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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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12 10, 2012

Review: Inside the Jewish Bakery by Stanley Ginsberg & Norman Berg

By | October 12th, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Nonfiction|Tags: |4 Comments


Reviewed by Jenna Arthur

I love reading stories from the heart. Heritage is an important part of cooking. Most cooks can tell you a good ‘ole down home story that relates in some way to every dish they prepare. Remember when Aunt Sally spilled jelly all over herself? Or maybe Uncle Johnny ate the entire cake when no one was looking.

Such stories start the fun and heart warming recipe book, Inside the Jewish Bakery. Written by Stanley Ginsberg and Norman Berg, Inside the Jewish Bakery gives a brief history of the world of Judaism and what made them who they are now. It tells of poor families struggling to survive and the family recipes that sustained them. Back in the olden days Jews had to survive on little to nothing, certainly not having such luxuries as we have today. Instead,

10 10, 2012

Review: The Frugal Cook by Fiona Beckett

By | October 10th, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, For the Cook, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction|Tags: |4 Comments


Reviewed by Christen Krumm

“Buy cleverly. Waste less. Eat Well.” Fiona Beckett’s The Frugal Cook is not just another cookbook. Throughout its beautifully illustrated pages, Beckett gives suggestions and advice to save not only money but food as well. Beckett offers tips on changing the way you think about food, ways to cut your food bill, using leftovers (not in a scary way), stretching your food, storing your food, and where to shop for the best frugal deals.

My favorite section of the book is where Beckett talks about what to do with the food waste – the food that cannot be used in leftovers – like egg shells and banana peels. After reading about the benefits of a wormery (and the fact that it just sounds cool) I feel like I must find one of these amazing composting contraptions (which upon

2 08, 2012

Review: 100 Meals in Minutes by Ainsley Harriott

By | August 2nd, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Nonfiction|Tags: |3 Comments


Reviewed by Jenna Arthur

When you work 12 hours a day for most of the week like I do, a quick fix of a meal is your saving grace at the end of the day. Who wants to spend hours slaving over a hot stove after filing papers, making appointments or answering angry calls all day? The problem is that we do not want to sacrifice the quality of food we feed our family so we spend way too long cooking the same old thing every day. Not anymore! Ainsley Harriott’s 100 Meals in Minutes offers a fast solution to boring, strenuous meals.

Whether it be the delicious butter bean salad, curried dishes, the fabulous side dishes, or the tantalizing puddings, Harriott offers cooks of all ages ideas for quick meals that taste like they came straight from a gourmet restaurant. I

27 07, 2012

Review: For the Love of Food by Denis Cotter

By | July 27th, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Diet & Weight Loss, For the Cook, Gift Ideas, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |3 Comments


Reviewed by Jen Kulman

It is immediately apparent that this cookbook is aptly named. Denis Cotter has a genuine love for putting ingredients together to create phenomenal dishes. This is one of very few vegetarian books I have read that is truly inspiring. He has a way of writing recipes that make the finished products seem so much more than the sum of their parts. It is no exaggeration to say that the way he views food and ingredients makes me reset my focus.

I adore his written introduction and think it sets a great tone for the book. Instead of writing a cookbook based on themes, he started jotting down the dishes he was preparing on a daily basis. The result was “a book of nice things to eat that would be of more use than an addition to the growing list of serious food tomes.”  He could have also added that the end result was a pure joy to read.

Recipes are divided into nine slightly unusual categories: Breakfast, Salad, Risotto, Soup, Mash, All wrapped

1 07, 2012

Review: Garden Wisdom by Jerry Apps

By | July 1st, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , |5 Comments


Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

My afternoons this winter were spent reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series with the kiddos. I have to admit that Farmer Boy is one of my favorites. It speaks of her husband Almonzo’s childhood on the farm and provides detailed descriptions on how they planted, harvested, and ate the good things they grew. Jerry Apps’ Garden Wisdom is the adult version of Farmer Boy and inspires its readers to “go for it!” and enjoy the work and rewards of vegetable gardening for themselves.

Garden Wisdom is written in three parts. The first section describes the author’s heritage and experience with farming and gardening. Jerry Apps is a third generation farmer as well as a professor of Agriculture in Wisconsin. Apps draws a great

21 06, 2012

Review: Ham, Pickles & Jam by Thane Prince

By | June 21st, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Nonfiction|Tags: |3 Comments


Reviewed by Jen Kulman

First of all, I had always imagined a larder to be the same as a pantry, which it is not. A larder requires cooler temperatures and better ventilation, and can then store cheeses and meats. A pantry is what most traditional homes have – a place to store canned and jarred goods.

I don’t own any other cookbooks quite like Ham, Pickles & Jam. This one goes a bit more in depth, a return to how people used to cook because they didn’t have a choice. Obviously there is no longer the need to make our own preserves, bake from scratch, or pickle vegetables. But in these hectic times, to build our skill set and return to the old ways can be very interesting and satisfying. Some of these recipes are far more approachable than others. Fat

1 05, 2012

Review: Bake by Tina Bester

By | May 1st, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Nonfiction|Tags: , |3 Comments


Reviewed by Jen Kulman

Bake by Tina Bester is just such a beautiful book – high quality photos and a carefully laid out format make it a true pleasure to look through. The front and back covers are thick and slightly textured, the endpapers are heart-patterned fuchsia, and the beginning of each chapter is marked with scarlet pages. Every recipe has its own full page photos, and my gosh, are they terrific. The end result is that Bake manages to be both comforting and inspirational. I want to invite people over and serve plates that look exactly like these.

Published in London, the measurements are, of course, in metrics. I only made it four recipes in before deciding that I didn’t care. The photographs of Pat Fraser’s Shortbread and Double Chocolate and Pecan Nut Brownies convinced me it would be well worth

31 03, 2012

Review: The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook by Judi & Shari Zucker

By | March 31st, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Diet & Weight Loss, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction|Tags: , , , |1 Comment


Reviewed by Jenna Arthur

Judi and Shari Zucker are two twins on a mission – to bring delicious and nutritious vegetarian snacks to children and adults alike that have common, as well as, uncommon allergies. Starting at a ripe age of 11, these twins became vegetarians. They wrote their first snack book at age 16 and are continuing to spread the word that there are alternatives for traditional snacks that make allergy sufferers sick.

The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook is not only filled with dozens of kid friendly treats and sweets but also has a lot of information for parents and adults new to coping with allergies. The beginning of the book explains common allergies while also explaining foods and additives to avoid. The delicious recipes to follow are easy to make and taste amazing.

I tried the Really Raspberry Sorbet, the Lemon

11 03, 2012

Review: Unquenchable by Natalie MacLean

By | March 11th, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Nonfiction|Tags: , |4 Comments


Reviewed by Sara Padilla

Oenophile and author Natalie MacLean has a goal to which many of us will be immediately attracted to: finding bargain priced wines that taste really good! In today’s markets, wine shops, and corner stores, the sheer variety of wine can be overwhelming, and bottles range from less than a few dollars to over $100 per bottle. It’s no wonder the average person is perplexed.

MacLean’s light and lively writing style keeps the reader engaged. For those down-to-earth readers who truly love wine, this is a wonderful find amidst a plethora of more formal and sometimes intimidating books about wine available in bookstores.

Unlike typical wine reviewers, MacLean is a storyteller. She explores more than what the wine tastes like by making interesting and fun observations about a “$10 bottle that tastes like $30”. Especially poignant in today’s economic climate,

2 03, 2012

Review: Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible by Paula Deen with Melissa Clark

By | March 2nd, 2012|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Nonfiction|Tags: , |2 Comments


Reviewed by Christen Krumm

Paula Deen is the queen of southern cooking. She has a stellar website, a television show, and quite a few restaurants on the map. This southern born lady has really made a name for herself in and out of the kitchen! Her newest cookbook, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, gives us over three hundred recipes of yummy southern goodness. You know you are in for a treat right from the five page introduction. Paula just has to make you smile with her “ya’ll”s – gotta love that southern accent!

You could literally take this cookbook and build your entire menu start to finish. With seventeen chapters, it covers everything from appetizers, soups, brunch dishes, to  – my personal favorite – pies, and so so much more. My mouth watered just reading the table of contents – do