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
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Seed Saving and Starting

A major benefit of saving seed and starting plants from saved seed rather than seeds or plants that have been shipped from another location is it allows you to grow plants that are better adapted to local environmental conditions.

This growers' guide starts off with a primer on pollination, gathers together tips on harvesting and storing seeds, collects advice on germination, stores details on vegetables and flowering plants, and sows the inspiration to save and to cultivate.

"What it really all comes down to is the pleasure of working with seeds - harvesting them, storing  them, sowing them, and nurturing the tiny seedlings that grow from them," says garden writer Sheri Ann Richerson, who also authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Year-Round Gardening and 101 Organic Gardening Tips.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Seed Saving and Starting
by Sheri Ann Richerson
Alpha, 2012

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Farm and Garden Book List Addition: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Seed Saving and Starting

Mouthwatering heirlooms, exciting hybrids, sensational herbs, colorful flowers - you dream of a garden overflowing with vibrant, healthy plants. Turn your dream garden into reality with seeds you save and start yourself.

With easy ideas on harvesting, storing, sowing, and nurturing your seeds into flourishing plants, this helpful guide gives you a sure path from start to success.

by Sheri Ann Richerson
Alpha, 2012