I'm amazed at how superior your vanilla is!
- Des, The Grommet

Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings


Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings: 60 Sensational Recipes to Liven up Greens, Grains, Slaws and Every kind of Salad by Michele Anna Jordan; The Harvard Common Press; 2013-07-19

Although I can’t remember quite how I first  met Michele Anna Jordan, I have been a fan of hers for decades. She stayed overnight at my home years ago when she did a reading at a local bookstore, and I remember being entranced by her knowledge of wine and food. We both also share a love of vanilla though Michele is a savory food and good wine gal (but always wears a vanilla-based perfume), and I’m a “Sure I like savory foods but I also want dessert!” queen.

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Share — The Cookbook that Celebrates our Common Humanity.

16256838As a member of a number of culinary organizations, I’m always excited to see the wonderful array of cookbooks that fellow culinarians publish each year. Getting a coveted review in the New York Times or making the  holiday short lists in the national press can elevate some lucky authors to magnificent sales and notoriety, but there are so many books that don’t make the cut for whatever reason or aren’t glamorous  yet are valuable gems.

One such book that has caught my attention is Share: The Cookbook that Celebrates our Common Humanity. With  a foreword by Meryl Streep, Share  has created some buzz, and there are contributions from well-known people, but it’s not a sexy book with a glitzy cover and over-the-top recipes that will sit on coffee tables and look glamorous, whether or not it’s actually used. Instead, Share highlights how food is our common denominator, a way to nourish us physically, mentally and spiritually. And it speaks of how food can provide employment, economic stability and environmental sustainability in the developing world. Additionally, all of the profits from book sales go to Women for Women International, a non-profit that provides opportunities for women who have survived rape, torture and war.

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I Scream Sandwiches

I Scream Sandwiches by Jennie Schacht (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; May, 2013)

Nothing screams SUMMER! louder to any kid than the ice cream truck bell or a trip to an ice cream shop.  For kids lucky enough to have a mom who makes homemade ice cream, it’s summer heaven, but even a dive into a store freezer for an ice cream sandwich will do in a pinch. You may remember, however, that unless you score an “It’s It,” most ice cream sandwiches have soggy cookies and artificially flavored ice cream.  We tolerated them — and kids still do — because they are cold and sweet.

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Desserts in Jars

By Shaina Olmanson; Harvard Common Press; May, 2012

Looking for a creative, playful cookbook as a gift for a friend? One that doesn’t break the bank but is filled with great ideas? If so, I recommend Desserts in Jars!

When I first learned about this totally fun book, my
assumption was that it would be filled with gift ideas to make and then  give to friends. The gifts would then be baked or prepared by the recipient.. While one chapter in the book is dedicated to just that, the majority of the book
is about creating delicious and fanciful desserts and either serving them in any of a large variety of Mason (or other) jars or baking or freezing the desserts in jars as gifts.

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Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

By Alice Medrich (Artisan Books, 2012)

Dessert: Who doesn’t love it? Even those of us who have sworn off of sugar or beg-off to hold at-bay another pound, secretly have illicit thoughts of a rich, warm morsel from the oven in deep winter, or an icy granita or a cone filled with buttery, creamy ice cream on a blistering day.

Okay, maybe I’m projecting a little too much. Truth is, I love dessert! Years ago I had a conversation with a five-year-old boy, and we admitted to each other that we didn’t have a sweet tooth; we had sweet teeth – a mouth full of them! My grandsons would agree that they too would walk a mile in the snow for something chocolate.

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You’ve Got Recipes

While it may seem unlikely to find a review for a children’s cookbook on a site like this, many of us have kids or grandkids, and You’ve Got Recipes is such a special book that it deserves all the reviews it can get.

Jerry Anne Di Vecchio, a food editor at Sunset magazine for four decades, and Francoise Dudal Kirkman, a Paris trained artist, who worked with Jerry at Sunset and created many children’s cooking and crafts stories, collaborated on this deightful book to create much more than a simple cookbook for young chefs.

A charming cast of animal characters who live in Paris and San Francisco, share their recipes and thoughts with one another and readers on healthy, fresh French and California cuisine by way of the internet.  The recipes are simple enough for children to execute (with adult assistance for the younger culinarians), but tasty enough to please kids and grownups alike.

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Mustard Seed Market and Cafe Natural Foods Cookbook

By Bev Shaffer

It’s always a pleasure to review books that tempt the palate or stretch the mind.  However,
there is a downside.  I do most of my reading in the evening, so if it’s compelling, I’ll stay
up much too late.  I refuse to even consider a novel as I end up “writing” in my sleep.
And then there are the culinary books.

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