2006_06_food_heat.jpgA week's vacation at the beach is the perfect time to catch up on your summer reading list. At the top of ours was Heat : An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford. We had read an excerpt from a recent New Yorker in which the author recounted some time with a master Tuscan butcher, then came back to New York, acquired a whole pig (which he lugged home from the greenmarket strapped to his Vespa), and butchered it in his apartment, and knew that the book would be an ideal vacation read. In the book Buford, a staff writer for the New Yorker, describes with great detail his time in the kitchen at Mario Batali's Babbo from his first days, spent dicing carrots into perfect cubes, to the nights he is allowed to work the pasta station, one of the restaurant's most difficult. His stint at Babbo was part of an ongoing quest to learn about Italian cooking to a degree of depth that could only come with years of work, travel, sweat, and time learning from masters around the world.

Buford appears Wednesday night, along with Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain, at the New York Public Library for a live discussion. Right now, advance tickets are sold out, but they may be available at the door. If you can't get in, get yourself a copy of Heat, find a beach or a park near you, and settle in for a great read.

Wednesday, June 21, 7:00 PM, New York Public Library, Celeste Bartos Forum