A LIT­TLE FOOD FLIGHT READ­ING

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

SOGGY sangers or limp sal­ads? Time to think out­side the sand­wich square, says Mar­garet Barca in Lunch­box Bi­ble (Pen­guin, $19.95), a nifty lit­tle guide to what mid­day good­ies to pack for school or work. Aside from loads of good snack­ing sug­ges­tions, from falafel and hum­mus wraps to shred­ded ched­dar and veg­etable roll-ups with tzatziki spread, Barca in­cludes sug­ges­tions on what freezes well (and, equally, what doesn’t), which breads best last the dis­tance (she’s a fan of the more sub­stan­tial styles, such as sour­dough or fo­cac­cia) and how to avoid tired sand­wiches (toma­toes are prime cul­prits when it comes to sog­gi­ness). Let them eat more than bread, though: there are in­ven­tive sal­ads here, ro­bust soups and tips on turn­ing left­overs into yummy next­day nosh.

Lit­tle crumbed lamb cut­lets, for ex­am­ple, with those use­ful built-in han­dles, are still de­li­cious when con­sumed cold, and sal­ads of beef with horse­rad­ish dress­ing or beet­root, fetta and spinach keep well in an air­tight con­tainer.

Barca also in­cludes lunch­box ex­tras, such as recipes for honey di­jon dress­ing, onion mar­malade and smoked trout pate.

Lunch­boxBi­ble is the latest in a se­ries that in­cludes spe­cialty ti­tles on muffins, cakes and soups; DessertBi­ble is next, due out on July 30. The small­ish, well-il­lus­trated colour for­mat is a win­ner and the low pric­ing slots this good food bi­ble se­ries into the handy gift cat­e­gory.

New Or­leans: A Cul­tural and Lit­er­ary His­tory by Louise McKin­ney (Sig­nal/ Unireps, $34.95) is not a food book as such. But here is a city with such a culi­nary legacy (some would say the tasti­est, and def­i­nitely spici­est, cui­sine in the US can be found here) that globe-trot­ting gourmets will find much in this well-writ­ten guide, an in­clu­sion in the Cities of the Imag­i­na­tion se­ries, to whet their ap­petite. McKin­ney re­veals the ori­gins of Cafe du Monde, the city’s fa­mous river­side cof­fee house, and in­tro­duces Louisiana-born chef Paul Prud­homme, ‘‘ whose pop­u­lar­i­sa­tion of cayenne-pow­ered ‘ black­ened’ cui­sine pro­voked a fad-like in­ter­est in all things Ca­jun in the US’’.

This is a wor­thy pa­per­back to take to New Or­leans, to il­lu­mi­nate the jour­ney and to en­joy at leisure, propped open on a French-style mar­ble-topped ta­ble, while hoe­ing into shrimp gumbo, jam­bal­aya or pep­per-black­ened cat­fish. Alexandra James

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