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Best Book Ever

Jun 6, 2022

I love cooking almost as much as I love reading, and, in my opinion, a well-written cookbook can be as much fun to read as literary fiction. LA Son, Well Fed, and Back to Basics are three very different cookbooks that are all a great read in different ways.

With me today are the hosts of my new favorite show, the Three Kitchens podcast. Sarah Somasundaram, Erin Walker and Heather Dyer are longtime friends and passionate home cooks. On their weekly podcast they take listeners along for a deep dive into a recipe. They talk - and laugh - through the challenges, successes and failures along the way as they tackle recipes from around the world with locally found ingredients, right in their own home kitchens. Sarah, Erin and Heather joined me today for a cookbook-palooza – each of them shared their personal favorite cookbooks and what they’ve learned from them. I guarantee you’re gonna be starving by the end of this one. They told me about Butter Tarts (!) and I showed them a naked picture of Anthony Bourdain. It got weird.


Follow the Best Book Ever Podcast on Instagram or on the Best Book Ever Website


This episode is sponsored by Lover’s Moon by Mark Leslie and Julie Strauss


Do you have a book you want to tell me about? Go HERE to apply to be a guest on the Best Book Ever Podcast.


Host: Julie Strauss



Guest: Sarah, Erin, and Heather of the Three Kitchens Podcast




Discussed in this episode:


Back to Basics: 100 Simple Classic Recipes with a Twist by Michael Smith

L.A. Son by Roy Choi

Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan

Julie’s Guest appearance on the Three Kitchens Podcast

Three Kitchens Date Night Episode

Three Kitchens Babka Episode

Three Kitchens Oma’s Strudel Episode

Three Kitchens Bánh Xèo Episode

The Chef Show on Netflix (with Roy Choi and Jon Favreau)

Chef Movie

Broken Bread

My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals by Melanie Dunea

Absent in Spring by Mary Westmacott

The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman

The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiment by Gina Perry






In celebration of the Best Book Ever 100th Episode, I’m going to invite you to join me in supporting Charnaie Gordon’s work. I’m donating $100 from the Best Book Ever podcast. If you want to help, here’s how to do it.


If you would like make a donation of any amount of cash or gently used books, go to 50 states 50 books dot net slash donate, and email me a screenshot of your donation to


Or you can promote her on your social media. On Instagram, post something about her work and  Tag @50States50Books and me @bestbookeverpodcast. I’m not on TikTok, Facebook or Twitter, but if you promote her work through those channels, just screenshot it and shoot me an email so I can see it.


Everyone who promotes her, whether it’s through money, books, or exposure, and then lets me know about it will be entered into a drawing, and one randomly chosen winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to their favorite indie bookstore. This contest is only open to residents of the United States, no purchase necessary, and is not associated with 50 States 50 Books or any social media entity. The deadline to enter this drawing is June 30, 2022.




Find your senators here.
Find your representatives here.


I know it can sound intimidating to call a lawmaker. But your calls MATTER. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your elected official. The person who answers your call will make note of your message and pass it on to the member of Congress. Their addresses are also listed if you would like to send something in writing. This script is easy to follow:


"Good morning. My name is _____ and I live at _____. I am a constituent and have a deep love for my community and neighbors. I urge Senator/Representative _____, as an elected official who represents me, to protect our safety by leading the way toward gun violence prevention. Specifically, I am asking Senator/Rep _____ to advocate for the The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. Eight) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 1446). I will be casting my next vote based on his or her legislative response to the gun violence epidemic in America. Thank you for your time."


The highlighted portion is especially important – it’s time we let our lawmakers know that if they don’t vote to keep us safe from guns, they won’t have a job much longer.


Please know that even if you live in a blue state, these calls and letters are still very important.


If you’d like to make a cash donation, I like these two organizations, both of which are rated highly on Charity Navigator:

Sandy Hook Promise


(Note: Some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning I get a few bucks off your purchase at no extra expense to you. The charity links are NOT affiliates, but they are organizations I trust and personally donate money to. Anytime you shop for books, you can use my affiliate link on Bookshop, which also supports Indie Bookstores around the country. If you’re shopping for everything else – clothes, office supplies, gluten-free pasta, couches – you can use my affiliate link for Amazon. Thank you for helping to keep the Best Book Ever Podcast in business!)