The James Beard Foundation Book Awards are the Pulitzers of the food writing world. This year’s awards were announced in early May, with the coveted Cookbook of the Year going to British celebrity chef and molecular gastronomist Heston Blumenthal for Historic Heston, a $200 slipcovered tome from Bloomsbury. The only-slightly-more-accessible Diana Kennedy, grande dame of Mexican cookery, was inducted into the Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame. Unsurprisingly, Romas Foord was recognized for Photography for Historic Heston, really more of an art book than a cookbook, anyway. Michael Moss’ runaway bestseller Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us took home the Writing and Literature award; veggie maven Deborah Madison’s gorgeous Vegetable Literacy won the Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian category; and The Art of French Pastry, by Jacquy Pfeiffer with Martha Rose Shulman, whipped up Baking and Dessert.
Bucking the British trend, Texas chef Tim Byres won in General Cooking for his Smoke: New Firewood Cooking, a wholehearted effort to add the eponymous technique to the home cook’s savory repertoire. Enjoy the edible sculpture of Historic Heston, but this is the cookbook to buy and use in your own kitchen!
Reti or not
If your writing tends away from the alimentary but has more than a soupçon of San Luis Obispo County “sense of place,” consider applying for the 2014 Ingrid Reti Literary Award, given yearly to a local writer or writers. The specific genre varies from year to year; this year, the award will be for poetry. The $1,000 prize may be awarded to an individual or split among multiple entrants. The deadline to apply is July 15; for complete guidelines and application, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 544-9251, Ext. 14.
In addition to the Ingrid Reti Literary Award, ARTS Obispo is also accepting nominations for the 2015-2016 San Luis Obispo County Poet Laureate. ARTS Obispo describes the SLO County Poet Laureate as “a resident poet who elevates the importance of the art form, serves our community, and shares poetry with our county residents.”
For complete guidelines, visit artsobispo.org. Nominations must be postmarked by June 30 to ARTS Obispo, P.O. Box 1710, SLO, 93406 or dropped off at the ARTS Obispo office, 1123 Mill St. in SLO. Write on, SLO County!