From the first I heard of it, I was intrigued by famed cooking teacher and author Anne Willan’s new book, “The Cookbook Library” (University of California Press, $50). Aiming to do no less than document the history of the cookbook, beginning with the 15th century, its research is drawn from the personal library amassed by Willan and her husband, Mark Cherniavsky. How and why cookbooks were written, their intended audience, the codification of recipe writing—all this is endlessly fascinating to me, and the ambitious scope of this subject makes for some serious reading and digesting.
This Thursday, May 31, Orange County gets a special look at “The Cookbook Library,” when Willan visits Vin Goat in Corona del Mar to talk about and sign her new release. Apropos of both the venue and Willan’s years of residence in Burgundy (which was the home of her La Varenne cooking school), she’ll also lead a guided tasting of fine French cheeses—of which the store has no shortage. Vin Goat co-owners John Bennett and Erich Vogel are happy to host such a luminary—but there’s a personal connection, too. “Anne and I go way back—classes through the years, and staying in touch,” Bennett says. “After she relocated to Santa Monica, I’ve continued attending classes and events.”
Call Vin Goat for reservations—the $80-per-person cost of the 6 to 8 p.m. reception includes a copy of “The Cookbook Library,” appetizers, and the guided cheese tasting. Additional copies of the book will be available.
Vin Goat, 3326 E. Coast Highway., Newport Beach, 949-673-2200