Monday, January 25, 2010
I picked up two cookbooks, "roast figs sugar snow: winter food to warm the soul" by Diana Henry, and "outstanding in the field: a farm to table cookbook" by Jim Denevan. (Apparently the trend in cookbooks is all lowercase titles) The title of the first was irresistable at this time of year. It is a visual treat, full of wintry tableaus and food photos that warm you with a glance. Most importantly, the recipes look fantastic-mostly simple comfort food gathered from a wide number of "cold" countries and cultures. The author has divided the book into chapters based on classic winter ingredients. I have yet to try any out, but have been compiling a list as a peruse.
If you have not yet heard of Jim Denevan and his Outstanding in the Field organization, you need to check him out. His innovative "restaurant" hosts dinner parties in fields, vineyards and gardens across the country that feature local fare and seasonally inspired dishes. This cookbook is a compilation of many of the recipes used during these events. Ok, honestly, I have barely glanced at this one yet, but I'm fairly confident that it will provide a lot of recipes that will become spring and summer staples at our house.
Two pie books caught my eye at the library. The first, "pie, pie, pie: easy homemade favorites" by John Phillip Carrol, (yet another lowercase title) is the source for that fabulous chess pie I made a couple of weeks ago. I love the layout of this book-simple and straightforward with mouthwatering photos. There is not a lot of storytelling or blathering on about things- just photo, recipe, move on to the next one. Love it. I'll order a copy to have on hand for easy reference.
The other, "Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, with Pie" by Patty Pinner is the polar opposite. Every recipe is precluded by a lovely story about the woman in the author's life that made this pie. It weaves the art of pie making into the life and character of each woman. I have already bookmarked a couple of recipes to try on upcoming Pie Days. I will also order a copy of this book to feed my love of my pie, it's history and the women who make it.
My sights are set on spring already, and I am dreaming of gardening. This year, I plan to have a vegetable garden again, and am trying to come up creative ways to pack a lot into my small sunny space and prevent our demon squirrels from destroying it. "Grow Vegetables" by Alan Buckingham has a lot of good tips for growing vegetables in small spaces, and pages of vegetables, how to grow and possible issues with each one. However, no advice on the demon squirrels. Hmmmpphhh.
"The Seasons on Henry's Farm" by Terra Brockman is a year long memoir of life on her brother's midwestern sustainable and organic farm. I am entranced by this book. The combination of her expert writing and the remarkable detail about growing sustainably have me hooked. I'm only on week 7 of 52, but am reading and savoring as slowly as I can, because I already don't want it to end.
Posted by Christine Hoffman at 10:50 AM