Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Let the Meatballs Rest

This is a collection of 100 brief essays discussing specific foodstuffs, their histories and how they have helped shape the human societies that include them in their diets.

Potatoes, for instance, were introduced to Europe in the 16th century but their bland flavor and "subterranean nature" made them unappealing. Only when other crops had failed and starvation loomed did farmers turn to widescale production of the easy-to-grow spuds.

Garlic, likewise, was once considered fit only for peasants. Eating such strong and foul-smelling food was a damning mark of poverty in the 10th century.

And eggplant, first brought to Europe by Arabs, was long associated with "the lower class and Jews." Yet the peasant cuisine that emerged from their use would later be co-opted by the upper classes.

And Other Stories About Food and Culture
by Massimo Montanari
Columbia University Press, 2012
Cover Art: Let the Meatballs Rest
Reviews Archive
Submit a Book for Review

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eating Out with Let the Meatballs Rest

In his chapter, "The Beautiful and the Good," Montanari argues that beauty and beautiful food shouldn't be the privilege of the few.

"It is a primary need of the individual and of society. Beauty is natural, but it has to be cultivated and is therefore also culture. Beauty makes things more acceptable, more pleasing, more desirable. 
"The ancient Greeks thought that the body and the spirit were fundamentally the same and that a truly beautiful man could not be other that truly good... And so it is for food. To be be really good it has to be really beautiful. Not only the nch food of grand occasions, but even humble, ordinary, daily food. Beauty is needed every day."
~ Massimo Montanapi from "Let The Meatballs Rest"

Book Store
Book Search
Out of the Past

Review: Fish Grilled and Smoked

"I have discovered what I believe to be an exciting new fuel for smoking fish, a fuel easily found in any farm supply store, hardware store, and even supermarket," writes outdoorsman and author John Manikowski. "It's inexpensive too. Corn. Dried whole corn kernels."

In the pages of this how-to guide and recipe book, Manikowski reveals the secret of his “soft smoke” method using dried corn that can make a fish smoker out of almost any grill.

Manikowski includes step-by-step illustrated directions for building three separate smokers: a streamside smoker, a home smoker, and a large backyard smokehouse.

He discusses the best species of fish to smoke—bluefish, yellowtail, whitefish, herring, and lake trout -- and provides recipes for curing solutions and special rubs.

There's more ways to cook a fish than smoking it, of course, and Manikowski covers most of the basics, from directions on cleaning fish, techniques for boning and scaling, and advice on wine pairings.

The 150 recipes in the book include main dish meals like Striped Bass with Cattail Shoots and Morels, Grilled Butterflied Trout, and Grilled Small-mouth Bass Wrapped in Corn Husks.There are also recipes for side dishes using wild mushrooms, grilled eggplants and tomatoes, as well as an assortment of condiments, sauces, and desserts.

150 Recipes for Cooking Rich, Flavorful Fish on the Backyard Grill, Streamside, or in a Home Smoker
by John Manikowski

Recipe Excerpt: Salmon and Corn Chowder
How To Do It Books
Here's How To...
Submit a Book for Review

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: Animal Origami

True magic lies in transforming an angular piece of ordinary paper into a life-like representation of a living animal. Origami master Joost Langeveld offers this boxed set of challenging exercises for nimble paper artists.

Langeveld's origami instruction book explains how to fold 20 different animals from the turtles to tigers, and from elephants to whales. There are folded creatures from the African plain and hand-crafted critters from the ocean deep.

Continued in ... Animal Origami

by Joost Langeveld
Thunder Bay Press, 2011

How To Do It Books
Here's How To...
Guidebooks and How-to Titles
Submit a Book for Review

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: Taylor's Encylopedia of Garden Plants

Unlike other encyclopedias that become dated due to political, social and scientific changes, the Taylor's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is sure to stand the test of time as probably the most complete and authoritative guide to ornamental flowers, trees and shrubs in North American gardens. The information in this text will be as accurate and as valuable at the end of this century as it is today. Its pages will yellow and its cover will wear out before there is much change in the nature of the 1,000 species covered here.

Continued in ... The Book Stall

edited by Frances Tenenbaum  
Houghton Mifflin, 2003
Cover Art: Taylor's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants
Farm and Garden Books
Growing Guides
Seed, Plant and Nursery Catalogs
Submit a Book for Review

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Legends

The Legends series of books by the magazine Western Horseman, now numbering five volumes, collects biographical sketches of horses acclaimed for their speed, formation, or sire or production record by the American Quarter Horse Association.

Continued in ... Legends

Outstanding Quarter Horse Stallions and Mares
edited by Pat Close 
Western Horseman Magazine, 2001-2010
The Corral
Animal Husbandry Books
Pet Supplies
Animal Magazines
Artwork: Legends, Volume 8

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: Tractors of the World

Tractors come in all different shapes and sizes, and Tractors of the World covers the field from the early steam-driven monsters to the traditional "two large, two small" wheel configuration; the Row Crop models with two small front wheels placed close together and two large rear wheels; and finally to the ultimate modern, four-wheel-drive, multi-geared, mega-beasts with GPS devices and on-board computers.

by Mirco de Cet
Arctrus Publishing, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Christmas in the Old West

The "Old West" in this book is the 19th century, as it was lived in the Western states and territories of the rapidly expanding United States. It was a time of explorers and trailblazers, cowboys and cavalry, prospectors and outlaws, settlers and homesteaders.

Christmas in the Old West is a collection of heart-warming tales, memories, meals, news accounts, pictures and memorabilia of a time before television and electric lights and gas stoves.

Continued in ... Christmas in the Old West

Christmas in the Old West
A Historical Scrapbook
by Sam Travers
Mountain Press, 2003

Artwork: Christmas for the Men on the Trail by Charles M. Russell
Out of the Past
Food and Drink Magazines
Submit a Book for Review

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Home Cheese Making

The notable primer on making cheese at home, Cheesemaking Made Easy, was revised and updated as Home Cheese Making with more recipes, profiles of cheesemakers, and sources for supplies and equipment.

Home cheesemaking can be a fun hobby or educational activity, or it can be a lucrative sideline for farmers market sales or even a steady business. While this book is intended for beginners, it includes recipes and instructions for taking the art to a commercial level.

Continued in ... Here's How To Make Cheese
by Ricki Carroll
Storey Publishing, 2002.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Nature Pages Review: Hunter's Log

The essence of autumn on the northern plains of America, and North Dakota in particular, is bagged and brought home in this collection of hunting poetry.

In a preface to his work, the poet explains that hunting has taught him accuracy of observation and, as a writer, accuracy of expression. Both skills are effectively employed in poems like "Missouri Breaks":

A blooded dog quarters the feral rye,
and my body's long quarrel with my mind
is silenced by a landscape and a sky
legible as a Bible for the blind.

Inspired by Ortega y Gassett's "Meditations on Hunting," gifted to him by his father, Timothy Murphy feels "the killing of the game is a ritual preparation for our own mortality." In "The Blind," the poet describes an outing with an aging father:

By some ancestral code
fathers and sons don't break,
we each carry a load
of which we cannot speak.

Here we commit our dead
to the unyielding land
where broken windmills creak
and stricken ganders cry.

Father, the dog, and I
are learning how to die
with our feet stuck in the muck
and our eyes trained on the sky.

Continued in ... The Nature Pages

by Timothy Murphy
The Dakota Institute, 2011.

The Nature Pages
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
Science Writing
Submit a Book for Review

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: Specialty Cut Flowers

At a time when farmers struggle to make a profit from crops of corn and potatoes and soybeans it rankles the mind to learn of folks who buy spotted knapweed and Johnson grass as ornamentals, and of gatherers and growers who make money off such weeds. The fresh and dried cut flower business is blossoming in American but its not coming up roses.

Florists whose cut flower arrangements were predominantly roses, carnations or mums a dozen years ago are now experimenting with and creating a steady market for asters and bellflowers, coneflowers and dogwoods, lobelias and statice. Even stem cuttings of ornamental onions, sage and thistles are growing with value.

The Production of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Woody Plants for Fresh and Dried Cut Flowers 
by Allan M. Armitage and Judy M. Laushman 
Timber Press, 2003

More about this title in The Book Stall
Farm and Garden Books
Guidebooks and How-To Titles
Book Store
Submit a Book for Review

Reading the History: American Windmills

From the earliest days of European settlement, Americans have cherished the sight of a windmill—an instantly recognizable feature of the American landscape. Boasting nearly two hundred striking images,
this book is the first devoted to photographs illustrating historic wind machines throughout North America.

T. Lindsay Baker, an expert historian on windmills, has written about wind-power history for twenty-five years. His album contains historic images captured by professional windmiller B. H. “Tex” Burdick and from corporate archives of windmill manufacturers. It depicts windmills in a wide range of settings and uses—not only on ranches and farms but also alongside railroads, in industry, and even in urban areas.

The photos chosen for this book illustrate windmill manufacture, distribution, and use in all regions of the United States, with an emphasis on the Great Plains.

An Album of Historic Photographs
by T. Lindsay Baker
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012
Wind Energy
History and American West Titles
Guidebooks and How-to Titles
Farm and Garden Books

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: Organic Gardener's Companion

Lifelong gardener Jane Shellenberger brings us this comprehensive, hands-on guide to growing organic produce in the Rocky Mountain and western region, including Colorado, parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and eastern Oregon.

The text covers soil cultivation, plant selection, water, microclimates, and other concerns specific to semiarid and high-altitude climates.

Growing Vegetables in the West
by Jane Shellenberger
Fulcrum, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Now exploring Tales of a River Rat

Kenny Salwey is the last of a breed of men whose lifestyle has all but disappeared in this fast-paced, high-tech digital world. For thirty years, this weathered woodsman eked out a living on the Mississippi River, running a trapline, hiring out as a river guide, digging and selling roots and herbs, and eating the food he hunted and fished.

In Tales of a River Rat,  Salwey informs and entertains readers as he weaves his life story on the Mississippi River.

Adventures Along the Wild Mississippi
by Kenny Salwey
Fulcrum, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: The Dreaded Broccoli Cookbook

Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, broccoli is obviously a nutritious vegetable. Rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, broccoli certainly deserves a prominent place in any diet.

Barbara and Tamar Haspel, a mother-daughter team of food writers, became very interested in broccoli and other healthful foods after their husband-father suffered a heart attack and had to make some radical changes in his diet. Determined to find ways of making low-fat meals full of flavor, they experimented with techniques and ingredients, documenting their recipes and ideas in a light-hearted and fact-filled newsletter called "Dreaded Broccoli."

The title of this book, and the newsletter, comes from a recurring joke that Barbara and her husband shared about vegetables served in restaurants. "The broccoli of the title isn't the actual broccoli of our old marital joke," Barbara explains. "It's the stuff that's good for you, that you know you should be eating, and that you haven't a clue how to get into your diet. It's all those vegetables and whole grains you keep hearing about."

A Good-Natured Guide to Healthful
Eating with 100 Recipes
by Barbara and Tamar Haspel
Scribner, 1999
continued in The Book Stall
Outrider Books

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: Little Old Lady Recipes

This is a collection of simple recipes culled from writer and comedian Meg Favrea's friends and neighbors as well as old out-of-print cookbooks. All are the nostalgic favorites of mothers and grandmothers who prepared daily meals for families and special dishes for church potlucks.

A nostalgic return to the kitchen of June Cleaver with casseroles, pot roasts, canned goods and comfort foods, the book is illustrated with wonderful portraits of ladies who may or may not have contributed recipes (none are identified) and spiced with quotes like: "Club soda is a wonderful thing. You can use it to remove any stain, or mix it with gin and drink until you don't care about the stain anymore" by 72-year-old Chastity, a deli clerk.

Comfort Food and Kitchen Table Wisdom
by Meg Favreau
Quirk Books, 2011
continued in The Book Stall
Book Store

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Guides: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Facebook Marketing

Millions of people use Facebook every day, and many of them could be your future customers. Facebook makes it easy for you to expand your customer base and nurture existing relationships with such tools as Marketplace, Places, and Deals. This book shows you how.

Covers all aspects including Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Places, and Facebook Deals.

by John Wayne Zimmerman
ALPHA, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs

Rich attributes including vibrant color, fragrance, and sheer variety of form make flowering shrubs the most rewarding of garden plants, but this vast group with its scores of tempting plants — including abutilons,camellias, viburnums, and witch hazels — requires careful navigation.

Leading expert on woody plants Jim Gardiner has distilled several decades of knowledge and experience into The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs, an incomparable pictorial reference of hardy shrubs that excel in temperate-zone gardens.

by James M. Gardiner
Timber Press, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: Organic Meat Production and Processing

Consumers purchase organic meats for what they perceive as superior taste, better nutritional value, long-term health benefits, or enhanced product freshness. Many consumers also believe organic meat is safer than conventional, perhaps containing lesser amounts of pesticides or foodborne human pathogens. Organic livestock farming, which is reputed to be environmentally friendly and sustains animals in good health resulting in high quality products, has a defined standard with a greater attention to animal welfare and requiring at least 80 percent of feed grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. The higher guarantee of the absence of residue is certain, but the effect of organic farming on qualitative characteristics of the products is unknown. Substantial growth in organic food sales of all categories has occurred in recent years and certified organic food production has evolved into a highly regulated industry in the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries.

Organic Meat Production and Processing examines in detail the challenges of production, processing and food safety of organic meat.

edited by Steven C. Ricke, et al.
Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review: The Book of Draft Horses

As the name implies, "draft horses" are renowned for their size, strength and proficiency as beasts of burden - pulling wagons, plowing fields, hauling cargo. But the ancestors of today's Clydesdales, Percherons, Belgians were the expensive possessions of medieval royalty. They were more likely to be found in festivals and battles ridden by knights in armor than working on a farm.

It wasn't until the 1800s that the draught horse or dray horse found its calling in the fields, and the career was short-lived. The advent of trucks and tractors driven by internal compustion engines brought an end to the age of horsepower.

As freelance writer Donna Campbell Smith illustrates in this book,  the advent of the engine didn't mean an end to the heavy horse. They are still being used in many parts of the country for hauling and plowing, as well as for pleasure driving and county fair pulling contests.

The Gentle Giants That Built the World
by Donna Campbell Smith 
Lyons Press, 2007
More about this title in The Book Stall

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners

From Abelia, those ornamental shrubs named after Dr.Clarke Abel (1780-1826), to the Zygopetalum of the orchid family, this thick reference provides the etymology of 6,000 botanical names. These are cross-referenced with about 3,000 vernacular plant names to provide a detailed guide to garden nomenclature.

The author, the late William T. Stearn, was a botanical scholar who served as a botanist at London's Natural History Museum.

This work, now reprinted in trade paperback, began as a revision of the late A. W. Smith's "A Gardener's Book of Plant Names" (1963). Originally published in 1972, it was greatly amended and expanded on 20 years before it appeared as "Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners" in 1992.

A Handbook on the Origin and Meaning of the Botanical Names of some Cultivated Plants 
by William T. Stearn
Timber Press, 2002 
More about this title in The Book Stall

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Mountainman Crafts and Skills

Ever wondered what it was like to be a mountain man of the 19th century? Ever been tempted to test yourself in the wilderness, surviving by your wits?

Here's a helpful how-to guide for anyone interested in survival skills, camping out without electricity, or impressing friends at the next mountain man rendezvous.

Author and illustrator David Montgomery has compiled a manual for making the tools, clothing, traps and meals of the mountain men who roamed the Rocky Mountains nearly two centuries ago.

He offers patterns and step-by-step instructions for tanning hides, making buckskin shirts and leggings, building a rifle, constructing a tipi, sculpting a snow cave and much more.

Mountainman Crafts and Skills
A Fully lIlustrated Guide to Wilderness Living and Survival
by David R. Montgomery
Lyons Press, 2000

More about this title in The Book Stall

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Guides: Distilling Fruit Brandy

This comprehensive, technical guide offers the curious home distiller pretty much everything there is to know about distilling fruit brandies.

Raw materials, fermentation, mashing, alcohol determination, clarifying and filtering, and storage are all presented in great detail through text, diagrams, and photos.

Each and every aspect of distilling is presented, including timing, yields, detecting distillation errors, and more.

by Josef Pischl
Schiffer Publishing, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Living with Chickens

Not everyone was meant to live with chickens. They can be noisy, messy and cantankerous creatures. They peck, they scratch and they move with a herky-jerky motion that is disturbingly reptilian.

But if you live in the country and have some space and time to devote them, chickens are an easy-entry, low-maintenance livestock option for small farmers, homesteaders and even backyard gardeners.

Living with Chickens: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Backyard Flock 
by Jay Rossier
Lyons Press, 2004
More about this title in The Book Stall

Review: The Farmer's Market Guide

"This is a cookbook for people who are standing in the farmer's market wondering what to do with all this beautiful produce," writes Jennifer Loustau in the introduction to her collection of recipes and farm fresh ingredients.

The opening section of the book is an alphabetical guide to herbs and vegetables commonly available in North American farmers markets, from amaranth to zucchini, with brief descriptions and suggested preparation methods. An index to recipes for each plant follows its description.

The recipes follow a short chapter on Cooking Methods, from carmelizing and braising to steaming and boiling. Each recipe is pretty basic, with few ingredients and simple instructions. Most are complemented with color photographs.

With Identification Guide and Recipes
by Jennifer Loustau
Schiffer Publishing, 2012
More about this title in The Book Stall

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Splendid Soups

Originally published in 1993, this updated version of James Peterson's encyclopedic exploration of bisques, consommes, stocks and purees is even thicker and more impressive than the original.

In 10 chapters, Peterson surveys the full range of soup-making, from carefully crafted consommes to rough and hearty stews. Full histories of soups and their ingredients are included along with technical information, tips, and serving suggestions.

"No family of dishes surpasses the versatility of soup," Peterson states prior to proving his point with hundreds of recipes utilizing nearly every conceivable ingredient.

by James Peterson 
John Wiley & Sons, 2001
More about this title in The Book Stall

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fear of Food Experts

During the course of writing this book, I have often been asked what lessons I personally draw from it. Well, for me the history of expert advice on diet and health inevitably brings to mind the old saying, "This too shall pass." The massive reversals in expert opinions described in this book provide more than enough support for this skepticism. Indeed, the hubris of experts confidently telling us what to eat has often been well-nigh extraordinary. In 1921, for example, the consensus among the nation’s nutritional scientists was that they knew 90% of what there was to know about food and health.  Yet just a few years earlier, before the discovery of vitamins, they had routinely condemned the poor for wasting their money on fresh fruits and vegetables, which were said to be composed of little more than water, with only minimal amounts of the protein, fats, and carbohydrates that were essential to life.
~ Harvey A. Levenstein
from "Fear of Food"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: The County Fair Cookbook

At the Calcasieu-Cameron Fair in Sulphur, Louisiana, they eat catfish courtbouillon.
Barbecued chicken is a favorite dish at the Rockingham County Fair in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
At the Twin Falls County Fair in southern Idaho mouths water in anticipation for Tater Pigs.
"Each county fair is unique, a community celebration with its own distinct local essence," write authors Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy, Jr., in the introduction to "The County Fair Cookbook."
While the fast food restaurant menus and Interstate highways may look the same across the country, the food items found in the most popular county fair food booths are refreshingly indigenous.
There's Yankee Johnnycake at the Plymouth State Fair in New Hampshire, for instance, and Ruritan Chicken at the Canfield Fair in Ohio. At the Kent County Fair in Maryland they sell crab cakes and at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, Wash., the Snoqualmie Tribe's smoke-barbecued salmon is served in a cedar longhouse.
Stallworth and Kennedy collected more than 200 "down-home" recipes from food booths, exhibit barns and blue ribbon prize-winners across the country and compiled them in their cookbook along with descriptions of nearly 100 county fairs.

by Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy
Hyperion Books, 1996
continued in The Book Stall

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reading the History: The Kentucky Derby

Each year on the first Saturday in May, the world turns its attention to the twin spires of Churchill Downs for the high-stakes excitement of the "greatest two minutes in sports," the Kentucky Derby. No American sporting event can claim the history, tradition, or pageantry that the Kentucky Derby holds. For more than 130 years, spectators have been fascinated by the magnificent horses that run the Louisville track. Thoroughbreds such as Secretariat and Barbaro have earned instant international fame, along with jockeys such as Isaac Murphy, Ron Turcotte, and Calvin Borel.

The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event calls this great tradition to post and illuminates its history and culture.

How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event
by James C. Nicholson
The University Press of Kentucky, 2012

New Guides: Llewellyn's 2013 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac

Make every day magical with a spell from Llewellyn’s Witches’ Spell-A-Day Almanac. Spellcasters of all levels can enhance their daily life with these easy bewitchments, recipes, rituals, and meditations.

Susan Pesznecker, Tess Whitehurst, and other experienced magic practitioners offer simple spells for every occasion that require minimal supplies.

For convenience, the 365 spells are cross-referenced by purpose: love, health, money, protection, home and garden, travel, and communication.

Holidays & Lore
by Llewellyn
Llewellyn Publications, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Nature Pages: The Natural Navigator

British expeditionist Tristan Gooley has sailed across oceans, flown  between continents, and climbed many of the world's tallest mountains using the natural navigation skills described in this book.

While humans have been making their way from place to place for a millenia, there is no record of how the earliest travelers navigated, or how often they got lost. Accounts of navigation methods don't show up in anyone's literature until about a thousand years ago.

Gooley's obsession with the art of navigation began as an empowered 10-year-old sailing a dinghy. "I had garnered the skills to go wherever I wanted. Not where my teachers told me to go, not where my parents wanted me to go, but where I wanted to go."

This book explains how to find your way without GPS or even compasses, but with shadows, stars, tides, plants, clouds, the moon, the sun and wild animals. Also known as ‘wayfinding,’ natural navigation techniques can be used on land, sea or in mid-air.

The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide
by Tristan Gooley
Linden Publishing, 2012 
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
The Nature Pages
Science Writing
Guidebooks and How-to Titles

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Guides: Llewellyn's 2013 Herbal Almanac

Spice up your favorite dishes with French tarragon. Chase away stress with delicious soup. There are hundreds of ways to benefit from nature’s most versatile plants inside Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac.

This treasury of innovative herbal ideas spans five categories: gardening, cooking, crafts, health/ beauty, and myth/lore.

Learn about endangered herbs, hyssop, and the apple in Nordic ritual. Discover how to whip up antioxidant-rich purple passion parfait, use herbs in energetic healing, relieve dry skin with a borage face pack, treat your feet to a wormwood bath, turn your garden into a wildlife paradise with minimal effort and cost, and much more.

Herbs for Growing & Gathering, Cooking & Crafts, Health & Beauty, History,
Myth & Lore
by Llewellyn
Llewellyn Publications, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: A Montana Table

Montana's famed resort, Chico Hot Springs, is celebrated in this volume with 100 of the most popular recipes from its well respected kitchen . Following a brief history of Chico, the book presents recipes from caramel rolls at breakfast to a Beef Wellington dinner and a Flaming Orange dessert. Special dinners are profiled and the sauces, stocks and dressings used by the chefs are detailed.

Located in Paradise Valley, just north of Yellowstone National Park, Chico Hot Springs is a remote resort most noted for its natural hot water pools. Only in the last 15 years or so has Chico's restaurant, now upscale with a classic and regional menu, begun to rival the popularity of its baths.

Recipes from Chico Hot Springs Resort 
by Seabring Davis 
Globe Pequot Press, 2003

continued in The Book Stall

Outrider Books
Outrider Reading Group
Book Store

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review ~ Forks Over Knives

This book is a companion to the documentary "Forks Over Knives," which makes the claim that the most serious diseases of our time - cancer, diabetes, angina - can be controlled or prevented by not eating animal-based and processed foods. 

Forks Over Knives, and the recipes in this book, promote a plant-based diet using whole foods. The diet is a life-long commitment to minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tubers, and legumes. Animal-based foods such as meat (including poultry and fish), dairy, and eggs are excluded or minimized along with refined foods such as bleached flour, refined sugar, and most oils.

The documentary and the diet are based on the research of two Drs. T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, who believe a diet of plant-based food and grains can both prevent and reverse heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and various cancers. Both doctors contribute to this book along with a half dozen other medical professionals. The editor, Gene Stone, authored The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick.

The Plant-Based Way to Health
by Gene Stone
The Experiment, 2011
More about this title in The Book Stall

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nature Pages: The Mountain and the Fathers

The Mountain and The Fathers explores the life of boys and men in the
unforgiving, harsh world north of the Bull Mountains of eastern Montana in
a drought afflicted area called the Big Dry, a land that chews up old and
young alike.

Joe Wilkins was born into this world, raised by a young mother and elderly
grandfather following the untimely death of his father. That early loss
stretches out across the Big Dry, and Wilkins uses his own story and those
of the young boys and men growing up around him to examine the violence,
confusion, and rural poverty found in this distinctly American landscape.

Growing Up on The Big Dry
by Joe Wilkins
Counterpoint, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Now Cooking with The Farmer's Market Guide

Eat fresh, seasonal, and locally-grown produce. That is what a farmers market encourages you to do and so does this new cookbook. With 251 color images, it is filled with lots of traditional, time-tested, and delicious recipes for everything from corn and brussels sprouts to tomatoes and rutabaga.

Small and portable, you can take this book to the market, identify the item by photograph, read a brief description, and see at a glance the most common ways for preparing the vegetable.

With Identification Guide and Recipes
by Jennifer Loustau
Schiffer Publishing, 2012

Outrider Books
Outrider Reading Group
Book Store

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Now exploring Schelling's Game Theory

Now reading with the Outrider Reading Group ~
Schelling's Game Theory: How to Make Decisions by Robert Dodge

Thomas Schelling, who wrote the foreword for this book, won the Nobel Prize in economics for "having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis." This came after he had taught a course in game theory and rational choice to advanced students and government officials for 45 years.

In this book, Robert Dodge provides in language for a broad audience, the concepts that Schelling taught.

How to Make Decisions
by Robert Dodge
Oxford University Press, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reading the History of... Rum

‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!’

A favourite of pirates, the molasses-coloured liquid brings to mind clear blue seas and weatherbeaten sailors. But enjoyment of rum spread far beyond the scallywags of the Caribbean – Charles Dickens savoured it in punch, George Washington served it at campaign rallies, Queen Victoria sipped it in the British Navy’s grog, and Kamehameha I of Hawaii drank it straight.

A Global History
by Richard Foss
Reaktion Books, 2012

Book List
History and American West Titles
Book Search
Book Store

Reading the History of... Fear of Food

There may be no greater source of anxiety for Americans today than the question of what to eat and drink. Are eggs the perfect protein, or are they cholesterol bombs?  Is red wine good for my heart or bad for my liver? Will pesticides, additives, and processed foods kill me?

Here with some very rare and very welcome advice is food historian Harvey Levenstein: Stop worrying!

Fear of Food
A History of Why We Worry about What We Eat
by Harvey A. Levenstein
University of Chicago Press, 2012

Outrider Books
Outrider Reading Group
History Titles
Out of the Past

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Book Stall Review: Doña Tomás

California chefs Dona Savitsky and Thomas Schnetz showcase dishes from the menu of "authentic Mexican cooking" that has made their restaurant -- Doña Tomás -- a pioneering success in upscale Berkeley.

More than 90 recipes are  included in this volume, divided into chapters on breakfast, lunch, salads and side, and dinner.  The opening chapter -- Básicos -- offers a primer on the ingredients, equipment and techniques of a Mexican kitchen.

Discovering Authentic Mexican Cooking by Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky
Ten Speed Press, 2006

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good Old Books: Your Health, Your Moods and the Weather

Do you have days when, without reason, you feel depressed? Have a
headache? Have trouble falling asleep?

If you blame the weather, you may be right. Experts estimate that one
person in three is "weather-sensitive."

W.S. Kals easy-to-read introduction to meteorology alerts you to the
weather conditions most likely to cause symptoms. He explains the
scientific reasons why some people can "feel a storm coming in their

Everybody talks about the weater, but W.S. Kal will help you understand,
for the first time, the many ways in which it affects your life.

by W.S. Kals
Doubleday, 1982

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Pure Steak

Pick it up for the steak recipes and the large enticing color photographs, but buy it for the detailed information on how beef are bred and raised, what cuts are made, the differences between some 200 breeds, and the instructions on preparing, cooking and resting the meat.

Three young grillmasters with strikingly similar names (Steffen, Stefan and Stephan) collaborated on this tasty tome. Steffen Eichhorn won a master's title at GrillSportVerein in 2009 and is the founder of BBQ & More. Stefan Marquard leads the German punk rock grill team, the Jolly Roger Cooking Gang, and operates two restaurants in Munich as well as catering events throughout Europe. Stephan Otto, who runs the meat marking firm Otto Gourmet, authored the introductory chapter on buying and cooking beef.
by Steffen Eichorn, Stefan Marquard, and Stephan Otto
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, 2012
Outrider Books
Books & Publications
Book Store

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Second Nature Readings: Taste Matters

The human tongue has somewhere up to eight thousand taste buds to inform us when something is sweet, salty, sour, or bitter—or as we usually think of it—delicious or revolting. Tastes differ from one region to the next, and no two people’s seem to be the same. But why is it that some people think maple syrup is too sweet, while others can’t get enough?

What makes certain people love Roquefort cheese and others think it smells like feet?

Why do some people think cilantro tastes like soap?

John Prescott tackles this conundrum in Taste Matters, an exploration of why we eat and seek out the foods that we do.

Why We Like the Foods We Do 
by John Prescott
Reaktion Books, 2012
Book List
Book Search
Science Writing
Second Nature
Outrider Books

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review ~ Natural Landscaping

Wisconsin landscape architect John Diekelmann and writer-educator Robert Schuster collaborated on the first edition of this manual on establishing natural ecosystems 20 years ago.

The updated edition expands on the importance of weed management early in the planning process and revises much of the species nomenclature to bring the book up-to-date with recent botanical research.

They also added "a concluding chapter that attempts to suggest the deep meaningfulness that can be found in restoring a piece of native landscape" their preface explains.

They profile an ongoing landscape restoration project by a rural historical society in central Wisconsin centered around a 90-year-old schoolhouse.

"Having discovered the nature of the presettlement landscape on which the community school had been located and having learned of the affection of the settlers for the landscape... members of the historical society endorsed the formal development of a design that would be a unique restoration project for the area and a meaningful memorial to the area's settlers."

Emphasizing the natural landscapes of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, Diekelmann and Schuster's book reviews basic landscaping principles,illustrates how to evaluate a site and plan for visual effect and maintenance, offers practical advice on combatting invasive plants without heavy chemical use, and  introduces native plant species for grasslands, forests, edge areas, and small wetlands.

Designing with Native Plant Communities 
by John Diekelmann and Robert M. Schuster 
The University of Wisconsin Press, 2003
Review Archives
Book Store
Book Search
How-To Do It

Now Cooking with Forks Over Knives

What if one simple change could save you from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer? For decades, that question has fascinated a small circle of impassioned doctors and researchers.

Their answer?

Eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet — it could save your life.

The Plant-Based Way to Health
by Gene Stone
The Experiment, 2011
Outrider Books
Books & Publications
Book Store

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review ~ Windfall: Wind Energy in America Today

Environmental historian Robert W. Righter follows up his 2003 report on Wind Energy in America, which detailed the struggles of wind-derived energy developments gaining acceptance, with WindFall at a time just a decade later when wind is suddenly the world’s fastest-growing source of energy.

"With so much activity in the industry, it became apparent that I had to do more than update an old book. I needed to write more on the contemporary situation, much more," Richter explains. "Who would have thought in the 1990s that giant wind turbine 'farms' would be radiating across the country, creating a scourge for some, a blessing for others? Whether welcome or not, wind developments are coming on line and being planned faster than American, Japanese, and European manufacturers can produce the turbines."

In a surprisingly short amount of time, skepticism about the feasibility of wind farming has been eclipsed by objections to the environmental and aesthetic impacts of industrial-size wind turbines on rural landscapes and visual corridors.

As a work of history, Windfall effectively documents the major issues and developments in wind energy up to 2009, from debates about role of government and the location of wind farms to questions about the efficacy of wind turbines and their role in addressing future energy needs.

Wind Energy in America Today
by Robert W. Righter
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012

Outrider Books
Outrider Reading Group
Book Store
Energy Farming
Wind Energy

Friday, June 1, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: The Long-Legged House

First published in 1969 and out of print for more than twenty-five years, The Long-Legged House was Wendell Berry's first collection of essays, the inaugural work introducing many of the central issues that have occupied him over the course of his career.

As he later wrote, “What I stand for is what I stand on,” and here we see him beginning the acts of rediscovery and resettling.

by Wendell Berry
Counterpoint, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review ~ Gin: A Global History

A history of the enigmatic liquor known as gin belongs as much in a library of herbal medicines as it does at the bar. Derived from the aromatic juniper berry, which has been a curative for all mannner of ills dating back to the ancient Egyptians, gin (or its more potent ancestor, genever) was being prescribed as a preventative for scurvy, headaches and other disorders more than 400 years ago.

"Where modern gin is essentially flavoured vodka, genever is headier stuff, having more in common with fine whisky than the clear-coloured aromatics of English gin," food writer Lesley Jacobs Solmonson explains.

Published in The Edible Series of Reaktion Books, Solmonson's history of the liquor cabinet staple is full of surprises and insights, covering the beverage's medicinal origins, the gin craze that hit Britain in the 18th century, its decline in popularity in the 20th century, and its recent renaissance.

The types of gin are compared and described, from London Dry’s juniper-forward Tanqueray or Beefeater to the more citrus-forward gins such as Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray 10 and the new craft gins like Hendrick’s and Aviation. A dozen or so classic cocktail recipes are included along with a brief directory of today's available gins.

by Lesley Jacobs Solmonson
Reaktion Books, 2012
More about this title in The Book Stall
Review Archives
Book Store
Book Search
History Books