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Book Reviews

By Kevin Vanblarcum & James Edward Davis Photography by Dylan Tucker   2016 Hatherleigh Press, Ltd. Hobart, NY ISBN: 978-1-57826-653-1 Soft cover, 150 pages $16.95
By Barbara Keck Photography by Johan Martin   2016 Range of Light Media Group Tahoe City, CA ISBN: 978-0-9966209-0-1 Soft Cover, 174 pages, $19.95 The Sierra Foothills is one of the world’s most interesting wine regions. Barbara Keck’s book gives it the respect it deserves and strikes a warm note without being gushy.
By Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE   2015 American Diabetes Association ISBN: 978-1-58040-542-3 Soft Cover, 574 pages $17.95   From this book’s title one might assume the subject was about high living—a topic familiar to the experience of a food and wine writer. Closer inspection reveals that it is published by the American Diabetes Association and in fact the cover also explains it is “The guide to eating healthy in any restaurant.” Though ostensibly targeting…
By Linda Gassenheimer   2015 American Diabetes Association ISBN: 978-1-58040-563-8 Soft Cover, 140 pages  $9.95   Quick & easy chicken is subtitled “Diabetes-Friendly Recipes Everyone Will Love.”  This reviewer has little familiarity with the nutritional needs of diabetics, but will assume that a book endorsed—and actually published by—the American Diabetes Association will contain recipes appropriate for people dealing with diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions. We do see quite a lot of cookbooks, however, and can judge…
By Niki Ganong 2015 by Overcup Press ISBN 978-0-9834917 2-9 Soft Cover 228 pages $19.99   Drinking in America carries the subtitle “A Traveler’s Handbook to State Liquor Laws.” It does a good job of recounting essential information for all 50 states, summarized in quick reference What you Can Do and What You Can’t Do sections for each. Such comprehensive information might justify buying the book. If you travel a lot, this could be pretty…
By Joumana Accad   2014 by Health Communications, Inc. ISBN-13:978-0-7573-1770-5 Soft Cover, 311 pages, $18.95   Taste of Beirut by Joumana Accad is much more than a collection of Lebanese recipes, albeit they alone deserve high praise. Anyone interested in food from the Middle East who wants to learn about the do’s and don’ts of cooking and eating, the “Lebanese Larder,” and some of the history and origins of Lebanese food will enjoy the book…
By Dr. Liz Thach, MW 2014 The Miranda Press ISBN 978-0971587052 Soft Cover, 367 pages, $19.99   There are plenty of books that evoke the beauty and glamour of wine country. Often short on information, but containing gorgeous photography, they look good on a coffee table. Liz Thach’s Call of the Vine is not one of these. Though wine professionals would be familiar with the names of the ten Napa and Sonoma vineyards the author…
by Lisa King   2014 The Permanent Press, Sag Harbor, NY ISBN 978-1-57962-357-9 Hardcover, 320 pages $29.95   While protagonist Jean Applequist does not have a private investigator's license, the Wine Digest writer has a talent for solving murders. A lot of them. Miss Applequist is not the only character solving mysteries around the wine business. She's not even the only woman doing so, as Nadia Gordon's Sunny McCoskey has also plied this beat. Vulture…
By Nadia Gordon Chronicle Books 2002 ISBN 978-0811834629 Soft Cover 272 pages. $11.95   Sunny McCoskey is the owner of Wildside, a Napa Valley restaurant. She also solves murders. At least in the pages of Sharpshooter, she does. In what the publisher defines as the first mystery in a Sunny McCoskey series, the chef/sleuth jumps into a murder investigation when her friend, winegrower Wade Skord, is arrested for the murder of Jack Beroni. Beroni was…
by Arsy Vartarian   Race Point Publishing, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-1937994075 Hard Cover, 255 pages $27   Meat The Flintstones One of the newer diets, or should I say diet philosophies, is known as the Paleo Diet. The genesis of this particular chapter in the wide world of diets is posited on the theory that if we ate like our (very ancient) ancestors we would be a lot healthier. Adherents surmise that the decline of human…
by Aliza Green   Quarry Books, 2013 ISBN 978-1-59253-844-7 Paperback, 160 pages $24.99   The Soupmaker’s Kitchen is an excellent introduction of “how to” take those odds and ends in the kitchen and turn them into good stock and even better soup! It covers everything you need starting from a utensil standpoint and proceeds through various stocks and their primal ingredients and further into the world of soupmaking on a global scale. It is highly…
  by Gretchen F. Brown, R.D.   Fair Winds Press, October 2012 ISBN: 9780159233-524-4 Softcover, 175 pages $21.99   Without a reviewer who has intimate and technical knowledge of gluten, a protein found in many grains, nor of the various gluten-sensitivity issues, including celiac disease, Taste California Travel will stipulate that author Gretchen Brown is knowledgeable on this topic. The first chapter of Fast & Simple Gluten-Free gives a fairly simple explanation of the issue…
  by Len Napolitano   Wineology Press 2013 ISBN 97-0-9893087-0-0 Soft cover 184 pages $14.99   It's a shame that their perceived lack of expertise keeps so many folks from enjoying wine. While it's true you can spend a lifetime in wine and not know everything about it, a basic grounding in the subject isn't all that hard to come by. Nose, Legs, Body! is a great introduction to the subject. It provides a comfort…
  by Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Sforza   Race Point Publishing, June 2013 ISBN-13: 978-1-93799-415-0 Hardbound 256 pages $28   If Cicchetti is a word unfamiliar to many American readers, its subtitle, “Delicious Italian Food to Share,” should not be hard to understand. And who could resist such an idea? Apparently, cicchetti is the Venetian equivalent of Spanish tapas—appetizers or little snacks in American parlance. While this kind of eating may be a tradition of…
Edited by James Oseland   Lonely Planet Publications, 2013 ISBN: 978 1 74321 844 0 Paperback 334 pages $15.99   For those of us to enjoy collecting cookbooks, every recipe can mean a vicarious meal. If just reading about a dish is not as vivid as the actual preparation and consumption, it does save on calories and cost of ingredients. Though it contains no recipes, A Fork in the Road  can also provide such pleasures.…
  by Ann Mah   Pamela Dorman Books/Viking 2013 (Penguin Group) ISBN 978-0-670-02599-2 Hardbound 271 pages $25.95   Ann Mah has included a few recipes in this memoir, but it's hardly a cookbook. Mastering the Art of French Eating is way more than that. The author, who grew up in Southern California, became a Francophile at age six when her family visited Paris on a European vacation. Twenty-two years later she returned to the City…
by LaVerne Martin Littleton Bookstand Publishing, 2011 ISBN: 1-58909-955-9 178 pp. $ 9.95 (paper)   Think back to visits to your grandmother’s house as a young person. Maybe you just dropped by for quick hello or even came to ask for copy of a favorite recipe. What you thought would be a 15 minute visit becomes a two hour conversation on family history, love of food and the impact of regional availability of fruits, vegetables…
by Tom Rea   Quarry Books 1985, Digital Edition 2013 ISBN 978-1-59253-787-7 Soft Cover 160 pages, $24.99   The title might make one wonder if explaining the dispatching and roasting of a whole pig is the purpose of this book. If that were so, it might be interesting, though of less value to readers who might aspire to do that, but whose needs are more often just to cook a pork chop or two for…
by Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey with Rick Kushman   Evolve Publishing, 2013 ISBN 978-0-9882245-4-4 Softcover, 272 pages $15.95   The Barefoot Spirit succeeds on several levels. Those in or around the wine business will enjoy some of the inside scoop on how a young couple naively entered their industry, made predictable mistakes and yet survived. And eventually prospered. Actually, though the product was wine, their journey might serve as a blueprint smart people with…
by Kent Whitaker   History Publishing Company Palisades, New York 2013 ISBN 978-1-933909-75-2 330 pages, hard cover. $28.95   Bullets and Bread offers an entirely different perspective on food and its preparation. It includes little that would help a home cook prepare a meal for the family or for a dinner party. And there are no beautiful pictures of plated dishes It's neither a cookbook nor a coffee table book, but we found Bullets and…
  A Beer Drinker's Guide to Knowing and Enjoying Fine Wine by Jim Laughren, CWE   Crosstown Publishing 2012 ISBN 978-0-9855336-1-8 203 pages, soft cover, $16.95   The best teachers are always the ones secure enough in their knowledge that they convey the message in simple and un-pedantic style. Such is the case with Jim Laughren. Obviously deeply knowledgeable about wine (he's a Certified Wine Educator), Laughren is similarly familiar with beer. It's surprising that…
    Major League Baseball Ballpark Passport by Tim Parks   Leather Cover $58.95 (book), $8.95 (stamps)       If It's Tuesday, It Must be Fenway The baseball roadtrip, where travelers try to visit any number of ballparks around the country has become a popular vacation theme for many baseball fans around the country. The popularity of these vacations has risen in direct proportion to the stadium-building binge over the past twenty years as…
Viva la Cucina Italiana, Long live the Italian Cooking! by Joe Famularo   CreateSpace 2012 ISBN 978-1470170431 399 pages, soft cover, $22.95 Food appeals to most, if not all, of the senses. Eye appeal counts and reading through Viva la Cucina Italiana, there's a little regret that no pictures accompany any of the recipes. It would be nice to know how tantalizing the dishes would appear on the plate. However, many cookbooks that include absolutely…
Ramble California by Eric Peterson   Speck Press, 2009 ISBN-13: 297-1-933108-20-9 Soft cover, 280-pages $19.   Subtitled “A Wanderer's Guide to the Offbeat, Overlooked, and Outrageous,” Eric Peterson's Ramble California includes enough sex, drugs, rock and roll and profanity to displease many. For those folks, there are plenty of traditional guidebooks. Peterson offers a Read, Listen, Watch and To-Do Checklist sidebar to his opening coverage of the Los Angeles and Southern California scene. Among his…
Mountain Vines, Mountain WinesWritten by Casey Young Photographs by Ken Dawes Published by Mountain Vines Publishing, 2003 www.mountainvinespub.com 115 pages, soft cover. $24.95   The Santa Cruz Mountain appellation produces some of California’s best wine, yet it remains relatively anonymous. “Mountain Vines, Mountain Wines” may go a long way toward remedying that situation. Casey Young’s text provides a clear picture of the region’s geography and its long history of wine grape cultivation, dating back to…
Cooking with the California Cajun By Lanny Kilchrist   Morris Press Cookbooks, 2006125 pages, $19.95   Lanny Kilchrist has lived in California for quite a few years, but he’s still Cajun. A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, Kilchrist graduated from The University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette). He settled in Sacramento after being exposed to the area while teaching at nearby Mather Air Force Base. The man knows food in the many…
A MOVEABLE THIRST: Tales and Tastes from a season Napa Wine Country By Rick Kushman and Hank Beal Wiley Paperback Hoboken, N.J. 2007ISBN-13: 978-0-471-79386-1 336 pages, $18.95   Napa County, the crown jewel of the California winemaking industry, has somewhere in the neighborhood of 475 wineries. The seemingly Sisyphean task of cataloging, visiting and reviewing each of these has been cheerfully undertaken by authors Rick Kushman and Hank Beal with their new book, “A Moveable…
Poco Pane, Poco Vino: a little bread, a little wine Stories and art by Gina Gigli Recipes by Ruggero Gigli Villa Gigli Presswww.villagigli.com   After I returned from a recent vacation in Italy a friend pressed this book upon me requesting that I review it for the journal he owns, writes, edits, and manages. Cynicism and skepticism in full flower after having savored the wonderful ingredients and cuisine in Italy, I read the book as…
How to Taste: A Guide to Enjoying Wine by Jancis Robinson Simon & Schuster ISBN 978-0743216777 208 pages; $25.   My Christmas wish for 2001 is that every customer would receive a copy of "How to Taste." Instead of hearing "I only drink Cabernet" or "They make a red Zinfandel, too?" it just might be "I’d like to compare a Marlborough with a Sancerre!" Jancis Robinson’s "How to Taste, A Guide to Enjoying Wine" is…
Napa Valley: Land of Golden Vinesby Kathleen & Gerald Hill The Globe Pequot Press ISBN 978-0762734436www.globe-pequot.com 306 pages; $15.95   Although "Napa Valley, Land of Golden Vines" has some disquieting inconsistencies and inaccuracies, it’s probably the best and most comprehensive guide to the area. Wineries are the main attraction, of course, and the book lists locations, phone numbers, varieties produced, open hours and all the other relevant details for most of those that are open…
The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Los Angeles, 3rd EditionBy Colleen Dunn Bates Menasha Ridge Press ISBN 978-0897322973 www.globe-pequot.com $12.95   California is thought of as the state where seemingly few people are natives. People in California want to enjoy a taste of home, which could be almost anywhere else and probably is. The climate and the work of California farmers produce so many foods that all sorts of plain and exotic foods are available. What…
Zinfandel: A Reference Guide to Zinfandelby Cathleen Francisco The Wine Appreciation Guild 315 pages, $24.95www.wineappreciation.com   As a kid I often looked for a series of books in the local public library called "All About" books. They were good for the beginner introducing himself to a subject but were written with a scrupulous attention to the technicalities that gave texture and structure to the subject as well. This book works similarly. If not "All About"…
Passover Cookeryby Joan Kekst Five Star Publications ISBN 978-1877749445 www.fivestarpublications.com softcover, 168 pages, $24.95   Joan Kekst has many years of experience teaching and lecturing on Kosher and Jewish holiday meals. She has a B.A. from Notre Dame College in Home Economics Education and a M.A. in Judaic Culture from Cleveland College of Jewish Studies. She has also has also attended the New York Cooking School and LaVarenne Paris. She works as a Cleveland food…
The Cafes of San Francisco TCB Café Publishing ISBN 978-0967489889 soft cover, 192 pages, $15.95 www.cafeandre.com   Subtitled "A Guide to the Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of America’s Original Cafe Society," The Cafes of San Francisco satisfies on several levels. Six authors are credited with its reviews of countless cafes. Two other writers are listed as having provided "other text." Beyond that, comments from observers of the café scene, past and present, San Francisco and…
In the Devil's Garden - A Sinful History of Forbidden Foodby Stewart Lee Allen Ballantine Books ISBN 978-0345440167 hardcover, 315 pages, $24.00   I received the book from the publisher and at first glance found the title intriguing, "The Devil’s Garden." More seriously, the Library of Congress categorized the book as "1. Gastronomy—History, 2.Food habits—History, 3. Cookery—History" and perhaps hopefully, "4. Menus." Not only is this book is an amusing look at historical foods prohibitions…
Alligator Dreams: The Story of Greenwood Ridge Vineyardsby Richard Paul Hinkle Silverback Books Santa Rosa, California ISBN 978-1930603301 119 pages, multiple photos and illustrations, $24.95   On a ridge named for an early American explorer of California and the west, Caleb Greenwood, Alan Green grows grapes, makes wines and lives among the vines. Author Richard Paul Hinkle tells us that Green realized early that he couldn't support himself growing grapes, but could by growing grapes…
Life’s a Fish and Then You Fryby Randy Bayliss   Alaska Northwest Books, Second Edition (First Edition self-published 1999 as Fear and Poaching: Eating Southeast Alaska) ISBN 978-0882405537208 pages, 100 recipes, 60 illustrations $16.95   For your consideration: a cookbook by a man who consults on hazardous waste cleanups in the state whose seafood he recommends for use in most recipes. Bayliss begins the first section of the book by discussing the health benefits of…
Adventures in Wine, True Stories of Vineyards and Vintages Around the Worldedited by Thom Elkjer April 2002 Travelers Tales Books San Francisco, California ISBN 978-1885211804 304 pages, $17.95   Imagine that you had never drunk a glass of wine with friends or traveled to a place far away. If you are reading this review, that may be a bit much to ask, but you can do it. You would easily spend the few hours that…
The Mystique of Baroloby Maurizio Rosso photography by Chris Meier   Omega Arte, June 2002 ISBN 978-8872414026Hardcover. 288 pages, 400 photos $75. Available through www.artisanideas.com   This is quite an accomplishment as a book. It sets out to deal with the ancient, recent and modern history of one of Italy's iconic wines. It succeeds fairly well. If the reader is interested in knowing about Barolo, this is a terrific overview and compendium. There are the…
The Fire Never DiesOne Man's Raucous Romp Down the Road of Food, Passion and Adventure Richard Sterling Travelers' TalesSan Francisco, 2001 ISBN 978-1885211705285 pages $14.95   The Library of Congress summarizes this book as about anecdotes concerning food and travel. OK, but is it? The title teases us. What is that fire? Is it hungering for food? Or is it another primal need? The cover art shows an Asian woman dressed in a red dress…
SharpshooterBy Nadia Gordon Chronicle Books 2002 ISBN 978-0811834629 272 pages. $11.95   Sunny McCoskey is the owner of Wildside, a Napa Valley restaurant. She also solves murders. At least in the pages of Sharpshooter, she does. In what the publisher defines as the first mystery in a Sunny McCoskey series, the chef/sleuth jumps into a murder investigation when her friend, winegrower Wade Skord, is arrested for the murder of Jack Beroni. Beroni was in the…
Cooking With Cajun Women: Recipes & Remembrances From South Louisiana Kitchens by Nicole Denée   Fontenot Hippocrene Books, October, 2002 ISBN 978-0781809320 Hard cover, 330 pages. $24.95   Cooking with Cajun Women is a wonderful book. I am extremely proud of my Cajun background; our food is becoming recognized around the country in a very positive light, as it should be. This cookbook gives a short history of our plight and background which is so…
Vintage Humor for Wine Loversby Malcolm Kushner   Malcolm Kushner and Associates ISBN 978-097045893 168 pages, paperback, $9.95   Wine should be a joyous subject. Too often, it’s not—at least not in this country. In Vintage Humor for Wine Lovers, Malcolm Kushner offers levity, instead of tedium. Organized into 13 chapters, the collection features writings of the author/editor, quips from persons well known and otherwise, and some anecdotes and jokes that may have been rewritten…
Chocolate FrenchEdited by Andre K. Crump TCB-Café Publishing, 2003 ISBN 978-0976768210 190 pages, soft cover. $19.95   Quirky but appealing, “Chocolate French” is part cookbook, part travel book. And it’s all paean to the charms of chocolate. Filled with reminiscences and personal observations of chefs, celebrities and chocolate fans, “Chocolate French” isn’t X-rated, but it’s for adults, not children. The subject is sweet, but not simple. English-speakers who’ve traveled in France or those with a…
Chalk Hill Winery Sommelier Guide To Restaurants in America Chalk Press 2004 (third edition)560 pages. Soft cover. $19.95   Chalk Hill Winery Sommelier Guide to Restaurants in America is ostensibly aimed at consumers, but restaurant professionals will love it. Chalk Hill Winery is the publisher of record. They’re also listed as one of six “sponsors.” Ten pages of editorial on the sponsors’ wineries appears in a section near the front of the book, but nowhere…
Spinning the BottleBy Harvey Posert and Paul Franson   20 pages, softcover $39.95   Few areas of endeavor depend on public relations as much as the American wine business. Harvey Posert and Paul Franson have collaborated in the publication of this series of case studies in wine-related PR. There’s little about the wine industry these veterans don’t know. While each has written a chapter (Franson penned two), they’ve included case studies from 45 colleagues who…
The Home Exchange Guide How to Find Your Free Home Away From Home by M.T. Simon and T.T. Baker Poyeen Publishing ISBN 1-932534-00-8.187 pages. soft cover. $19.95   How many times have travelers expressed the wish they could live as the locals do? Trading homes for a while with one of those locals can be a big step in that direction. Besides having an experience more closely approximating the day-to-day reality of the destination, there…
ICON: ART OF THE WINE LABELA Collection of Work by Jeffrey Caldewey and Chuck House   The Wine Appreciation Guild ISBN 1-891267-30-2S. San Francisco, California287 pages. Large format. $85.   Most of the world’s citizens are oblivious to the world of design. At least on a conscious level. Yet in our industrialized world, it’s a part of everyday life and a factor in nearly every buying decision. Package design is, at the very least, commercial…
The Dancing Gourmet, Recipes to Keep You on Your Toes!by Linda Hymes photography by Derek Gaffney   Lindergaff Books ISBN 0971978204www.dancinggourmet.com 157 pages $26.   There are a few good cookbooks that provide most of what any aspiring home chef would need to know. And you could get by on just a basic red wine and a basic white for your table. But wouldn’t life be so much more boring if we didn’t celebrate diversity?…
The Culinary Institute of America’s Gourmet Meals in Minutes Lebhar-Friedman Books ISBN: 0-86730-904-0Hardcover. 372 pages $40 Many cookbooks seem to be designed to seduce the home chef with beautiful graphics and spectacular presentation. “The Culinary Institute of America’s Gourmet Meals in Minutes” (quite a mouthful of a title) doesn’t disappoint in that department. Ben Fink’s photographs are as good as any I’ve seen. A passionate amateur can enjoy a vicarious meal from every other page,…
Florida Spring Training: Your Guide to Touring the Grapefruit Leagueby Alan Byrd   The Intrepid Traveler ISBN 1887140476 Soft Cover. 224 Pages $15.95   “Florida Spring Training” by Alan Byrd should prove to be an indispensable companion to any baseball fan or traveler who might wish to visit the spectacle of baseball spring training in Florida. The thought of “traditional” spring training evokes nostalgic memories of old ballparks populated with hard core baseball fans sunning…
The Food of Fisherman's Wharf: Cooking and Feasting from San Francisco to Montereyby A.K. Crump   TCB-Café Publishing ISBN: 0-9674898-9-XSoft cover, 192 pages $19.95http://www.cafeandre.com/   To this third-generation San Franciscan, the name Fisherman’s Wharf conjures just a limited strip of that city that borders the Bay. That’s a parochial view, though, and limiting. Countless settlements on the water must have their own fisherman’s wharves and Monterey, some 115 miles south of San Francisco on the…
Pocket Dictionary of Ethnic Foodsby Daniel G. Blum   Word Craft Publishing ISBN 0-9754894-3-7, LCCN 2004106150Soft cover, 224 pages, $9.95   Who hasn’t seen phrases on a restaurant menu that seemed familiar, yet not entirely so. Béarnaise and béchamel are both classic French sauces, but are you sure which one you would want on a steak and which one might be appropriate for seafood? Marsala is a dark, sweet Italian wine. Masala can be either…
At Mesa’s Edgeby Eugenia Bone   Houghton Mifflin Company ISBN 0-618-22126-3Hard Cover, 330 pages, $24.   Eugenia Bone is a New York writer with heavyweight credentials (Saveur, Food & Wine, Gourmet, etc.). In At Mesa’s Edge she has created an intriguing memoir and cookbook. When her architect husband decides that there’s room in their urban life for a part-time existence in Colorado’s North Fork Valley, Eugenia packs kids and cooking supplies to spend a summer…
The Presidents’ Cookbookby Poppy Cannon and Patricia Brooks   Funk & Wagnalls, 1968 ISBN 978-545 pages + Presidential pen and ink caricatures $22.50   Party politics aside, there’s one thing that over two centuries of elected officials who have resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can agree on: the enjoyment of a well cooked and satisfying meal. The Presidents’ Cookbook, released in 1968, is a vintage gem that invites readers into the White House dining room…
Secrets of the M*A*S*H Mess: The Lost Recipes of Private Igorby Jeff Maxwell   Cumberland House 2007 ISBN 978-1888952414268 pages + TV photos and letters   In 1950, a country bumpkin named Igor Straminsky answered his country’s call to duty and, as an unwitting Army private, soon found himself in the most hostile environment that the planet could ever serve up. No, we’re not talking about Korea. We’re talking about the men and women of…
Cooking to Impress Without StressBy Annabel Langbein   Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 2003 978-1558687721160 pages, 85 color photographs   Back in the days when I used to run a touring theater company, cast parties were not only frequent in number but also easy to plan because (1) everyone brought something and (2) everything bought at a grocery store was thrown into the oven, taken out of the refrigerator, or tossed onto a serving platter. Such…
The San Diego Restaurant CookbookRecipes from America’s Finest CityBy Ingrid Croce Avalanche Records and Books, 2005 ISBN 978-0976680147 271 pages including index $29.95   The author dedicated this book to the daring restaurateurs who have placed their hearts and fortunes on the line to build their city’s exciting and vibrant dining scene. I like to cook, share meals with others and look at cookbooks for new recipes. Once or twice I have read a cookbook…
César – Recipes from a Tapas Bar By Olivier Said and James Mellgren with Maggie Pond   Ten Speed Press, 2003ISBN 1580084893 211 pages, hard cover. $29.95   Many modern cookbooks go to great lengths to describe the culture and history of the country or region from which the recipes originate. This is a valuable aspect of learning how to prepare cuisines from different lands, especially for those of us who do not plan to…
Brazil – A Culinary Journey By Cherie Hamilton Hippocrene Books, Inc., 2005 ISBN 0781810809 205 Pages, $24.95   Hippocrene Books deserves kudos for its extensive cookbook library, of which Brazil – A Culinary Journey is a part. The publisher has managed to develop an extensive array of cookbooks focusing on less published cuisines, such as “Estonian Tastes and Traditions” and “My Mother’s Bolivian Kitchen.” As is the case with many modern cookbooks, the first-hand experience…
Politics & Pot Roast By Sarah Hood Solomon Glenn Foden Illustrator Bright Sky Press, Albany, Texas 2006.ISBN-10: 1931721793 $24.95   The editor requested that I review this book during the 2006 campaigns but I was involved in them and the week after the election I was in no mood to review any book with politics in the title, even a cookbook. One political commentator has observed that with the announcement of sundry that they are…
Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D.   2011 by Rodale Books, NY, NY ISBN 978-1-60961-154-5 292 pages $ 25.99     The condemnations of many foods are common these days. So, for that matter, are the touted virtues of other foods. Wheat is probably the pervasive element in a modern American diet. That it is at least unnecessary, and maybe pernicious is the theory of Dr. Davis. As celiac disease becomes more of an issue,…
Thirsty Work by Matt Skinner   Running Press Book Publishers Philadelphia, PA 2005 ISBN: 0762425334 175 pages soft cover $24.95    Matt Skinner packs a lot of solid wine information into this breezy effort. Though it may target the novice, Thirsty Work is enjoyable reading for the knowledgeable wine buff, too. Though young, the writer seems to know his stuff and has obvious passion for the subject. The author is Australian. Occasionally there are comments…
The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn   2008 Penguin Books ISBN 978-0-14-311413-0 290 page $15.00   What person who enjoys cooking hasn't thought of attending a cooking school? An accomplished writer, Flinn was an American living in London when a job came to an end sooner than she had planned. Encouraged by her American boyfriend to take stock and consider following her dreams, she enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in…
The Cork Jester's Guide to Wine by Jennifer Rosen   Clerisy Press ISBN 1-57860-277-7 222 pages $14.95   Much of what is written about wine is tedious. This is not the case with Jennifer Rosen's work. In her Cork Jester persona, the Denver Rocky Mountain News columnist has done the wine industry a service. Her Guide to Wine is an excellent primer for someone beginning to indulge a wine hobby. It's also worthwhile reading for…
Feast, A History of Grand Eating by Sir Roy Strong   Harcourt Books ISBN # 0-15-100758-6 349 pages, hardbound. $35.     When most of the world was just eating to survive, some really were eating in grand style. In Feast, A History of Grand Eating, Roy Strong traces the eating habits of mankind's powerful privileged. The journey runs from the time of Ancient Greece to the early Twentieth Century. The author's treatment is scholarly…
Julia Child A Life by Laura Shapiro   2007 Penguin Lives ISBN 978-=14-311644-8 185 pages $14   Many remember Julia Child from her PBS television shows. Others may know her as an older woman given great deference when appearing as a guest on more recent television programs. Still, the woman has been dead since August of 2004, so many food buffs and home cooks may not have heard about her at all, but for the…