Fiery Ferments, by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher Shockey (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
Fiery Ferments, by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher ShockeyIf you follow food blogs, you’ll know that fermented foods are gaining new interest, beyond sauerkraut. Turns out you can ferment almost any vegetable, though obviously some lend themselves better to the pickle-y flavour than others. Having made my own sauerkraut with surprising success, I am interested in furthering my forays into fermentation (sorry – I simply cannot resist a powerful alliteration). In this follow-up to their first book, Fermented Vegetables, the Oregon couple has put together an excellent recipe and instruction book for creating “hot sauces, spicy chutneys, kimchis with kick, and other blazing fermented condiments,” according to the lengthy sub-title. Read more of this post

How to Brew, 4th ed., by John J. Palmer (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
How to Brew, 4th ed., by John J. PalmerWowzers! This is a massive resource for anyone interested in brewing their own beer, whether novice or expert. This is the fourth edition, updated and revised to include coverage of the many improvements in brewing technology and techniques in the past decade since the last edition was published. In the preface, author Palmer notes when the book was first published in 2001, people entered the field in hopes of brewing better beer than what could be found on store shelves. Since then, of course, craft brewing has exploded, and you can find tasty beer on shelves and in pubs. So why brew then? For the sheer love of creating a great beer, natch! Read more of this post

Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead, by Shaye Elliott (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead by Shaye ElliottThis isn’t the first book on homesteading I’ve reviewed, but it’s certainly one of the best. Shaye Elliott began sharing her farmgirl dream in 2010 via a blog, and has created a compilation that is beautifully illustrated with full-colour photos and hand-drawn art. It’s also comprehensive and well organised, complete with a well done table of contents and an absolutely excellent index. Elliott opens with an introduction that explains how she, the granddaughter of an orchardist, managed to convince her non-farmer husband to move across the country and take up farming. She then gets down to business, starting with gardening, focusing primarily on how to build a potager or kitchen garden that will fully meet your family’s needs. Read more of this post

The Elements of Pizza, by Ken Forkish (2016)

Nonfiction
Adult
The Elements of PizzaIn my continuing search for a better pizza dough recipe, I discovered this new offering that takes homemade pizza to a new level. It opens with an exploration of the differences between the classic pizzas of Italy and its best delicious derivatives in North America. Breadmaking expert Forkish presents what I dare to call the terroir (normally referring to wine) that makes each region’s specialty unique and delectable – the geographical nuances of taste and culture. In its birthplace of Naples, Forkish tells us, the original recipe included eggs and sugar, but not tomatoes. The form we know and love today emerged about 300 years ago, Read more of this post

Bread by Mother Earth News, edited by Karen K. Will (2015)

Cookbook
Adult
Bread, by Mother Earth NewsI am on the hunt for a simple, tasty pizza bread recipe. We enjoy healthy homemade pizza in our home, but the crust simply falls short. Mine is bready, and I want the chewy kind. So off I headed to my local library branch to explore the shelves, and discovered a gem of a new title. In this collection, subtitled “Our Favorite Recipes for Artisan Breads, Quick Breads, Buns, Rolls, Flatbreads, and More,” Mother Earth News editor Karen Will has compiled recipes, tips and techniques for more than 150 different homemade breads, including bagels, doughnuts, and pretzels. and a welcome section for gluten-free baking. Nearly every recipe includes a full-colour photo of the final product. Read more of this post

Maple Syrup Cookbook, by Ken Haedrich (2015)

Nonfiction
Adult
Maple Syrup CookbookNot just for Canadians! In fact, author Haedrich hails from New Hampshire, where he wrote the first edition of this book some 30 years ago, celebrating the sweet amber-hued syrup we love on our waffles and pancakes, on our carrots and yams, in our desserts and even our wine. Maple syrup is good stuff, and worth our worship. “It takes four maple trees, at least 40 years old,” Haedrich writes, “to yield enough sap in 6 weeks to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup.” (p. 59). This third edition includes colour photos and a dozen new recipes from Haedrich’s kitchen. He opens with a short history of maple syrup, from its mysterious origins among indigenous North Americans to modern production methods. Read more of this post

Cookies & Beer, by Jonathan Bender (2015)

Nonfiction
Adult
Cookies & BeerMove over, milk. Cookies have grown up and found themselves a new drinking partner. And it looks like a lot of us are ready to give it a try. Whenever I mention this title, people break into a grin of anticipation – finally! Two of our favourite things at the same time! Bender (I know) and 34 others collaborated to create a compendium of cookie recipes, each with a suggested beer pairing and what notes to look for in the beer. The book opens with a handshake – an introduction of craft beer for experienced bakers, and of baking for beer drinkers. But it’s a short intro, getting right into the good stuff. Bender provides 40 recipes for cookies that will surely satisfy any occasion or taste desire, Read more of this post

Great Cake Decorating, by Erin Gardner (2014)

Adult
Nonfiction
Great Cake DecoratingI’m not a fancy cake baker, but I’ve enjoyed seeing beautiful creations come out of my amazing stepdaughter’s Edmonton-area kitchen (http://www.tiggywinkle.info/gallery/. Inspired to give it a try, I pounced on this recent title in Taunton Press’ NetGalley offerings. Organized in a logical way, this is exactly the kind of book you want as a beginner. Gardner, herself a pastry chef who now specializes in cakes, begins with a discussion of must-have and optional tools and how to use them, then moves to step-by-step instructions on how to decorate a cake with frosting and fondant (that flat finished look common in wedding cakes), Read more of this post

Blue Ribbon Canning, by Linda Amendt (2015)

Nonfiction
Adult
Blue Ribbon CanningIf you gave Andrea Bellamy’s Small Space Vegetable Gardens a try and are now finding yourself overwhelmed by your success, here’s a possible solution – canning and preserving. New canners will learn the equipment and processes needed to make jams and jellies, pickles and preserves, canned vegetables and relishes, whether from your own backyard bounty or as a result of overspending at a produce stand on your way home from the Okanagan. Amendt emphasizes food safety as she explains when to choose pressure canning over a water bath, and which old-school steps have been proven dangerous (inverting your jars). Read more of this post

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist, by Tim Federle (2013)

Genre: Nonfiction
Interest Level: Adult
Tequila MockingbirdIt’s not the most original pun on To Kill a Mockingbird (more than one murder mystery claims this title), but it’s certainly a perfect fit for a bar book! Federle has packaged this tiny tome with a passel of punches, including some non-alcoholic ones. Each entry opens with the book title (and author) that inspired the drink, an irreverent and often hilarious plot summary, and of course the recipe for the drink. Each drink name plays with the book’s title: The Cooler Purple, Last of the Mojitos, and The Adventures of Sherbet Holmes, to list a few. The 75 drinks are simple and the instructions clear, with a wry comment to make you smile (for Gin Eyre, “nurse that drink like a good nanny”). Read more of this post

Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, by the Moosewood Collective (2013)

Genre: Nonfiction
Interest Level: Adult
Moosewood Restaurant Favorites It’s been 40 years (!!) since Moosewood Restaurant opens its doors in Ithaca, N.Y., and launched a vegetarian storm across North America. They’ve published several cookbooks featuring some 3,000 recipes, but over time the cream has risen to the top as it were, and the folks at the Moosewood Collective have compiled the top 250 most-requested recipes into a single cookbook, from a vegetarian jambalaya to vegan-friendly desserts. They have also updated them for today’s sophisticated cooks, vegan clients and trendy shoppers. The original Cream of Asparagus soup featuring butter and cream is included, but a lighter option is provided as well. Read more of this post

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, by Jennifer Reese (2011)

Genre: Nonfiction
Interest Level: Adult
Make the Bread, Buy the ButterJennifer Reese lost her job, and did what we would all do in the same situation: started looking for ways to economize, and turned first to the kitchen. She decided to make more food from scratch to save money. But she quickly realized this might be a false economy at times. When is it better to make it? When should we buy it? These two simple questions launched her into a series of kitchen experiments that led to this cookbook/social commentary, combining to be entertaining read, a thoughtful discussion, and occasionally, delightfully, idiotic. Coffee yoghurt, hash browns, flourless chocolate cake? Make it. What about potato chips? Buy it. Vermouth? Make it (you bet!). Read more of this post