As much as I'd love to travel around the world trying local cuisines, à la the late, great Anthony Bourdain, my budget just doesn't allow for it. So instead, I travel on the plate whenever I can, exploring different regional foods with a stack of carefully selected cookbooks.

Kingston Jamaica: The top writers in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Jamaica Creative Writing Competition were awarded recently in a ceremony at the Knutsford Court Hotel. The annual awards ceremony saw over 90 outstanding amateur and professional Jamaican writers who entered their creative works in the categories: Poetry, Short Stories, Novels, Essays and Plays being awarded with cash prizes, certificates of merit, medals and trophies.

There's much to be said for cookbooks that cover the basics, but there's more to good food than simply following a recipe. Understanding the science behind a recipe can make it easier to adjust on the fly based on the ingredients you have available, correct and pivot when things go wrong mid-recipe or make up an entirely new-to-you dish based on your diet and food preferences.

The lazy days of August are perfect for reading. Find a cool spot on a hammock or a hot spot on the beach and enjoy one of these summer-themed books.

We're kicking off a series of columns of cookbook recommendations with a focus on the basics, because as fun as it is to dive into fancy cuisines and elaborate dishes, there's something to be said for knowing that you've got a trusted recipe for whatever dish you may dream up for dinner tonight.

Former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter has worn multiple hats in his nine active decades. His diplomacy on behalf of Middle East peace, the rights of women and the advancement of social change began during his presidency and continues with his work at the Carter Center. An author of 30 books, Carter is not afraid to confront difficult issues.

Earlier this summer, I returned to Spain for the first time in nearly a decade. Naturally, my favorite way to prepare for travel is to dive into a stack of relevant books. Besides the excellent Lonely Planet Andalucía (Lonely Planet, $24.99), which I found indispensable, I discovered several books that made my trip both más fácil (easier) and más divertido (more fun).

Fort Lauderdale -  The African American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) will host “Book Life” at the 2018 South Florida Book Festival, which kicks off with the Eat, Drink, Read: A Literary Culinary Experience on Friday, July 20, 6:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. with special guest author, comedian and radio show host Ricky Smiley and other featured guests include Kevin Belton, the New Orleans-based PBS television celebrity chef; Melba Wilson, Harlem restaurateur and soul food superstar; Taymer Mason, a Caribbean sensation specializing in vegan cuisine.

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