- Last Updated: 1:24 AM, April 15, 2012
- Posted: 11:00 PM, March 17, 2012
HE parodied himself — the perfectionist chef — in the 1997 flick “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” barking, “I will kill your whole family if you don’t get it right!” Truth is, Charlie Trotter didn’t become Chicago’s top chef by taking things lightly. Growing up in a family that revered books, he was dyslexic. “I’m a painfully slow reader, so I plod my way through,” he says, “but when I do read something, it’s etched in my head.” Now featured in the James Beard Foundation’s new book, “Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs,” Trotter says that there are three things you’ll always find in his fridge: chardonnay, a tin of white anchovies and leftovers of his wife’s home cooking. Here’s what you’ll find in his library.
The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I got on a Dostoyevsky kick right after college. I started with “Crime and Punishment,” went on to “The Possessed” and then “The Brothers Karamazov” and “The Idiot.” If you want the meaning of families and life and religion and philosophy rolled into one package, all you need to read is “The Brothers Karamazov.”
Free to Choose
by Milton and Rose Friedman
I took the obligatory economics classes in school, but I’ve long been a fan of the Milton Friedman philosophy and its libertarian bent: One must be free to do what one wants to do, as long as you don’t harm another. This is the seminal treatise on free-market economics. You either find it or someone gives it to you, and it’s one of those “Aha!” moments.
Tropic of Cancer
by Henry Miller
The protagonist and the author are one and the same: A guy leaves NYC saying, “I’m going to Paris to write, or I’ll die.” I never read Miller for the alleged smut: I liked his world outlook and how he said that if he hadn’t rolled in the gutters drunk, been a pauper and slept with prostitutes, he wouldn’t have known how extraordinary life truly is.
by Fernand Point
I have English translations of this book, by the most important chef of the 20th century. Some of the greatest cooks matriculated through his restaurant, La Pyramide. It’s not really a cookbook, though there are recipes. The most important material are the stories. When I read this, I realized I wanted to be a chef.Follow @NYPostOpinion