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Saturday, November 30, 2013


NOVEMBER 30, 2013
By Dean Tudor, Ryerson Journalism Professor Emeritus and Gothic
Epicures Writing, (World Wine Watch Newsletter).
        Twitter: @gothicepicures
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 or relative. All books and book-like
materials that are listed here are RECOMMENDED, and probably can be purchased at a
discount via Amazon.Ca, Chapters.Ca (with free delivery on a total purchase of over
$25), or even The Book Depository in Guernsey.
Price Alert: because of US dollar fluctuations with Canada, all prices will vary. I have
used CAN wherever I know it.
A. Art/travel/expensive cookbooks might be some of 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.
--SETTING A FINE TABLE; historical desserts and drinks from the Officers' kitchens at
Fort York (Whitecap Books,  2013, 144 pages, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is probably at
the top of my gift food books for the Holidays – it is a great read and it is affordable
(Amazon has it at $14.56). It's edited by Elizabeth Baird (well-known cookery expert and
author AND a volunteer historic cook at Fort York) and Bridget Wranich (Programme
Officer at Fort York AND co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Canada). There are
31 preps here, with the original and the modern equivalent for each, introduced by an
explanation of why it was chosen, how it would have been used at the Fort in the past and
how it is used at the Fort today. Research and testing was done by the Volunteer Historic
Cooks at Fort York. Everything in that day was local, and so it is here today. Go mad
over orange gingerbread, jumbles, peppermint drops, and negus ice. There's also a
bibliography for additional reading, including a list of historic cookbooks, and
specialized recipe indexes.
--THE WORLD'S BEST ASIAN NOODLE RECIPES (Race Point Publishing, 2013, 288
pages, $30 CAN hard covers) is a publisher's collation consisting of some 125 recipes
from top international chefs who specialize in noodles: from Japan, China, Korea,
Thailand, India, as well as Montreal, New York city, London, Paris. Each prep is sourced
as to provenance, with tales of the restaurant. Recipes are presented by ingredients:
seafood, meat, poultry and veggie. Typical are ebi yakisoba (sweet and spicy shrimp
noodles), potato noodles in sake clam sauce, Tokyo seafood ramen soup, bow ties with
Asian chicken, and Thai sesame noodles.
--THE ART OF THE PASTRY (Monacelli Press, 2013; dist. Random House Canada,
240 pages, $45 hard covers) is by party designer David Stark with John Morse. Stark
does planning and design events for dinners, opening nights, baby showers, museums,
awards evenings, bat and bar mitzvahs, children's parties, anniversaries and weddings.
These are all here. Indeed, some weddings here were produced in collaboration with
Martha Stewart Weddings (30 pages of details).
2013; distr. T. Allen, unpaged, $31.95 spiral bound) is from the well-respected Academia
Barilla, a teaching/research centre in Italy. There are 225 recipes here, 50 for each of four
courses (antipasto, primo, secondi, dolce) plus 25 side dishes. Apparently, it is
mathematically possible to mix and match for 125 million combinations of Italian
cuisine, enough to satisfy everyone. Each prep is on a card in this spiral edition, which
can be flipped back and forth to match other dishes – and thereby you can create your
own menu. Each prep is illustrated, and there are indications of cooking times, calories,
difficulty, ingredients (both avoirdupois and metric weights and volumes), and the
instructions. Some suggested menus are given, and it is all held together by an index.
Bargain price.
--PIMENTOS & PIRI PIRI; Portuguese comfort cooking (Whitecap Books, 2013, 376
pages, $39.95 CAN soft covers) is by Carla Azevedo, a chef grad from George Brown
College and a grad from Ryerson's Journalism school. It is a substantially updated,
revised, expanded and extended version of her first book, Uma Casa Portuguesa which
dealt with home style Portuguese food, but largely Azorean. Here, she concentrates more
on the mainland and some transition elements in North America to account for the tastes
of the waves of Portuguese immigrants over the past 20 years since she wrote Uma. She
spent time with Portuguese women and came up with this book of new preps and stories
from the Portuguese kitchen. There is a primer on the essential of Portuguese cuisine, 330
recipes from apps to desserts, engaging photos, and both metric and avoirdupois
measurements in the ingredient lists. Anyone for grilled octopus in red pepper and olive
relish? Or caldo verde, piri piri, and bolo de natal com figos?
--KENVIN; an artist's kitchen (Gibbs Smith, 2013; dist. Raincoast, 344 pages, $60 CAN,
hard covers) is by Kenvin Lyman (1942-2011), a cook, winemaker, organic farmer,
international artist and illustrator. Indeed, it has been described as "food, art, and wisdom
of a Bohemian cowboy". The book is part memoir and part cookbook, loaded with details
about his Utah ranch and farm: growing, preparing, and eating locally). His illustrations
are scattered throughout. It is well worth a look.
--TREME; stories and recipes from the heart of New Orleans (Chronicle Books; dist.
Raincoast, 240 pages, $34.95 CAN  hard covers) is by Lolis Eric Elie, and comes with
tons of endorsements, which are unnecessary since the book is related to the acclaimed
HBO cable-TV series. Here are 100 heritage and contemporary recipes from the post-
Katrina survival of New Orleans. There are original preps from chefs and guest stars
(such as David Chang) and from Commander's Palace restaurant. Try crawfish ravioli,
smothered turnip soup, slow-roasted duck, sweet potato turnovers, and the Sazerac
--J'AIME NEW YORK; 150 culinary destinations for food lovers (Editions Alain
Ducasse, 620 pages, $52 CAN hard covers) is by well-known chef and educator Alain
Ducasse, assisted by Alex Vallis. The book weighs 11.5 pounds (just over 5 kilos) and
has a padded cover – to protect your foot if you drop it?? Included is a portable
guidebook to take with you on your outside journeys. There are lots of photos and
materials on restaurants in New York City. The basics range from hot dogs in Brooklyn
to restaurants in Manhattan, with histories and food accounts plus recipes. Ducasse also
wrote J'Aime Paris, but that book had 200 destinations.
dist. Raincoast, 254 pages, $33.50 CAN hard covers) is by Habeeb Salloum and his two
daughters, Muna and Leila. It is an historical account of traditional Arab sweets and the
sweet tooth of the caliphs and their feasts. The book has academic scholarship, with
footnotes, glossary, bibliography and 32 colour plates. The 300 recipes are derived from
nine major mediaeval Arabic cookbooks, written 1100-1400. About 1600 preps were
examined: pastries, cookies, puddings, cakes, pies, candies. Their next book is to be
Mediaeval Delights from the Arabian Nights, concentrating on the feasts.
--MARY PRATT (Goose Lane Editions, 2013, 160 pages, $55 CAN hard covers) is the
catalogue for the Mary Pratt career retrospective now touring Canada (St. John's,
Windsor, Kleinberg, Regina, Halifax). Here are 75 reproductions of her most renowned
work which includes Eggs in an egg crate, Salmon on saran, Eviscerated chickens, and
Cod fillets on tin foil. There are also five essays about her work which elevates the
mundane to the monumental – all food related paintings.
--CUISINE NICOISE (Gibbs Smith, 2013, 240 pages, $44 CAN hard covers) deals with
the cooking of the French Riviera, as written by Hillary Davis, a food writer who lived
near Nice for 11 years. The cuisine has always been dependent on locally accessible food,
with lamb-pork-game-duck-chicken dominating over beef. Most of the cuisine is, of
course, related to Italian food: there is a good commingling over time. The wide range
here includes a dozen soups, 13 salads, plus meats and desserts.
--PATISSERIE (Rizzoli, 2013; dist. Random House Canada, 800 pages, $55 CAN hard
covers) is by Christophe Felder, a master pastry chef with 20 French cookbooks to his
name plus a major pastry school in Strasbourg. This book is subtitled "Mastering the
fundamentals of French pastry" and promotes the techniques over the recipes: nuances of
rolling out dough for croissants, caramelizing apples for a tarte tatin, and so forth. The
210 preps have 3200 step-by-step photos. Basic chapters and sections deal with crème
patisserie, pate a choux, chocolate ganache, and decorations with sauces and syrups.
--MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY AT HOME (Firefly Books, 2013, 240 pages, $29.95
CAN hard covers) is by Jozef Youssef, who has worked in several places in the UK and
trained in molecular gastronomy with Heston Blumenthal. He also manages He uses food science to being flavour, texture, taste and
aromas to recipes in new ways. And now you can do it yourself (DIY) at home! Step-by-
step photos demonstrate techniques, although sometimes you'll need some close
domestic equivalent. Sous-vide, transglutaminase (meat glue), dehydration, centrifugal
cooking, evaporation, rapid infusion, adding smoke, spherification, carbonation, foams
and airs, the hydrocolloids of gels and gums, liquid nitrogen – they are all here, along
with food pairing and inspired avant-garde presentations. The actually does take culinary
physics out of the lab and into the kitchen.
--THE MAGNIFICENT CHICKEN (Chronicle Books, 2013, $28 CAN hard covers) is a
revised and expanded version of a 2001 book, photographed by Tamara Staples. These
are championship chickens, with more than 40 breeds here and an informative text. The
introduction explores the finer points of poultry shows and chicken portraiture.
--FEAST; generous vegetarian meals for any eater and every appetite (Chronicle Books,
2013, 288 pages, $39.99 CAN hard covers) is by Sarah Copeland, once  a lead recipe
developer for the Food Network and now a major US cookbook author and food writer.
It's a good book for a variety of lifestyles: transitioning, adding more meatless dishes to
the diet, giving up red meat, moving on from poultry and seafood. The 140 preps are
arranged by meal occasion of breakfast, brunch, sammies, meals in a bowl, and sweets.
She convinced me that I could begin my day with a kale shake, although I'd rather try
roast broccoli and chickpeas with ricotta and kale, or a caprese for four seasons.
--DANIEL (Grand Central Life & Style, 2013, 396 pages, $60 CAN hard covers) is the
long awaited book by Daniel Boulud, the multiple Bear Award winner who runs 14
restaurants (7 in New York City) including one in Toronto. There are essays here by food
writer Bill Buford on preparing over a dozen recipes. The whole book contains over 100
recipes with Boulud's insights: these are preps from his restaurants and the photos are for
the professional platings. Each prep actually has two recipes: one as used in the resto and
another for making at home. He's got four seasonal menus based on his fave French
regions: Alsace, Normandy, Provence, and Lyon. For this book, they've called in the
heavy duty top log rollers of Keller, Ripert, Pepin, Vongerichten, and Guerard. What, no

…and gift books for the drinker? Try –
--diffordsguide GIN: the bartender's bible (Firefly Books, 2013, 350 pages, $39.95 CAN
hard covers) is by Simon Difford, an award-winning spirits writer and consultant. Here
he spotlights the craft gin distilling movement, as well as the larger boys. It is the story of
juniper infusion, the travel from Netherlands to London, the penny gin, the G & T, the G
& French and G & It. There's a chapter on how it is made, 18 profiles of the big
distilleries (e.g. Tanqueray and their Rangpur), some classic gin cocktail recipes, and a
directory/tasting notes for about 175 gin brands from around the world (BC's Victoria
Gin is here).
--BORDEAUX LEGENDS (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013, 288 pages, $62 CAN hard
covers) is by Jane Anson, a wine writer and educator specializing in Bordeaux wines. It's
a 500 year history of the five First Growths as listed in 1855 – Chateaux Haut-Brion,
Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, and then Mouton Rothschild more than a century
later. There are notes on how the wines are produced and sold in the marketplace. And it
is also loaded with anecdotes, historical data, and great photos (from Isabelle
--WORLD BEER (DK Books, 2013, 300 pages, $40 CAN hard covers) details over 100
different styles of beer from 800 craft and classic breweries with nearly 1000 different
brews. It covers Unibroue's Maudite and Vancouver Island Brewery's Hermannator Ice
Bock through to Belgian Achel beers. It's arranged alphabetically by brewery, with great
thumbnail sketches and 750 full-colour photos (mostly label shots). Canadian breweries
are limited to just 33.

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