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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top Christmas Food and Wine Book Gift Ideas for 2011

ON THE DEAN'S LIST:
 
MY 15TH  -- HEY, IT'S MY FIFTEENTH !!!! -- ANNUAL SURVEY OF FOOD AND
WINE-RELATED BOOKS SUITABLE AS HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR THE 2011/12
PARTY PERIOD
 
DECEMBER 2011
===============================================================
 
By Dean Tudor, Ryerson Journalism Professor Emeritus and Gothic
Epicures Writing, www.deantudor.com (World Wine Watch Newsletter).
Blogs: http://gothicepicuresvincuisine.blogspot.com.
            http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com.
 

------
 
There are so many new food and wine books out there for people who have picky tastes!!
What to choose? I have cast about for material and have come up with a decent selection
to satisfy any pocketbook, any host, and any friend. All books and book-like materials
that are listed here are RECOMMENDED, and probably can be purchased at a discount
via Amazon.Ca or Chapters.Ca (with free delivery on a total purchase of over $25).
Price Alert: because of US dollar fluctuations with Canada, all prices may vary. I have
used CAD for Canadian publishers.
 
 
 
Part One: TOP GIFT IDEAS
========================
 
A. Art/travel/history books might be the best books to give a loved one
(or to yourself, since you are your own best loved one), because most may cost you an
arm and a leg. Books for the coffee table have their place in the gift scheme: just about
every such book is only bought as a gift! And don't let the prices daunt you. Such books
are available at a discount from online vendors. Because of the "economy", not too many
pricey food and wine books were released last year and this year, and book reviewers
were cut off from many foreign imports and expensive books.
 
 
 
--ESSENTIAL PEPIN (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, 685 pages, $45 CAD hard
covers) is the lead-off, most important cookbook of the year, and a desirable book for
gifting. It's by Jacques Pepin, of course, and contains more than 700 of his personal faves
from all of his cookbooks and other places. There is even a newly produced, three hour
searchable DVD which demonstrates every technique that a home cook should ever need.
All of his recipes have been examined, and most have been recast for the modern 21st
century audience. He's been working for 60 years as a chef. There's a minimal amount of
memoir-like material here, except for a chapter on how his cooking and tastes have
changed over six decades. And the binding is meant to last. This is his 26th book, yet it is
still hard to believe that it needs endorsement praise from Waters, Bourdain, and
Bastianich. Well-worth buying for yourself or as a gift.
 
--ELEVEN MADISON PARK; the cookbook (Little, Brown and Co., 2011, 384 pages,
$55 CAD hard covers) is by Daniel Humm (executive chef since 2006 and a Beard
Award winner in 2010) and Will Guidara (general manager). The New York restaurant
has had "four stars" from any number of reviewers; it is known for its elegance,
precision, and lightness. It's on the San Pellegrino list of World's Best 50 Restaurants.
The book is also part memoir as it is the history of the place, open since 1998, with
background material on the early lives of Humm and Guidara. And, of course, all roads
lead back to the awesome Fernand Point. There are 160 preps here, plated as they appear
at the resto:  asparagus textures with shrimp and anise hyssop; John Dory seared with
variations of garlic and crayfish; yogurt apricots, curry and pickled onion. The photos are
simply phenomenal. Naturally, the arrangement of the book is by season.
 

--THE COUNTRY COOKING OF ITALY (Chronicle Books, 392 pages, $56 CAD hard
covers) is by Colman Andrews, with photos by Christopher Hirsheimer. It's a follow-up
book to their 2010 James Beard Best Cookbook of the Year (The Country Cooking of
Ireland). All regions are covered through 230 preps and gorgeous photos. It's a deluxe
package written by one of the top food writers in the world, for foodies and armchair
travellers alike, with an emphasis on rural culture and rustic food plus local traditions and
wines.
 

--THE FOOD LOVER'S GUIDE TO WINE (Little Brown and Co., 2011, $35 US) is the
latest from Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, both former wine writers for the
Washington Post and other publications. They have also written "The Flavor Bible" and
"What to Drink with What You Eat." Here, the basic premise is if you love food, you
know flavour, and you can master wine. It is not really that simple, but the authors give it
their best shot. There is a huge section on wine types and food pairing, but precious little
on supertasters. Nor is there any index. But there is a huge resource list for websites,
glossary, wine expert bios, books, and various lists. It'll be great for wine parties as you
can expound on your new knowledge.
 

--WINERD (Chronicle Books, 2011, $35 US) is a wine tasting game "that crushes grape
fears", according to producer Tamara Murphy. It's a board game that tests everyone's
wine knowledge with each sip. You are supposed to taste three different wines and then
make pronouncements about each according to colour, smell and taste, plus answer a
trivia question. It's a great idea, good lively fun. The board is 20 x 20 inches, there are
trivia cards for 285 questions, game pieces and die. Give it a shot, what can you lose?
 
--FOODIE FIGHT REMATCH (Chronicle Books, 2011, $22.95 US) is a food challenge
trivia game; the first in the series was called FOODIE FIGHT. It's a board game that tests
your food knowledge through 150 cards (containing 750 questions), a kitchen poster, one
die, and game pieces and boards. Questions cover food categories of kitchen science,
history and geography, farming, fishing, gardening, shopping, food culture, cooking
vocabulary, and ingredients. Give it a shot, what can you lose? (see also above for wine).
 

--RAW DESSERTS (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011, 126 pages, $19.95 CAD) is by Erica
Palmcrantz and Irmela Lilja, raw food educators. This is their second co-authored book
on raw food. Here are recipes for cookies, cakes, pastries, pies and other things. All the
goods are made with natural ingredients, not heated over 42 degrees Celsius, and are free
of white sugar, gluten, eggs, and lactose. A boon to the infirm and to vegans everywhere.
Preps include chocolate truffles, plum marmalade, hazelnut nugat, and key lime raw pie.
 
--DISH (Artisan, 2011, 280 pages, $40 CAD) is a gorgeously illustrated book, featuring
813 colourful dinner plates. The text is by Shax Riegler, a decorative arts specialist and
magazine editor. It begins with the wooden Mediaeval trenchers, through the bone China
trade, and up to the colourful melamine plates of today. There are plate highlights in
history, sidebars about designers, and a list of the top 100 patterns of all time. The
arrangement is by major topic, such as "elegance and tradition", colour and form, flora
and fauna, people and place, and holidays and celebrations. There's a resources page plus
a bibliography. Good job all round.
 
--1000 GREAT EVERYDAY WINES FROM THE WORLD'S BEST WINERIES (DK
Books, 2011, 352 pages, $28 cad hard covers) explores many of the wineries covered in
last year's Opus Vino book. There's the usual primer, glossary, food and wine pairing
suggestions, and photographs (900 of them). For Ontario, the great value everyday wines
are apparently Cave Spring Cellars Riesling Estate, Chateau des Charmes Cabernet
Franc, Hillebrand Trius Riesling, Inniskillin Vidal Icewine (everday? Really?), Lailey
Chardonnay, Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir, and Tawse Sketches of
Niagara Riesling. There are addresses, websites, and tasting notes. The arrangement
begins with France and narrows down to "emerging regions". This is a good look at
modestly priced wines, in the frame of a modestly priced book.
 

--MY LAST SUPPER: THE NEXT COURSE (Rodale, 2011, 208 pages, $45.99 CAD)
deals with 50 great American chefs and their final meals. Photographer Melanie Dunea
has come back from her first book, "My Last Supper", with this sequel covering the
second course. Her photos are here, as well as interviews and recipes. New here are
Emeril Lagasse, Joel Robuchon, Susur Lee, Paul Bocuse, Michael Symon, Morimoto,
Tom Colicchio, and Bobby Flay (among others: I guess that also includes all the Iron
Chefs America people as well). She asks them the question that drove the first volume,
"What would you eat for last meal on earth?" I could do without some of the pseudo-
chefs, including the one who turned the question around and declared what would be the
choice of a FIRST meal in the afterlife. Spare me.  Recipes are included, of course. A
great book for the foodies.
 
--FEEDING THE DRAGON (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011, 290 pages, $28.99
CAD oversized paperback) is a culinary and cultural travelogue through China with
recipes, written by siblings Mary Kate Tate and Nate Tate. They've lived and toured
throughout China, studying, teaching and working in restaurants. They biked the back
roads, trudged through muddy fields, explored alleyways, and managed to get recipes.
It's a good travel book, with the usual photos, that began as a blog
(www.feedingthedragon.com) . There are Buddhist vegetarian dishes, lamb kebabs, spicy
eggplant, chicken lettuce cups – easy enough for novices to do. Regions include Beijing,
Shanghai, Fujian, Hong Kong, Macau, Yunnan, Tibet, Sichuan, and Xinjiang.  There's a
glossary of Chinese ingredients, substitutions, a US resources section, and material on
navigating ethnic grocery stores.
 

--OLIVE OIL AND VINEGAR FOR LIFE (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011, 227 pages,
$35.95 CAD oversized hard covers) is by Theo Stephan who runs her own organic olive
oil and vinegars brands (Global Gardens) in Santa Barbara. There are now over 50
products in her lines, and of course they are used in this coffee table book which
promotes the lifestyle of what she calls Caliterreanean (wider in scope than the older
term, Cal-Ital). There are 250 preps here, such as lemon veggie chips, pomegranate pork
BBQ, acorn squash with ratatouille and chicken sausage, and scallops ceviche with red
curry.
 

--ULTIMATE FOOD JOURNEYS (DK Books, 2011, 226 pages, $45 CAD oversized
hard covers) purports to cover the world's best dishes and where to eat them. The weight
of the book itself means only young people can cart it about. It's part of the Eyewitness
Travel series, a series meant for armchair travellers. It begins in Europe, of course, with
boeuf bourgignon (France), pizza (Naples), tapas (Spain), kebabs (Turkey), bratwurst
(Germany), roast lamb (Greece), injera (Ethiopia), fish curry (India),  jambalaya (USA),
and ceviche (Peru) – about 125 iconic dishes in all. Scampi, for example, is listed for the
Adriatic (Croatia). There are pictures and descriptions of the region, plus how to get
there, where to stay, and co-ordinates for tourist information. There's a description of
scampi and useful Croatian wines, but no recipe. Canada is not mentioned at all, and
Mexico gets just one dish: mole poblana in Puebla, Mexico. An appetite-provoking read.
 
--MOURAD: NEW MOROCCAN (Artisan, 2011, 390 pages, $40 US) comes from
Mourad Lahlou, chef-owner of San Francisco's Aziza, now a Michelin-starred restaurant.
It's upscale Moroccan with new North American twists, especially in the classic chicken
tagine, the basteeya, and the lamb shanks. The first part of the book has seven extensive
cooking classes on the basics of Moroccan cuisine, with the basic recipes, and then 250
pages of current preps. Double columns type, good layout and photography, plus a ton of
endorsements from Keller, Hesser, Pepin, Bourdain, and Ripert.
 

--TRADITIONAL SWEDISH COOKING (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011, 192 pages,
$33.95 CAD oversized hard covers) is a nifty illustrated guide to Swedish cuisine, written
by food writer Carolin Hofberg who lives in Sweden. It focuses on local foods such as
fresh dill, horseradish, allspice, juniper berries, fish, and lingonberries. But this is not
your IKEA food. It's a picture book too with lingering photos of plated delights and
rambling landscapes. All courses are covered, with dill and chive bread, gingerbread
muffins with lingonberries, cloudberry jam, elderflower parfait, barley risotto with crispy
bacon, and game meats.
 

--ILLUSTRATED STEP-BY-STEP BAKING (DK Books, 2011, 544 pages, $39 CAD
oversized hard covers) is a lush and plush book for those beginners (or even experienced
cooks) who have a fear of baking. These are easy-to-follow recipes with more than 1500
photos of techniques and final plating. Caroline Bretherton has a UK café and has worked
in television cooking shows; she beings that Brit sensibility to the details. There are 80
classic preparations here, with a further 240 variations based on transferable skills and
substitutions. She also has some classics without variations, such as buttermilk biscuits,
pumpkin pie and devils food cake. There are cakes, pastries, cookies, soufflés,
cheesecakes, pies, tarts, savouries, and breads (all yeasted or flat or quick). There's an
indication of quantities, time in preparing, and time in baking. And metric tables of
equivalents to balance the avoirdupois listing of ingredients.
 

--AUSTRIAN DESSERTS AND PASTRIES (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011, 272 pages,
$29.95 CAD hard covers) is by Dietmar Fercher and Andrea Karrer; it was originally
published in German last year. Austrian food usually gets lost among the Germanic, but
desserts always manage to shine forth, especially such as Esterhazyschnitten (meringue
slices with butter cream), schaumrollen, or Bundt cake. Here are 180 preps guaranteed to
brighten up your Christmas buffet table.
 
 
 

B. For the more literate person, there are the histories and "memoirs" of writers, chefs,
and wine people. Some have called these memoirs "creative non-fiction", many with
embellishments and gilding. And most of them suffer from a lack of indexing, which
makes it difficult to find what the writer said about another person or subject. But this
also avoids the potential for lawsuits and disjointed noses. Nevertheless, they are
rewarding to read. Who cares about poetic license? Here then are some that stood out
from last year's run, and any of them would make great gifts for the reader. Here we go,
in no particular order (and one of them is a novel)…
 
--SUMMERS IN FRANCE (Gibbs Smith, 2011, 224 pages, $35 US) is by Kathryn
Ireland, an interior designer who lived near Toulouse. This is about country life with
three kids in France, in the Tarn-et-Garonne area in south France. She records events,
including her excursions to towns, markets, the house she lives in, her cow barn, gardens,
and outdoor eating. It is also useful for the quality photos.
 
--FOLKS, THIS AIN'T NORMAL (Center Street, 2011, 361 pages, $28.99 CAD) is by
the irrepressible Joel Salatin, a third-generation Shenandoah Valley organic farmer
feeding some 4000 families and 50 restaurants. This is his seventh book on local farming
issues. Here he gives "a farmer's advice for happier hens, healthier people and a better
world", with material from his earlier self-published books and magazine writing.
Eclectic topics abound, including getting the US government out of the food regulation
business. And thank God for an index which ties it all together!! Good agrarian reading.
 
--FOUR KITCHENS (Grand Central Publishing, 2011, 337 pages, $27.99 US) is by
Lauren Shockey, who trained at the French Culinary Institute and has an MA in food
studies at NYU. This memoir refers to her cooking career in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv,
and Paris – working in four kitchens. In a sense, hers is a female perspective and
counterpart to Anthony Bourdain. While there is a scattering of recipes, the preps are not
indexed and could be hard to find again.
 
--SEMI-SWEET; a novel (Hachette, 2010, 2011 in North America, 365 pages, $15.50
CAD) is the story about love and cup cakes. It's by Roisin Meaney of Ireland, a clone of
Maeve Binchy-style. The heroine opens a cup cake shop in Clongaruin, Ireland – just as
her long-time boyfriend leaves her. These trials and tribulations, coupled with food, are
sure to pass the time nicely over the holidays.
 
--BREAKING BREAD (University of California Press, 2010, 2011, 283 pages, $18.95
US soft covers) is about recipes and stories from immigrant kitchens.  This is the
paperback reprint of the 2010 book. Lynne Christy Anderson, an academic at Boston
College, pulled it together for the "California Studies in Food and Culture" series,
number 29. These are stories of hand-rolled pasta, homemade chutney, backyard gardens,
local markets, foraging, and so forth, as recounted through memories, recipes and
culinary traditions of immigrants. The preps include dolmades (Greece), adobo
(Philippines), peixada (Brazil), and quesadilla (Salvador). Well-worth a read, although an
index might have been useful for the 25 stories and 25 recipes.
 
--THE BRISKET BOOK (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011, 208 pages, $34.99 CAD
hard covers) is by food writer and cookbook author (at least six) Stephanie Pierson. So
far as I know, this is the first cookbook devoted to brisket, with recipes coming from
celebrity chefs and authors. Of course, the book is meant for meat-lovers, principally that
guy who is hard to buy for at Christmas time. It is loaded with personal accounts and
stories and memoir-like material from connoisseurs and chefs. I have always found it
difficult to get brisket in Toronto: it seems to go directly to restaurants or smokehouses.
Along with chicken livers and sweetbreads, brisket is definitely a speciality, "order in
advance" item. So here are a variety of 30 preps, interviews with chefs, photos, graphics
(including cartoons), all put together in a fun sort of way (complete with index).
 
--MAN WITH A PAN (Algonquin Books, 2011,  326 pages $18.95 CAD) is from John
Donohue, an editor at the New Yorker. This is a book about men who cook for their
families. He's found 34 well-know culinary men such as Mario Batali, Mark Bittman,
Mark Kurlansky, and Thomas Keller who tell about their cooking done at home: their
roles, how they came to it, and how they feel about it.. Along the way are revealed the
best times to shop, assigning gender roles to gay couples, explaining vegetarianism to
kids, advice on scheduling, and the like. It's illustrated with 21 food cartoons from the
New Yorker, and it includes recipes (unfortunately, unindexed). Some writers have
suggested books and cookbooks to read such as those of Julia Child and Marcella Hazan.
There's an uneven writing style but the spirit is terrific for the stories.
 
--NEW MEXICO TASTY RECIPES (Gibbs Smith, 2011, $8.99 US paper covers) is by
Cleofas M. Javamillo. It's only 34 pages long, with 75 recipes, but it was originally
published in 1939. These are Spanish recipes as used in New Mexico, and include pipian,
albondigas, chile caribe, pozole, quesadias, potajes sabroses. Additional material covers
the traditional use of Hispanic food from other sources. There are some menus, and the
preps run in narrative style. This can also double as a stocking stuffer for that particular
person.
 
--READING BETWEEN THE WINES (University of California Press, 2010, 2011, 189
pages, $17.95 US paper covers) is by Terry Theise, an award-winning wine writer and
US wine importer. He makes the case for artisanal wine producers in this idiosyncratic
memoir-like account of the beauty of the wine experience. Of course, it helps that he
imports such boutique wines. He specializes in German and Austrian wines, plus
Champagnes, and much of his focus is on these regions. His is another well-reasoned
argument against the 100-point scale of measurement of wine. A short book, but an
enjoyable read for the wine lover in your life.
 
--EATING MUD CRABS IN KANDAHAR (University of California Pr., 2011, 215
pages, $27.50 US hard covers) has stories of food during wartime, written by foreign
correspondents. This is not macho food, or even peasant food. This is about eating food
under extreme conditions during the past 20 years. Look to a North Korean dictator who
gorges while others starve, or drinking with an IRA cell, or siege food in Bosnia. Other
countries with "war zones": Pakistan, Gaza and Israel, El Salvador,  Haiti, Iran,
Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Georgia, Rwanda,  It is all about survival and emergency
rations too. Some of it is humour as well. The book reminds us to be thankful over the
Holiday season.
 
--MERCHANT OF SONOMA – Chuck Williams (Weldon Owen, 2011, 245 pages,
$26.95 CAD hard covers) is a generous biography of one of the USA's leading food
pioneers. For over fifty years, the founder of Williams-Sonoma has introduced everything
from the basic to the sophisticated kitchen equipment for the home.  It's a standard
biography by William Warren, but it is enlivened by the photographs provided by
Williams and his family. A first rate easy read for the holidays, with 34 indexed recipes
covering all courses.
 
--DINNER WITH TENNESSEE WILLIAMS (Gibbs Smith, 2011, 176 pages, $19.99
US) is by Greg Picolo, chef operator for The Bistro at Maison de Ville in New Orleans,
located across a hidden French quarter courtyard from where Williams lived. Picolo
annually puts on a Williams-themed menu dinner during the Williams Literary Festival.
Others involved here are Kenneth Holdritch, a Williams academic, and Troy Gilbert, a
free-lance journalist. The memoir details Williams living in New Orleans and his
association with food in his writings. There are 100 recipes, including such Williams'
faves as Waldorf salad, crawfish callas, veal sweet breads, and pecan-crusted black drum
fish.
 
--AMERICA THE EDIBLE (Rodale, 2011, 272 pages, $18.50 CAD) is by television host
of the US Travel Channel Adam Richman. It's a history of dining from nine US cities.
This is the paperback reissue of the 2010 hard bound book. He's covered Los Angeles
(twice), Honolulu, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Cleveland, Austin, San Francisco, Portland
Maine (lobster roll), and Savannah. There's about a half-dozen restaurants listed and
commented on, per location. Nine recipes are scattered. There are maps, quirky
comments, and lots of memoirish materials. If you know American cities, then you might
want to read this book over the holidays.
 

C. Family values Christmas gift cook books would have to include:
 
--SO SWEET! (Andrews McMeel, 2011, 136 pages, $17.50 CAD hard covers) comes
from the Sur La Table chain of cooking stores. It's good value for Christmas, with 50
recipes for cookies, cupcakes, whoopee pies, and baked doughnuts. Kids can do this stuff
too. Flavours are emphasized, such as sweet, salty, chocolatey, fruity and nutty.
 
--SWEET TREATS (CICO Books, 2011, 128 pages, $24.95 CAD) is loaded with ideas
for making, decorating and gifting desserts. Designer Laura Tabor gives 35 step-by-step
recipes for cakes, cookies and candies. The techniques include decorations, some of
which are painstaking. There are chocolate cameos, marshmallow pearls, Faberge-like
Easter eggs, Valentine fondant locket, candy cufflinks, and more. A fun book.
 
--CELEBRATING PANCAKES, WAFFLES AND CREPES (Leisure Arts, 2011, 144
pages, $14.95US paper covers) is by Avner Laskin, a chef and cookbook author. This is
something that every kid likes to make, so it is perfect for families. My wife likes
waffles, I like crepes, but we'll settle on any of these. Laskin gives the basics of pulling
together a batter, and the use of some equipment (waffle makers), and then goes on to
explore separately pancakes, waffles and crepes, both sweet and savoury. There are just
under 100 recipes, with the lowest number going over to crepes (too bad for me). But lots
of ideas and variations for toppings and fillings.
 
--POP BAKERY (CICO Books, 2011, 64 pages, $18.95 CAD) is another fun book with
25 preps for cakeballs on sticks, meant for kids. There's panda pops, Russian dolls pops
(don't ask), skull pops and more.
 
--MY FAMILY TABLE; a passionate plea for home cooking (Andrews McMeel, 2011,
264 pages, $40 CAD hard covers) is by John Besh, award-winning chef and creator of
seven acclaimed New Orleans restaurants, plus gigs on Food Network, PBS, and Today
show. He specializes in local heritage and ingredients of New Orleans (his "My New
Orleans" was acclaimed last year). Here, he emphasizes the act and art of family cooking.
His kitchen wisdoms, strewn among the 140 preps, include master recipes such as
Creamy Any Vegetable Soup and Risotto of Almost Anything. There's a heavy
Louisiana-Deep South influence here, but it is useful for such topics as Sunday suppers,
the big casserole meal, school night cooking, breakfast with the kids, fried chicken, BBQ,
brunch, desserts, and holidays.
 

--ULTIMATE COOKIES (Gibbs Smith, 2011, 272 pages, $24.99 US paper covers) is by
Julia M. Usher, who writes for Dessert Professional. As well, she has designed desserts
for weddings (and written about them) and other parties, many one-of-a-kind. Here she
takes on cookie design. There's the basic cookie dough, but it is all in the decorations. In
addition to lots of templates, there are extremely detailed instructions on how to make the
decorations and how to apply them. A parchment pastry cone, for example, is a must.
Typical creations include, just for Christmas, wreaths and holly, snowmen, santas,
reindeers, sleighs, gift boxes, and the like. Every major kid holiday is here, such as
Halloween and Easter. The photos of plated cookies are priceless. She has 40 cookie
projects, illustrated with 300 photos.
 

--THE SLOW COOK BOOK (DK Books, 2011, 352 pages, $28 CAD hard covers) is by
Helen Whinney. It covers pot roasts, casseroles, paellas, risottos, heavy soups, pilaffs,
ribs, stews, curries, gumbos, tagines, chillies, desserts and more – in 200 recipes for both
techniques of slow cookers and/or regular ovens in each prep. There's lots of code for
service, freezing or not, prep times, cooking times, and even both avoirdupois and metric
measurements. For levels of complexity, it moves from meatballs to cassoulet.
 
--POPSICLES AND OTHER FROZEN TREATS  (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2011, 64
pages, $18.95 CAD) is much the same, with granitas, water ices, and sherbets (all sweets,
no tomatoes).
 
--THE FOOD ALLERGY COOKBOOK (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011, 235 pages, $23.95
CAD hard covers) is by Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic, both suffering from food
health issues. Nelson is the prime writer of this guide to living with allergies and pepping
up your main family meals.  Here are 101 recipes for cooking allergen-free foods that
exclude the most common such as dairy, gluten, soy, corn, shellfish, and nuts. Each is
easy to prepare with readily available ingredients. There's a primer on healthy foods,
menus for meals (with recipes) and the usual arrangement by course. At the end , there is
a list of helpful websites and books.
 
--WHOOPIE PIES (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2011, 64 pages, $18.95 CAD) shoes that we
have moved from cupcakes to filled cookie cakes. These come directly from the Amish,
such as chocolate and marshmallow fluff pies, raspberry and cream pies, and a variety of
party pies.
 
--I LOVE MEATBALLS! (Andrews McMeel, 2011, 156 pages, $22.99 CAD hard
covers) is by Rick Rodgers, cooking instructor and author of numerous cookbooks. It's a
tad pricey because it is hardback rather than the more approachable paperback (maybe
next year? As a reprint?). But you can safely find a good price on Amazon or Chapters.
Here are 50 different types, many traditional from different cultures (Italian, Thai,
Chinese, Greek, Swedish, Moroccan, Indian and others. In addition to meats, Rodgers
also uses seafood (I guess these would be fishballs). There are six categories, ranging
from apps to pasta, sandwiches, soups, and sauces. Good for the family: kids can make
these.
 
--FABULOUS BROWNIES (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2011, 64 pages, $18 CAD, is by
Annie Rigg. These are cute and creative ideas for decorated brownies; there is a stunning
owl decoration on the back page. The first chapter covers the brownie basics. This is
followed by "pretty" petit fours types, then "indulgent" treats, and then "kids" (by and
for). There are 30 recipes plus variations.
 
 
 

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