* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS
3.THE BEST ROTISSERIE CHICKEN COOKBOOK; 100 tasty recipes using a store-bought bird (Robert Rose, 2020, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0658-5 $24.95 CAD paperbound) is by cookbook author Toby Amidor, who is also a dietitian and a recipe developer. Here she gives us nutritional sides for the pre-cooked bird (first developed in 1985). A lot of people buy a rotisserie chicken on their way home (Costco alone sells about 100 million a year); it is half the dinner already prepared. Within a 20-minute walk of my house I can walk into any one of a half-dozen stores and find rotisserie birds. There are preps here for all meals, appetizers, snacks, soups, sandwiches, mains, salads, sides, plus engaging useful sauces, dressings and other condiments. She uses icons for meals that are ready in 15 minutes or less, meals with five ingredients or less, one pot or pan meals, and freezer-friendly meals. There are only two disadvantages to such pre-cooked chicken: the salting on the skin and some fat remains after they are cooked, just under the skin – keeps the bird juicy, but if you are trying to cut back on fat...But if you take most of the skin off, then it works well. Many birds come from sustainable and free-ranging farms, but you have to ask the store. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: harried homemakers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: chicken and mushroom baked risotto; garlic parmesan quinoa; ginger dressing; Israeli couscous and mushrooms; root veggie and chicken soup; easy pesto sauce; chicken caprese salad; Cajun chicken melt.
The downside to this book: I wish that there were better FDA descriptors for the providence of poultry, and that there was more emphasis on the salting and the fat.
The upside to this book: one pot preps lead the way.
Quality/Price Rating: 90
4.SPICE APOTHECARY; blending and using common spices for everyday health (Storey Publishing, 2020, 169 pages, ISBN 978-1-63586-083-2 $18.95 USD paperbound) is by Bevin Clare, an academic at Maryland University of Integrative Health and a licensed nutritionist. The first 100 pages explores the spice culture of the spice and herb trade, the plant families, how medicinal herbs and spices work and whether it is to be fresh vs. dried, and creating your own spice apothecary (buying, storing, using for various health problems). She's listed 19 of the best, most commonly available herbs and spices: there are hundreds of spices and thousands of blends. Her choices cover barks (cinnamon), roots (ginger), leaves (sage), seeds (mustard), flowers (lavender), fruits (black pepper), and bulbs (garlic), to name just seven of the nineteen. Everything (in turn) bolsters immunity, healthy joint connections, digestion, and kidney-heart-lung health. Her preps are mostly blends, such as the Everyday on Everything Blend, an all-purpose 9 spice concoction that is basically an anti-inflammatory in support of heart, kidney and respiratory functions. Each blend comes with a few recipes. The blends are prepared in advance by scaling in metric, while the food preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois. There are tables of metric and weight conversions.
Audience and level of use: those cooks interested not only in preparing tasty food but also interested in preparing healthy food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: there are ten blends, titles such as Reminds-Me-Of-Pie Blend (e.g., pumpkin pie spices), Green Goodness Blend, Mint and Chile Blend, Digestive Blend, Cognitive Blend.
The downside to this book: I anted more prep recipes.
The upside to this book: There is a relevant bibliography.
Quality/Price Rating: 90
5.SMOKE, WOOD, FIRE; the advanced guide to smoking meat (Whitecap, 2020, 184 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-326-7 $29.95 CAD paperbound) is by Jeff Phillips, author of "Smoking Meat" and the creator of www.smoking-meat.com (the highest ranked smoking meat website in America). He lives in Tulsa OK, one of the major US BBQ regions. This book is actually "Smoking Meat #2 The Next Level" as it builds on the basics of the first book: as he says, it covers more tools, equipment, smoking supplies, types and brands of smokers, slicers, dehydrators, thermometers, injectors, mops, brushes, gloves and mitts, and types of wood and charcoal... plus more techniques that deal with brining, smoke production, cooking outdoors in cold climates, cooking at high altitudes, curing and temperature control. And with lots of pictures throughout. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: pitmasters
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: there are special tips for augmenting store-bought BBQ sauces, which include items from your exiting pantry such as hot sauces, coffee, coaca, molasses, soda pop, et al.
The downside to this book: it's a book of techniques, so do not expect side dishes or the like.
The upside to this book: there is a good glossary.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
6.THE ARTISAN KITCHEN: the science, practice & possibilities (DK 2020, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-9936-3 $30 US hardbound) is by James Strawbridge, a Cornish UK chef and TV host for diverse UK cooking programs. He is also the co-author, with his dad, of "Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century". His Sons of Thunder Agency develops recipes and art-directing for artisan brands. Here he brings into play the use of "mindfulness" in cooking to determine 25 different cooking and preserving processes to cover drinks, dairy, bread, curing, smoking, and outdoor experiences. It's a collaborative process
with notes from a dozen like-minded chefs, artisans, and friends. All are sourced and credited with short bio notes and websites. Typical are patting butter properly, fermentation, cheese making, sourdoughs, salting, bottle conditioning cider, bresaola slicing, charcuterie, and plant-based cooking. Recipes are eclectic – you never know what to expect. For example, the section on outdoor cooking starts with campfire cooking and continues through to making a clay oven, with stops along the way for dirty cooking, grilling, clambake, plank cooking, spit roasting, shawarma kebabs, wood-fired oven, and pizzas. It's also a wonderful book to just pick up and leaf through. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements for the most part, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90
7.DIABETES MEALS FOR GOOD HEALTH COOKBOOK: complete meal plans & 100 recipes. 3rd ed (Robert Rose, 2008, 2012, 2020, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0654-7, $29.95 CAN soft covers) is by Karen Graham, an RD and diabetes educator in British Columbia, who has been a nutrition counselor for the past 30 years, and by Dr. Mansur Shomali, researcher and educator specializing in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Some of this book was published in 2010 and 2011. In 2008, Graham had written "Canada's Diabetes Meals for Good Health: Includes Meal Planning Ideas and 100 Recipes". Here, her book has been extensively peer reviewed as she develops a comprehensive guide to living the lifestyle. She covers the risks and complications, top 10 nutrition topics, food choices, blood sugar, exercises, and more. She has an "Eat This/Not That" chart section for food recommendations. She also writes on a seven day meal plan (good for six weeks) with recipes, incorporating fruit crepes, taco soup, luncheon wrap, steak and potato, and seafood chowder among the choices. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90.
8.DIABETES ESSENTIALS: everyday basics (Robert Rose, 2020, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0631-8 $27.95 CAD softbound) is an oversized paperback created by Karen Graham, RD of British Columbia, and Mansur Shomali, MD, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. It's a book in the series Health & Wellness, basically meant for "new" type 2 diabetics. Every topic has been reduced to lists of ten points for beginning learners: prediabetes, morning blood sugar, stress, lab tests, medical terms, mindful eating, and more. It all begins on pages 12 and 13 with "Diabetes First Ten Days" and leads to strategies of management through nutrition, exercise, and medication. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: the recipe section has about ten preps for each of tasty soups, salads, dinners, desserts, snacks, and then meal planning. Quality/Price Rating: 90.
9.ESSENTIAL HERBS: treat yourself naturally with herbs and homemade remedies (DK Publishing, 2011, 2020, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-9430-6, $25 USD hard covers) was originally published in 2011 as "Home Herbal". It has been recently updated as a book package produced by the publisher on the theme of making your own health-enhancing herbal remedies with preps developed by professional herbalists plus over 70 recipes for herbal teas, tinctures, smoothies, salads and soups. Most of the material has been assembled by Neal's Yard Remedies of the UK. It is in directory format, with 100 key medicinal herbs: what each herb can treat, how to grow it, how to harvest it, and how to apply it (with
detailed dosage advice). There are photographic demos for making creams, bath soaks, toners, balms, face masks, soaps, and other concoctions in a kitchen. There's a primer on herb basics, a glossary, and some useful websites for North America. This is a nice package, with good photos and indexing, and also with cross-references. Quality/price
May we all have 2020 vision.