First Catch - Study of a Spring Meal
Publisher: Grove Press
After many decades of celebrity chefs and restaurateurs dominating the conversation in food media, recent years have seen a major spike in interest in home cooking. First, Catch will appeal to readers who are comfortable in the kitchen and seeking to expand their repertoires and skill sets, as well as those who have been known to burn water. Thom Eagle’s writing recalls some of the most canonical writers in food: Anthony Bourdain’s humor, Bee Wilson’s knack for history, and M.F.K. Fisher’s ineffable style. We think First, Catch will appeal to readers of literary nature writing such as H Is for Hawk as well as readers who loved Blood, Bones & Butter, Consider the Fork, and foodies of all stripes. A celebration of food, that mixes history with memoir with nature writing with cooking technique, First, Catch can be thought of as a “cookbook without recipes.” It mimics the thought process behind an everyday meal that is meant to be shared joyfully with friends and family. Eagle stresses intuitive decision-making based on what exists on hand in an average kitchen: he isn’t interested in food trends, fashionable gadgets, or flashy ingredients. Rather, he uses cooking to go back to basics, achieving comfort and clarity in food that he is excited to share with others. First, Catch makes food science accessible. In the grand tradition of Michael Pollan’s bestselling food journalism and especially Samin Nosrat’s knock-out cookbook-turned-Netflix sensation Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Thom Eagle is interested in how the raw ingredients of a dish work together and transform through various kinds of manipulation. (He’s also a strong believer in the proper—a.k.a. extensive—use of salt.) Food media and culture has entered a common parlance, rather than being restricted to the kitchen alone. The New York Times and the New Yorker both have rapidly developing cooking sections, with food media celebrities like Helen Rosner and Alison Roman churning out viral—and Instagrammable—recipes for home cooks almost every week, with thousands of rabid fans who will cook anything they hashtag. Eagle’s own easy literacy with Instagram and Twitter will help to introduce him to this ever-growing audience. We will do outreach to blurbers from both the literary and food worlds, including Jeanette Winterson, Robert McFarlane, Mark Bittman, Gabrielle Hamilton, J. Kenji López-Alt, among others.Includes beautiful illustrations running alongside the text; it is a perfect gift book. Eagle is a writer, chef, and fermenter currently based in East London. First, Catch was a runaway success in the UK, where it was won the Fortnum and Mason’s Debut Food Book Award, was shortlisted for the 2018 Andre Simon Food Book of the Year, and made several roundups of the year’s best food books, including BBC Radio 4, the Times, and the Financial Times.