Archive | April, 2007

Book Review – Real Women Eat Chiles

30 Apr

Real Women Eat Chiles
Jane Butel
Northland Publishing
194 pages
$21.95 US

By Stephanie Dickison

The title doesn’t do the book justice. It’s filled with the history of chiles along with women’s stories of how chiles have impacted their lives.

Chiles are so good for you (see pages 13 and 15) and you can get everything from mild to tears streaming down your face varieties.

For the secrets of cooking with chiles, there is a whole section to help you unravel the mysteries. And then my favourite part, the recipes. And they’re good ones – Black Bean and Goat Cheese Chalupitas; Spicy Beef and Potato Salad with Hot Red Chile Dressing, Lamb Chops with Jalapeno Jelly and Chile-Seared Salmon with Sweet Pear Pineapple Salsa.

The recipes are easy to follow and most involve few ingredients. These are recipes that you can actually use. And these are dishes that you can have on the table quickly.

There are plenty of full-page colour photos to feast your eyes on and make you hungry, but you’ll be most excited about making sumptuous meals that are easy to prepare. But don’t worry – your secret is safe with us.

Book Review – Food Finds: America’s Best Local Foods and the People Who Produce Them

22 Apr

Food Finds: America’s Best Local Foods and the People Who Produce Them
Allison Engel and Margaret Engel
Quill/HaperCollins Canada
480 pages
$27.50 CDN

By Stephanie Dickison

Usually I review sparkling new books, but I just had to tell you about this one, last published in 2000 .

It is the perfect accompaniment for a food lover. Small companies that produce their own food. They are American companies, so the products probably aren’t that familiar. As well, many of these products are based on family recipes and the places so small that many don’t have websites and don’t accept credit cards (though cheques are okay!). It is great fun and quaint all at once.

You can find everything from natural barrel dill pickles to Moxie soda pop and Loveless Motels Hams and Jams. This incredibly comprehensive book has every category that will satisfy your cravings – breads and crackers, dessert sauces, meat, soups and chilis along with many others. This is something that you’ll be going through for some time. You might even want to make it into a road trip.

My beloved and I might make the drive to search out salt water taffy and State of Maine Beans. Or maybe we’ll hit all the pretzels, chips and popcorn makers. I love the discovery of new foods and American products have such a distinct flavour and sensibility that I can’t wait to expand my food knowledge and palate.

And I promise to tell you everything upon my return!

Cookbook Winners

20 Apr

Hi Folks,

Just want to remind you to check in every Monday for a new cookbook or food book review. In the meantime, here are some recent winners to check out.

Have a great weekend!

Stephanie Dickison


Cookbook of the Year:
What to Drink with What you Eat by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page

Best American Cookbook:
The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee & Ted Lee

Best Bread, Baking and Sweets Cookbook:
Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley

Best Chefs and Restaurants Cookbook:
Allegra McEvedy’s Colour Cookbook by Allegra McEvedy

Best Compilation:
All New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook Anne C. Cain, editor

Best First Book:
The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee & Ted Lee

Best Food Reference/Technical Book: (tied)
Modern Garde Manger by Robert Garlough & Angus Campbell
The Spice and Herb Bible by Ian Hemphill

Best General Cookbook:
The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider

Best Health and Special Diet Cookbook:
Lunch Lessons:Changing the way we feed our children
by Ann Cooper & Lisa M. Holmes

Best International Cookbook:
Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland

Best Literary Food Writing:
My Life in France by Julia Child & Alex Prud’homme

Best Single Subject Cookbook:
A Passion for Ice Cream by Emily Luchetti

Best Wine, Beer or Spirits Book:
What to Drink with What you Eat by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page

The Design Award:
Au Pied de Cochon by Martin Picard & Jean-Francois Boily

The Jane Grigson Award:
Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Amy Besa & Romy Dortan

Best Food Photography and Styling:
Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong

Book Review – Cookie Sensations

15 Apr

Cookie Sensations: Creative Designs for Every Occasion

Meaghan Mountford
Thomas Nelson
128 pages
$19.99 US

By Stephanie Dickison

If you’ve ever wanted to make cookies but don’t know how or want to improve the way that you make cookies forever, this is the book for you.

Filled with easy-to-follow advice like Chapter 3: “Your Dough and Frosting: The Bare Essentials” and how to make specific colours of icing like baby yellow – “a couple of drops of Egg Yellow and a few drops of White,” you can start out being a novice and end up a cookie expert.

With colour charts, photo illustrations and fun shapes like horses and pigs on “Down on the Farm” (page 59) and little lavender footprints for “Aww… Baby” (p. 65), you might just find yourself looking for an excuse to make more cookies.

And for me, there is nothing better than spending a Sunday afternoon or evening after supper making cookies to take to your friends, neighbours and coworkers. Of course if you just want to eat ‘em all yourself, that’s okay too.