But Steven's been branching out of late. It's apparently not enough for the Fulbright scholar to author more than two dozen bestselling cookbooks (with more James Beard and IACP awards than you can shake a basting brush at), host cooking shows on television, and run his Barbecue University workshops. Nope, he needed to write a novel.
Island Apart is the name of Raichlen's fictional debut (due to hit bookshelves in June). It's set on Martha's Vineyard, specifically, Chappaquiddick. I'm not offering a review here; I'm only 80 or so pages in. The blurbs on the back cover bill the book as a great beach read, and that may be the case. But I'm here to tell you the book makes me genuinely hungry, which is the about the highest praise I can bestow. Already in the first few chapters, there've been detailed descriptions of super-fresh, sweet and meaty bluefish and a cabbage and short rib stew, as well as random talk of quinoa and heirloom tomato salads. One of the main characters has just baked some cranberry bread, another character reciprocates with some homemade preserves. It's on my nightstand, and sends me to sleep with visions of beach plums dancing in my head—an excellent way to drift off.