Pete Mulvihill on Dirt Candy

Don’t forget: the book mentioned below is available at 20 percent off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

Dirt Candy

Dirt Candy
Amanda Cohen, Ryan Dunlavey, Grady Hendrix

In what may be a first, Dirt Candy is a graphic novel of a cookbook, from Amanda Cohen of New York City’s “upstart vegetable” restaurant. Illustrations are by Ryan Dunlavey. It’s an interesting hybrid, indeed.

You could sit back and read from beginning to end as you would a memoir, and it contains many tales from Cohen’s trials, errors, and triumphs. When Martha Stewart calls for a table but they’re aren’t any, what’s a chef to do? What to prioritize when Iron Chef calls but the produce guy hasn’t shown up yet? From dealing with bad Yelp reviews to a vision of Julia Child, Cohen’s stories are self-deprecating but wise. They also make it clear that the notion of opening your own restaurant is simply insane.

You can also use Dirt Candy as a recipe book, of course, as it contains dozens. There’s Stone-Ground Grits with pickled shiitakes and tempura-poached egg; Kimchi Doughnuts with wild arugula salad and cilantro sauce; and Smoked Sweet Potato Nicoise Salad with fried olives and chickpea dressing. All recipes are relatively straightforward and include black-and-white illustrations. Some recipes include a “make it vegan” sidebar.

However you use Dirt Candy, it’s both inspiring and entertaining.

Thanks for reading.