STOCKING STUFFER BOOK GIFTS
Stocking stuffers should be at the very top of everybody's gift list: something affordable from under $10 up to $25 or so, and that can also double as a host gift, being something small and lightweight. Most of the books here are paperbacks. And of course, they can all stuff an adult stocking.
Typical for food are:
--101 THINGS TO DO WITH A BUNDT PAN (Gibbs Smith, 2019, 128 pages, $12.95 spiral bound) is by Jenny Harten. Some good ideas are here, made to advance the usage of what appeared to be a single-purpose cooking implement. The range is from cakes through breakfasts through bread puddings, side fishes (e.g., potato salad) and dinners (e.g., turkey meatloaf with cranberry sauce).
--SCANDI BITES (Hardie Grant Quadrille, 2019, 144 pages, $28.99 hardbound) is a collection of 60 previously published recipes from "Scandinavian Baking" and "Scandinavian Comfort Food", all from Trine Hahnemann, and pitched to Christmas sales. These are sweet treats, party food and Scandinavian snacks for the holidays., in three chapters (teatime, smorrebrod, and celebrations). These are the basics with many variations.
--HISTORIC COOKERY; authentic New Mexican food (Gibbs Smith, 1931, 1970, 2019, 120 pages, $18 hardbound) is a reissue with some updating. These are heirloom preps of New Mexican food, by Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert. The range is from chile sauces through corn dishes, mains, cheese and eggs, veggies, soups, breads, and desserts, with some beverages. It is quite packed with lots of good dishes just one step away from Mexican. Quite appealing.
--HANGOVER FOOD (Dog 'n' Bone, 2019, 64 pages $13.95 hardbound) has 35 restorative recipes for when you are hurting and hungry. The preps have been previously published in an assorted series of cookbooks by13 authors. It's arranged by type: bacon and eggs, sandwiches, comfort food, and sweets.
--GIN THE MOOD (Dog 'n' Bone, 2019, 64 pages, $13.95 hardbound) is a small collection of some 50 gin cocktail recipes that are just the ticket, derived from five authors' previously published works. It runs from dry martini to sloe gin fizz.
--SHORT COCKTAILS AND SMALL BITES (Ryland Peters & Small, 2019, 64 pages, $13.95 hardbound) comes from the pen of Julia Charles. These are more than 25 small-serve drink and canape pairings for parties....what fun! Lavish photos.
--THE ARTISANAL KITCHEN: BARBECUE RULES (Artisan, 2019, 112 pages, $17.95 hardbound) is by Joe Carroll, who owns multiple-BBQ restaurants in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, principally Fette Sau. He gives us six lessons and thirty recipes for superior smoking and grilling, adapted from his earlier work, "Feeding the Fire". These are the knowns behind live-fire cooking, doing roasts and classics such as beef brisket and pulled pork and lamb saddle chops.
--OIL & VINEGAR (Ryland Peters & Small, 2019, 144 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is by multiple cookbook and magazine article author Ursula Ferrigno. She's got 75 recipes drawn from the earlier The Gourmet Guide to Oil & Vinegar (2014), plus a few from other food writers. It's mostly olive oil and gourmet vinegars, and the recipes are listed in course order from soups to baked goods.
--POSH SANDWICHES (Quadrille, 2018, 176 pages, $28.99 hardbound) is by Rosie Reynolds. It's one of the POSH series from Quadrille highlighting upscale comfort foods. Other topics in the past have included Toast, Eggs, Pancakes, Kebabs and Rice; all of them having "over 70 recipes" each. Reynolds covers Reubens to banh mi, and is arranged by major filling: meat, poultry, fish, veggie, and sweets – along with several different types of breads and sauces. There is even a useful primer on how to build a sandwich.
--MODERN PANCAKES (Ryland Peters & Small, 2019, 144 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is from the publisher with 21 contributors headed by Hannah Miles (25 preps) and Louise Pickford (7 preps). There are over 60 contemporary recipes here, ranging from protein pancakes to healthy grains to waffles and "dirty" food indulgences. Hey, it's a year's work of brunches!
--THE ARTISANAL KITCHEN: PERFECT HOMEMADE ICE CREAM (Artisan, 2019, 112 pages, $17.95 hardbound) is by Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams which retails ice creams. It's been culled from two previous books published in 2011 and 2014. It is in three parts: the primer (with milk, cream, corn starch slurries, cream cheese, and assorted sweeteners in the base), the parlor (which also includes yogurt, sorbet and custard) and the sundae bar. At the end there are a few sauce preps and homemade shells/cones, curds, and jams. Hey – it's a great deal for under $18!
--LITTLE BOOK OF JEWISH SWEETS (Chronicle Books, 2019, 136 pages, $24 hardbound) is by Leah Koenig. She gives us 25 preps for a sweet finish to any meal: teiglach, challah, bimuelos, tishpishti, cassola, kourabiedes, et al. There is an ingredient glossary for almond extract and paste, orange blossom water, poppy seeds, potato starch, and more. Ingredients are noted in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
--FRENCH TOAST (Gibbs Smith, 2019, 128 pages, $19.99 hardbound) is by Donna Kelly. Her French Toasts can be stacked, stuffed and baked, and is the quintessential brunch time food, sometimes used for celebrations. She's got some savoury entrees as well: French toast chili stacks, cheesy chile strata, seafood Newberg stacks, and Kentucky hot browns among the 16 savoury dishes. But otherwise, it's all sweet. She concludes with some dessert offerings and a range of syrups and sauces.
Other little books, for beverages, include those on coffee, beer, wine and spirits – and even water:
--BOOZE BASICS (Dog 'n' Bone, 2019, 128 pages, $13.95 hardbound) is by Emily Miles. It was first published as "How to Drink and Not Look Like an Idiot". Here it has been re-published as a complete guide to the dos and don't of drinking. It's a practical work covering quality over quantity, emphasizing the differences between cheap booze and "decent plus" booze. Beer, wines, cider and spirits are all there, along with pubs, bars, and cocktail lounges.
--SPARKLING COCKTAILS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2019, 64 pages, $13.95 hardbound) is by Laura Goodwin, and is drawn mostly from her earlier books Prosecco Cocktails (2017) and Parisian Cocktails (2016). This is fizz plus, with additions depending on the mood and the circumstances. Champagne, prosecco, cava, cremant, sekt, spumante, bubbly: all good sparklers for all events such as brunch buffets, preprandials, al fresco parties. Here are 50 preps, nicely illustrated and detailed.
--LET'S GET FIZZICAL (DK Books, 2018, 144 pages, $18.99 hardbound) features more than 50 cocktails made with Prosecco, Champagne, and other sparklers. It's a good beginner's guide to bubbly as well, giving us the process and distinguishing between Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Lambrusco, Moscato d'Asti, Sekt, and other names for vinous fizz. A good value of the handbook is the flavour chart of Venn diagrams illustrating the flavour differences between Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava. But the main show is what to do with them as mixers. There are the classic cocktails and modern day twists, the Bellinis, Mimosas, spritzes, and a few loaded ones for special events (Pink Tequila Fizz, English Summer Rose, Cynar Fizz).
--LET'S GET TROPICAL (DK Books, 2019, 144 pages, $18.99 hardbound) features more than 60 cocktails from Caribbean classics to modern Tiki drinks. It's a good beginner's guide to the alcohol of the tropics as well, giving us the process of making rum and tequila and mezcal. But the main show is what to do with the shades of rum etc. stylings with the mixes. There are the classic cocktails and modern day twists: daiquiri, pina colada, Singapore sling, Mai tai, margarita, mojito, tequila sunrise. Followed by the Tiki material (Angel's share, Tiki Tiki Bang Bang, and more).
--THE BEER BUCKET LIST (Dog 'n' Bone, 2019, 224 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is a travel-sized guide to over 150 of the best beer experiences on the planet, written by Mark Dredge. It's all arranged by area, from North America through the UK and Eire, Europe, the Antipodes, and then ROW. Each experience has a place to buy/consume a craft beer with local food and decor and culture. For example, Belgium's best beer cooking explains "cuisine a la biere" with five perfect beer and food combos: croque monsieur with blonde hoppy beer, moules frites with witbier, carbonnade with dubbel, et al. It actually may have been better served to us if the tourbook was paperbound and the paper not so heavy. Then it would be more portable. That's just my carp....
--HUGH JOHNSON'S POCKET WINE BOOK 2020 (Mitchell Beazley, 2019, 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 (first published in 1977). 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 2018 vintage and a few details about the potential of 2019, along with a closer look at the 2017. He's got notes on what wines are ready to drink in 2020. 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....
--WINES YOU SHOULD TRY; a guide for Canadians (Whitecap, 2019, 204 pages, $22.95 paperbound) largely supersedes the ninth annual edition (2016) of "The 500 Best-Value Wines In the LCBO 2017". This new work by wine scribe Rod Phillips is now national, and has both international and domestic wines arranged by wine colour and then by region/country with an indication of a price range (under $12 to over $49). He tasted about 1000 wines, and chose about 500 wines that are available in at least two provinces. Each of the wines has some value, or else they would not be in this tool: they can be considered at least "better" if not "best" of what's around in Canada. Each has an indication of food pairings. A good guidebook which features only those wines available in Canada -- that you should try.
--A YEAR OF GOOD BEER 2020 PAGE-A-DAY CALENDAR (Workman, 2019, 320 pages, $20.99)
quenches the beer lover's thirst: microbrewery recommendations, beer lore, trivia, history, labels, vocabulary, tasting notes, beer festivals, and more daily fun. Discover Bell's Porter whose smoky coffee notes lend an intriguing aroma profile; a hoppy Noble Prize Imperial Pilsner; 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 www.pageaday.com.