It’s a GFR holiday tradition to publish Dean Tudor’s annual list of the best new cookbooks and food and wine related tomes in bookstores now. Click here for the series. Watch for a new category of book every week. And please support your friendly neighbourhood Good Food Fighter, and expertly curated, book shops: The Cookbook Store and Good Egg. – Malcolm Jolley, Ed.
Part Two: MEMOIRS & CREATIVE WRITING
For the more literate person, there are the histories and “memoirs” of writers, chefs,
and wine people. Some have called these memoirs “creative non-fiction”, many with
embellishments and gilding. And most of them suffer from a lack of indexing, which
makes it difficult to find what the writer said about another person or subject. But this
also avoids the potential for lawsuits and disjointed noses. Nevertheless, they are
rewarding to read. Who cares about poetic license? Here then are some that stood out
from last year’s run, and any of them would make great gifts for the reader. Here we go,
in no particular order (and one of them is a novel)…
MEMOIR OF THE SUNDAY BRUNCH (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013 [sic],
260 pages, $13.95 US paper covers) is an imprint from Workman Publishing. Here Julia
Pandl writes about how she and her eight siblings worked in their father’s restaurant in
Milwaukee. It’s a good coming of age book but with restaurants as the main background.
Good humour with sharp insights.
THE 4-HOUR CHEF (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 674 pages, $39.95 CAN
hardcovers) is by Timothy Ferriss, who specializes in meta-learning principles. He feels
that anyone can do anything with a four-hour learning window, such as memorizing a
deck of cards is less than 60 seconds or speaking fluent Spanish in eight weeks. Here you
can learn to cook like a pro. He interviews and talks with chefs from around the world to
capture their best principles, so that you can compress six months of culinary school into
48 hours. You should also be able create “amazing” cocktails in minutes, cook an epic
clambake in a garbage can (presumably clean), and get VIP treatment in restaurants and
bars (on page 626). His book is loaded with tips and advice, recipes, and will get you
going until NEXT Christmas.
UNQUENCHABLE; a tipsy quest for the world’s best bargain wines (Anchor Canada,
2011, 2012, 267 pages, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is back this year, but in paperback
form and with new material such as wine and book pairing. Natalie MacLean writes with
charm, and her book is definitely in the “chick lit” arena, even more so now with the
WHOLE LARDER LOVE (PowerHouse Books, 2012, 240 pages, $42 CAN hard
covers) is by Rohan Anderson, an Australian who lives in an historical town and forages
for his food. It’s a hand lettered book, heavy with photos, and is an extremely good read
covering how to grow food, gather, forage, and how to cook. There’s hot zucchini relish,
boysenberry raspberry jam, kale fusilli, eel cake with white beans, and camp-cooked
MAY JANE’S HASH BROWNIES, HOT POT, AND OTHER MARIJUANA
MUNCHIES (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $14.95 CAN hardcover) must
be a serious book since there is NO index: real stoners never need or use indexes. Written
by Dr. Hash, it goes back to basics: getting to know your weed. Then there are cannabis
canapés, hash brownies, cupcakes and fudge, pizza and tacos. But nothing for a bake sale.
Here is also hash coffee and cocktails. 30 recipes in all to get you high.
JOIE DE VIVRE (St. Martin’s Press, 2012, 304 pages, $28.99 CAN hard covers) is by
Harriet Welty Rochefort, and American living in France. She lets us in on the secrets of
wining, dining and romancing like the French. It’s a humourous memoir of her
experiences with her French husband. Her top tips on how to do it like the French: revel
in the moment, spend time creating feasts, pay attention to details (although her own
book lacks an index), work hard, and enjoy discords. She’s got my vote!
PERFECT PAIRINGS (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2012, 160 pages, $24.95 US) is a book
package with multiple authors from the Ryland stable. There are themed menus (cheese,
summer, winter, wine with friends, special occasions such as Chinese New Year, farmers
markets, tapas), plus a pretty good 32-page primer on wine. A good entry level gift for
the food person who wants to know more about wine.
TOP 100 STEP-BY-STEP NAPKIN FOLDS (Robert Rose, 2012, 224 pages, $29.95
CAN paper covers) has more than 1,000 photographs illustrating the various techniques.
Denise Vivaldo has divided them up into easy, intermediate and advanced levels for all
occasions, from kids’ birthdays to formal sit-downs. My favourite is the tuxedo. What a
great way to impress the Hell out of you dinner guests: it’ll make them forget any
…and the novel:
WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER (St. Martin’s Press, 2012, 337
pages, $29.99 CAN hard covers) is by Beth Harbison. It’s her sixth book, and she has an
engaging writing style. The chick lit plot here is a caterer/personal chef with six steady
clients is searching for true love. A soft read for the holidays.
Dean Tudor is a Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus, The Treasurer of The Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada and creator of Canada’s award-winning wine satire site at fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. Visit Dean’s websites at deantudor.com and gothicepicures.blogspot.com. His motto: “Look it up and you’ll remember it; screw it up and you’ll never forget it.”
Thanks for the list. I’m beyond thrilled to see Harriet Welty Rochefort finally has a new book. Her books are such fun reads.