A flurry of cookbook requests in the last 48 hours—lots of you, as it turned out, want the same three books.
Joy of Mixology topped the list, but Anthony was first in line. Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights was a close second—that one’s going to Joan. And Outstanding in the Field, which many of you asked for, will be landing on Jan’s doorstep very soon.
There are wonderful books left, so take a look and see if any of them tickle your fancy. Vanilla and The Spice Route are duplicate copies—otherwise I’d never part with them. Fashionistas will enjoy the American Fashion Cookbook--those designers definitely know their way around the kitchen. And surely one of you would like The Meaning of Tea, and the great DVD that comes with it.
The rules: Pick two books you’d like from the following list and email me at spicelinesatgmaildotcom. Let me know your first and second choices, and be sure to include your name and full mailing address. It’s first come, first served, but I’ll try to send you one of the books you’ve requested. (U.S. readers only, please. Even media mail costs are off the charts.
Here’s the short list--whoops, The Spice Route and Vanilla are gone!
Madeleine Cooks: A Wonderful Teacher Reveals the Secrets of Cooking Great Food Every Day, Madeline Kamman. One hundred forty-two flavorful recipes from Kamman’s public TV show, including Steamed Mussels with Saffron and Cognac Sauce and Ginger Pecan Pound Cake. Go here to read an appreciation of the much-loved cooking instructor.
American Fashion Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes of Favorite Designers, forward by Martha Stewart. Do not miss Gela Nash Taylor’s (Juicy Couture) Psychotic Exploding Chestnut Stuffing: “[Roasting the chestnuts] should take about 15-20 minutes which is just enough time to reapply makeup, check that Blackberry and make sure your table setting looks divine.” More la-la from Tory Burch (Andalusian Gazpacho), Cynthia Rowley (Double Your Pleasure Truffle Mac and Cheese) and the late Bill Blass, whose famous meatloaf recipe is revealed.
Essential Flavors: The Simple Art of Cooking with Infused Oils, Flavored Vinegars, Essences and Elixirs, Leslie Brenner and Katharine Kinsolving. If you’ve ever wanted to stock your pantry with yummy homemade flavorings like Rosemary Oil and Pink Tarragon Vinegar, this book’s for you. Recipes include Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Thyme Oil, Flank Steak Marinated in Plum Vinegar and Mint-Infused Blackberry Ice.
The Sake Handbook, John Gauntner. “Reviews of over 100 sake brands, detailed explanations of the brewing process and tips on selecting and tasting sake.” Here’s the author on Chiyo no Sono, a sake from Kumamoto Prefecture: “…a deliciously typical example of a sake with a Kyushu feel. Solid, stable and earthy….Slight warming brings out a special charm. The fragrance, though delicate, has a bit of chocolate in it. “ In the back there’s a listing of sake pubs and retailers in Japan and the U.S.
The Perfect Cup: A Coffee Lovers Guide to Buying, Brewing and Tasting, Timothy James Castle. The coffee world has moved on since this book was written—the suppliers chapter is out of date, for instance—but the 10 Keys to Perfect Coffee will still give you a great cup. Recipes include a spicy Mole Sauce with Mexican Chocolate and Coffee (would pair well with grilled pork tenderloins) and Coffee Baked Beans with fresh ginger, molasses and balsamic vinegar.
Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course, Jancis Robinson. A great beginner’s book by the internationally acclaimed British writer and wine critic. If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between a vertical and horizontal tasting, or even how to go about tasting wine, Robinson is your woman. (i.e. Tasting exercises include putting a clothes peg on your nose and seeing whether you can tell the difference between black coffee and black tea.) Informative chapters on grape varieties and wines produced in over two dozen countries.
And a novel:
Chef, Jaspreet Singh. A terminally ill Army cook returns to the Kashmiri military camp where he first learned to cook, unleashing a flood of memories. Here he recalls a lesson with his irascible mentor, Chef Kichen: “We were preparing mutton yakni. Dipping fingers in the marinade. The air in the room carried the scent of star anise. Turn the flame on high, he said. Now, he said. One by one I dropped the half-brown, half-crimson pieces of meat into the degchi. Stir, he said. The mutton must never stick to the bottom. Chef, when do I add yoghurt? Not now, he said and explained the difference between precision and estimation. Then he wiped his hands on my apron.” Shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book. Mark Kurlansky called the novel “transporting.”
And a box of inspiration:
Gathered 365 Truths: An attractive wooden box of 365 deckle-edged cards, each with a quote (usually paraphrased) meant to inspire. The idea is to draw one at random every day. (Stash used cards at the back of the box.) Example: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. Henry David Thoreau. Nice gift for the right person.