The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes)

Kate Lebo. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-374-11032-1
Lebo (Pie & Whiskey) considers fruits of all flavors in this sensationally chaotic compendium. She has barely begun her A-to-Z with an entry on Aronia berries (“a tannic pucker that rivals raw quince”) before spiraling into a self-deprecating take on her health obsessions. Each chapter features a different hard-to-wrangle fruit, a discussion of its history and usages, and witty medicinal and culinary recipes (elderberry syrup: “Swallow 1 spoonful a day. Or 7. Whatever you need to stay well”), and are leavened with pungently wrought memoir. In these tangential turns, such as connecting her tasting of durian fruit to eating dim sum with “a man who would never love me,” Lebo never fails to surprise. On the recipe front, many concoctions feel like the result of hard-won battles—one imagines Lebo’s kitchen overflowing with sticky pots and jars—with cravings-inducing taste-combinations such as a barley soup with fennel sausage and “faceclock greens” or vanilla bean cake with buttercream. Unusual and piquant, this off-kilter collection will hit the spot with readers hungry for something a little different. Agent: Emma Paterson, Aitken Alexander Assoc. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/05/2021
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-250-82947-4
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