There was always a book under the tree for each of us on Christmas. Some years, there were stacks of them. My mom read to us in the cradle and well beyond, so I have her to thank for my lifelong love affair with books. I am never bored when there’s something to read.
Howard describes me as a voracious reader — I devour books. And my reading of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, by Jennifer Reese was no different. Truly funny cookbooks are few and far between, depending on your brand of humour, but it seems that I found a kindred spirit in Jennifer. This professional journalist and blogger went to extraordinary lengths to write the book after she lost her job at Entertainment Weekly — including raising a goat for milk and chickens for eggs, curing her own prosciutto and making her own camembert in old soup cans — and regales readers with the hilarious tales of her efforts (and failures). It’s funny enough to sit down and read cover to cover. If you’re looking for a book for the food lover/kitchen whiz in your life, this is my top pick of the year.
(In an effort of full disclosure, you should know that I was sent a promotional copy of the book by Simon & Schuster. But the opinions contained within this review are solely my own.) And just to prove it, ;), I’m giving away my promotional copy and going out to buy my own. Like I said, Jennifer’s brand of practical kitchen advice and humour is right up my alley. Check the bottom of this post to see how you can enter to win…
I took the ferry into Victoria this past dreary Saturday to take the “Odd Bits” class at The London Chef with Jennifer McLagan, chef and and award-winning author from Toronto whose past books include Bones and Fat, winner of the 2009 James Beard Cookbook of the Year.
After you’ve covered fat and bones, what’s left? The offal, of course. But as Chef McLagan explained at the beginning of our class, The Offal Cookbook is bound to become victim to an almost endless number of awful puns (sorry), so instead, we have Odd Bits.
For a rainy day spent inside talking about how to cook and eat the feet, blood, organs and glands of various animals, it was enjoyable indeed. Chef McLagan is an engaging, passionate speaker and The London Chef’s bright, well-appointed demonstration kitchen is as welcoming as any I’ve been in. The glass of red to loosen us all up at the start didn’t hurt either.
I don’t really buy cookbooks anymore — most of my inspiration comes from past training and experience, online, and maybe even the odd magazine here and there — but I was intrigued by the collection of Japanese home-cooking recipes, and happy to support this association of volunteers who care for their elders and work to preserve Japanese culture in Vancouver.
My travels through Japan, fresh out of high school, left their imprint on me. I traveled, then as now, mostly off the beaten path, and stayed in a few private homes along the way. Japanese home cooking is quite different from what we eat in restaurants here in North America. Less deep-frying, less meat and a whole lot less sushi. But if you’re looking for authentic homemade Japanese comfort food, The Tonari Gumi Cookbook is a great addition to your shelf.
Island Vittles (aka me) got an email a few weeks back inviting us to the Taste of Tulalip Tweet-Up, at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Washington State.
Never being one to turn down free food and wine, never mind a chance to preview one of the region’s premier taste events, I made sure Howard cleared his schedule, we stashed the Dooze with our accommodating neighbours, and we headed down to the U.S of A this past Wednesday.