Here’s what I have on my nightstand as the weather turns chilly. What’s on your’s?

From Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens One of our favorite magazines, Cooks Country Magazine believes in heirloom cooking as much as we do. From readers’ family favorite recipes, Cooks Country tested and perfected recipes from around the country.

Woodswoman: Living Alone in the Adirondack Wilderness. This book is a treasure find from one of our fans. Anne LasBastille tells beautiful inspiring stories of living in the wilderness are inspiring and beautiful.

The Color of Rain This is a very personal choice of Josh’s. Over twenty years ago, he introduced his friends Matt and Gina, who fell in love and were married. Matt died of a rare cancer a few years ago, and this is the story of how Gina found love again through a miraculous “chance” encounter.

My Life in France by Julia Child This one is kinda a no brainer. If you haven’t read it yet, (and we’re embarrassed to admit we hadn’t either,) you must pick up this book. You can practically hear Julia’s enthusiastic voice as she described how she discovered her passion for food upon moving to France.

Comfort Me With Apples We’re huge Ruth Reichl fans. She combines two of our favorite things: good food and good memoir. Through divorce, remarriage, and childbirth, Reichl tells the story of her life in food.

Salt: A World History This is a fascinating book about how this kitchen staple has shaped and changed the course of human history.

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Reader Comments

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Phyllis Doverspike

Hey Josh,
I see you have Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me With Apples on your nightstand. I started with Tender at the Bone and read all of her books. It was interesting to me to follow her life through it’s different stages through to Not Becoming My Mother, where she comes to appreciate her mother as a person and celebrate the gift she had given Ruth of self actualization. From her I jumped to M F K Fisher’s Life in Letters. No, I don’t consider myself a busybody but I do like exploring where people’s life journeys have taken them and feel reading their correspondence helps to sort of fill in the gaps in the road map of their lives. Makes me ponder now that the internet has replaced the art of letter writing, the written correspondence trail will become lost.
If you liked Reichl’s books can I recommend Stuffed by Patricia Volk. It was very funny and also celebrates family food traditions even if it is a restaurant family from NY City. Then there is always Toast by Nigel Slater. An extremely funny read though though bittersweet as well. Like Reichl, it tells the story of how he ends up following his life’s passion with food which is amazing since both of their mothers had been terrible cooks. The books is much better than the movie by the way. I have moved on Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin. It looks promising so far I like it’s unpretentious approach to eating a well and varied diet in an attempt to resurrect the family dinner hour. I love stories about food memories and family traditions so we’ll see how it works out. Another great food memoir to read is A Home Made Life by Molly Wizenberg. Great story and contains great recipes! Tried and true. Sorry to run on for so long about books but they are good ones. Thanks for sharing your reads as well. Phyllis

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Ainee Beland

Thank you for sharing book list. I read many things; at times seemingly not always understanding what I am reading. Since I am researching and trying to maintain a blog on tea; I try to include a book review to do with tea. Currently, I am trying to muddle through reading Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata; vehicle in the book is the tea ceremony and this birth mark being sported by Chikako, tea hostess whose fate in life is as a sexless being and never to be married or have children because of this birthmark. Also, there is the grieving widow with daughter and must pawn her off to someone at the tea gathering. It is emotional for me at times, this read, and Hawthorne lurks in all good reads, scarlet.

I wish someone could ask: what is wrong with this person (me/I)? For June read I have selected The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens. Perhaps a better read. 😉

______________________

I need a life.

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Lois Brody

Just finished THE BUCOLIC PLAGUE last night.Fantastic! It was our monthly book club selection for "Alpine Book Babes". Off now to a great discussion(and lots of food). Hope someone brings the "Pink Stuff"!

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Andrea

I just started Out of Africa, but had held off on it to read The Bucolic Plague. I live in a small house with a small garden in Portland, Oregon, but my Dad's family is from the area where you live. My Dad and several of his siblings were born in Cooperstown and my amazing grandparents live right down the road from you in Springfield Center. They live a simple, quiet life and grow and preserve a lot of their own food. Much of what I have come to espouse as an adult (in terms of focusing on family, healthy food, exercise, and maintaining a strong connection to my community) comes from my grandparents, which they learned from growing up where and when they did. They are well into their 80s and are healthy and strong. Thank you for sharing your story and for giving me a little window to a place (and a people) I love dearly.

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Phillip Collette

Haha! I am nowhere near as well read as you. But I did fall in love with Julia Child after watching the movie Julie and Julia.

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Eunhee Rim

I picked up your book at Barnes & Nobles a couple of weeks ago and just finished it last night. I was curious of your book because of what you would be talking about…playing outside. I immediately fell in love with your writing and everything you loved about living in Sharon Springs. Growing vegetables in a little vegetable garden in our backyard is the only way that I can truly connect with home, Korea from the East Coast. It felt like I was there when you talked about how you cherished and enjoyed the first Cherokee Purple for your lone birthday meal. By the way, I am so excited about your website to come back to continue with my reading!

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Ken

My loss for being so late to this blog posting, but Hit By A Farm, Catherine Friend, is a favorite of mine. I kept thinking of it while I read Bucolic. Thanks for the books, site, and for sharing your stories with us!

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Kathleen Perry

I just finished your book! Loved, loved, loved it and so glad to be able to continue visiting you on your website! Your life is so interesting. As a teenager I worked on a family fruit and vegetable farm. Those were some of the best years of my life.

You may enjoy reading The Language of Flowers. An interesting story about a foster child who evolves into a florist/photographer of flowers which she catologs by emotions from the Victorian era. A story of hardship and beauty all in one.

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Tara Soto Regester

Hi Josh,

I just thought I would leave a message to thank you for writing such an amazing memoir. Reading memoirs is a hobby of mine, but I was not expecting to inherit a whole new perception on my own life ( which was being ruled over by a path to perfection for our own Chester County farmhouse) Frankly, I needed a kick in the pant , which surprisingly came in the form of Bucolic Plague and Wabi Sabi. I thought you should know that you touch more people than you know.

All the Best and Happy Holidays!

Tara

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Allison

Just finished The Bucolic Plague snuggled in bed with the sun streaming in through the windows. What a wonderful read, thank you Josh, I was completely transported to Upstate New York. I also enjoyed A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, lots of good recipes to along with the stories.

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Sarah

I am so glad you recommended Salt! I think that all of the books in this vein written by Mark Kurlansky are wonderful especially Salt, Cod, and The Big Oyster. I love your reading lists so thank you for keeping them coming.

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Sue

We've sold quite a few Heirloom cookbooks. Its in our window. Bucolic Plague gets recommended and bought (by me) too.

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Delia

The Color of Rain is still on my "to do" list; thanks again for the suggestion. Added another book to my night stand – it was a gift: Sisters of the Sari by Brenda L. Baker. It's always fun to learn about a different culture. This book taught me how little I really knew about Indian women. It was inspiring and heart warming. A treasure.

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Jennifer Bicking

Just finished The Bucolic Plague for the second time. Lots of LOL and some tears were shed. Josh, you are an amazing writer. The last time you guys were at Terrain i watched from behind the building. The next time you come I will wait my turn to meet you both. I recently finished Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. What a pleasant suprise!

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Marilyn Dutkus

If you love unusual cookbooks (and what cook doesn't?) try and find a copy of "IN MEMORY'S KITCHEN" A LEGACY FROM THE WOMEN OF TEREZIN. It is a collection of recipes and stories found in a concentration camp after WWII. The women, who were starving, kept themselves going by sharing recipes and stories of better times. It is both heartbreaking and a testament to the human spirit. An excellect read for the Channukah season.

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Nicole LeMere

Mystery novels for me…currently, "The Postcard Killers" by James Patterson. After that, I just might have to read "Bucolic Plaque" a second time, for some good laughs, and feel good thoughts.

By the way, I love this photo of "The Beekman"! Autumn is such a beautiful season!

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barbara

I listened to "Bucolic Plague" from audible. (would have preferred Josh's voice) I think we need a movie now. You two finding Beekmans on a fall outing. Something Woody Allen-ish, autumnal, leaves blowing, discovering the "American", I see Colin Firth, Ewan Mcgregor, Colin Farrell, Barbara as an extra.

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barbara

Just saw the boys at Williams and Sonoma in Seattle. Brent said I was a good hugger. How nice to see them in person. A treat meeting you both, what nice men.

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robyn

Just finished Bucolic Plague today. What a joy to read snuggled up in my flannel sheets on this cool autumn day. Next on my list is Four Fishes.

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Fred Kuehn

Josh, I just finished your Gentleman Farmer book which we purchased on our Fall visit to Sharon Springs. I noticed in the book how you are reflecting on being middle aged so it made me think of a book that you may want to check out, it is called "The Sage's Tao Te Ching, Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life"

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barbara

Josh and Brent, I'm a commin' to the wlm and sonoma in seattle. How long are the lines? Have you run out of books? Curious how early we need to be there. You 2 must be getting mighty tired of traveling.

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Sarah Jane

I finished The Bucolic Plague, last night and am sending it on to a friend some friends who work seasonally in Antartica. I am sure it will be shared all around down there. Loved it and laughed through it. Today I am checking out the site. Love this as well. Thanks for the list. I am out of books right now. You two and Farmer John are darling.

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Wendy

Thank you for the reading list! I have just finished Bucolic Plague and loved it. I now live in the pacific northwest, but grew up in Massachusetts. It is this time of year that I miss New England the most. Reading about your farm has brought back so many pleasent memories. Good luck with all that you choose to do.

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Jamie Dougherty

This is just a great list!!!! Bill Bryson's book "At Home" is also on my list as well as "The Art of Eating" by M.F.K Fisher. Looks like I'll be adding a few more from this list as well!

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janet gordon

Am just thinking of wandering over to our community's free hi-speed internet depot to patronize their used book outlet – fresh out of reading material and inspiration. I should be working, or at least playing with setting up my new laptop! I always enjoy a visit to your site! Thanks for sharing so much good stuff.

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Jack Sica

Thank you Josh. You gave me some good ideas for the next time I go shopping for books to read. Comfort me with apples sounds great! I never heard of that book.

Jack

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linda

I discovered a few books at a local flea market that I'm currently reading: The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, Wolf Hall by H. Mantel and Arguably: Essays by C. Hitchens(eight bucks a bargain!)

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Delia

Eighty Years and More by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Loved it in 1977 & want to see if it's still as good the second time.

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Tracy

Josh, I devoured your books this summer and I'm looking forward to years more of such terrific insight and humour.

I suggest "RIGHTEOUS PORKCHOP" by Nicollette Niman. Disturbingly eye opening and a voice to educate caring consumers.

"Blood, Bones and Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton.

"Life on The Line" Grant Ashatz.

My favorite aside from Josh's riveting stories is, "The Dirty Life" by Kristin Kimball.

You are both a huge inspiration. Thank You!

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Delia

Thanks for the suggestions, The Color of Rain sounds very interesting. My town has a few small bookstores & 2 libraries so hopefully I'll find it. My sister loved your food & Dr. B's presentation yesterday. She rode the ferry & got there way ahead of me. Smart girl! Traffic westbound on the 80 was a little tricky but definitely worth it!!! A wonderful day. 🙂

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Jennifer @ Conversio

Funny you should ask — I'm almost finished with THE BUCOLIC PLAGUE and am at a loss at to what to read next. It's one of those books that is so good, it leaves me kind of aimless, wondering how to follow up that act.

I just have to say (and specifically came to leave a comment to tell you this): I read a ton of memoirs. I've been researching the craft for a few years, so I've hit all the bestsellers, the ones that are said to be shining examples of the craft. And the best chapter I have *ever* read within this genre is Chapter 26 of THE BUCOLIC PLAGUE. Masterful. Thank you for a fantastic read.

(And thanks for these recommendations — I look forward to checking out some of these books as well.)

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Darcell

I really enjoy your reading lists. Have you ever thought of writing a children's book starring Polka Spot?

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John Mcpherson

Thank you so much for the reading list. I'm happy to see you'll be reading Ruth Reichl's book (absolutely deightful). And if you like "Salt", I suspect you'll enjoy Bill Bryson's "At Home: A Short History of Private Life", in which he explores such questions about our homes as "when did bedrooms become private" and "why do we put salt and pepper on the table instead of thyme and oregano" and "when did glass windows become readily available." Informative and fun.

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Jean Quilter

Found my new favorite at a library booksale in Bainbridge,N.Y.-Last Of The Donkey Pilgrims by Kevin O'Hara. Thought you might enjoy it.

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