Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Professional Cooking : The Pleasures of Cooking for One

I have several other "cooking for 1" cookbooks and have found many good recipes there. But this is the cookbook I've been waiting for. Ms. Jones has shown me how to take ingredients that cannot be purchased in small quantities and re-use these imaginatively to create entirely different meals.

For example, a pork tenderloin becomes a small roast, scallopine, a gratinate, hash, and stir fry. Her examples have encouraged me to improvise myself. I can envisage a BBQ pork sandwich, a pasty with leftover pork tenderloin, skirt steak and potatoes.

She encourages playing with the recipes to create a meal exactly to your own tastes. Several of her recipes also include vegetable substitution recommendations allowing for seasonal meals. Or, if you're like me and can't stand a particular vegetable then you can swap it for something more palatable.

This cookbook creates a solid foundation for enabling a cook's creativity. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Outdoor Cooking : Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook

Before giving an opinion on the contents, I have to qualify this by saying that I met the Neely's at our downtown bookstore for their signing of their first foray into publishing. This incredible couple is truly the REAL deal...........you wanted them to come by your house and visit. They made you feel that you were the only one there; they were so kind, gracious, and sincere; THANK YOU! What you see on TV is exactly that same warm and welcoming embrace that you receive in person. You just can't picture them apart because God knew them for each other.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Organic Cooking : The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler

I bought this book along with Baby Blender Food, and I really like this one the best. It has practical information RE: safe food handling, the meaning behind nutritional and organic terms on product packaging, suggestions for stocking your pantry, and ideas about how to incorporate meals for the family from the recipes for the baby. It's not rocket science, but sometimes I get caught up in the baby food process and don't think about how to modify some of the ingredients for my own meal. She also has a helpful key that lists vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free recipe options. The recipes are pretty simple, and I've found that it's easy and fun to make food for my son. It also feels really good to know exactly what's going into his food. I like the layout of the book, and I appreciate the information in it. Another review mentioned that she doesn't outline food hazards like nitrates in the body of the recipes, but if you read the book from the beginning, she has pretty comprehensive explanations of what is safe to prepare and when it's safe to prepare it.

Natural Foods : Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

I was seeing references to this book in other books that I found helpful: The Metabolic Typing Diet and Life Without Bread. (I also like Natural Hormonal Enhancement which was not available on Amazon when I purchased it.) But I delayed more than a year before buying Nourishing Traditions. I figured if I knew what to eat, I didn't need a cookbook too.
I was wrong. This is a textbook as much as a cookbook. I liken it to Joy of Cooking. You can learn a lot from it about food and nutrition even if you never use its recipes. I have used recipes from both, though, and can attest to their deliciousness. But I must admit, for me the best thing about reading Nourishing Traditions is learning about nutrition, not learning new recipes.

Meals : Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

I have many bread baking books and was skeptical that this one would be any better or different. I expected either a catch in the "5 minutes", poor quality bread, or both. I made my first batch last week and was very impressed with both the ease and taste. You can really make the dough in just a few minutes and keep it in your fridge for use over the next 2 weeks. It was wonderful to be able to pull a chunk of the dough out of the container and have delicious bread (the last was more like a big roll) in just over an hour. I could make a loaf when I got home from work and serve it for dinner. There are many recipes included, but it also gave me a much more relaxed attitude toward the bread and I found myself making up my own additions by the time I was forming my second batch. I showed the book to a friend and rather than copy a few of the recipes, she decided to order the book herself because she said that everything looked good and it looked like stuff she would really make. Not many cookbooks earn that comment. Astore more

General AAS : Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Vol 1)

My mom was insistent that we kids learn to cook, and when Julia Child came on public television in the 60's, the whole family was glued to the set. We watched with fascination as she did things with food we Americans didn't know you could do. Mom bought this cookbook then, and I still have it, cover hanging by threads and covered in all kinds of saucy stains. It's still going strong, getting more stains every time I give a dinner party.
We learned how to make omelets, roasts, soups like Vichysoisse (surprisingly simple potato and leek soup), and how to cook the bumper crop of garden green beans in a new and very delectable manner.
I still think that this may be one of the best cookbooks for vegetables that I have on my shelf. I prize it for the meat section, especially a veal ragout that is possibly one of the most luxurious company dishes for a dinner party. It can be made ahead, and in fact, improves if you do. There are a lot of delicious desserts, some complicated (like Creme Bavaroise) and some cakes such as Reine de Saba (Queen of Sheba), a darkly moist and modest looking little chocolate cake. This is easy to make, but so rich and delicious it should be banned by the AMA. What's not in here is French Bread. That's in Volume II.
We made French-style green beans and the Reine de Saba cake one memorable Thanksgiving when we were very young, and even the kids (seven cousins, five of which were BOYS) sat politely glued to the table for the ENTIRE meal instead of getting up and running around halfway through the feast. The food was THAT good.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cooking by Ingredient : The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to

Bought this book w/o a whole lot of information about it. Can't believe it -- I now have the resource I've been looking for --

I'm a cook with some years of experience, a huge cookbook collection, a list of classes taught by renowned experts and cookbook writers, and still I yearned for a reference that gave me the info on what goes with what (w/o me researching my whole library or classnotes. I guess I need "permissions" and this book gave it to me.

Tonight I made redfish (snapper in the book) with a crust of almonds, chives, parsley and dill (methodology learned in all those classes). Served w a favorite zuchinni recipe that included the "go-to" ingredients for snapper, and roasted potatoes with light sprinkling of rosemary and salt (again, a "go-to" herb for the main dish).

It wasn't overkill (my worry) -- it just plain worked and I did it w/o a single recipe. Cut my cooking time in half and raised my personal culinary "thermometer" by a ton of degrees.

If you cook, know methodology and are looking for a silent but knowledgeable help in the kitchen, buy this book. It's a gem!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baking : Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That

I have many bread baking books and was skeptical that this one would be any better or different. I expected either a catch in the "5 minutes", poor quality bread, or both. I made my first batch last week and was very impressed with both the ease and taste. You can really make the dough in just a few minutes and keep it in your fridge for use over the next 2 weeks. It was wonderful to be able to pull a chunk of the dough out of the container and have delicious bread (the last was more like a big roll) in just over an hour. I could make a loaf when I got home from work and serve it for dinner. There are many recipes included, but it also gave me a much more relaxed attitude toward the bread and I found myself making up my own additions by the time I was forming my second batch. I showed the book to a friend and rather than copy a few of the recipes, she decided to order the book herself because she said that everything looked good and it looked like stuff she would really make. Not many cookbooks earn that comment.

The book frequently calls for a pizza peel and baking stone. A set of the peel (or a suitable cutting board), stone (or an unglazed ceramic tile from Home Depot) and this book would make a great gift. In fact, I thought that I could cross several people off of my shopping list by buying the set or just the books for all. Unfortunately, it is already out of stock. Looks like I am not the only one who is impressed by it. I can't even give my book away and wait for a new copy because I spilled olive oil on it while making the sun dried tomato and Parmesan bread. By the way, it was delicious!

This is a great book for all cooking experience levels. The recipes are easy and the results impressive.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Religious : The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

God's love is unconditional is real that is the message. I loved the book. I would also recommend An Encounter With A Prophet for the same message

Henri Nouwen has a way of making us look into the places that we would rather not look. When we are drawn into this study of the Rembrant painting we find a darkness that leads us to an illumination of our own lives. In this book it is with great joy that we discover love and forgiveness as well as hope. This book is a must read for all Christians. In going to the place that I did not want to go I found the place that I needed to go. This is the best spiritual book that I have read in years. I wish we had published this book.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Reference : The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

I made abstract art for two decades but it took this book, and a matching course I took at my local Ursuline College, to convince me that I could also learn realism. Today, I continue to improve in drawing recognizable people, a feat which used to be totally beyond me. This book shows you ways of tricking your brain into shifting sides so that you can "see" people and objects in the three dimensional world the way only a few "artistic" people otherwise seemed capable of seeing and then depicting.

I can't emphatize how good this book is. I used to consider myself absolutely useless at drawing. I barely managed to pass exams at art classes at school. Now I am drawing fairly decent portraits from almost everyone I know. The book focueses on seeing the things' real shapes and it is just this non rational, non mathematically based approach that makes it work. I used to have big problems with proportions and perspective, and Betty Edwards made me realise it's all a matter of looking at things with loving attention (and not attaching a name to the bit you are drawing). This book has made me realise I've lost many years of my life blocking myself as an artist. Drawing is a skill that everyone can learn. Do it with this book!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Photography : The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3

I'm starting to *think* I know what I'm doing when it comes to photography. I took that as a sign that I should go back to basics and learn from ground zero. I know from previous experience that Scott Kelby writes really impressive books (his Lightroom book, for example, is awesome), and this continues the same tradition.

The problem with learning photography in general is that it's intimidating. Most books will describe esoteric theory, and that drives most people nuts. If I'm any representation of a normal photographer, I'll look at a photo and go "that's awesome - how did they do that?" and want a nice example without having to dive into theory and other things. I just want to take the best pics possible that I can with what I have.

The layout of the book is rather simple - like a cookbook. There's a great photo, and then a description of how that photo was taken. The strength of each example is that it's not only easy to follow, but it explains enough theory for you to understand concepts and apply that in other situations. Most books don't do that - they'll tend to lose you on specifics.

Kelby's books are written with the beginner in mind and would even reach into those with intermediate skills. I don't think that seasoned professionals would learn much from these books, but they're worth their weight in gold. The Digital Photography book series is what I recommend to those who are interested in doing more with their cameras and photos. Not all of us can be professional photographers, but we can make our images look better than they are now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Painting : Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series

WAYS OF SEEING is a collection of seven essays. Three are pictorial; four are textual. All are about art, how art is seen, how it is valued, how it is used, and what we can learn from looking at art.
Of the textual essays, the first is about the mystification of art and history by its associations with assumptions and values that are not necessarily inherent in the work itself, but in its rarity, uniqueness, and commercial demand. He discusses art as being seen as an almost religious icon, and how the reproduction of images has contributed to the mystification of the original image.
The second textual essay is a study of women and how they are seen, who sees them, and how they see themselves being seen by others. It is Berger's critique of the Nude as an art form, and he argues that they place women as objects to be seen and desired and overpowered by men, the subject.
The third essay is about the tradition of oil paintings in Europe between 1500 and 1900. Berger explains the connections between the content of these paintings and the ownership of them as a symbol of affluence, as products of capitalism and the maintenance of the status quo.
The fourth essay has to do with publicity, or advertisement, and the reference that such images make to oil paintings, sexual attractiveness, and dissatisfaction with the current state of life (the promise of a better future, given that you buy something).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Other Media : Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series

thirty years on, 'Ways of Seeing' continues to be a major primary textbook, not just for those studying or interested in fine art, but in any of the humanities from literature to cinema. You can see the appeal for lecturers - difficult but essential theorists such as Benjamin and Barthes are explained with bite-size lucidity, even if this sometimes has the effect of caricaturing their work. As Geoff Dyer has noted, much of the impetus given to Cultural Studies, the critical/academic form of post-modernism, can be traced to Berger's TV series and this book: many of the questions raised and areas for study pinponted have generated a whole academic industry.

In seven chapters, Berger assaults the traditional bastions of art 'appreciation', with its obfuscating jargon, elitist interests and, most damagingly, its insistence on timeless, non-'historical' values. three of these essays are text-free, image-based, and Berger claims all the essays can be read independently and in any order, as part of the process of 'deconstructing' the apparatus of art criticism that includes laying bare the mechanics, manipulations and limitations of his arguments, and undermining the very idea of coherent authorship by suggesting the name 'John Berger' signifies a five-piece collective.

Instructional and How-To : Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for

This is a well-structured and well-written text with refreshing examples from a wide range of designers. These examples reinforce the concept that successful design and typography come from critical thinking and that there is no one style or approach that is "correct."

I plan to require this book in the undergraduate typography class I teach, but because it is accessible even to a novice, I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in type. One of the strengths of the book is its succinctness, but that may be one flaw as well. When a book is so well done, you want more... (Fortunately there is a website which does have supporting materials for those who want more.) Also if you want a meaty book on the specifics of type, then you should also get Robert Bringhurst's phenomenal book "The Elements of Typographic Style." It pairs so well with the overview and examples from Lupton's book.

It is a terrific value and well-produced.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fashion : The Sartorialist

It's hard to justify buying this book. Although beautifully photographed with characteristically interesting subjects, these images have already been shown on The Sartorialist blog and Schuman's GQ page. I imagined more of a big, glossy volume and at least a little bit of new photography (instead of new photos, though, there is some caption-style writing). But as it turns out, the book's size is really fantastic, as is the use of thick matte paper. It's also very well priced, so generally speaking my disappointment comes from the expectation of new material.

Schuman is a talented photographer and may be the pioneer of street-style blogs, but he isn't as talented as some of his peers. For example, the French photographer Garance Dore is much more skilled in photography, which may be related to her artistic background as an illustrator. She has a more developed eye for representing beautiful things (rather than just recognizing them), so even though her subjects are more or less the same as Schuman's her photos are much more satisfying to look at.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Drawing : Meggs' History of Graphic Design

Now in its Fourth Edition, this unrivaled, seminal work continues its long tradition of providing balanced insight and thorough historical background. Under the new authorial leadership of Alston Purvis, this authoritative book offers more than 450 new images, along with expansive coverage of such topics as Italian, Russian, and Dutch design. It reveals a saga of creative innovators, breakthrough technologies, and important design innovations.

A significant attempt at a comprehensive history of graphic design...it will be an eye-opener not only for general readers, but for designers who have been unaware of their legacy. -- The New York Times

With this book, Meggs made it easier for designers to envision their work in terms of history. The final pages of each edition attempt to put young designers into historical context, perhaps before their influence can be accurately assessed. Although some may argue that it's an effort to control history rather than report it, this book makes for a lively debate. A History of Graphic Design, now in its third edition, stands as a monumental contribution to the field. -- Critique Magazine, Pamela Williams, Spring 1997

In my opinion, this 3rd Edition "A History of GD" is the best reference book written about graphic design. This 500 plus pages book/bible is simply divided into 5 sections, 1) The Prologue to Graphic Design, 2) A Graphic Rennaissance, 3) The Industrial Revolution, 4)The Modernist Era, and 5) The Age of Information. The topics range from the invention of writing to, creation of new typogrphic styles to, the digital revolution and computer art. There are plenty of graphics and photos on every page to accompany the wonderfully written text. If you study art history or graphic design, I think this would be a great reference book to have. It will take some time to read the entire book. But this is like a text book, so, reading only part of the chapters would be quite informative as well. Once you are done, you will definitely appreciate graphic design/graphic designers.

Design and Decorative Arts : Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for

The organization of letters on a blank sheet -- or screen -- is the most basic challenge facing anyone who practices design. What type of font to use? How big? How should those letters, words, and paragraphs be aligned, spaced, ordered, shaped, and otherwise manipulated? In this groundbreaking new primer, leading design educator and historian Ellen Lupton provides clear and concise guidance for anyone learning or brushing up on their typographic skills. Thinking with Type is divided into three sections: letter, text, and grid. Each section begins with an easy-to-grasp essay that reviews historical, technological, and theoretical concepts, and is then followed by a set of practical exercises that bring the material covered to life. Sections conclude with examples of work by leading practitioners that demonstrate creative possibilities (along with some classic no-no's to avoid).

Personally, this has probably been the most influental design book that I own. I felt like I was a better designer after having read half of it, without once touching my mac. i just knew that what I had absorbed was going to come out in my work, and it did. The book takes an overview look at design, and speaks in plain english about many things that I've heard or dealt with. But catagorizes stuff and explains things in a fluid manner so that the different bits of information come together and make sense. It is good for the novice and the struggling self taught. Full of great examples. It's too elementary for the serious designer. But for someone who did not go to Design School, but now works with design, its the perfect basic "education in a book".

This book and some of the other books from the Design Briefs series, have become an integral part of my working resource library. Ellen Lupton's book has been one that I have used over and over again. I often reference it when I am faced with a blank page that I am having a hard time laying out.

The section on typography, the largest section of the book, was a very interesting read. I enjoyed learning about the history of printing and typography. Beginning designers will appreciate the categorizing of typefaces. This leads into the discussion of electronic typesetting and the limitations and challenges that has created for designers.

Saxon Math : Saxon Math 65: An Incremental Development

This book is being used by my grandsons 6th grade, and I am helping him with his homework. I have three university degrees, including Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate in science, business, and economics. And I have taught at the university graduate and undergrate level for more than twenty years. I was astounded at the efficient and advanced technique used by the author, Stephen Hake, to gradually introduce most basic concepts of logic, arithmetic, alegebra, geometry,and other subjects to my 12 year old student in this book, in a practical manner with practical every day applications, so that he absorbed them as by osmosis, without actually knowing it. This will provide him with a solid foundation for the four years of mathematics he will receive in high school, and for his later studies at university level. Hake does this without muddying up the young students mind with such distracting technical terms as "algebra, geometry, solid geometry, trigonometry, logic,and other subjects," by introducing the basic concepts of each subject with practical problems that require the student to, unwittingly, apply them.

Blog Archive

My Blog List