Shelf Awareness for Readers for Friday, December 5, 2014


Workman Publishing: The Spectrum of Hope: An Optimistic and New Approach to Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias by Gayatri Devi

From My Shelf

Crown Books for Young Readers: My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly, illustrated by Andre Ceolin

New World Library: Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart by Scott Stabile

Gift Books: Food

In The Chef Says: Quotes, Quips and Words of Wisdom, edited by Nach Waxman and Matt Sartwell (Princeton Architectural Press, $14.95), cookbook author and restaurant consultant Joyce Goldstein says, "As a recipe addict, I can never have enough." In this vein, we present our annual food issue, having culinarily fantasized our way through dozens of cookbooks.

Eat More Better by Dan Pashman (Simon & Schuster, $29) gets my vote for not only yummy recipes, but for wit. His discourse on bullying by those who say French fries should be dipped only in ketchup, or discussion of the nuances of forkability and sauceability of the ideal macaroni shape for mac and cheese, will appeal to even the most jaded gourmand.

A Royal Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace by Mark Flanagan and Edward Griffiths (Royal Collection Trust, $24.95) is not a book with practical recipes, unless you usually cook with partridges or smoked haddock, but the stories and the photos are gorgeous--a treat for both Anglophiles and non. Ladurée Macarons by Vincent Lemains, with photographs by Antonin Bonnet (Hachette Livre, $39.95), is charming and comes in a box; it's replete with lush images and exquisite recipes, padded cover and metallic rose fore edge.

Reading about food is also delightful. There's much to savor in The Best Food Writing 2014, edited by Holly Hughes (Da Capo, $15.99), from home cooking to extreme eating to personal stories. In Books That Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal (NYU Press, $30), Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite have collected American literature about food--fiction, poetry, nonfiction--with recipes. Critic and professor Sandra M. Gilbert goes one step further by including blogs, art, movies and TV as well as literature in The Culinary Imagination: From Myth to Modernity (Norton, $29.95)--an exploration of our relationship with food and eating. --Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers


PuddleDancer Press: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg


Book Review

Food & Wine

Prune

by Gabrielle Hamilton


Chef Gabrielle Hamilton burst onto the food-writing scene in 2011 with her vivid, provocative memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter. In Prune, she shares an extensive, mouthwatering collection of recipes from her New York City restaurant of the same name.

Hamilton presents her recipes without introduction and without fuss: precise lists of ingredients are followed by blunt instructions. Many recipes include notes in her handwriting, some irascible ("Let's not start a fire in the oven, please"), others rhapsodic ("OMFG. So delish"). Beginning with savory Bar Snacks, Hamilton shares tempting recipes for dinner, lunch and brunch, then moves on to cocktails, daily and weekly prep (sauces, stocks, spices) and "Garbage"--delicious ways to repurpose cheese rinds, tomato skins and other scraps.

The last chapter, "Family Meal," sets forth instructions for preparing a staff meal at Prune. Its final sentence neatly captures Hamilton's philosophy: "To feed ourselves and each other is the name of the game and should bring you great, thundering pleasure." Her cookbook will do the same. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: A delectable collection of recipes from chef Gabrielle Hamilton's restaurant.

Random House, $45, hardcover, 9780812994094

Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham


Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen

by Dana Cowin, Julia Turshen


Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine since 1995, hid a dark secret: kitchen incompetence. After years of experiments, failures and advice from friends and celebrities chefs alike, she learned that the keys to successful cooking are practice, patience and a few insider tips, which she shares in Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes.

Anyone who has ever struggled at the stove will chuckle and empathize when reading Cowin's anecdotes about failed Internet recipes and roast chickens that come out "like an albino frog with wings" rather than beautifully browned. She offers easily mastered recipes (such as creamy, Riesling-spiked braised chicken with leeks, mushrooms and peas), nearly all of which are accompanied by suggestions for perfecting your technique by master chefs including Jacques Pépin, Mario Batali and Alice Waters. Novice and accomplished cooks alike will find a delightful education here, though gift givers should choose recipients who won't take offense at the implication that they, like Cowin, have culinary mistakes to master. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Discover: Recipes and tips from the editor of Food & Wine and an all-star cast of celebrity chefs.

Ecco, $34.99, hardcover, 9780062305909

University of California Press: A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet by Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore


Heritage

by Sean Brock


James Beard Award–winner Sean Brock grew up in rural Virginia, where making things by hand and from scratch is the norm. This upbringing has shaped every recipe in Brock's first cookbook, Heritage. "While I love caviar and foie gras dearly," he writes, "I crave nostalgia."

Brock serves up nostalgia and Southern cooking by the heap. His recipes are grouped by type: vegetables (muscadine-cucumber gazpacho), grain-based dishes (corn hoecakes), meat and seafood plates (rabbit stew with black-pepper dumplings) and desserts. A section called "The Larder" includes recipes for sauces, condiments and jams, while "The Public House" collects pub-style grub and cocktails.

Interspersed throughout each section are profiles on local food enthusiasts, how-tos on Southern specialties (preparing perfect grits, hosting a whiskey tasting at home) and stunning photography from Peter Frank Edwards. Though some of the recipes in Brock's collection are inherently complex, the instructions themselves are never difficult to follow, and Brock's enthusiasm for the food he prepares will inspire even inexperienced chefs to try some of this delightful, down-to-earth food. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: Traditional and reinvented Southern recipes from the executive chef of the Charleston restaurants Husk and McCrady's.

Artisan, $40, hardcover, 9781579654634

Andrews McMeel Publishing: Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm (Phoebe and Her Unicorn #6) by Dana Simpson


The Vietnamese Market Cookbook: Spicy/Sour/Sweet

by Anh Vu, Van Tran


In The Vietnamese Market Cookbook, London restaurateurs Van Tran and Anh Vu introduce the pleasures of this Southeast Asian country's cooking with inspired recipes, beautiful photographs and personal food memories. The cookbook is organized around the five basic flavors of Vietnamese cuisine--sweet, sour, spicy, bitter and salty--and three different types of eating; this structure helps readers understand the principles of Vietnamese cooking and the role food plays in Vietnamese culture.

In addition to typical home fare, the cookbook includes recipes for home-style versions of dishes commonly found on restaurant menus, like pho and banh mi, and recipes created using Vietnamese techniques and nontraditional ingredients, such as rhubarb-and-okra sweet-and-sour soup. Whether traditional or innovative, the recipes are clearly written, with useful explanations of unfamiliar techniques and occasional suggestions for substitutions. An excellent index makes it easy to find dishes based on ingredient or type of dish.

Adventurous home cooks will find much to enjoy in this easy-to-follow guide to a cuisine that might seem inaccessible to many. --Pamela Toler, blogging at History in the Margins

Discover: This book demonstrates how simple classic Vietnamese cooking can be.

Running Press, $30, hardcover, 9780762453849

Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: Lilac Lane by Sheryl Woods


Spice Odyssey: From Asafoetida to Wasabi, Recipes to Really Excite and Inspire

by Paul Merrett


For home cooks looking invigorate their kitchens, Paul Merrett's Spice Odyssey: From Asafoetida to Wasabi, Recipes to Really Excite and Inspire is an exceptional choice. The odyssey he describes is not simply focused on creating a hot, spicy meal--it's about flavor. Merrett goes beyond the expected by incorporating whole spices, fresh herbs and other sources of great flavor to create truly diverse meals. His self-deprecating tone and eagerness to share infuse this cookbook with a spice of its own. The result is so enjoyable even the chapter introductions are fun to read.

Accompanying each recipe is a small story about why Merrett chose to include it or a humorous anecdote about its development. The recipes are adventurous and interesting, but also accessible for even inexperienced cooks. And while the ingredients range from the exotic (such as asafoetida, a pungent powder used in Indian dishes) to the more familiar (like wasabi, the Japanese horseradish), most items should be available in your local grocery store. --Justus Joseph, bookseller, Elliott Bay Book Company

Discover: How to savor every moment of cooking, from creation to consumption.

Kyle Books, $24.95, hardcover, 9781909487109

Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State

by Terry Thompson-Anderson


Texas cuisine has long been famous for a few staple dishes: savory salsas, juicy steaks, bowls of fiery chili. But as the local food movement has gained ground in the U.S., Texas chefs and restaurateurs--even winemakers--have begun celebrating a broader range of Lone Star fare. In Texas on the Table, Terry Thompson-Anderson (The Texas Hill Country) showcases recipes from every region of the state, along with the stories of farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers and other food artisans who are inventing new twists on classic dishes.

Thompson-Anderson covers all the bases: buttermilk biscuits, boiled crawfish, enchiladas with salsa verde. She also highlights innovations such as a spread made with Romano cheese and pepitas, creamy cilantro soup and even chocolate-and-goat-cheese crème brûleé. The recipes (and the many color photos) are mouthwatering, but the stories of Texas food pioneers who take deep pleasure in their creations are equally delightful, providing nourishment for body and soul. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Discover: A colorful cookbook showcasing recipes and stories from artisans of new Texas cuisine.

University of Texas Press, $45, hardcover, 9780292744097

My Little French Kitchen: Over 100 Recipes from the Mountains, Market Squares and Shores of France

by Rachel Khoo


After traveling across six regions of France--Brittany, Bordeaux, Basque, Provence, Lyon and Alsace--Rachel Khoo (The Little Paris Kitchen) returned to her Paris apartment and blended together old family recipes that embraced each area's specialties with the newest food concepts and trends in France, creating more than 100 recipes that are full of flavorful and colorful fresh ingredients. Both savory and sweet, and easy to reproduce at home, these recipes include crab and kiwi tartare, cheese and tomato buttery biscuits, chard and preserved lemon blinis, Sand Dune ice-cream cakes and walnut-and-buckwheat caramel tart.

Along with the recipes, Khoo includes her reflections on each region, adding interesting details about the origins of her dishes and the people and cultures that inspired them. Khoo's text and the 200-plus photographs of food and the countryside she explored are the next best thing to an actual trip and should inspire anyone interested in preparing and eating food like the French. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Discover: A rich assortment of delectable recipes from around France that are easy to reproduce in an American kitchen.

Chronicle, $35, hardcover, 9781452135076

The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History

by Ana Sofía Peláez, Ellen Silverman


Part cookbook, part historical and cultural guide, Ana Sofía Peláez's The Cuban Table brings the lush foods of Cuba to life with more than 100 recipes and numerous color photographs from Ellen Silverman that showcase the best of this island's unusual blend of "indigenous, Spanish, African, Chinese, Caribbean, and even French cuisine." Using local fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats, the recipes include bakery items (guava turnovers, ham croquettes, chorizo empanadas), Creole stew and plantain soup, and a variety of rice-and-bean dishes. Beef, chicken, pork and goat each feature in the main courses, and the large selection of desserts boasts anise fritters, coconut-and-almond candy cones, egg custard and several types of flan. Peláez, creator of the food blog Hungry Sofia, also offers glimpses into the lives and hearts of the people behind each recipe. A thorough glossary of ingredients and cooking techniques and a list of places to purchase Cuban staples help round out the book. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Discover: A bountiful collection of Cuban fare that is a welcome addition to any chef's personal library.

St. Martin's Press, $35, hardcover, 9781250036087

French Comfort Food

by Hillary Davis, Steven Rothfeld, photographer


As food journalist, cooking instructor and restaurant critic Hillary Davis (Cuisine Niçoise) explored regional French cuisine in her travels, she took note of the hearty, economical dishes prized by local families made à l'ancienne ("the old-fashioned way"), as their grandmothers would have done. Her travels have culminated in French Comfort Food, a gorgeously rendered, celebratory anthology of the "the cozy hearth of comfort food" and its lesser-known regional dishes, reproduced and adapted for American palates.

Davis breaks down her favorite old-world recipes in palatable sections for the average cook and includes one-pot casseroles, ratatouille, a cassoulet flavored by duck confit and made in the slow cooker, spreadable rillettes that marry well with ham and cheese on a crusty baguette, the garlic-buttered goodness of escargot and a decadent crème caramel. Photographs depicting idyllic and verdant countrysides accompany the precise but replicable recipes that are "all about nostalgia and about food that brings back happy memories." --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

Discover: The time-honored, beloved home cooking of French families, passed down for generations.

Gibbs Smith, $30, hardcover, 9781423636984

Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul

by Aarti Sequeira


The Next Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeira's first cookbook, Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul, is every bit as effervescent as her charismatic onscreen personality. Sequeira peppers her collection of more than 100 Indian-American fusion recipes with gentle humor and intimately personal anecdotes to take the intimidation factor away from the preparation of such classic Indian staples as paneer (homemade curd cheese), tandoori chicken and chicken tikka masala, while having fun with cross-cultural hits like her pomegranate Sriracha wings and Bombay Sloppy Joes.

Recipes are divided topically (breakfast, appetizers, vegetables, meat, starches and seafood), and photographs bring each vibrant dish to life. Sequeira offers time-saving "Smaarti Tips" and "whippersnapper" shortcuts that substitute key ingredients or traditional cooking methods with more accessible alternatives. Finally, there are primers for creating chutneys and an overview on the seven essential spices to stock for Indian cookery. Some dishes may be complicated for  beginners but Sequeira's patient hand-holding and enthusiastic attitude make the intimidating seem entirely achievable. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

Discover: Food Network Star Aarti Sequeira's mouthwatering debut collection of Indian-American fusion recipes.

Grand Central, $28, hardcover, 9781455545414

Kosher Cuisine for a New Generation

by Cantor Mitch


"For anyone looking to put the chutzpah in cooking," Cantor Mitch is your man. The singing, cooking cantor offers a guide to his lifelong "personal triangle"--music, spirituality and food--in Kosher Cuisine for a New Generation, a cookbook of straightforward recipes that he hopes will inspire cooks to think about old favorites in a new way.

Mitch wants readers to "make eating a holy and thoughtful act every day," and while not all the recipes are prepared in strict kosher fashion (which often means from scratch), they keep kosher by calling for premade items that bear the Orthodox Union's mark (the circled U) on the label. While erudite, "the Singing Chef" is far from stuffy in his pairings of recipes with songs. He suggests singing "When the Saints Go Marching In" while serving Louisiana Black Bean Soup, and "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof with Mama's Jewish Chicken Soup. A golden cheese quiche mated with the Beatles' "Good Day Sunshine"--what's not to like? You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Cantor Mitch's cuisine. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco

Discover: A kosher cookbook with easy recipes and song pairings to encourage joyful dining camaraderie.

Red Portal Press, $17.95, paperback, 9781938063534

Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere

by Dorie Greenspan


Dorie Greenspan introduces home cooks to the simple sweets the French make at home: a style of baking very different from the pastry shop masterpieces often associated with French cuisine. Greenspan offers recipes for simple cakes, fancy cakes, tiny pastries, fruit tarts, cookies and a French childhood favorite known as Desert Roses--an unbaked mixture of cornflakes, chocolate, dried fruits and nuts. She includes new twists on traditional favorites and contemporary flavors using classic techniques.

As with Greenspan's earlier Around My French Table, Baking Chez Moi is written in a personal style, illustrated with photographs designed to make the mouth water and larded with creative variations on the main recipes that Greenspan dubs "bonne idées." In addition to tempting treats, Greenspan includes informative, often-amusing sidebars on ingredients, equipment, techniques and why French women never say "non" to dessert.

A visual feast, Baking Chez Moi will appeal to readers with a sweet tooth, whether they bake or not. --Pamela Toler, blogging at History in the Margins

Discover: The desserts the French bake at home for family and friends.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40, hardcover, 9780547724249

Me, Myself, and Pie: Amish Recipes

by Sherry Gore


Sherry Gore (Simply Delicious Amish Cooking) is what one might call a pie enthusiast, baking to support her Beachy Amish Mennonite family and serving as judge of her community's pie contest. She even traveled from Florida to Pennsylvania to learn more about Amish baking. Me, Myself, and Pie is an account of her personal journey with this delicious pastry, seasoned with more than 100 recipes for sweet and savory delights.

For those new to the world of pie, Gore starts with the basics: variations on crusts, baking techniques, washes and the kitchen tools needed for an excellent end product. From there, she dives into the fillings, including cream-based (coconut cream, New York cheesecake), fruit (cranberry-cherry, blueberry), traditional (shoo-fly) and savory (with intriguing creations like tomato-cheese and Thanksgiving Pie, made from all the leftovers of a typical holiday meal). All of the recipes are simple and easy to follow, using common ingredients. When the source of the recipes is an official pie judge, readers can rest assured each one is guaranteed to be delicious. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: A collection of more than 100 pie recipes from an Amish pie-baker extraordinaire.

Zondervan, $24.99, hardcover, 9780310335566

Let Us All Eat Cake: Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Cakes

by Catherine Ruehle, Sarah Scheffel


In Let Us All Eat Cake, Catherine Ruehle, pastry chef, cake artist and holistic health chef, presents 60 tempting recipes that satisfy gluten-, dairy- and nut-free diets. Ruehle describes watching a four-year-old boy with food allergies enjoy his first cupcake from Sublime, her bakery in Texas: "His joy was as pure as anything I've ever witnessed." Ruehle herself had to forgo gluten and dairy to treat rheumatoid arthritis; creating desserts just as good as the originals became her mission.

Ruehle includes treats for all times of day and types of celebration--coffee cakes (honey-lavender tea cake and mocha coffee cake), layer cakes (pink velvet strawberry, chocolate-peppermint), cupcakes (salted caramel and apple; ancho chile, chocolate and cinnamon) and cakelets (deconstructed single-serving layer cakes, such as chocolate-raspberry and Golden Sugar Halo). She includes tips, tricks and decorating techniques as well as a chart that matches her recipes with specific dietary needs. Now, even those with limited diets can enjoy cake. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

Discover: Sweet treats that even those on restricted diets can eat without worry.

Ten Speed Press, $24.99, hardcover, 9781607746294

Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook

by Jamie Oliver


Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver (Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes) knows that comfort is a subjective feeling; Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food, therefore, contains a wild variety of delicious dishes from many different countries and culinary traditions. The meals Oliver presents will take time and effort to prepare. The techniques involved, even if not hard in and of themselves, will at least require a fair amount of kitchen knowledge to complete, as well as a diverse selection of ingredients fully to match Oliver's intended result.

The book itself is solid and weighty, the 400 pages bound with an enticing material that begs to be handled. The photographs border on the delectably obscene; readers will ooh and ah over standouts like Ultimate Black Daal, Next-Level Steak & Onion Sandwich, Chicken Kiev and Devil's Double Choc Malt Cookies. Oliver's diverse dishes will comfort and sustain home cooks throughout the year, and he explains procedures with his hallmark candor and directness. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

Discover: Vibrant photography and easy-to-read recipes from England's personable Naked Chef.

Ecco, $34.99, hardcover, 9780062305619

Twelve Recipes

by Cal Peternell


When Cal Peternell, chef at the legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., sent his eldest son to college, he realized that the at-home cooking lessons he'd given (better known as family dinners) may not have covered the skills his son would need to feed himself well when away from home. The solution was clear: emergency cooking tutorials.

Peternell gave his son a dozen recipes, which came to serve as the foundation for Twelve Recipes. He expands on each building block to make several other dishes; for instance, he explains why even a simple slice of toast can be a platform upon which one might build memorable meals. Peternell delivers his practical advice with dad-style humor and puns (at one point he notes that the American Egg Board may have been "easily beaten"). Twelve Recipes is a cookbook, a love letter to family and a reminder of how important it is to gather people together to share nourishment. --Justus Joseph, bookseller, Elliott Bay Book Company

Discover: A cookbook that takes readers by the hands to rediscover the kitchen as a place of simple food and intimate gatherings.

Morrow, $26.99, hardcover, 9780062270306

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well

by Amy Chaplin


At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen is more than just a cookbook filled with mostly vegan recipes and mouthwatering photographs. In her introduction, Amy  Chaplin describes her idyllic childhood in rural New South Wales, Australia, with vegetarian parents who grew and cooked everything the family ate. Chaplin describes what a well-stocked whole food pantry should contain, as well as how those ingredients should be stored and essential equipment to have on hand. She offers menu planning tips, convincing evidence for embracing organic foods, an argument for the merits of a nutritional cleanse and other suggestions for healthful living.

The recipes (most gluten-free) include a wide variety of temptations: coconut-and-quinoa pancakes, plum-millet muffins, spicy carrot soup with Kaffir lime leaves and coconut, heirloom bean bourguignonne with celery-root mash and golden amaranth superfood bars. Chaplin (former executive chef of New York City's Angelica Kitchen) has always celebrated food that "tasted great and nourished my body... while having a minimal environmental impact." Now she has created a manifesto describing what all kitchens can become: healthy, delicious and compassionate. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

Discover: Why Amy Chaplin's reverence for nature and sustainability flourishes, even in downtown Manhattan.

Roost Books, $35, hardcover, 9781611800852

Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from Our Kitchen

by Zoe Nathan, Josh Loeb, Laurel Almerinda


Zoe Nathan opened Huckleberry Bakery & Café in Santa Monica, Calif., when demand for the breakfasts she served at her husband's restaurant outgrew their Saturday-only time slot. With a preexisting fan base already in love with its fresh and wholesome ingredients, Huckleberry became an instant success.

In 115 recipes, Nathan walks readers through a day in the life of her bakery in chapters corresponding to each hour, starting at 3:30 in the morning with muffins. The deep fryer breaks, there's an order for 50 extra Maple Bacon Biscuits and the espresso machine stalls, but Nathan and her team carry the day. Now home bakers can be breakfast heroes, too, with recipes like the high-intensity cocoa-nib muffins with dark-chocolate glaze or a hearty hash made with braised brisket and fingerling potatoes. The no-frills photography allows the food to shine, and the polka-dotted page edges add to an attractive package of a delectable collection. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Discover: Muffins, sandwiches, cakes and more from one of Santa Monica's favorite breakfast spots.

Chronicle, $35, hardcover, 9781452123523

Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes

by Jennifer McLagan


Of the five commonly held aspects of taste, bitter is the one that makes people the most leery, as our bodies have often identified the flavor with something poisonous and dangerous. However, as Jennifer McLagan (Bones; Fat) expertly explains, bitter foods can also be beneficial, protecting us from illness and promoting good health. Modern chefs are embracing the numerous foods that contain bitter compounds and incorporating them into delicious, healthy recipes, as McLagan does here. She thoroughly discusses specific bitter ingredients, giving detailed descriptions along with a historical or cultural background before sharing recipes that showcase each food. Leafy greens like endive, dandelion and escarole are featured in raw salads as well as hot dishes. The list of bitter ingredients includes cardoons, Seville oranges, grapefruits and walnuts, and several drinks call for alcohols such as Campari, Fernet-Branca and Suze. Coffee, tea, IPA beer and dark chocolate are used in soups, seafood dishes, custards, ice cream and tarts. A confident guide, McLagan makes the world of bitter an enticing one to explore. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Discover: Intriguing and satisfying flavor combinations that enhance the bitterness in food.

Ten Speed Press, $29.99, hardcover, 9781607745167

The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book

by the Editors at America's Test Kitchen


The team at America's Test Kitchen is serious about meat: buying, butchering, cooking and serving it. The 500 pages of The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book are a testament to this. The editors start with the basics: how to pick the right cut, how to shop and how to store, season and prepare meat for cooking. From there, the fun begins with 425 recipes organized by type (beef, pork, lamb and veal, poultry). There are classic dishes (beef stroganoff) and less typical entrées (tandoori lamb chops), as well as a definitive approach to the best roast chicken and a how-to on home-cured bacon.

For its print magazines (Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country) and TV shows, America's Test Kitchen builds recipes by trial and error, testing dozens of methods, tools and ingredients to establish the best approach. Here, the editors introduce each recipe with a narrative of how it was created and why it works. This scientific process offers a serious--but never inaccessible--study of meat. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: How to buy, store and (most importantly) cook meat, from the team at America's Test Kitchen.

America's Test Kitchen, $40, hardcover, 9781936493869

Flour + Water: Pasta

by Thomas McNaughton, Paolo Lucchesi


Thomas McNaughton's Flour + Water: Pasta is not for the faint of heart. This ambitious coffee-table book promoting McNaughton's San Francisco restaurant is geared toward experienced cooks. His recipes occasionally use tools that are not readily accessible for the average home cook, though he breaks down traditional methods into simpler steps and offers valuable tips on creating, cooking and storing pastas.

McNaughton explains the regional diversity of pasta, how each shape influences taste, the types of flour (such as zero-zero or semolina) used to create the dough and the concentrations of water and egg that flavor and strengthen it, as well as the condiments and essential ingredients that define classic Italian cooking. Recipes are categorized seasonally, and the intimate photographs have an old-world feel that wonderfully captures and accentuates the techniques behind each preparation. McNaughton draws from the bounty of Northern Californian ingredients to give his makeover of these Italian classics a modern twist. "Pasta is the canvas... to let what grows around you speak on the plate." --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

Discover: The art of homemade pasta from the executive chef of San Francisco's Flour + Water restaurant.

Ten Speed Press, $35, hardcover, 9781607744702

Wicked Deeds
by Heather Graham
ISBN-13: 9780778331063
Mira Books
09/19/2017


an exclusive interview with bestselling author Heather Graham
 

This novel, WICKED DEED, takes on the riddle of the death of Edgar Allan Poe, among other things. Why do you think his fate exerts such a pull on you?

“To this day, we can only speculate on what did happen to Poe. There are hints and clues, but no definitive answers. That is something I would want to know. He was discovered in a delirious state and never did become coherent. Many believe he was taken in a voting fraud. He was wearing clothing that wasn’t his own. Others believe that, even though the trip was to bring his deceased wife’s mom (his aunt) to Virginia to live with him and his new wife, the proposed new wife’s sons went after Poe. All speculation! If I could, I’d want to smack him, of course. And then not. I, as so many people today, have loved ones who have been addicts. I’ve seen the struggle, and what torture it can be. I would want to help him—and convince him that a genius such as himself should have guarded his health and been around to create more and more fantastic stories for readers—such as me!”

 Read the rest of the interview here.

 

ALSO FEATURED ON THE the big THRILL…

A CASUALTY OF WAR by CHARLES TODD: In the latest in Todd’s World War I nurse mystery series, an English captain’s claim that he was shot on the battlefield by his own relation is disbelieved by everyone but Bess Crawford, and she sets out to learn the truth of his injury, even when her persistent questions draw danger. Read more at The Big Thrill.

THE NAMES OF DEAD GIRLS by ERIC RICKSTAD: Best-selling author Rickstad delivers a story of detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test’s tracking a depraved killer through rural Vermont, one who killed a couple years ago and is now freed from prison and seems to be out to get their college-student daughter. Find out more here.

KEEP HER SAFE by SOPHIE HANNAH: In this domestic thriller, an English wife and mother desperate for time for herself checks into an Arizona resort, only to stumble across a girl who all of America thinks is dead in a famous true-crime scandal, but seeing her alive and with an older man causes chaos. Learn more at The Big Thrill.

THE NINJA’S ILLUSION by GIGI PANDIAN: In the fifth outing for spunky historian Jaya Jones, Jaya flies from her native San Francisco to Kyoto, Japan and comes across a master illusionist and a ninja whose murderous intentions in present-day Japan connect the deeds of a long-dead trader who was much more than he seemed. Visit The Big Thrill for more. 

BOOK OF JUDAS by LINDA STASI: When her infant son is placed in mortal danger, New York City reporter Alessandra Russo is forced to save him by tracking down the missing pages of the Gospel of Judas, a heretical manuscript unearthed in Egypt that says Judas was the beloved, not the betrayer, of Jesus. Read more here.

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