Search This Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Food and Wine-Related Books for the 2012 Holidays, Part two...

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)…
--MEMOIR OF THE SUNDAY BRUNCH (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013 [sic],
260 pages, $13.95 US paper covers) is an imprint from Workman Publishing. Here Julia
Pandl writes about how she and her eight siblings worked in their father's restaurant in
Milwaukee. It's a good coming of age book but with restaurants as the main background.
Good humour with sharp insights.
--THE 4-HOUR CHEF (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 674 pages, $39.95 CAN
hardcovers) is by Timothy Ferriss, who specializes in meta-learning principles. He feels
that anyone can do anything with a four-hour learning window, such as memorizing a
deck of cards is less than 60 seconds or speaking fluent Spanish in eight weeks. Here you
can learn to cook like a pro. He interviews and talks with chefs from around the world to
capture their best principles, so that you can compress six months of culinary school into
48 hours. You should also be able create "amazing" cocktails in minutes, cook an epic
clambake in a garbage can (presumably clean), and get VIP treatment in restaurants and
bars (on page 626). His book is loaded with tips and advice, recipes, and will get you
going until NEXT Christmas.

--UNQUENCHABLE; a tipsy quest for the world's best bargain wines (Anchor Canada,
2011, 2012, 267 pages, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is back this year, but in paperback
form and with new material such as wine and book pairing. Natalie MacLean writes with
charm, and her book is definitely in the "chick lit" arena, even more so now with the
book notes.
--WHOLE LARDER LOVE (PowerHouse Books, 2012, 240 pages, $42 CAN hard
covers) is by Rohan Anderson, an Australian who lives in an historical town and forages
for his food. It's a hand lettered book, heavy with photos, and is an extremely good read
covering how to grow food, gather, forage, and how to cook. There's hot zucchini relish,
boysenberry raspberry jam, kale fusilli, eel cake with white beans, and camp-cooked
lamb shoulder.
MUNCHIES (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $14.95 CAN hardcover) must
be a serious book since there is NO index: real stoners never need or use indexes. Written
by Dr. Hash, it goes back to basics: getting to know your weed. Then there are cannabis
canap├ęs, hash brownies, cupcakes and fudge, pizza and tacos. But nothing for a bake sale.
Here is also hash coffee and cocktails. 30 recipes in all to get you high.

--JOIE DE VIVRE (St. Martin's Press, 2012, 304 pages, $28.99 CAN hard covers) is by
Harriet Welty Rochefort, and American living in France. She lets us in on the secrets of
wining, dining and romancing like the French. It's a humourous memoir of her
experiences with her French husband. Her top tips on how to do it like the French: revel
in the moment, spend time creating feasts, pay attention to details (although her own
book lacks an index), work hard, and enjoy discords. She's got my vote!
--PERFECT PAIRINGS (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2012, 160 pages, $24.95 US) is a book
package with multiple authors from the Ryland stable. There are themed menus (cheese,
summer, winter, wine with friends, special occasions such as Chinese New Year, farmers
markets, tapas), plus a pretty good 32-page primer on wine. A good entry level gift for
the food person who wants to know more about wine.

--TOP 100 STEP-BY-STEP NAPKIN FOLDS (Robert Rose, 2012, 224 pages, $29.95
CAN paper covers) has more than 1000 photographs illustrating the various techniques.
Denise Vivaldo has divided them up into easy, intermediate and advanced levels for all
occasions, from kids' birthdays to formal sit-downs. My favourite is the tuxedo. What a
great way to impress the hell out of you dinner guests: it'll make them forget any
mismatched wines!
…and the novel: WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER (St. Martin's Press, 2012, 337
pages, $29.99 CAN hard covers) is by Beth Harbison. It's her sixth book, and she has an
engaging writing style. The chick lit plot here is a caterer/personal chef with six steady
clients is searching for true love. A soft read for the holidays.

C. Family values Christmas gift cook books would have to include:
--SMALL PLATES & SWEET TREATS; my family's journey to gluten-free cooking
(Little, Brown and Co., 2012, 296 pages, $32.99 CAN hard covers) is by Aran Goyoaga,
a full-time food writer and blogger who became gluten-intolerant. This collection of 120
recipes is arranged by season. Since she is also a food stylist, there are her photos as well.
The range includes tarts, salads, soups and stews, plus some of her signature desserts.
Everything is SLOFE (seasonal, local, organic, fast and easy, and suited for family meals.
Try her eggplant stuffed with millet and Serrano ham. Her blog gets almost 4 million hits a year, and was named the #2 blog in
the world by the Times (UK).

--THE PICKY PALATE COOKBOOK (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 208 spiral bound
pages, $29.99 CAN) is by Jenny Flake, a food blogger running It's
meant for on-the-go moms/dads who need to appeal to a wide-range of likes and dislikes
at home. There are 133 recipes here for picky eaters, almost 100 exclusive to the book
and not found on the website. There are breakfasts, mains "slow and low" preps, and
home entertaining. For picky eaters, the trick is to make the food attractive, and the
photos do work in that respect.

Common Press, 2012, 372 pages, $18.95 CAN soft covers) is by Jessica Fisher, a free-
lance writer and blogger. It's the latest one of the "Not Your Mother's Cookbooks"
series, a great idea for families. She has over 200 freezer-friendly recipes. No gastroporn
photos in this non-illustrated tome – just the preps for such as breakfast sliders, scones,
chipotle taco, sesame chicken, and southwest seasoned pork chops. It's loaded with tips
and advice (best freezer bags, how to safely thaw). She recommends making and
preserving two weeks of meals at one time. You can get more from her blog Cook out of the freezer whenever you want to…

--1,000 LOW CALORIE RECIPES (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 600 pages, $41.99 CAN)
just screams "FAMILY". It's by Jackie Newgent, RD, nutrition cookbook author. There
are no illustrations, and the pages have two columns each, but it gives you all the basic
preps plus nutritional data for each recipe. Lots of web and print resources are listed.
Every dish has fewer than 500 calories per serving, and many have fewer than 300. All
courses, snacks, drinks, cocktails, breakfasts, and brunches are covered.

--ENTERTAINING (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 34 pages, $38.99 CAN hardcovers) is by
Abigail Kirsch, a cooking school owner and caterer. It comes under the auspices the
Culinary Institute of America, and it promises recipes and inspirations for gathering with
family and friends. So this is about planning and pulling off get-togethers, with 200
recipes. Here is the usual primer on how to organize, followed by apps, other courses,
desserts and beverages. Quite useful.

(Hearst books, 2012, 444 pages, $35.95 CAN ring binder) promises gooey, chewy,
flakey, crispy, crunchy, sweet and luscious treats – about 250 of them, in a shrink-
wrapped package. There are chapters on working with kids for the easy-to-shape cookies,
brownies and bars, how-to-photos and smartphone tags to 20 how-to video links,
emergency baking substitutions, and many charts.
--BELLY FAT DIET FOR DUMMIES (John Wiley & Sons, 2013 [already?], 338 pages,
$23.99 CAN soft covers) is by Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, and it promotes the good
life while shedding excess belly fat and keeping it off. It takes your apple and turns it into
a pear: how about that for magic? She's got more than 40 recipes to reduce bloat and fat,
some workout routines, and some guidance on keeping weight off. Her to-ten belly
bloaters include bagels, cabbage, carbonated drinks, sausage, sugar alcohols, and white
rice. Her top ten nutrients that shrink bellies include caraway seeds, cinnamon, omega-3
fatty acids, resveratrol, and vitamin C.
--ROSE REISMAN'S CHOOSE IT AND LOSE IT (Whitecap Books, 2012, 165 pages,
$24.95 CAN soft covers) is an odd book – how to lose weight by eating and trading-off at
restaurants. She tells you how to make better informed judgements when ordering food at
over 60 national fast-food restaurants. In other words, these are her selections for the best
nutritional food values at the fast food places. Some people will say, "hey, I go for the
hamburger, not the salad". But you can use it as a book to guide you when someone
suggests that you go to a place you don't really want to go to, but eating out is the best
option for talking or companionship. If you hate burgers, take the salad option. In that
context, the book might be useful, although some people insist that there is NO healthy
food at takeouts/fast food joints. No recipes here, but lots of material on reducing
calories, fat and sodium.
352 pages, $27.95 CAN soft covers) is by Alexandra Anca, RD. It covers the top ten food
allergies: peanuts, seafood, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, sesame seeds, tree nuts, and others.
It's a comprehensive book, dealing with food allergies vs. food intolerance, elimination
diet vs. exclusion diet, and (importantly) how to manage food allergies when eating out
or at work. Did you know that fish and seafood are the most common triggers for adult-
onset allergies? There are 150 preps here, with 30-day meal plans and nutritional

No comments: