Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food
Chronicle Books, October 2
From Eater: First-time author and San Francisco Chronicle columnist Nik Sharma’s book Season “is the story of a gay immigrant, told through food… a journey of self-discovery” that the author says taught him “to recognize the inherent tension between originality and tradition, and to opt for the former without rejecting the latter.”
From revealing how and why Sharma left his home on the West Coast of India, to the cooking and culture he brought with him to the West Coast of the U.S, Season is a deeply personal book. The writing — honest, respectful, and forward-thinking — is engaging and inviting. The imagery, which Sharma styled and captured himself, is striking. Sharma’s fans will recognize his aesthetic here, and be grateful that they can view his photos in full color on quality, matte paper (rather than on a screen or in newsprint).
It helps that the recipes, full of bright, bold flavors, are equally appealing. Consider dishes like smoked sardines and kumquat crostini; chickpea-battered fried okra; ground lamb and potato “chops” with sambal oelek; grilled pork chops spiced with sour, sweet, and salty chaat masala; savory granola with jaggery and Kashmiri chile; and a date and tamarind loaf drizzled with a brown sugar glaze. Sharma’s way of looking at food might be succinctly described as “global,” but I like to think of it as how we’ll all be cooking in the very near future.