Author and celebrity chef Edward Lee will help celebrate St. Johns County Public Library System’s annual community reads event

The St. Johns County Public Library System (SJCPLS) is excited to announce our St. Johns Reads 2023 title. We have selected “Buttermilk Graffiti,” by author and chef Edward Lee for this year’s community reads event.

In addition to a variety of book discussions and virtual and in-person programming throughout the month of January 2023, Chef Lee will visit St. Johns County for a special author talk at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, in the Character Counts Conference Center at First Coast Technical College, Building C, located at 2980 Collins Ave. in St. Augustine.

About the novel: “American food is the story of mash-ups. Immigrants arrive, cultures collide, and out of the push-pull come exciting new dishes and flavors. But for Edward Lee, who, like Anthony Bourdain or Gabrielle Hamilton, is as much a writer as he is a chef, that first surprising bite is just the beginning. What about the people behind the food? What about the traditions, the innovations, the memories?

A natural-born storyteller, Lee decided to hit the road and spent two years uncovering fascinating narratives from every corner of the country. There’s a Cambodian couple in Lowell, Massachusetts, and their efforts to re-create the flavors of their lost country. A Uyghur café in New York’s Brighton Beach serves a noodle soup that seems so very familiar and yet so very exotic—one unexpected ingredient opens a window onto an entirely unique culture. A beignet from Café du Monde in New Orleans, as potent as Proust’s madeleine, inspires a narrative that tunnels through time, back to the first Creole cooks, then forward to a Korean rice-flour hoedduck and a beignet dusted with matcha. Sixteen adventures, sixteen vibrant new chapters in the great evolving story of American cuisine. And forty recipes, created by Lee, that bring these new dishes into our own kitchens.”

“Buttermilk Graffiti” is available for checkout in a variety of formats including print, digital audiobook, and e-book. To view a full schedule of St. Johns Reads 2023 events, visit

In its 18th year, St. Johns Reads is the St. Johns County Public Library System’s annual “One book, One community” event focused on creating a shared conversation of a selected novel. Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities. St. Johns Reads is also generously sponsored by the SJCPLS Friends of the Library groups. For more information about this year’s event, please visit, email, or call your local branch library.

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