary appetite, from the historian to the connoisseur.

Rhode Islanders love nostalgia. We still give directions by where things used to be – the old Almacs, for example. David Norton Stone embraces this passion for the past with Lost Restaurants of Providence, a celebration of some of the culinary landmarks in our shared history. Join Stone in reminiscing about the amazing meatloaf at Downcity Diner (both locations) and the salad bar at the Barnsider’s Mile and a Quarter. He’ll leave you hungry for more.

Take a fictional look at the rise (and fall?) of a star chef with The Cold Side of the Grill by local restaurateur Nick Rabar. One-half of the team behind the Avenue N kitchens in both Rumford and Providence, Rabar tells the story of Jack Cahill and his journey to success at New York City’s most anticipated restaurant, Byzantine. It’s an insider’s glimpse into what happens behind the scenes and the sacrifices that come along with making it to the big time.

“What would you like to drink?” can be one of the hardest questions to answer, depending on your mood and tastes. But the right beverage can turn an ordinary evening into an extraordinary one. Grab your cocktail shaker and try something new with a little help from Shannon Mustipher’s Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails. The RISD grad and mixologist puts a modern spin on classics including the Mai Tai and the Daiquiri, plus lesser-known delights like the Bombo. 

In the Ocean State, we have access to some of the richest, freshest seafood in the world. However, we have barely begun to tap into the diversity of the North Atlantic Ocean. There’s more to life than cod and calamari. Simmering the Sea: Diversifying Cookery to Sustain Our Fisheries was produced through a partnership between URI, the nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem, and JWU College of Culinary Arts. Written by Sarah Schumann, Kate Masury, and Marie-Joelle Rochet with recipes by Rizwan Ahmed, the book focuses on place-based cuisine, highlighting the culinary and ecological reasons to enjoy recipes incorporating local delicacies like dogfish, skates, and kelp. Dive in and taste for yourself.

Whether you love it or hate it, the grocery store is an essential part of the food system in America. In Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America, journalist (and husband of Rhode Island author Ann Hood) Michael Ruhlman explores the relationship between where we shop and how we eat, a connection we often take for granted. How do we know when we’re  choosing freely and when we’re behaving exactly like retailers hope we will? Let Ruhlman take you down the aisles of this American institution.

True Rhode Islanders appreciate Linda Beaulieu’s Providence & Rhode Island Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Ocean State for showing how to make their favorite local recipes the correct way. Beaulieu has been writing about food since 1983 (including for our sister magazines) and her expertise on the subject of local cuisine shines through in this book. Along with each course, readers learn a little more about our culinary history and enjoy the crisp bold photography of Al Weems. Explore the biggest little state with this delightful gastronomic tour.

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