THE NEW RUM (The Countryman Press, 2018, 333 pages, ISBN 978-1-68268-000-1 $25.95 USD hardbound) is by Bryce T. Bauer, an award winning drink journalist who has also written often about bootleggers. It's subtitle is "a modern guide to the spirit of the Americas"; the book expands on a previously written article entitled "Rum's Revenge". Bauer tells a historical and cultural history of rum, from its origins in the Caribbean to its value as an inexpensive vacation seaside drink to its modern day craft revival. This is a producer-focused drink guide covering dozens of the best producers in the world" Martinique rhum agricole to Barbados aged sippers and the Dominican aged sippers. Bauer makes sure that rum now has its time. Good quality colour photos.
Audience and level of use: rum fans and those who like spirit cultural histories.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: rum punch, el dorado mai tai, rum negroni, rabo de galo, and navy grog.
The downside to this book: I wanted more cocktails.
The upside to this book: because it is time.
Quality/Price Rating: 89
3.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BEER COCKTAILS (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018, 114 pages, ISBN 978-1-5107-2821-6 $16.99 USD hardbound) is by Jon and Lindsay Yeager, founders of PourTaste a Nashville bar consulting firm and festival organizers. Here they have 50 creative recipes for combining beer and spirits. There is a history of this mixture, and they present it well, followed by a two page description of each of the cocktails, with photos. For example, Southern Drum calls for Woodford Reserve rye, Woodford Reserve Sassafras & Sorghum bitters, and Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout. Sounds intriguing but difficult to do in Canada. More reasonable is Mississippi Porter Punch which uses bourbon, VSOP cognac, dark rum, Angostura bitters, and Samuel Smith Taddy Porter. You can fudge on the porter and use almost any dark thick beer, if you have to. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: the curious and the specialized cocktail pursuer.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: seersucker, printers alley punch, frozen brandy crusta, fancy Tokyo tippler, sunset kingdom.
The downside to this book: particular beers are specified, and if you don't have it, then you must substitute or do without somehow.
The upside to this book: great conversation piece.
Quality/Price Rating: 86
4.NOW & AGAIN (Chronicle Books, 2018, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-6492-1 $35 USD hardbound) is by Julia Turshen, author of cookbooks Feed the Resistance and Small Victories. It comes with log rolling by Yotam Ottolenghi and others. The emphasis here is on recipes and menus that can for the basis of endless ideas for reinventing leftovers. For example, shrimp with tequila and lime can be shrimp kimchi pancakes next time. 150 preps are sorted into 20 menus built around easy to do food that can then convert any leftovers to yet another menu. In our house, any remains after leftover use are known as "holdovers". The book is arranged by season, with five menus for each. There is an index to recipes by type (e.g. breakfast, salads, soups, sauces, etc.), further menu suggestions, a kitchen primer on tools and ingredients, plus a general index. Preparations have their ingredients listed mainly in avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners, those who want ideas for leftover usage.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: roasted red cabbage with anchovy and pine nuts; steak and kimchi quesadillas; lamb burgers with grilled red onions; chicken tikka tacos; mango with cardamom syrup and pistachios; champagne and honey-poached pears.
The downside to this book: each menu comes with a time line for what has to be done a month ahead, a week ahead, etc. This can be a problem without kitchen rigour.
The upside to this book: good philosophy that also cuts own on food waste.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
5.HAPPY FOOD (Hardie Grant Books, 2018, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-78488-157-3 $29.99 USD hardbound) is by Bettina Campolucci Bordi, who grew up in Tanzania with Norwegian, Danish and Bulgarian heritage. Over her catering/event management career as a freelance chef she had some health problems that seemed to go away when she shifted to a gluten-free plant-based diet. She now writes about and only deals with largely vegan foods. Here she calls it "Happy Food" since all of it is fresh and fast and you feel so good after eating. It's divided into categories of breakfast, home alone (smaller portions, less wasteful, fewer leftovers), quick and simple, feast and sharing, dips and sides, and sweets. Her pantry is called "favourite basics", for dishes that can be made from scratch and stored for a long period of time. Menu plans are given at the back.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegans, vegetarians.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: spicy Thai noodles with creamy peanut dressing; pasta pesto and nut parmesan; sweet potato cakes with dill and cashew yoghurt; marinated maple and turmeric-roasted cauliflower with yogurt sauce; rosemary and garlic focaccia; Italian stuffed veggies.
The downside to this book: no conversion charts
The upside to this book: lots of icons for each dish (batch cookable, freezable, lasts for 3+ or 5+ days in the fridge, nut-free, etc.)
Quality/Price Rating: 87
6.CAULIFLOWER (Hardie Grant Books, 2018, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-78488-178-8 $19.99 USD hardbound) is by food writer Oz Telem of www.thekitchencoach.co.il. He's got 70 preps to roast, rice, mash, bake, steam and fry one of the world's healthiest veggies. One of its features is its ability to substitute for other ingredients, such as a low-carb replacement for rice, mash up like potatoes, or be part of meaty main dishes. It can give tofu a run for its money in emulation: cauliflower wings, cauliflower pakoras, cauliflower ragu, and gluten-free dishes. The book is arranged by type of food – salads, pickles, starters, sides, patties, fritters, soups,, and international specialties. The book was originally crowd-funded and published in Hebrew – this is its first commercial publication. The index is arranged by food groups, so there are plenty of vegan recipes, fast recipes (under 30 minutes), dairy recipes, egg recipes, and gluten-free recipes. There are four meat preps and three fish recipes. Preparations have their ingredients listed mainly in avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: cauliflower lovers, vegetarians
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: braised cauliflower greens; cauliflower and spinach shakshooka; cauliflower tabbouleh; kohlrabi and apple slaw; seared cauliflower with lemon butter; creamy cauliflower mash.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.