The concept of this cookbook is quite fun. Popular authors of mystery novels contributed a recipe with a short introduction. Some recipes are for dishThe concept of this cookbook is quite fun. Popular authors of mystery novels contributed a recipe with a short introduction. Some recipes are for dishes featured in their novels while others are ones they like to eat while writing or when curled up with a good book. The collection of dishes are fairly standard and well-rounded for a basic American cookbook. The allure is in reading what your favorite author recommends and enjoying the small snippets of mystery book lore between the recipes. I really only read through the sections by the authors I've read...which, come to find out, aren't many! Apparently, I'm not the avid mystery reader I once considered myself. I haven't made any of the recipes, so I can't vouch for that. However, a mystery reader in your life would likely get a kick out of the whole concept. ...more
I just reread Relish for my local GN reading group, and I loved it just as much as the first time! This book makes me so hungry...This time around, KnI just reread Relish for my local GN reading group, and I loved it just as much as the first time! This book makes me so hungry...This time around, Knisley had me thinking again on what a privileged childhood she had in regard to eating, socializing, and understanding more about growing food and creating pleasing dishes. I'd love to raise a child with such great urban and rural food experiences! I'm also struck by how cool her mother is. Having most recently read Knisley's An Age of License: A Travelogue, you'd get the impression of her mom as a bit old and boring (which is clearly just the reflection of Kinsley's state of mind depicted in the travelogue). Re-reading Relish, I kept thinking how I'm so far behind on those awesome life experiences, that I'll never catch up...and then went to go bake something. Anyhow! I'm thinking to pass this one on to my own mom and see what she thinks. Regardless, she'll want to try to the sangria recipe. ...more
I purchased this scone cookbook for my mother a few years ago when my parents were going through a café scone phase. We’ve made a couple of the more sI purchased this scone cookbook for my mother a few years ago when my parents were going through a café scone phase. We’ve made a couple of the more simple recipes together (Crunchy Butter Scones & Buttermilk Drop Scones) both of which taste yummy with a variety of toppings (jams, cheeses, syrups). Knights provides a sciencey history of scones as well as some great general tips for making scones that rise well and have a good texture. While most of the recipes require baking, she includes some interesting drop and griddle versions, too. The book is divided into savory and sweet scones with so many of the ones involving cheese or herbs calling me…The ingredients and temperatures are all metric, but she includes a general Imperial conversion chart in the back. Now I just need a better area for rolling out dough….hungry! Oh, and I appreciate the full color image for each recipe....more
I first ate Biscoff cookies several years ago when a flight issue got me bumped to first class on Delta. They were cinnamonny, delicious, and far supeI first ate Biscoff cookies several years ago when a flight issue got me bumped to first class on Delta. They were cinnamonny, delicious, and far superior to just pretzels…and persisted in being labeled as First Class Cookies in my head until *bam* you could suddenly buy them in stores! First class everyday! So special times! My mother and grandmother quickly became addicted to Lotus Biscoff cookies. When my husband and I saw a Biscoff café in San Francisco this past Christmas, I had to snap some photos and what is this?! Buy a cookbook…? For mom, clearly.
This book comes out of author Katrina Bahl’s blog (InKatrinasKitchen.com). Each recipe uses Biscoff Cookie Spread (and sometimes crushed or decorative Biscoff cookies) to make sweets and sweet breakfast items. The fact that everything will taste like Biscoff makes it a bit one-note and should give it 3ish stars, but I appreciate that everything is nut free! Bahl’s love of Biscoff came from her attempts to make traditional family desserts safe for her son who is allergic to peanuts. She started using the cookie spread as a substitute for peanut butter and got very creative. I plan to try her Biscoff Carrot Cake since I’ve yet to meet a carrot cake that didn’t close my airway. I only wish that the cookie spread had as much protein as peanut butter especially in regard to the breakfast items.
Mother just tried out the Biscoff No-Bake Cookies which were good but whoa super sweet. I plan to cut back the added sugar in any future recipes. Next up is the Biscoff Banana Bread. ...more
Mmm, creme brulee...Full disclosure, I've only made the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee so far. It was delicious! And easy to make. And we tried two differeMmm, creme brulee...Full disclosure, I've only made the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee so far. It was delicious! And easy to make. And we tried two different sugars and brulee-ing techniques for it. Lewis offers some basic information in the beginning pages regarding materials and cooking techniques. Each recipe has a full color image (that will make you want all the dishes). She offers tips throughout regarding serving, altering tastes, and improving your creme-crafting skills. The variety of the recipes is surprising with even savory creme brulee included. I'm going to try out Salmon & Scallion as well as Mushroom & Rice Brulee on my husband. Next up, though, is definitely the Apple Pie Brulee. Stock up on eggs before getting started, becasue most recipes call for eight egg yolks o.O...more
Oh, Amy Sedaris. You are preciousness. But this book is like your crazy exploded, and someone caught a bunch of the pieces and published it.
What a weOh, Amy Sedaris. You are preciousness. But this book is like your crazy exploded, and someone caught a bunch of the pieces and published it.
What a weird, weird book. It’s not really a craft book since you’d never want to actually make any of the facetious crafts in it. It’s more of a photography book featuring portraits of Amy channeling characters (à la Cindy Sherman…kinda), but it’s a humor book also that features Amy’s stream of conscious quirk in a loose parody of how-to craft books. With the occasional recipe or poem thrown in for good measure.
With all that said, the cover is the most aesthetically pleasing image of the whole shebang, so it really might not need to be read. When I imagine this book being discovered 100 years from now, I just…really, how will it be interpreted? ...more
First off, I read this cookbook as an ebook which left it seeming wonky and poorly designed. I'm assuming something was lost in the digification of itFirst off, I read this cookbook as an ebook which left it seeming wonky and poorly designed. I'm assuming something was lost in the digification of it all, especially in regard to the placement of photos throughout.
A True Blood cookbook is a brilliant idea in theory. Southern stories revolve so much around food, and the book does introduce some traditional southern recipes. I wish there were a clear image of each dish, even if it weren't taken directly from the show so that you can envision the deliciousness and be inspired to make it.
Each recipe is introduced by a character from the show which is weird and gets a bit hokey. While it's always fun to spend more time these characters, the recipe intros are a bit unnecessary and over the top in some cases. It's also weird that many of them are written as characters speaking in the present-tense even though they are no longer alive. The characters featured go up at least until season 3 (though the were-panthers are conspicuously absent...).
Finally, the cocktails rely heavily on the faux Tru Blood concoction which can get tiresome unless you really really love grenadine and orangina.
But I do now want to have a True Blood themed dinner party! ...more
I wish I'd had The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian when I was in high school! (Just a side note on the subtitle of the book, there's nothing inI wish I'd had The Smart Girl's Guide to Going Vegetarian when I was in high school! (Just a side note on the subtitle of the book, there's nothing in it that addresses looking great. It's all about food and the reasons we should select certain foods when constructing meals.) While I borrowed this from the teen annex in my local library, I've since ordered a copy for myself since I know I will want to share it with others.
Rather than preaching a strict vegetarian dogma, Rachel Meltzer Warren provides encouragement for teens seeking to eat a more plant-based diet whether they are interested in living vegan or just reducing the red meat they eat. She emphasizes how going "veg-head" is a personal choice and -- while teens should be able to articulate why they choose to eat some things and not others -- the decision is theirs to make. She encourages support systems for veggies in carnivorous households but also suggests ways to share veg goodness with the whole family and includes a chapter of recipes for a spectrum of meals. One chapter includes examples of daily meals that ensure teens get all the necessary nutrients while another chapter highlights vegetarian friendly meals at chain restaurants across the USA.
Though I've been a vegetarian (or pescetarian)for over a decade, I still found the book helpful in reminding me to balance my foods in order to be well-rounded nutritionally. The book also reminded me of my love for grains and beans! I'm now trying some of her recipes to bring them back into my household meals. My only minor complaint is that she did not address nut allergies. While veghead teens may have any number of food allergies, those who can't eat nuts will likely balk at all the meals that include nuts or peanut butter as the main source of protein. In the same way "vegetarian dishes" at restaurants are often a meat meal with the meat removed, a vegetarian main dish can lose its protein if the nuts are removed. A simply encouraging shout-out as to fast nut replacements would be so helpful! ...more
At first, I wasn't sure I was on-board with Jen Lin-Liu's On the Noodle Road, but I finished feeling as though I had quite enjoyed it overall.
Lin-LiuAt first, I wasn't sure I was on-board with Jen Lin-Liu's On the Noodle Road, but I finished feeling as though I had quite enjoyed it overall.
Lin-Liu recounts her attempt to trace the origin of noodles/dumplings and to ascertain to what extent traders along the silk road transferred noodle knowledge as they journeyed between China and Italy. This is not an academic work, and readers really wishing to learn more about the history of noodles would be better served by checking out Lin-Liu's references. The book is more of a travel journal in which the author recounts dishes she eats in different countries, comparing them with each other, and at the same time contemplating her new marriage and how it will shape her future career.
I found myself enjoying the countries she enjoyed and feeling frustrated with the chapters recounting those places that she didn't like. Consequently, I feel the need to go to Turkey now. I also noted several of the recipes she explained, though I don't feel up to making my own noodles yet. I would, however, like to check out her cooking school if it's still taking students when I end up in Beijing. ...more
I recently read Ms. Knisley's French Milk and, though I appreciated the visual illustrations of her observations and mWow! What a lovely little book!
I recently read Ms. Knisley's French Milk and, though I appreciated the visual illustrations of her observations and meals in France, I found her post-BFA angst overbearing and off-putting (likely because it hits too close to home). However, Relish displays a thoughtfully mature and organized exploration of her culinary experiences growing up as the child of a caterer and foodie. It seems unlikely that someone still in her 20s could already have collected enough interesting moments of eating to compile a memoir, and yet Lucy was raised under exceptional circumstances. Her memories of assisting in the kitchen trace back to toddler days, and she helped out at countless catering events, farmers' markets, farms, cheese shops, and restaurant kitchens. All of these memories serve to show how important her mother has been in shaping her worldview and her palette. Additionally, she includes adorably illustrated recipes between each chapter (most of which are veggie-friendly!).
This graphic novel should appeal to readers who enjoy culinary traditions, farm to table culture, and cooking with aesthetically pleasing visual aides. ...more
While I'm not a straight guy (nor a gay guy, for that matter), I did read this book cover to cover and kind of loved it. It made me want to re-stock mWhile I'm not a straight guy (nor a gay guy, for that matter), I did read this book cover to cover and kind of loved it. It made me want to re-stock my bar, buy a few good suits, and make sure to anchor each room in my dwelling. I love books that teach people to be gracious and polite! I wish my husband was fluent enough in English to read it. Alas! ...more
Face Food is a picture book of some fabulous examples of "charaben" -- character-themed bento lunches. While brief interviews accompany some images, tFace Food is a picture book of some fabulous examples of "charaben" -- character-themed bento lunches. While brief interviews accompany some images, this book does not serve as a sociological analysis of why parents would choice or refrain from making such elaborate lunches or explore what effect this lavish preparation has on children's development. This book is also not a how-to book on making your own bento, though two short examples are provided at the end. However, the book is entertaining and inspiring and down-right cute! ...more
I bought this cookbook for my mother since our family has developed a scone addiction. The introduction is helpful for a basic overview of the essentiI bought this cookbook for my mother since our family has developed a scone addiction. The introduction is helpful for a basic overview of the essential components of getting a good scone texture. The recipes are divided into savory and sweet scones. So far, I've only made from the sweet list -- though I'm very anxious to try the Dill and Creme Fraiche Scones. Knights explains that the recipes are all basic templates that you can easily tweak to suit your own palette or availability of ingredients. I now feel like I can whip up a basic scone at any time! Well, if my house had an oven. The stove-top Drop Scones are tasty but, being buttermilk-based, are essentialy tiny pancakes.
My only caution about this book is for American chefs who aren't familiar with metric cooking measurements. I spent a good bit of time looking up grams to cup conversions, etc. But, I just noted the more familiar unit in the book and had everything ready when coming back to the recipe a second time. Yummy stuff!...more