In a rare positive development, I was going through a mountain of review copies and spotted a glimmer of a hint of an encouraging new trend. Call it “let your freak flag fly.” Andrew Carmellini, in telling stories you might actually want to read, gets to not only use “fucking” but use it in boldface and all caps. (Thank you, British bad boys, for teaching us Puritans the S.I. Hayakawa lesson: The word is not the thing.) And Pauline Nguyen is surprisingly genuine in her stories “from the heart” and from her restaurant, the Red Lantern in Sydney. Ma and Pa and other relatives are not warm and fuzzy characters but complicated creatures. I haven’t cooked from either book yet, but as reads they are both a long way from 10 Emerils or 15 Giadas or however the hell many Food Network books are spewing sappily forth. To think snark was once an automatic no-deal. Some very prolific ghost cooks may be coming to the end of the gravy train.