Thursday, October 27, 2011

on the book stack

Once again I have maxed out my library card with 5 books.  Actually, Canning and Preserving didn't come in until after I had checked out my 5 so I had to make the difficult choice of which one to return in exchange for it.  So then, let's start with -

Canning and Preserving with Ashley English.  I've heard so much about this book for quite a while now; I follow her blog and I did what I could to finally track down this copy of her book on canning.  It is quite a pretty book.  Most of the pages are taken up with explaining exactly how to can in a thorough, step-by-step way.  Of all of the reading I have done on canning, I'd say that this book has the best total-beginner friendly introduction to the whole process.  That said, I'd already gathered all of this information from reading so many other sources.  Her recipes are mostly the standard ones that you'd want to know at the beginning and then she has a few with a more creative flare.  If you have never canned before and want great instructions (with pictures!), this is the book for you.

While I'm at it, I'll let you know about the other preserving book I have at the moment - Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone.  In contrast to Ashely's book, this one is mostly recipes and all of them are on the more unusual side.  This book also includes recipes that incorporate the preserves into a meal.  My husband and I were salivating just looking at the pictures.  Not only that, Eugenia provides recipes that would be difficult to find elsewhere such as how to can tuna, process marinated baby artichokes and cure bacon in your apartment (I'm so going to try this).  She also knows how to put the beginning canner at ease.  The book starts by addressing my greatest fears about canning.  She writes, "I think the reason more people don't can is ultimately that they're scare of botulism poisoning.  Understandable.  But if you educate yourself on the simple science underlying safe canning, it will put those fears in perspective and open the door to really cool cooking experiences."  She goes on to explain that science and then at the beginning of every recipe (all of which she has carefully tested), she explains why it is "safe" to process it the way that she calls for.  Very reassuring; I'm inspired!

The Vouge Knitting book is an encyclopedia of stitches to help me come up with my own designs.  Once you know how to construct a certain garment, you can make it your own by playing with different stitch patterns, which I plan on doing just as soon as I learn how to construct more types of garments.  In the mean time, I'll stick to embellishing socks, mittens, fingerless gloves, and scarfs.  Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson is to help me with my long Christmas list!  I like her other book, More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, so I'm hopeful to find a few things that work in this one too.  We'll see!

I haven't read Slow Food yet, but the foreward is by Alice Waters so I anticipate good things.  I follow Slow Food USA on facebook and use their Chicago-specific website for some resources.  I'm all for the mission of Slow Food, so I'm excited to see what this book has to say.

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