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Sunday, December 2, 2018


FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS IN REVIEW FOR NOVEMBER 2018 [published monthly since 2000]
By Dean Tudor, Gothic Epicures Writing,
These food and wine book reviews are always available at  and
Stocking stuffers should be at the very top of everybody's gift list this Holiday season: something affordable from under $10 up to $25 CAD or so, and these can also double as host gifts, being something small and lightweight. Most of the books here are paperbacks. And of course, they can all stuff an adult stocking.
A.Typical for food are:
--SCANDIKITCHEN CHRISTMAS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 160 pages, $26.95 hardbound) is a foodbook by Bronte Aurell, Danish author and restaurateur at ScandiKitchen Cafe. This is her fourth eponymous cookbook for Ryland Peters & Small. These are traditional recipes from Scandinavia for the Christmas holiday season, competing with the Victorian and the Prussian holiday feasts at Christmas time. Typical are glogg (mulled wine) and hygge foods. She introduces the Sandi pantry, and goes into Advent gatherings (with historical context on how Advent is done in Scandinavia), biscuits and breads and cakes, Christmas Eve  traditions, and the Yule smorgasbord.
--KOMBUCHA (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 96 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is by Louise Avery of LA Brewery in the UK.  She, as founder, uses all natural ingredients to brew health-boosting teas. The company supplies Selfridges, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, plus many cafes. Here  are 30 preps for naturally fermented and sparkling tea drinks, arranged by four bases: flowers, fruits, veggies, herbs & spices. There is also a long and lengthy primer on  brewing basics and kombucha, followed by a UK-US web resources listing.
--CHEESE BALLS (Chronicle Books, 2018,112 pages, $24.95  hardcover) is by Dena Rayess. It takes me back to the 1960s. I must admit that I have never actually created a cheese ball from scratch. I've always made my creations from leftover cheeses after a party, adding cream cheese or some soft cheese, nuts and flavours to the basic leftovers. So here are 40 preps for making a cheese ball from scratch, plus advice on shaping and decorating . A very useful volume for party go-tos, game-day snacks, and picnics.
--CHRISTMAS WITH DICKENS (Cico Books, 2018, 64 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is by Pen Vogler. It has been abstracted from her earlier Cooking with Dickens. This is the Christmas section, with lobster patties, pickled salmon, roast goose, orange and red currant jellies, smoking bishop and punch. There is even a recipe for hand-raised pork pie to keep in the larder for visitors (or escaped convicts). 22 preps in all, followed by a very food bibliography for further reading of Dickens and food.
--THE ARTISANAL KITCHEN: BAKING FOR BREAKFAST, SWEETS & TREATS, PARTY CAKES  (Artisan, 2018, 112 pages each, $17.95 each hardback) are three parts of a series by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day, co-owners of the Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah Georgia. Each deals with a specific theme -- there are 33 breakfast recipes for muffins, biscuits, eggs, and other sweet and savoury dishes; there are 33 sweets and treats recipes for cupcakes, brownies, bars and candies; and there are 36 decadent party cake recipes for festive occasions. Warmly illustrated, and with conversion charts.
--I [HEART] PUMPKIN (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 144 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is a compilation from RP&S authors pulled together by Alice Sambrook. There are 60 preps, many by Brian Glover (17) and Hannah Miles (9), with the balance by 21 other UK cookbook writers. All are meant for the winter months, with soups, stews, pies and tarts.
--THE OYSTER COMPANION (Firefly Books, 2018, 256 pages, $19.95 flexibound) is by Patrick McMurray, the world champion oyster shucker (Guinness) who owned Starfish in Toronto for over a decade before The Ceili Cottage. The work was originally published in 2007 as Consider the Oyster. It's a great field guide (now completely revised, expanded, and updated) to the complex nature of oysters where tastes will vary over the seasons and location of the beds. It is also a cultural history to the lore and call of the oyster. He compares the differences between some 50 of the more popular varieties found world-wide. With recipes. And it is small and flexible enough to be a portable guide. He's even got an amazing tasting wheel which would freak out the oenophiles.
--FOODIE CITY BREAKS: Europe (Dog 'n' Bone, 2018, 144 pages, $19.95 paperbound) is by Richard Mellor, a UK travel and food writer. It's a succinct guide to 25 of the best cities in Europe for food, with about 10 recommendations for each. France is the heavyweight here with three cities, but Spain and Italy also have three each. So for Bordeaux, budget picks include Le Chien de Pavlov, fine-dining at Garopapilles, modern bistro at Miles, La Cagette for breakfast, bars, places for regional cuisine, wines, cafes, food markets, and so "local secrets" .  This is an easily digestible summary of culinary scenes in Europe – the perfect host gift.
--DINNER LIKE A BOSS (Hardie Grant Books, 2018, 152 pages, $28.99 paperbound) is by Katy Holder. It is a collection of some 50 recipes emphasizing quick and easy healthy meals for busy families. These are mainly one pots featuring meat or fish or just veggies with a global slant. There's the bibimbap rice bowl, smoky Mexican chicken burgers, and crunchy fruit crumble.
--BACON BEANS AND BEER (Gibbs Smith, 2018, 128 pages, $22 hardbound) is by Eliza Cross who has written the prime reference work on bacon. This is a guy foodbook, so it should be suitable as a host gift. The intent is to merge bacon and beans into some dish and then pair it with a suitable beer. The range runs from apps through to sweet treats.
--THE AUBERGINE COOKBOOK (Ebury Press, 2018, 112 pages, $$21.99 hardbound) is by Heather Thomas. The front cover promises 50 recipes to feed your obsession, while the back cover promises 60 brand new recipes. Maybe the truth lies in between...Serious cooks know that "aubergines" is UK-talk for "eggplants".  Typical preps here are eggplant fritters with honey, Sicilian eggplant pizza, Thai eggplant curry, and Szechuan-spiced eggplant. A good all-round collection gathered within one set of covers.
--DIET CHEATS COOKBOOK  (Vermilion,  2018, 128 pages, $21.99 paperbound) is by Heather Thomas who promises us that in this work all your fave meals are made healthier. She's got some easy to follow Green, Amber, and Red food lists, nutrition notes, and concise calorie data for each recipe. Just about every recipe is title "Cheat's something", e.g. Cheat's Buffalo wings, Cheat's hummus, Cheat's tiramisu, and the like. Still, there are 100 guilt-free recipes here worthy of your attention to satisfy your cravings and maybe even lose some weight. You start the day right, go light in the meals, and spend less time in prep work. Hey, it works for me...
--HOW TO SET A TABLE (Ebury/Clarkson Potter, 2018, 128 pages $21.99 hardbound) is a publisher's book, but this time it is a hardbound version of the previous paperback. While the rules for entertaining company have relaxed (but some may say "disintegrated"), you'll still want to know about placement of knives, forks, glasses, napkins, etc. The range is from a last minute get-together through brunches, picnics, and memorable dinners. Consoles and trays are covered, but not trolleys.
--FLATBREAD (Gibbs Smith, 2018, 128 pages, $19.99 hardbound) is by Anni Daulter. The primer is mainly a few types of dough, such as "classic" pizza-like, unleavened pan bread, sourdough, sweet dough (for dessert flatbreads),  and toasted nut gluten-free flatbread. Plus, of course, you can always buy naan bread, pita bread, lavash, tortilla, puff pastry, and layered phyllo pastry. But the essence of the work are the toppings, dips and drizzle, which includes a deconstructed BBT (bacon, basil and tomato).
--STUDENT EATS (Ebury Press, 2017, 192 pages, $21.99 softbound) is by Rachel Phipps who promotes easy, affordable good food on a budget. Of course you don't need to be a student, just penurious. All meals are covered: breakfast, lunch, solo dinners, food for friends, drinks. Most food is homemade such as granola. There are chapters for leftovers, pantry meals, some menus for three meals under $20. Of course, it is all written by a former student, now a graduate, with a theme of "how I survived". British orientation, but then, courgette sounds so much better than zucchini. Try the mushroom toasts with tamago ribbons.
--KITCHEN CONFIDANT (Chronicle Books, 2018, 96 pages, $16.95 hardbound) is another publisher's title, being billed as "an indispensable guide for the baker, drinker, and cook".  Coverage includes ingredient substitution, metric and avoirdupois conversions, basic tool kits and equipment, and the like. I hate to tell them, but there is really no difference between Large eggs and Extra-Large eggs. At least, not anymore. Have you seen them lately?
--SO YOU THINK YOU'RE A FOODIE? (Dog 'n' Bone, 2018, 128 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is by Alexandra Parsons. It was first published in 2012 and has since been re-titled as above. There are 50 entries looking into the icons of foodism. The range is from searching for the tastiest and most authentic food to elaborate gastro experiences to food bores. Topics include science, salt, Michelin stars, artisan produce, and "mystery" meats. Good for a laugh over the holidays.
--FOR THIS WE LEFT EGYPT? (Flatiron Books, 2017, 2018,  130 pages, $27.99 hardbound) is a humour work by humourists Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel, and Adam Mansbach ("three of the funniest people I've ever created" -- G-D. It's a Passover Haggadah for the Seder. Note: of course, it is a parody. The tome itself is constructed from right to left, with the normal "front cover" being the blurbs on the back cover. As it says, good Jews will no longer have to sit through a lengthy Seder. The authors take you through every step, employing a kosher blowtorch and ending with a celebratory brisket. Lotsa fun reading.
--THE WORLD'S BEST BOWL FOOD (Lonely Planet, 2018, 224 pages, $19.99  paperbound) written by a variety of people and collated by the publisher – it's a collection of 100 one-pot international recipes from bibimbap (Korea) to chicken soup (Algeria) and pozole  (Mexico), bigos (Poland), and Eton mess (UK). It's all comforting home-style food, arranged by course. There's something for everyone here.
--POULETS & LEGUMES (Rux Martin, Houghton Mifflin, 2018, 120 pages, $22.50 hardbound) is from Jacques Pepin. These are his favourite chicken and vegetable recipes, drawn from five of his previous cookbooks. The first half deals with chicken: roast, peking-style, supremes, bouillabaisse, chasseur, jardiniere – about 28 in all, ending with roast stuffed cornish hens. The parade of 39 veggie preps includes artichoke hearts, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, spinach – any of which can be used with poultry. A neat little production.
--SIMPLY CITRUS (Gibbs Smith, 2018, 128 pages, $ 19.99 hardbound) is by Marie Asselin. It's a basic work on lemons, limes, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, kumquat, and other varieties, arranged by type after the primer.
--THE PESTO COOKBOOK (Storey Publishing, 2018, 218 pages, $25 paperbound) is by Olwen Woodier, who has written other cookbooks such as the Apple Cookbook and the Peach Cookbook. Here she gives us 116 preps for creative herb combinations. Of course, any time you use herbs, you've maximized the flavour.  It is basically a basil-based collection, but she does have 20 pages for making pestos from rosemary, scallions, cilantro, parsley, mint, lemon thyme, fennel, arugula – and others. And of course the adventuresome cook can  mix and match and continue to experiment.
--ASIAN TAPAS (Ryland Peters & Small,  2018, 144 pages, $19.95 hardbound)  has 60 recipes, with the major credits going to Jordan Bourke, Carol Hilker, Jenny Linford, and Loretta Liu (although 15 writers in all were involved). There is a primer on dough making, and then it is divided by form: parcels, rolls, dumplings, fritters, frys, pancakes, ribs, grills, wings. ,These are Asian small bites and apps, such as Vietnamese chicken and quinoa small bites, sashimi and cucumber bites, green chili bhajis, Chinese duck breast pancakes, beef bulgogi and rice noodle wraps. Something for everyone in the ultimate graze party. Sake anyone?
--DOSA KITCHEN (Clarkson Potter, 2018, 144 pages, $24.99 hardbound) is by Nash Patel and Leda Scheintaub. It's all about a very popular street food in India: thin, rice-and-lentil-based pancakes that can be stuffed with a variety of fillings—even sweets. Dosas are naturally fermented and gluten-free; they can be vegetarian (even vegan) and dairy-free as well. They give us a master batter followed by 50 recipes for stuffings, chutneys, and cocktails. These are 18-inch dosas, although the couple do make 32-inch dosas at their food truck.
--101 AMAZING USES FOR TURMERIC (Familius, 2018, 144 pages, $18.95 paperbound) is by Susan Branson. Turmeric appears to be yet another superfood, and the uses include alleviating illnesses and infections, such as allergies, asthma, cataracts, colorectal polyps, Crohn's disease, lung cancer, alcohol intoxication, common cold, depression, migraine, et al. It is also used for beauty (itchy skin, insect bites, bruises) and arts and crafts (temporary tattoos). Lots of footnotes with impeccable sources.
--101 AMAZING USES FOR GARLIC (Familius, 2018, 144 pages, $18.95 paperbound) is by Susan Branson. Her divisions this time include health, wellness, expunging pests, and unexpected uses. In the latter category you can find its use as an aphrodisiac, disinfecting spray, fishing bait and lures, glue, seasickness, splinters and wreaths. Lots of footnotes with impeccable sources.
--COOKING IN A SMALL KITCHEN (Picador Cookstr Classics, 2018, 257 pages, $21 hardbound) is by Arthur Schwartz. The new Picador series comprises reprints of cookbook classics, with a new foreword that explains why it is being republished. Schwartz's work  was published in 1979 and was meant for cramped quarters. The cookbook is both practical and timeless, as Lidia Bastianich noted in her foreword. Schwartz, an amazing food writer and editor in NYC, went on to write six more cookbooks.
--THE CONFIDENT COOK (Picador Cookstr Classics, 2018, 241 pages, $21 hardbound) is by Irena Chalmers, with a new foreword by Anne Willan. The 200 practical preps here use any or more of the five basic cooking methods. Once you've mastered those five, such as poaching, roasting, broiling, you can spin off. A simple beef stew can also become a Mulligan or a bourguignon. Chalmers wrote over 80 cookbooks, but this one is directed to new cooks.
B.Other little books, for beverages, include those on coffee, beer, wine and spirits – and even water:
--H2OH! (The Countryman Press, 2018 ,122 pages, $17.50 hardbound) is by Mimi Kirk, who has also written books about raw foods and smoothies. Water (and hydration) is great she says, but infusions help you drink that water. This all-organic work gives us the tastiest and healthiest infusions of veggies, fruits and herbs. Why pay $6 a bottle when you can make it for a nickel?  Plus, you can produce infused ice cubes for other drinks as well. Basil water is a fave of mine, as is strawberry and thyme. Scores of recipes and variations. Neat book
--NIGHTCAP (Chronicle Books, 128 pages, $24.95 hardbound) is by Kara Newman. She's got more than 40 simple cocktails to close out any evening, whether you are looking to keep the night going or soothe yourself to sleep, end a meal with a sweet or a digestif. I want to go to sleep, so I'd try the DejaVu All Over Again (amaro – Aperol -- Lillet) or Pleasant Evening (creme de cassis – Champagne), Well worth looking at for ideas.
--BEER HACKS (Workman Publishing, 2018, 158 pages, $24.95 hardbound) is by Ben Robinson. There are 100 tips, trick, and projects here, including a total beer vacation at Starkenberger Brewery in Austria, making authentic bratwurst by boiling in beer,  and getting better sleep with hop flowers rubbed into your pillow. Some tips use wedding rings, others will eliminate coffee stains, yet another will give you luxurious beer hair. Chacun a son gout. This will be for the beer drinking guy....
--SESSION COCKTAILS (Ten Speed Press, 2018, 154 pages, $24.99 hardbound) is by Drew Lazor and the Editors of the Beard winning online drinks site, Punch. It's a worthwhile collection of more than fifty low-alcohol drinks for any occasion, all designed to highlight flavours. Very appropriate for brunches. Most of the drinks are based on sherry, amaro, vermouth, wine and liqueur.  There is the Rebujito (sherry, mint, lemon, lime) and the Hop Skip Jump (Cynar, Punt e Mes, lemon, lime). Lazor also offers some tips on stocking the lo-al bar and recreating fave cocktails at low proof (eg., Negroni, Manhattan, Margarita).  There are even some advices on making large drinks in batches.
--STUFF EVERY BEER SNOB SHOULD KNOW (Quirk Books, 2018, 144 pages, $10.95 hardbound) is by Ellen Goldstein, who gives us a thumbnail coverage of just about everything in beerland. The basics describe what beers there are, the production process, glasses, tasting beers, storage, draught beer, hosting a tasting, and a large section on resources for further data. There's a lot of good stuff in these few pages – at an affordable price.
--LEMON WITH ZEST (Chronicle Books, 2018, 96 pages, $22  hardbound) is by April White. She's got 40 thirst-quenching recipes for lemon juice and lemon mix refreshments (with or without alcohol). Extremely useful for lemonade stands, picnics, barbecues, and any get-together.. It's arranged by form: liquids, ice pops, sorbets, and granitas.
--TEQUILA: shake, muddle, stir  (Hardie Grant Books, 2018, 143 pages, $24.99 hardcovers) is by Dan Jones who has got a string of books on gin and rum. He's got 40 preps here for tequila and mezcal. There's the Teqroni (substitute mezcal for gin), Tequila Mockingbird, Mexican Mojito, and Frozen Mango Margie. Great fun.
--TEQUILA BEYOND SUNRISE (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 64 pages, $17.95 hardbound) is by Jesse Estes, a London bartender and son of Tomas Estes, European Tequila Ambassador for the Mexican government. He's got over 40 recipes here for tequila and mezcal-based cocktails on a global scale. Check out Horchata Borracha, Death Flip and Blue Daisy. Hola!
--PROSECCO DRINKING GAMES (Dog 'n' Bone, 2018, 64 pages, $17.95 hardbound) is by Abbie Cammidge who, with her gal friends, have created or refashioned 29 drinking games for millennials. You just pick a game and pour some bubbles. My fave is the Raspberry Ripple where you have to toss berries into your opponent's glass – from a distance. Messy but effective. Any way – it is party time!
--GREAT WHISKEYS. New edition (DK Books, 2018, 384 pages, $19 paperbound) was first issued in 2011 (and was based on WORLD WHISKEYS form 2009). This new edition is based on the 2016 edition of WORLD WHISKEYS. It's a collection of thumbnail profiles of more than 500 of the best whiskeys from around the world. Charles MacLean is again the editor of this user-friendly pocket guide He's got a core of six other global contributors for the tasting notes and photography: each drink has a current label photo and notes covering eligible quaffs. For example, The Glenrothes  alone has four entries! The guide even has whiskey tours around producing areas to help plan any whiskey trip.
--THE BARISTA BOOK (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018, 128 pages, $19.99 paperbound) is by Hiroshi Sawada, an award winning coffee barista and latte artist. It was originally published in Japan in 2013 as a coffee lover's companion with brewing tips and over 50 recipes for coffee drinks. Included are lattes, Americanos, cappuccinos, espressos, cafe au laits, and iced drinks (among the principal preps) . A great tool for that coffee lover relative or friend.
--ROSE COCKTAILS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 64 pages, $17.95 hardbound) is by Julia Charles, a UK lifestyle writer-editor. She's got 40 pink-wine based drinks – another way to use rose wine, every style of drink from short to long, still to sparkling, sharp to sweet, and fun to fancy. Bartenders are using rose as a base for more complex drinks. This stocking stuffer is arranged by type: aperitifs, sparklers, spritzers, coolers, slushes, crushes, punches and pitchers. A nifty reference for the warmer times of the year.
--THE WINE LOVER'S APPRENTICE (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018, 160 pages, $21.99 hardbound)  is by Kathleen Bershad who runs a wine consultancy business, Fine Wine Concierge; they help clients buy, sell, taste, organize, and learn about wine. This is her WINE 101 book, which covers how to taste, grape varieties, reading restaurant lists and wine store shelves, and having a wine tasting. The rest of the work is a series of profiles for each of the major wine growing areas in the world, plus a useful glossary. Good stuff for the newbie.
--DRINKING DISTILLED (Ten Speed Press, 2018, 170 pages, $22.99 hardbound) is by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a bar director in Portland OR who has written The Bar Book. This is a basic work about "drinking" - with guidelines to toasting and drinking with a crowd,  drinking games, glassware, drinking and driving, hangovers, and barfing. Then he examines what you are drinking: spirits and cocktails. This is followed by when you are drinking: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, special occasions (with appropriate recipes). Next up is where you are drinking: work, bars, home, friend's house, on the road, sporting events. And these are with even more recipes.
--GINSPIRATION (DK Books, 2018, 144 pages, $18.99 hardbound) is by Eric Grossman and Klaus St. Rainer. The material was previously published in larger books dealing with spirits and cocktails. This is the extraction of the gin pages, with the photography. As such, it's a nifty gift for a gin-loving host/hostess. These are some of the best preps for cocktails and infusions, including the martini, French 75, gimlet, gin fizz, gin sling, pink gin, London buck, and more. There is material on equipment, juices, sugars and syrup, as well as ice. The Gin A-Z section covers the wide world range of various styles of bottled gin, with bottle shots. As for the matter of bruising, I'll leave it up to you....
--THE CURIOUS BARTENDER'S GUIDE TO GIN (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 2018, 192 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is by Tristan Stephenson, It's an abridgement of his earlier 2016 work The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace.  Most of the work is concerned with the history of gin and how gin is made, with about 45 pages of cocktail recipes. Good value for under $20.
--FROM DRAM TO MANHATTAN (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 64 pages, $13.95 hardbound) is by Jesse Estes who concentrates on Canadian, Scotch, American, Irish and Japanese whiskys, with relevant local recipes for each type, a total of 40 preps. Covered are old fashioneds, sours, manhattans, juleps, highballs. Great price for a well-illustrated foodbook. 
--BEER AND FOOD MATCHING (Dog 'n' Bone, 2014, 2018,  222 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is by Mark Dredge, who goes after the finest foods and the finest craft beers in the world. This is a second edition. The first part of the work covers beer styles, from light through dark. The second part details matching food with beer, with notes on why that match, but no recipes. The last 50 pages is crammed with recipes to use in cooking with beer, such as scotch ale pork or stout beans.
--HUGH JOHNSON'S POCKET WINE BOOK 2019 (Mitchell Beazley, 2018, 336 pages, $18.99 hardbound, $14.99 Kindle ebook)  is a guide to wines from all around the world, not just to the "best" wines. It is in its 42nd year. Johnson claims more than 6000 wines and growers are listed. News, vintage charts and data, glossaries, best value wines, and what to drink now are here. His book is arranged by region, with notes on the 2017 vintage and a few details about the potential of 2018, along with a closer look at the 2016. He's got notes on what wines are ready to drink in 2019.   Johnson is  also moving into food pairing: there is a section on food and wine matching. He also has a listing of his personal 200 fave wines.  The Kindle edition is digitally enhanced for word searching, so it often beats a printed index for retrieving data – and it is $4 cheaper! Great purchase....
--A YEAR OF GOOD BEER 2019 PAGE-A-DAY CALENDAR (Workman, 2018, 320 pages, $19.99)
quenches the beer lover's thirst: microbrewery recommendations, beer lore, trivia, labels, vocabulary, tasting notes, beer festivals, and more daily fun. Discover a Colorado ale whose smoky coffee notes lend an almost porter-like aroma profile; a hoppy Brooklyn lager; and a perfect summer aperitif in the burgundy-hued Brombeere Blackberry Gose. Includes beer drinking games (like Buffalo Club, in which you must never be caught drinking with your right hand), recipes for refreshing beer cocktails, and "Hop Lookout" notes (like the smoothly bitter Cashmere, developed by Washington State University in 2013).  Some of the beers appear as imports in Canada, but otherwise there are few Canadian brews included. Lights, wheat, lagers, ales, porters, stouts, seasonal beers, and lambrics – they're all here, 165 or so craft beers. If you buy any of the PAD calendars, then you can go online to the website and pick up other, free stuff, at 
--A YEAR OF GOOD WINE 2019 PAGE A DAY CALENDAR  (Workman, 2018, 320 pages,  $19.99)
is similar in set-up. This is from Karen MacNeil, "America's missionary of the vine" (Time magazine). It's like a  year-long wine course in a calendar. Adapted from the New York Times bestselling The Wine Bible, with 650,000 copies sold, it features recommendations for the best bottles from around the world, tasting notes, in-the-know wine facts, mouth-watering recipes, and more (Loire-valley French whites, like Sauvignon Blanc, which has an herbal, lime-scented freshness, crisp Gruner Veltliner with grilled fresh asparagus for a light summer dish, tips on spectacular bottles within a budget, wine horoscopes that match each sign with the right wine, and an Ask Karen section—Q&As that address wine queries and curiosities.
--A YEAR OF GOOD WHISKY 2019 PAGE A DAY CALENDAR (Workman, 2018, 320 pages, $19.99) adapted from A Field Guide to Whisky by Hans Offringa,  It features 313 entries, including advice on choosing, buying, and drinking whisky like a pro, trivia about the process of aging, distillation, and history. Plus whisky-related quotes ("There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren't as good as others."—Raymond Chandler); tasting notes; and  recommendations—like Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask, characterized by vanilla, citrus, and light oak, combined with rich fruit, sherry, and spicy wooden notes. It's the perfect gift for anyone with a taste for whisky's ineffable appeal.



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