Search This Blog

Monday, December 9, 2013


Family values Christmas gift cook books would have to include:
--FAMILY COOKBOOK (DK Books, 2013, 496 pages, $35 CAN hard covers) is an in-
house production from DK Books, with 700 easy-to-prepare recipes with children and
adults in mind. There are over 1000 full-colour photos here. Each prep has a nutritional
--THE KINFOLK TABLE (Artisan Books, 2013, 368 pages, $43.95 CAN hard covers) is
from Kinfolk magazine. It's a collection of some 100 recipes designed for unfussy dining
for small gatherings. It is a bit rustic, but then all the preps come from tastemakers in
small towns throughout North America and Europe. These are reliable dishes for
memorable dining. Every meal (including breakfast) and every season is covered; there
are also menus such as winter menu featuring roast chicken, greens and potato soup, and
--THE PREPPY COOKBOOK (New Harvest, 2013, 256 pages, $30 CAN) seems to be a
perfect gift book, written by Christine E. Nunn. These are the classic recipes for the
modern prep. This is the preppy kitchen, with a pantry and desire for summer living at the
cottage with family and friends, sports, the European tour, the brunches, cocktail parties,
showers, holidays, and entertaining. Typical recipes include pissaladiere and lobster rolls.
Don't forget the preppy rules at the table: martinis are never made with vodka; tea
sandwiches have no crusts; always pick up asparagus with your fingers.
--BOLD (Workman Publishing, 2013, 410 pages, $24.95 CAN soft covers) is by Susanna
Hoffman and Victoria Wise, both chefs at Chez Panisse in its early days. This is a
cookbook collection of some 250 preps with big flavours, covering all courses from apps
to desserts. It's a global fusion meld of flavours, ingredients, and warming meals for
home. Both chefs have collaborated before, and have 330,000 copies of two books in
print. This is family comfort food: slow-roasted braises and roasts, steaks, hearty soups,
platters of veggies, heavy pastas and grains, plus indigenous wild game and rich desserts.
Sidebars cover advice and tips, people and places, food history, and general trivia.
--THE VINTAGE TEA PARTY YEAR (Mitchell Beazley, 2013, 304 pages, $32.99
CAN hard covers) is by Angel Adoree, the creative director of the project. These are how
tea parties used to be – let's bring them back!! You can wave the Union Jack at a New
Year's Eve tea party, a children's tea party, a tea for two affair (e.g. Valentine Day), a
bachelorette party, wedding or baby shower, a street tea party, and Christmas. A dozen
offerings in all. For each event, there is a selection of best foods, drinks and décor. But of
course you can mix and match recipes, craft projects and hair styles – whatever. She
concludes with how to create a sequin snood.
--COOKING SLOW (Chronicle Books, 2013, 224 pages, $41 CAN hard covers) is by
Andrew Schloss, a food author and former president of IACP. This is home cooking –
recipes for slowing down and cooking more, emphasizing braising, roasting, grilling,
baking, frying and steaming. He also uses a slow cooker and sous vide techniques. There
are great photos for most dishes: family smoked pork chops, greens and beans steamed in
beer and bacon, and osso buco with apples and bourbon.
2013, 162 pages, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is an old favourite originally published by
Lorimer in 1979 as The Christmas Cookbook. Of course, Murray has updated and
regraded the preps, deleted and added recipes with a collection of classics and modern
alternatives. There are a lot of baking items here, and there are also full menus for themed
feasts on Christmas Day and a New Year's menu (the only thing missing is a menu for a
Birthday Celebration on Christmas Day – my wife would love it). Historical notes have
been added here and there.
--ONE GOOD DISH (Artisan Books, 2013, 256 pages, $30 CAN hard covers) is by
David Tanis, food writer weekly with the New York Times (City Kitchen). Here he
emphasizes the pleasures of a simple meal: just great for cooking at home with
uncomplicated food. The book is an eclectic collection of his fave dishes, some meant for
two, others for a large crowd. But usually it is a one dish meal, such as spaghetti with
bread crumbs and pepper, or breaded eggplant cutlets, or south Indian cabbage with black
mustard seeds.
--THE SOUP & BREAD COOKBOOK (Rodale Books, 2013, 308 pages, $27.50 CAN
soft covers) is by Beatrice Ojakangas, author of 28 (!) cookbooks. She's written
everywhere, and specializes in Scandinavian cuisine. Here she has more than 100
seasonal pairings for simple meals. It's arranged by season, beginning with Spring. Each
meal is a combo of a soup and some (different) bread. So there is a May Day  celebration
soup with Scottish currant bannock, a walleye chowder with Parmesan garlic bread,  and
a chicken and dumpling soup with Dutch raisin bread. I like the suggestion of a bread for
each soup, but the adventuresome out there can easily mix and match.
--PIZZA BREAD & MORE (Taunton Press, 2013, 240 pages, $24 CAN soft covers) is
by Academia Barilla, an Italian centre for the preservation of Italian gastronomic culture.
Here they feature 100 or so recipes for focaccia, ciabatta, rolls, breadsticks, crackers,
calzones, and pizza (thin- and thick-crust). And of course you can do it all at home. Easy
to use with lots of Chef's Tips.
--ALICE EATS (Whitecap Books, 2013, 264 pages, $29.95 CAN hard covers) is by
Pierre A. Lamielle and Julie Van Rosendaal: he's a graphic designer and food
illustrator/cooking school grad; she's a food correspondent on CBC Radio One and food
editor of Parents Canada. Here is the full text of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as
well as appropriate recipes, photographs, and new illustrations. All the preps have been
inspired by the characters and events in the story: Mock turtle soup, Queen of Hearts' jam
tarts, Little girl bacon-and-egg-salad sandwiches. A great Holiday gift.
--MELT (Little, Brown, 2013, 212 pages, $33 CAN hard covers) is the art of macaroni
and cheese, as written by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord. But they use fine
cheeses and unfamiliar pasta shapes. The 75 recipes are organized by style – stove-top,
salads, casseroles, sweets.  For example, there's Goat with edamame, fennel and rotini;
Pumpkin stuffed with fontina, sausage and mac; Blue cheese with squash, sage butter,
and rotini. This book is upscale all the way, but it might be a way for parents to join kids
at the dinner table with a serving of "mac and cheese". The book concludes with a cheese
compendium, a pasta guide, and a resources list.
--BEST OF ROSE REISMAN (Whitecap, 2013, 428 pages, $36 CAN hard covers) is a
collection of preps, largely drawn from her Metro newspaper columns and her Huffington
blogs. These are healthy recipes, celebrating her 20 years in the food writing business
(she's the author of 16 cookbooks, runs a catering business, and is a restaurant
consultant) . It also comes with advanced log rolling, which I felt wasn't needed for her.
Each prep has health tips and nutritional data. Most everything is also low-fat. A good
family resource.

2013, 262 pages, $31.99 CAN hard covers) offers 175 slimming and gluten-free recipes.
Every meal is covered. Arthur Agatston, MD, the author, is the originator of the South
Beach Diet. Many of the recipes take 30 minutes or less from start to finish. Not only is
gluten gone, but also most highly refined flours, sugars and saturated fats.

No comments: