Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Re: TOP GIFT BOOKS, part 2: Beverage and Reference Books

Awesome! thank you!

>…and how about gift books for the beverage drinker? Try –
>--DIVIDED SPIRITS (University of California Press, 2015,� 260 pages,� $29.95 US paper
>covers) is by Sarah Bowen, professor at North Carolina State. It is an engaging look at
>the politics of tequila and mezcal production in Mexico. Currently it is a market-based
>model, but Bowen calls for more democratic and inclusive systems that involve the
>participation of the small producers, the agave farmers, and many of the workers. Rural
>development should be supported. It's a scholarly book with end notes and a
>bibliography, but on a topic to think about over the holidays.
>--THE HOME DISTILLER'S GUIDE TO SPIRITS: reviving the art of home distilling (Firefly
>Books, 2015, 160 pages, $29.95 hard covers) is by Steve Coomes, an American food and
>drink writer. Here he gives a history of the process, advice on everything you need to
>know, and recipes to help enjoy the fruits of the labours. If you are looking to set up
>a home moonshine operation, this is a safe too to begin with. Vodka is the easiest, just
>plain alcohol (made with grains, grapes [as in grappa], fruit [schnapps], molasses, or
>tubers). Most others require some aging, although rum and gin can be quickly done.
>Whiskey and brandy take time for aging. Check out the rules and regulations for your
>--A FIELD GUIDE TO CANADIAN COCKTAILS (Appetite by Random House, 2015, 214 pages, $24.95
>CAN hard covers) has been collected by Victoria Walsh and Scott McCallum. There are over
>100 preps here inspired by Canadian ingredients and spirits. They've got syrup and
>infusion recipes, quick advice, technique and equipment guides, and some
>narrative-memoir material from their cross-country travels. Try the distinctly Canadian
>gin, Ungava Gin, with its native botanicals of nordic juniper, Labrador tea, crowberry,
>cloudberry, and wild rose hips. Creations are sourced, such as Fiddlehead Martini from
>New Brunswick.
>--DRINKING IN AMERICA (Twelve, Grand Central Publishing, 2015, 258 pages, $34 CAN hard
>covers) is by Susan Cheever, a writer daughter of John. It tells the North American
>secret history of drinking and inebriation, and how the consumption of alcohol has
>shaped the American character and events. There are end notes and a bibliography.
>--DRINKING THE DEVIL'S ACRE (Chronicle Books, 2015, 256 pages, $30 CAN hardcovers) is by
>Duggan McDonnell. The book is about San Francisco and its drinks. The Devil's Acre was a
>bar-filled block in Frisco's Barbary Coast� area; these are tales and preps from the
>area. 25 iconic recipes for such as Pisco Punch, Mai Tai, Gold Rush Sazerac, plus 45
>other contemporary spinoffs. Historical photographs and stories, beginning with the
>--GIN GLORIOUS GIN (Headline Books, 2015, 319 pages, $16.99 CAN paperback) is by Olivia
>Williams, a UK journalist. This is a cultural history of London seen through gin. There
>is the underbelly of the Georgian city (Gin Craze), the Empire (G & T, G & It), cocktail
>bars in the West End. Gin is a split personality: the drink of the fabulous and the
>poor. Read about it here.
>--THE BEER BIBLE (Workman, 2015, 644 pages, $24.95 CAN paper covers) is another beer
>too� by Jeff Alworth. This "essential beer lover's guide" covers more than 100
>different styles of beers (IPA, stout, lambic, barley wine, saison, pilsner, weiss, et
>al.). It is pretty through but of course there are probably millions of tiny craft beers
>not here. US craft beer is worth about $15 billion US. The work is divided in to four:
>ales, lagers, wheat, and tart and wild. There are links between beers, so that if you
>like one kind, you might want to try another of a different but related kind. Other
>material here includes art of tasting, glassware, bitterness units, mouthfeel, and a few
>food pairings.
>...perhaps some reference books? Such as:
>--1,000 FOOD TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE (Workman, 2015, 990 pages, $32.95 CAN paperback) is
>by Mimi Sheraton – it is a great catalogue of all the foods you should eat, selected
>from the best cuisines around the world (French , Italian, Chines, Senegalese, Mexican,
>etc.). It is not just about type of food, but where to eat them. Over 550 colour photos
>and 70 recipes, plus 14 or more log rollers to compel us to read the tome. I'm still
>reading it, maybe 3 items a day, enough for a year. Mimi looks at tastes, dishes,
>ingredients, and restaurants. And there are multiple indexes for easier access. Maybe a
>CD-ROM or PDF for retrieval searches in the future?
>--THE FOOD LAB (Norton, 2015, 960 pages, $58 CAN hard covers) is by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt,
>who proposes "better home cooking through science". He's a director at
>, author of a column The Food Lab (which was a Beard nominee), and a
>columnist for Cooking Light. It comes with endorsements by Myhrvold, Steingarten,
>Lebovitz, and Michael Ruhlman. Kenji covers the mundane (how to make mac and cheese more
>gooey and velvety smooth) and pooh-poohs such techniques as succulence through brining.
>There are hundreds of recipes here and over 1,000 images of techniques (e.g.,
>Hollandaise Sauce in two minutes, creamy potato casserole).� Unlike the hard science of
>the McGee books, Kenji is more practical and concentrates on the how rather than on the
>why – and with many pix. Recipes are set up by courses (breakfast, soups & stews,
>etc.). The emphasis is definitely on American home cookery dishes. But Kenji has also
>written about ethnic food in his columns, so maybe these will be along in volume two.
>Hey, a good tome for the science nerd who wants to cook.
>--KITCHEN HACKS (America's Test Kitchen, 2015, 358 pages, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is a
>golden tool well-priced for our market. These are quick tips, time-savers, and
>shortcuts. They help you organize, repair mistakes, clean up, store food and impress
>your company. Both food ingredients and equipment are covered, as well as techniques.
>Typical are: removing coconut meat from the shell, steaming milk for a cappuccino,
>taking pictures of food. A nice collection from the folks at Cook's Illustrated.
>--FAST AND FEARLESS COOKING FOR THE GENIUS (For the Genius Press, 2015, $24.95 US paper
>REVIEW). She outlines a number of basic and easy principles and techniques for cooking,
>using ingredients and methods that are sometimes idiosyncratic but approachable and
>time-tested through her life. And she's got stories of successes and failures. It's for
>the millennial who doesn't cook. Ann's creed: don't be afraid, have a basic pantry with
>both normal and new-to-you ingredients, and approach the whole business in a spirit of
>play. Contains no recipes to frighten you.
>--WASTE FREE KITCHEN HANDBOOK (Chronicle Books, 2015, 200 pages, $23 CAN soft covers) is
>by Dana Gunders; it is a guide to eating well and saving money by wasting less food (she
>says that the average North American tosses away about $30 each month in uneaten food).
>There are suggestions, checklists, recipes, and a kitchen waste audit. Major keys: good
>shopping, proper storage, eating leftovers and holdovers.

Danielle Johnson ~ Senior Publicist
Raincoast Books
2440 Viking Way Richmond, BC V6V 1N2
604 448 7163

No comments: