Farewell, and a final booklist

reviewed by Duncan - admin

Dear Readers,

The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf launched in late 2008, aiming to give lovers of culinary books access to thoughtful and honest reviews. Together with former co-editor Mark, we created what I think was a valuable (and attractive) site for the international foodie community.

In 2011, reviewer Gfron1 (Rob) offered to help out as the workload was increasing. His contribution to managing the Book News section was invaluable in a period where my non-website work was taking more of my time, and Mark’s job was demanding almost all of his attention. Rob is a talented and busy chef whose time spent on The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf was very generous.

Unfortunately, it has proven too difficult to keep The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf going, so this is the official and belated announcement of the site’s transition to being an archive of what we achieved from 2008 to 2013.

The site had great support from a regrettably small pool of strong reviewers. I had certainly underestimated how hard it would be to convince people to review a book on the subjects they loved! I am extremely grateful to all the reviewers who put in time and enthusiasm to contribute, as well as all the efforts of Mark and Rob.

I’m also grateful for the support we received from some publishers, especially those in the USA, as well as Quadrille and Grub Street in London at the outset, and the excellent small Australian publisher Wakefield Press. It wasn’t always easy persuading publishers to understand that the fact that the site was being run mostly from Australia was irrelevant to its purpose.

The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf was born of frustration with the lightweight reviews of culinary books in glossy magazines and newspapers, and was launched just before publicists began to exploit the free and largely uncritical publicity that bloggers and foodie web-magazines could give their books. I’m proud that we stayed true to our goal of honest, critical reviewing, whilst also publishing some interesting feature articles, and regular announcements of new books of interest.

I wish all readers of and contributors to The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf good reading and healthy appetites for the future!

Below this message is a short and eclectic parting list of books appearing in 2013, mostly in coming months. Scroll down to see the books! I hope you find something to enjoy among them.

Duncan Markham
Editor

 

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One last booklist

Levant
by Anissa Helou
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Anissa Helou’s Levant is a collection of mouth-watering recipes inspired by Anissa’s family and childhood in Beirut and Syria, and her travels around the exciting regions of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Vegetable Literacy
by Deborah Madison
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In her latest cookbook, Deborah Madison, America’s leading authority on vegetarian cooking and author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families, and how understanding these connections can help home cooks see everyday vegetables in new light.
Dearie
by Bob Spitz
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The stunning story of how Julia Child transformed herself into the cult figure who touched off a food revolution that has gripped the country for more than fifty years. Spanning Pasadena to Paris, acclaimed author Bob Spitz reveals the history behind the woman who taught America how to cook.
The Cocktail Lab
by Tony Conigliaro
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From the U.K.’s preeminent bartender and one of the leading authorities on “modernist mixology” comes this collection of 60 revolutionary cocktails, all grounded in the classics but utilizing technologies and techniques from the molecular gastronomy movement.

The right cocktail is more than just a drink. It’s the perfect combination of scent, color, sound, and taste. Utilizing a broad spectrum of influences—including gastronomy, perfumery, music, art, and design—Tony Conigliaro has established himself as one of the most innovative and thought-provoking mixologists in the world. In The Cocktail Lab, Tony presents his best and boldest creations: drinks like the Vintage Manhattan, Dirty Martini by the Sea, and Cosmo Popcorn.

Japanese Soul Cooking
by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat
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A collection of more than 100 recipes that introduces Japanese comfort food to American home cooks, exploring new ingredients, techniques, and the surprising origins of popular dishes like gyoza and tempura.
Steal the Menu
by Raymond Sokolov
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Four decades of memories from a gastronome who witnessed the food revolution from the (well-provisioned) trenches—a delicious tour through contemporary food history.

When Raymond Sokolov became food editor of The New York Times in 1971, he began a long, memorable career as restaurant critic, food historian, and author. Here he traces the food scene he reported on in America and abroad, from his pathbreaking dispatches on nouvelle cuisine chefs like Paul Bocuse and Michel Guérard in France to the rise of contemporary American food stars like Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz, and the fruitful collision of science and cooking in the kitchens of El Bulli in Spain, the Fat Duck outside London, and Copenhagen’s gnarly Noma.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking
by Anya von Bremzen
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A celebrated food writer captures the flavors of the Soviet experience in a sweeping, tragicomic multi-generational memoir that brilliantly illuminates the history and culture of a vanished empire.

Proust had his madeleine; Narnia’s Edmund had his Turkish delight. Anya von Bremzen has vobla—rock-hard, salt-cured dried Caspian roach fish. Lovers of vobla risk breaking a tooth or puncturing a gum on the once-popular snack, but for Anya it’s transporting. Like kotleti (Soviet burgers) or the festive Salat Olivier, it summons up the complex, bittersweet flavors of life in that vanished Atlantis called the USSR. There, born in 1963 in a Kafkaesque communal apartment where eighteen families shared one kitchen, Anya grew up singing odes to Lenin, black-marketeering Juicy Fruit gum at her school, and, like most Soviet citizens, longing for a taste of the mythical West. It was a life by turns absurd, drab, naively joyous, melancholy—and, finally, intolerable to her anti-Soviet mother. When she was ten, Anya and her mother fled the political repression of Brezhnev-era Russia, arriving in Philadelphia with no winter coats and no right of return.

René Redzepi: A Work in Progress
by René Redzepi
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Three books in one, a journal, recipe book and flick book, A Work in Progress recounts the day-to-day life at Noma – from the trials of developing new dishes to the successes that come with winning the 50 Best Restaurant award. While the journal is the book’s heart, it is supported by the recipe book containing 100 brand new recipes and the flick book of 200 candid images which provide a stunning, and often humorous, insight into the inner workings of the restaurant and it’s talented team of chefs.
True Brews
by Emma Christensen
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This accessible home-brew guide for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fermented drinks, from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn’s Emma Christensen, offers a wide range of simple yet enticing recipes for Root Beer, Honey Green Tea Kombucha, Pear Cider, Gluten-Free Sorghum Ale, Blueberry-Lavender Mead, Gin Sake, Plum Wine, and more.
Notes from the Larder
by Nigel Slater
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Following on the success of Tender and Ripe, this companion to the bestsellingKitchen Diaries is a beautiful, inspiring chronicle of a year in food from beloved food writer Nigel Slater.

Britain’s foremost food writer returns with quietly passionate, idiosyncratic musings on a year in the kitchen, based on his journal entries (with titles like “Using up the leeks” and “Cheating with puff pastry”) and complete with descriptions of his garden in spring, making a little bit of cheese go a long way, and his love of salad spinners. More than a diary, Notes from the Larder is a collection of small kitchen celebrations, be it a casual supper of warm flat breads with grilled lamb, or a quiet moment contemplating a bowl of cauliflower soup with toasted hazelnuts. With more than 250 recipes, Nigel Slater offers a glimpse into the daily inspiration behind his cooking and the pleasures of making food by hand.

D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients
by Alex Atala
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Alex Atala: Discovering New Brazilian Ingredients is an exclusive look at one of the world’s most exciting chefs, his unique relationship with the produce of his native Brazil and the food he creates from it.

Recently voted as number 4 in the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurant Awards, Alex Atala’s restaurant D.O.M has built its unique style of cuisine on the discovery and exploration of Brazilian ingredients combined with a commitment to finding sustainable solutions to sourcing them to the benefit of the Amazon and its people.

A Greedy Man in a Hungry World
by Jay Rayner
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The UK’s most influential food and drink journalist shoots a few of the sacred cows of the food world.

The doctrine of local food is dead. Farmers’ markets are merely a lifestyle choice for the affluent middle classes. And ‘organic’ has become little more than a marketing label that is way past its sell by date. That may be a little hard to swallow for the ethically-aware food shopper but it doesn’t make it any less true. And now the UK’s most outspoken and entertaining food writer is ready to explain why.

Food DIY
by Tim Hayward
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In Food DIY, Tim Hayward, editor of influential food magazine Fire & Knives and enthusiastic DIYer, will show you:

- How to make your own butter and cheese, sloe gin, suet pudding and potted lobster.
- How to smoke, and cure fish and meats, air-dry bresaola and boerwoers, as well as pickle fish, game and vegetables.
- He’ll explain the mysteries of terrines and faggots, bread and buns, as well how to spit-roast a whole lamb, make a clam bake in a wheelbarrow, smoke a salmon in a gym locker and deep fry a turkey outdoors.
- He’ll teach you how to make your own takeaway: from delicious Peking duck and fried chicken to doner kebab and your morning cappuccino.

Food DIY is the essential modern urban cook’s manual.

Thomas Keller Bouchon Collection
by Thomas Keller
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Bistro food is the food of happiness. The dishes have universal allure, whether it’s steak frites or a perfectly roasted chicken, onion soup or beef bourguignon. These are recipes that have endured for centuries, and they find their most perfect representation in the hands of the supremely talented Thomas Keller. And just as Bouchon demonstrated Keller’s ability to distill the sublime simplicity of bistro cooking and elevate it beyond what it had ever been before, the #1 New York Times best-seller Bouchon Bakery is filled with baked goods that are a marvel of ingenuity and simplicity. From morning baguettes and almond croissants to fruit tarts and buttery brioche, these most elemental and satisfying of foods are treated with an unmatched degree of precision and creativity. With this exciting new collection, readers are sure to expand their knowledge, enrich their experience, and refine their technique.
Seriously Bitter Sweet
by Alice Medrich
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These days, people are accustomed to seeing chocolate labeled 54%, 61%, or 72% on grocery store shelves, but some bakers are still confused by what the labeling means and how to use it. In Seriously Bitter Sweet, Alice Medrich presents 150 meticulously tested, seriously delicious recipes—both savory and sweet—for a wide range of percentage chocolates. “Chocolate notes” appear alongside, so readers can further adapt any recipe using the percentage chocolate on hand. The book is a complete revision of Alice’s 2003 Bittersweet, which was named the 2004 IACP Cookbook of the Year. Since 2003, the world of chocolate has grown exponentially and terms like “bittersweet” and “semisweet” no longer suffice as chocolatiers everywhere are making chocolates that are labeled with specific percentages of cocoa.
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3 Comments

  1. Neville Barker
    Posted 30 May 2013 at 04:01 | Permalink

    What a shame you have had to end this great website, however, thank you it has been most enjoyable

  2. Gilda Blackmore
    Posted 30 May 2013 at 11:14 | Permalink

    Thank you. It has been a real pleasure to read your synopses and to have such a plethora of books to choose from! The pickings were slimmer for a vegetarian but I ordered quite a few books from the list. You will be missed.

  3. Posted 21 Jun 2013 at 18:54 | Permalink

    Hi Duncan
    What a shame, this was a really great site. Thank you for leaving this as an archive. I hope you visit my humble cookbook review site if you feel the need to cook or write again cookmybooksDOTnet

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