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Summer Reads to Whet Your Appetit For Food and Travel

Sunny- Sultry- Stormy- Scintillating

Sounds like a good book or film, right? Actually, it’s New Orleans in the summer, where we are now (with a pre-determined hurricane evacuation plan we hope we don’t need to use!)

As our 11th month on the #TheConnectedTableROADTRIP turns a corner, and the year we allowed to travel comes closer to its anniversary, we are taking July and August to unwind, unpack our suitcases and car for a while, and settle into one of our favorite cities. This allows us more time to write, read, look for more paid partnerships, and taste and savor the summer without the hustle.

And what better time than summer to tuck into a few books that transport us elsewhere? Here are two we recommend. Both authors were recent guests on The Connected Table LIVE.

Restaurant Critic Alexander Lobrano: “My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris”

How did a shy kid from suburban Connecticut become one of the leading restaurant critics in Paris? Many have asked Alexander (Alec) Lobrano that question with admiration.  Lobrano shares some juicy highlights  in his memoir, “My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris” ( Harper Collins).

My Place at the Table - Alec Lobrano
Photo of Alex Lobrano by Stephen Rothfield. Purchase book here.

A gifted storyteller with a curious palate, Lobrano had to fight the usual skeptics about his chosen profession, from his parents who questioned why he wanted to write about food to Parisians who doubted he knew anything about French food.

As a young boy, Lobrano preferred to write in his diaries over playing contact sports. He writes about being sent away on a cross-country camping trip, carefully documenting what he experienced and ate. Later, after graduating Amherst, he worked in publishing in New York City and then in London as a writer until Paris came calling.

Originally recruited to cover men’s fashion in Paris for Women’s Wear Daily, Lobrano continued to follow his passion, seeking out little-known restaurants with as much enthusiasm as booking a meal at Michelin-starred food temple. Frustrated with his requisite reporting on designers and socialites for Fairchild publications, he continued to pound the pavement to generate freelance articles on dining for other outlets to support his appetite for great food and his writer’s income. When an editor suggests Lobrano accept free restaurant meals, he demurs choosing to maintain his journalistic independence.

Reading Lobrano’s book makes us hungry for Paris and also humble about the chosen profession of journalism. As media outlets come and go, it’s always a hustle.  And when you schedule that visit to the Eternal City, make sure to check out Lobrano’s “insider list” of restaurants to try in the back of his book.

Paris Eiffel Tower - anthony-delanoix-QAwciFlS1g4-unsplash
Paris Eiffel Tower – anthony-delanoix-QAwciFlS1g4-unsplash

Television Producer David Page, “Food Americana: The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories behind America’s Favorite Dishes”

If you are a fan of Food Network’s hit series, “Diners Drive-ins and Dives,” you have David Page to thank as the originator of the show and executive producer for eleven seasons. A two-time Emmy Award recipient, Page spent many years working in network news at NBC where he developed and-co-produced “The Today Show Weekend Edition.” He also worked at ABC as a senior producer/line producer for “Good Morning America” and as a senior investigative producer for “20/20.” Page’s career in television news comes with fascinating stories about covering world news.

On the home front, Page is author of a new book, “Food Americana: The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories behind America’s Favorite Dishes.” (Mango Media). If you are a fan of food pop culture, you will glide through this book, savoring the tidbits of information, colorful characters and notable chefs who helped shape some of the foods we enjoy today. Importantly, “Food Americana” sheds a light on the valuable contribution immigrants to our country have made on the foods we enjoy today from Chinese dumplings to sushi to Italian pizza.

David Page- Food Americana
                    Hungry for American food pop culture? Purchase the book here.  

In addition to “Triple D,” Page’s Minnesota-based company, Page Productions, has produced many food shows including “Outrageous Food,” “Hungry Men at Work” and- currently in production, ”Beer Geeks,” which takes viewers inside the world of craft brewing.

Listen to our show with Alec Lobrano and David Page on The Connected Table LIVE! here:

By Melanie Young

Melanie Young is Co-Host of The Connected Table Live & The Connected Table SIPS. She writes about wine, spirits, food, travel and health. She is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and the Wine Media Guild. She also blogs at www.melanieyoung.com

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