A copy of The Food Life: Inside the World of Food with the Grocer Extraordinaire at Fairway just landed on my desk. That "grocer extraordinaire" (and the book's author) would, of course, be Fairway market's brash cheese monger and ambassador, Steven Jenkins. Never short on opinions, whether he is excited by cheese ("a true Camembert smells of sex"), angry about California-grown black olives ("as phony as can be"), or annoyed by "Top Chef" ("I can enjoy the lowbrow stuff as much as the next person. But this stuff makes my skin crawl."), Jenkins takes us on an insider's tour of Fairway's various departments -- meat, fish, cheese, etc. -- to meet the men and women behind the counter and the history of the market.
There are recipes, tips about ingredients, and an entire chapter on how to navigate the market's notoriously crowded aisles. Along the way, Jenkins shares his secret for removing the fishy smell from his hands after a day of slicing salmon: "Just rub lemon juice all over them -- the way Susan Sarandon did in Atlantic City. Except she wasn't rubbing lemon juice on just her hands, as I recall. As if I didn't recall. Hubba hubba." Hubba hubba, indeed. $19.77 at amazon.com.