Monday, May 02, 2016

Book 8: Crockery Cookery

TITLE: Crockery Cookery
AUTHOR: Mable Hoffman
STARTED: April 23, 2016
FINISHED: April 23, 2016
PAGES: 250
GENRE: Cookbook

FIRST SENTENCE: Welcome to the newest edition of Crockery Cookery.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Mable Hoffman loves to cook. A professional home economist, she cooks to develop recipes, to promote food products and to prepare those tasty, eye-appealing dishes you've seen in ads and food-preparation articles. She's also a food stylist and editorial consultant for Better Homes & Gardens. Slow cooking is different and requires special recipes. Mable developed every recipe specially for slow-cooking pots. Every one has been tested and re-tested to bring you sure success with each meal you prepare. You'll see how your slow-cooking pot invites culinary creativity. Just use these recipes as a foundation and add a little pinch of your own ingenuity to the pot. You'll find slow cooking makes good eating!

THOUGHTS: I can see why this is a classic slow cooker cookbook... but I would like some fresher material. This is definitely a cookbook to have if you're just starting out with your slow cooker, but I wanted something newer and fresher.

The best part about this book was reading my friend's marginalia.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh]

Sunday, May 01, 2016

What I Read This Week: May 1, 2016

I discovered my sweet spot environment for productivity: dreary days backed by my pandora jazz station. I got so much done!

In other news, my hockey team might be trying to kill me. I don't think my heart can take much more of this, but I have to keep watching. Go Caps!
  • Work
    • I snuck in a few pages of Handbook for Digital Project, but a lot of my week was taken up by end of semester/fiscal year items.
  • Magazines
    • Good Housekeeping, May 2016 - I skimmed the bulk of this issue, but I did enjoy the article on how to calm yourself about our most frequent sources of stress. I also liked the essay snippet on the best advice a mother has ever given her daughter. I may have to seek out the book it's from. 
    • National Geographic, May 2016 - This was a special issue devoted entirely to Yellowstone. It was practically a book. The layout was fantastic and provided a fine mix of photographs and articles, long and short. I also enjoyed how many of the pieces touched upon the consequences of animals living near and with humans. This is a must buy issue if you love the national parks.
    • Real Simple, May 2016 - This issue had a decent mix of articles, but
      I accidentally read most of it online before the print copy arrived. Oops. I very much enjoyed the tips and tricks pieces on organizing a small space, cleaning your home, and how to take care of your eyes. The article I liked best was on apologizing. It described why we have trouble apologizing, the best way to apologize, and how to teach your kids to apologize. Good stuff.
  • Books
    • I finished Spark Joy by Marie Kondo early in the week. It was everything I wanted it to be, and I definitely plan on putting a few of her more detailed tips into practice when I super-clean our apartment in the near future.
    • I'm beginning to put a small dent in Judy Blume's In The Unlikely Event. So far it's mainly set-up and character introduction... and there are a lot of characters to remember. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep everyone straight in my head. I may need to turn to the internet. Someone must have put a character chart online.
  • Other
    • The ladies and I met for article club earlier this week. We read a long (much longer than anticipated) piece from the Washington Post. It was all about the mood of the country in various places during the first primaries. Interesting piece. Interesting discussion. It will be quite the November.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book 7: Healthy Crockery Cookery

TITLE: Healthy Crockery Cookery
AUTHOR: Mable Hoffman
STARTED: April 23, 2016
FINISHED: April 23, 2016
PAGES: 216
GENRE: Cookbook

FIRST SENTENCE: Foods prepared in slow cookers yield healthful yet hearty meals.

SUMMARY: [From BN] America's favorite food consultant who brought variety, taste, and style to the classic crockpotDon't miss out on one of the most popular cookbooks of all time! Now Mable Hoffman presents an all-new crockpot cookbook that builds on the success of her previous bestseller—and provides the perfect solution for our fast-paced, health-conscious times. Here are 150 all-new recipes that utilize the slow-cooking method of the classic crockpot to create low-fat, low-calorie, high-flavor meals the whole family will love. It's the ideal solution for the modern cook who's concerned about maintaining a healthy diet while managing a busy schedule.

THOUGHTS: While there were some decent recipes in here, you can tell the age on this cookbook. There's not much introduction to book, the recipes, or the use of slow cookers. I would have liked more there. That said, these recipes do seem to be healthy versions of the classics. 

RATING: 5/10 [meh]

The Friday Find: Jeffersonian

Thomas Jefferson is my favorite president. He almost got that position by default. Of course I'm going to like you when you donate your library to the country! He was also known for his quote, "I cannot live without books." That quote has been slapped on so many things I've lost count, but these earrings are one of my favorites. They are so chic and sleek.

You can find these at the Library of Congress online store.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Cookbooks

This is the 68th time I done a Variations on a Theme post and, somehow, I have never dedicated one to cookbooks. How is that possible? I shall be remedying that right away. With this post. That is all about cookbooks.

All of these titles are ones I either own or have read. Prepare to be hungry!

Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half
Beth Moncel

As a college grad during the recent great recession, Beth Moncel found herself, like so many others, broke. Unwilling to sacrifice eating healthy and well—and armed with a degree in nutritional science—Beth began tracking her costs with obsessive precision, and soon cut her grocery bill in half. Eager to share her tips and recipes, she launched her blog, Budget Bytes. Soon the blog received millions of readers clamoring for more. [My review. And I should note that this is one of my favorite cookbooks and blogs.]

The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking With and For Each Other
Sarah Copeland

This cookbook is an indispensable reference for modern couples looking to spend quality time together in the kitchen. Inside are more than 130 recipes for both classic and contemporary cooking that are perfect for day-to-day deux and special occasions with family and friends. More than a collection of recipes, The Newlywed Cookbook is also a guide to domestic bliss. Author Sarah Copeland, a newlywed herself, knows that sourcing, cooking as well as sharing food together at the table makes for a happy couple! This beautiful and sophisticated contemporary cookbook is the new go-to for brides and grooms. [My review.]

Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy: Exceptionally Delicious and Nutritous Freezer-Friendly Meals You Can Prepare in Advance and Enjoy
Michele Borboa

Cook the best, most nutritious food for your family and save time and money with this mega-delicious guide to preparing meals you can fix-and-freeze now and enjoy any night of your crazy-busy week! Unlike the sodium-laced, preservative-filled meals you might find in your grocer’s freezer aisle, the recipes in this book feature wholesome ingredients full of flavors that harmoniously come to life the instant you reheat them—so your meals don’t just taste as good as the day you stored them away, but better! From comforting casserole and lasagna recipes made new again with fresh veggies and whole grains, to show-stopping breakfast baked goods and sweet treats, you’ll discover so many “must-make” recipes inside that you may need to consider a larger freezer! [My review.]

The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
Ellie Krieger

Do you think that healthy food couldn't possibly taste good? Does the idea of "eating healthy" conjure up images of roughage and steamed vegetables? Author Ellie Krieger, host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite, will change all that. A registered dietitian, Ellie is also a lover and proponent of good, fresh food, simply but deliciously prepared. And she's not about denial—no nonfat foods here, because when you take the fat out of natural foods, in go the chemicals. Don't deny yourself butter—use a pat of it, but put it front and center on those mashed potatoes, so you can revel in it with all your senses. The Food You Crave is all you'll need to change the way you eat and change the way you feel. It contains 200 recipes that cover every meal of the day and every craving you might have. Every recipe contains a complete nutritional breakdown, as well as tips on ingredients and techniques that will keep you eating smart and eating well. [My review.]

Simply Scones
Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright

Scones make delectable treats for afternoon tea, breakfast, lunch, even midnight snacks. Simply Scones features more than seventy luscious recipes for scones and spreads certain to delight both traditional and adverturesome palates. Sweet Scones: Oat Current, Triple Chocolate Chunk, Jam-Filled Walnut, Pistachio Fig Scones Savory Scones: Cheese, Hearty Grain, Pesto, Tex-Mex Scones Spreads: Apple Butter, Clotted Cream, Yogurt Cheese, Chocolate Nut Butter, Raspberry Cream Cheese Spread. Plus dozens more. Special sections tell how to make perfect scones, and how to serve a scrumptious afternoon tea. If you've never indulged in a batch of fresh-baked scones, there's no reason to miss out now! [My review.]

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat
Chrissy Teigen

Maybe she's on a photo shoot in Zanzibar. Maybe she's making people laugh on TV. But all Chrissy Teigen really wants to do is talk about dinner. Or breakfast. Lunch gets some love, too. For years, she's been collecting, cooking, and Instagramming her favorite recipes, and here they are: from breakfast all day to John's famous fried chicken with spicy honey butter to her mom's Thai classics. Salty, spicy, saucy, and fun as sin (that's the food, but that's Chrissy, too), these dishes are for family, for date night at home, for party time, and for a few life-sucks moments (salads). You'll learn the importance of chili peppers, the secret to cheesy-cheeseless eggs, and life tips like how to use bacon as a home fragrance, the single best way to wake up in the morning, and how not to overthink men or Brussels sprouts. Because for Chrissy Teigen, cooking, eating, life, and love are one and the same.

Other Cookbooks
Bake It, Don't Fake It - Heather Bertinetti
Comfort Food Fix - Ellie Krieger
Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes - Dominique Ansel
Everybody Eats Well in Belgium - Maria Robbins
Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day - Leanne Brown
McGuire's Irish Pub Cook Book - Jessie Tirsch
Slow Cooker Revolution - America's Test Kitchen
So Easy - Ellie Krieger
Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books - Cara Nicoletti

Book 6: Preservation

TITLE: Preservation
AUTHOR: Blake Little
STARTED: April 23, 2016
FINISHED: April 23, 2016
PAGES: 136
GENRE: Photography

FIRST SENTENCE: Preservation has many meanings, from the physical to the spiritual.

SUMMARY: [Not a summary really, but a paragraph from the foreward] Blake saw – and was intrigued by – the juxtaposition of the timeless, pure substance and human flesh, so prone to decay. He was amazed by honey’s transformations when dripped, dribbled, and poured over the human body, and how it can distort and amplify forms, highlight physical perfection, engender repulsion, and suggest both immortality and death. For Blake, gleaming, golden honey has a way of diffusing the personal qualities of his subjects, often making them unrecognizable, democratizing their individual traits into something altogether different and universal. Sometimes terrifying, it can seem to encase his subjects, almost larvae-like in a primordial ooze, as in Ouriel, front, 2012. At other times it is dynamic, its lively motion captured and frozen, in a very different sense, through stop-action imaging, its tendrils – almost electric – spinning forth (Clayton, 2013). Powerfully muscular bodies, like Devion, back 2012, and gracefully balanced poses, such as Tala, standing up, 2013, evoke works of classical art, such as the famous Discus-thrower of the ancient Greek sculptor Myron. Other images recall sober portraits of the Renaissance (Dylan, 2012; Brad, 2012 and Zayden, 2013), or the dainty ballerinas of Degas in Lindsay, 2013.

THOUGHTS: I have wanted to get my hands on this book for quite some time. A while back, I saw a video for the creation of the photographs. (See it here - warning there is nudity.) Ever since then, I've been looking in my local libraries for the work. It never showed up in the catalogs. Finally, I did an ILL request through work. It arrived quickly and I was very, very happy. I ended up loving this work so much that I looked at it three times before I returned it.

This is not a book in the sense that there is much written text (there is only a foreward and the title of the photographs). This is simply a book of photographs. Simply stunning images capturing a moment of time. The way the honey has both movement and stillness on the page is amazing.

I loved this book so much I am considering buying myself a copy. I would happily go back and look at these images over and over again. I hope I can get my hands on one since it was a limited edition. Fingers crossed.

RATING: 10/10 [Best. Book. Ever.]

Links and Stuff: April 28, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book 5: In The Stacks

TITLE: In The Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians
AUTHOR: Michael Cart (editor)
STARTED: April 17, 2016
FINISHED: April 23, 2016
PAGES: 270
GENRE: Short Stories

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Introduction] I grew up in Logansport, Indiana, a small valley town on the banks of the Wabash River.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Libraries, with their miles and miles of books are, for writers and readers alike, the magical portal to new worlds-the source of terrors, delights, and pleasures aplenty.
Here, in one volume, noted author and librarian Michael Cart has assembled a fascinating collection of twentieth century short fiction about libraries and librarians.

THOUGHTS: I don't think I've ever read a book of short stories before. I assume that this book is like others, some of the stories are great, some meh, and others are just plain confusing or bad. This book was definitely a mix of all of that. Some stories have still stuck with me (and I wish they were longer) others were just downright bad. I would recommend this to other librarians and booklovers, but casual readers might want to stay away.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Why I Love... Borrowing Books From Friends

I've always been a fan of borrowing books from libraries, but I also love borrowing books from friends.

For last Saturday's read-a-thon, I finally read three slow cooker cookbooks I borrowed from Lady K. Not only will we get to share conversations about the recipes, but I was treated to some awesome marginalia. I loved seeing what she thought of specific recipes as I was reading.

In addition to fun marginalia, borrowing books from friends comes with additional insights. You can talk to your friend about what they liked and disliked about a book. You can wax poetic together about shared frustrations or loves with the the text. If the book is from a series, now you have someone to wait it out with until the next book is released. If you both had different opinions about the book, you can have spirited conversations as to why.

Furthermore, books shared among friends tend to be lent multiple times. When books travel amongst friend groups, it creates a casual book club. You might not all be reading the same book at the same time but, sooner or later, you can end up at a party together all talking about the same book.