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

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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

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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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