Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Classic Cookbooks: Adventures in Cooking with Health Foods

Adventures in Cooking with Health Foods
by Nancy Sutton
Pyramid, 1972

Food grown naturally and cooked with a gourmet's touch! That's the happy combination offered in this lively, luscious book.

Mrs. Sutton puts together nature's own whole grains and vegetables with the gourmet flavorings of wines, spices and herbs.

She shows in easy-to-follow recipes how to prepare unforgettable dishes - from macadamia nut cheese filling and beets in pomegranate sauce to rose petal sherbet and carob coconut Easter eggs.

If you want to start eating healthier, tastier meals, begin by reading this book - and go on to prove in your own kitchen that the natural way with food is the most delicious way.

Adventures in Cooking with Health Foods
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Bird Watching

Bird Watching
by Paula McCartney
Princeton Architectural Press, 2010

At first inspection, this handsomely bound and finely printed volume of bird portraits taken in the wild comes across as a personal birding journal, complete with hand-written observation notes on some three dozen passerine species, from the Northern Cardinal on the Oregon Coast to the Green-hooded Bandit in Minnesota.

Green-hooded Bandit? There is no such species, and the Northern Cardinal's range is nowhere near the Oregon Coast. And, looking more closely, there's something wrong with the birds in these photographs. They are too perfectly coifed, too perfectly arranged in the underbrush, and their legs are made of wires!

A sort of conceptual trompe l'oeil, this book imitates the birder's journal or the field guide in its elegant depictions of nature while slyly mocking their attempts at verisimilitude.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review: Nature Stories

Nature Stories by Jules Renard
The New York Review of Books, 2010
reviewed by Michael Hofferber

“You can see one there, lying down, stretched out like a lovely noodle” is Jules Renard's single-sentence portrait of a worm, one of about four dozen sketches included in his classic Nature Stories, newly translated from the French by Douglas Parmée.

An early 20th century novelist and playwright, Renard published the first edition of his Histoires naturelles in 1896. Subsequent editions were illustrated by the likes of Toulouse-Latrec and Pierre Bonnard, whose ink-brush images are included in this English edition.

Consisting of mostly short verse and prose poem celebrations of flora and fauna, the collection also includes a couple longer pieces on hunting and fishing, which are not complimentary. Renard deftly anthropomorphizes the plants and animals around him and clearly empathizes with their existences.

Like the protagonist in “Hunting for Pictures” who jumps out of bed in the morning and sets off into the field in pursuit of mental images, Renard's stories are savored memories committed to words. "He leaves his weapons at home and will be happy just opening his eyes; they'll be nets to capture pictures: the pictures will enjoy being captured."

When he returns home, his head is full of pictures. He carefully counts and organizes them, like a collector of stamps or coins.

"Each one of them reminds him of another one and new pictures come crowding in, all gleaming, to join them, like partridges which, pursued and separated all day, in the evening, no longer in danger, greet each other and sing.”

The Organic Farmers Business Handbook

True Sustainability

The information that follows draws on decades of personal farming
experience and my thirst for smart and appropriate business tactics...

Contrary to what most people believe, a good living can be made on an organic farm, and what's required is farming smarter, not harder.

(Author Richard Wiswall has been operating an organic farm in Vermont for
over 25 years.)

The Organic Farmers Business Handbook
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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Organic Farmers Business Handbook

True Sustainability

"The information that follows draws on decades of personal farming experience and my thirst for smart and appropriate business tactics... Contrary to what most people believe, a good living can be made on an organic farm, and what's required is farming smarter, not harder."

Author Richard Wiswall has been operating an organic farm in Vermont for over 25 years.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Donut Book

The Donut Book
by Sally Levitt Steinberg
Storey Publishing, 2004

The author of this book of donut history, trivia, and recipes -- Sally Levit Steinberg -- is the granddaughter of the man who invented the first donut-making machine. Dubbed as "The Donut Princess," Steinberg is the self-styled leading historian and promoter of the ring-shaped, deep-fried pastry.

"Donuts have been my corner of American life ever since I can remember," she writes. "Donuts were around me all the time, beautiful ones in pink jackets or with red and silver sprinkles... Why does the donut invite, tickle, please, suggest? What is this ring I'm ruining by biting? Why does a monk meditate on it? The donut we have in hand we take for granted, until one day we notice. Noticing is what we are here for."

Continued at... Review: The Donut Book

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sea Sick

Sea Sick
The Global Ocean in Crisis
by Alanna Mitchell
McClelland & Stewart, 2010

Reporting from nine different oceanic locations around the globe, environmental reporter Alanna Mitchell investigates the rapidly declining health of the most important biome on Earth, the Ocean.

"The issue is that all over the world, ocean scientists, in groups of specialists who rarely put their information together, are finding that global climate change and other human actions are beginning to have a measurable effect on the ocean. The vital signs of this critical medium of life are showing clear signs of distress," she explains.

Mitchell makes personal visits to some of the most ailing seas and shorelines on the globe, witnesses wide-ranging effects of human avarice and irresponsibility, and talks to dozens of concerned scientists about their diagnoses and possible remedies.

Continued at...
Review: Sea Sick
Sea Sick
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A History of the Tomato in Italy
by David Gentilcore
Columbia University Press, 2010

From its introduction from the New World in the mid-sixteenth century to its prominence in Italian cuisine 300 years later, the tomato as a culinary staple in southern Europe has long and viny history. This book recounts how changes in social values, beliefs and economic condition allowed the fruit to become accepted and eventually dominate Italian cookery.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Wishes

Nostalgic Christmas Fireplace

For modern suburban dwellings that did not come with the nostalgia of built-in fireplaces, cardboard replicas were available to provide the suitable hearthside touch. The fake fireplace made a handy place to hang stockings and provided a mantel to decorate, and it usually even came with a bulb and tinfoil reflector to give the impression of a flickering fire. But unlike the real thing, rather than having to keep it clean, when Christmas was over, it could be folded flat into its storage carton and packed away in the attic or garage for the next eleven months.

from Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats
by Tim Hollis

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eggs and Health Promotion

Eggs and Health Promotion
edited by Ronald R. Watson
Iowa State Press, 2002.

Recent research on eggs and their nutritional properties is beginning to correct decades of damning accusations by scientists and the popular media. Maligned as a cause of high serum cholesterol and heart disease, egg consumption has been effectively discouraged.

The studies and reports collected in this volume not only call into question the charges against eggs, but even suggest that substantial dietary benefits have been overlooked. H.L. "Sam" Queen of the Health Realities Institute in Colorado even hypothesizes a "magic bullet" effect for eggs in some people, whereby eating whole eggs can prevent heart disease and, perhaps, even reverse its damage.

"It seems logical, given the evidence, that whole eggs offer the perfect magic bullet not only for unclogging arteries and handling the infgections that often associate with arterial lesions but also for removing heavy metals from the brain and nervous system, for reducing the risk for Alzheimer's disease, and for reducing smooth muscle spasms in people with angina and high blood pressure," Queen explains.

The 18 papers in this book respond to the myths and misconceptions about eggs and highlight new evidence that for the majority of people, eggs have little effect on heart disease one way or another. Most are focused on the role cholesterol, oxidized lipids and fats in the health of egg consumers.

Other articles suggest new ways of looking at and utilizing eggs, such as the use of "designer eggs" to deliver special nutrients and immune products to people through egg consumption by altering the feed given to laying hens.

"Consumers have begun to take control of their own health," note Hoon H. Sunwoo and Jeone S. Sim of Dr. Sim's Canadian Designer Eggs in 'Designer Eggs: Nutritional and Functional Significance.'

"They are driving the market for a new category of food with potential health benefits well beyond those traditionally recognized."

For those interested in eggs as producers or as consumers, this book provides the resources and the scientific findings to effectively respond to questions about both the benefits and the problems with eggs as a food source.