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Herbs To Grow Indoors: For Flavor, For Fragrance, For Fun
Herbs To Grow Indoors: For Flavor, For Fragrance, For Fun
by Adelma Grenier Simmons
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what you need indoors, 18 July 2011
This is exactly what you need if you have wanted to grow herbs indoors, in a garden window, a shelf where there is natural light or a small greenhouse. It is encouraging also, that you can have a window, even without necessarily direct sunlight. There are pencil drawings for ideas such as pots suspended in lettuce baskets or on a pebble tray.
Lists are done of the herbs, their uses and history and how to plant them. Included is; planning, basic culture, herbs to grow for flavor, fragrance and finally a section with recipes. An index is incorporated too. The binding on the book is not very good and since it has not been reprinted expect to have to glue it, if you are using this as a reference, but it seems to be the only one specializing in indoor growing.

There is no information on sprouts, which is sometimes included in with herbal growing. It should have included how and when to harvest, but for the growing and propagating it can't be beat.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Go green,, 14 July 2011
`Eat Greens' does give recipes to use with about 30 different greens that are commonly found in most larger supermarkets or farmer's markets. It has as its goal to show what to do with those greens. They are put in alphabetical order from artichokes to zucchini; but where it could have been more of a help is to make sure each type at least has a small picture, so they are easily identifiable.
There is some advice on planting, but the emphasis is on how to choose the greens at the market and how to store them. For most the nutritional information is given, such as calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and vitamins and minerals. There are several recipes for nearly every kind listed along with what they are, their history and some simple hints on how to serve.
Sometimes there is vital information left out, for example; leeks. We are told cleaning is labor intensive, but no information on how to accomplish this is given, which could have been as simple as cutting the leeks, separating and letting them stand in a dish of cold water. Also for a book that purports to solve the puzzle over what to do with greens; when it comes to salad greens such as bibb lettuce, romaine, arugula, escarole, there is only a sentence or two about them.

This is a book that would help those unfamiliar with many of these greens. The recipes, for the most part, are not really that original, for example, recipes include; sautéed kale, spinach and collard greens, minted pea soup, leeks and garlic, dill and parsley pesto. More experienced cooks would probably not find much new .

My Grill
My Grill
by Pete Evans
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Throw it on the `barbie', 14 July 2011
This review is from: My Grill (Hardcover)
Pete Evans is a popular Australian chef and he presents recipes to cook on grills; although, for only a couple does he say that they can also be cooked on the stovetop - it would seem that most of them would also work in skillets, frying pans and grills, especially if they were cast iron on an indoor stove.

There are many pictures of him and the scenery around his cooking locations. Each recipe has a page devoted to it and then a large colour picture. He gives some information about each dish and some substitutions than can be used. It is nice to have some grilling recipes that are a bit different than the normal throw on a hamburger or steak, but not all that difficult to make. My only problem with many of his dishes is that you have to have a taste for chilies, chili oil, chili powder, pepper flakes, hot paprika or seasonings such as Szechuan peppercorns. It does get a bit tiresome to have so many fiery tasting dishes... granted you can omit and lessen the amounts. There are some lovely fish recipes such as; grilled hamachi with hoisin glaze, halibut with lemon and parsley butter, trout with wild mushrooms, prosciutto and garlic.

The book is divided into 3 sections, grilling away from home, easy casual recipes and those for an evening meal. There are no desserts, but some drink recipes, our favorite is fish house punch made with rum, brandy and guava juice. Two other family favorites have been; mushrooms on toast with ricotta and Pacific sole with warm dressing of garlic, parsley and red wine vinegar.
Grilling aficionados and cookbook collectors would probably enjoy this cookbook.

Artists' Handmade Houses
Artists' Handmade Houses
by Don Freeman
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Home is where the art is, 14 July 2011
This is an interesting coffee table book presenting 13 artists' homes that were built from the late 19th century to the mid 20th . They include Russel Wright, Henry Varnum Poor, Raoul Hague, Ralph Whitehead, Jane Byrd McCall, Frederic Church, Constantino Nivola in New York state, Henry Chapman Mercer, George Nakashima, Wharton Esherick in Pennsylvania, Paolo Soleri and Michael Kahn, Leda Livant in Arizona, Sam Maloof in California and Ruth and Robert Hatch in Massachusetts.

There are large well done pictures of the houses and text that explains the house and the artist themselves. There are pictures and explanations of the detail; the tiles, stairs, furniture, decoration, cookware and many times how they and the house itself were made. There is a page of visitor information for those houses that are open to the public.
This would be a book of interest to not only decorators, architects, woodworkers, but also to other artists.

The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington
The Whites of Their Eyes: Bunker Hill, the First American Army, and the Emergence of George Washington
by Paul Douglas Lockhart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.85

4.0 out of 5 stars The fire of patriotism, 7 July 2011
Paul Lockhart presents evidence that the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought, not between an invincible British army and skillful colonial sharpshooters; but between two inexperienced and untested armies. He provides the background of both the British and American officers, including explanations of some of the normal battle plans and maneuvers of the era. The actions of each side, and the points and movements of the battles are well detailed.

He begins with a thorough prologue that tells how the geography of Boston has changed since colonial times and why the battle was so significant. There are maps and some black and white drawings and portraits throughout. Many of the maps have information that is hidden in the fold of the book. Hopefully this will be corrected in later editions by leaving some white space between the two pages so that all the information on each map can be seen. However there is some question left in the details of why it is known as the Battle of Bunker Hill not Breed's Hill. Personally I also question his statement that, "Bunker Hill lives on because it is the great American battle, more so than Gettysburg, more so than the landings at Normandy."

The story never really attains a level of an engrossing historical chronicle. At times Gage's ideas and thoughts on America become repetitive; and then on one page we are told the British officers discouraged their men from aiming their muskets, as opposed to the Americans who were accomplished marksmen. A few pages later we read the British were trained in marksmanship and "the average New England soldier in 1775 was not particularly familiar with fire arms...The British...were battle-hardened professionals." But one of the main premises of the book is that the British suffered so many casualties, because they were not hardened soldiers and they instinctively stopped when fired upon to fire back instead of advancing, thus setting themselves up as standing targets. It becomes a bit frustrating to read these conflicting statements.

There is much of interest, though in this book. The examination of the men who were qualified to lead the Continental Army and Washington's reaction when he was chosen are not usually found in the recounting of this period of American history. Lockhart cannot be faulted for his descriptions of the battle or the officers' and soldiers' actions and the movements of either side. He does not forget to include some of the forgotten leaders, such as John Stark. Those who are interested in American history, the American Revolution, especially the beginnings of the fight for independence would find `The Whites of Their Eyes' of interest.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars EASY GOOD EATING, 7 July 2011
`Cooking Light Comfort Food' presents a way to fix traditional family favorites in a more healthful way, without losing flavor or searching for exotic substitutions. Nutritional information including calories are given as well as a list of what makes the dish light; such as using turkey sausage, fat free milk, egg substitute and reduced fat cheese. Colour pictures are given for each recipe and some recipes take 30 minutes or less and are so marked. Many of the breakfast dishes can be prepared ahead of time and then cooked later, especially handy dishes to have for company and wonderful family early morning meals.

Recipes included are; breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides and desserts. The index can be a bit confusing, some dishes are listed under the main ingredient, some under what they are, such as chili or casseroles; but with some trial and error you can find the information you need.
Most of the dishes in here will become family favorites and if you do not tell them you are cooking light, they probably will never know the difference between these and the regular fat and calorie laden recipes.

Folly Beach (Lowcountry)
Folly Beach (Lowcountry)
by Dorothea Benton Frank
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.52

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Déjà vu all over again, 7 July 2011
This story is basically about a woman, Cate Cooper whose husband commits suicide and leaves her penniless. It also turns out he has bedded all the women in his office, fathered a child with another, lost all their money and possessions and ruined his business partner's life.
Cate is able to return to where she was brought up on one of the islands near Charleston to be taken in by her aunt who raised her and her sister. The story wraps around how she will rebuild her life.

There are several things in this book that seem contrived in some scenarios and you find your credibility strained at coincidences that occur. Many of them concern the other part of the book of included play scenes with the love story of Dorothy Heyward who was married to the man who was said to have helped to write Porgy and Bess with Gershwin. Much of what is related about this whole relationship seems farfetched until you start looking up facts for yourself.
Dorothea Benton Frank writes in an author's note about the coincidences between her and Heyward and some of the historical facts. This would have been better placed in the beginning of the book to help with the understanding and make the play inserts less strange and intrusive. They do grow on you after a while, at least after you know the facts.

The main irritation that happened during reading, is that it just seemed like I had read this story before; a woman is wronged, she goes back home to the island beach community to be taken in by the relative who raised her, meets the flawless man, stumbles upon things that make her life perfect again. I actually stopped reading at one point to look up Franks bibliography to see if this was a reissue.
Despite all this it was a pleasant "beach" book. As someone interested in history and music, the Porgy and Bess background was interesting' but it did leave some holes in my enjoyment. With those cautions it's still sort of a nice read.

Finding Everett Ruess: the Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer
Finding Everett Ruess: the Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer
by Jon Krakauer
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To disappear, 7 July 2011
David Roberts writes an interesting book about a little known wanderer - Everett Ruess. It seems as if almost no one knows his story - he is one of the many throughout the years that have explored wilderness areas and not come out...just disappeared.

What makes a book out of this is that Everett kept diaries and sent letters home. Although his descriptions do not seem to meet the high flowing praise of brilliant, legendary and remarkable. His writings that are recounted do not really present much of a picture to anyone who has not experienced these areas, his descriptions are more in the line of," I was drunk with the beauty of it". He does not win much admiration for his sense of entitlement either. During the depression expecting the support at most points from his parents who were not well off and struggled financially themselves. At one point he celebrates receiving money from them by purchasing caviar and foie gras.

After reading all these detailed descriptions it is hard to see what he accomplished except some self-absorbed wanderings supported by his parents. It is difficult to find much that is remarkable in his writings of his meanderings other than the fact he liked to be out in the wilderness area. He doesn't even seem to be aware of the honor he was given by being allowed to participate in Hopi dances. In fact many of his letters home complain of the behavior and morals of the Indians.
There are several theories described in detail at the end of the book on how he met his death and even some speculation on whether he still might be alive, none of them proved. This in total is an interesting read, only if you might enjoy reading about a young man wandering in the southwest in the 1930's.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 19, 2011 9:48 PM BST

The Social Climber's Handbook
The Social Climber's Handbook
by Molly Jong-Fast
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misnomer, 6 July 2011
This book relates the story, mainly of a family that is extravagantly rich, living in one of the best buildings on Park Avenue with their twin daughters. It is not the usual tale of social climbing or outdoing each other with the most `toys'. Instead it relates an account of general impoliteness and nastiness of a family, `friends' and acquaintances to one another and then degenerates into murder; and not just suspenseful murder - it happens and the guilty party is never caught or even suspected by the authorities.

We are left with no liking or empathy for any character in the story; even the wronged wife, Daisy generates no sympathy. We read of her time at fat camp and her husband's unfaithfulness and feel no emotion for her plight or even that of her daughters, for which we really only have a superficial portrayal.
The title would lead one to believe it is more of a lighter summer read of the high flyers in the social order.
Relief from their tortuous lives only comes when you close the book.

Saveur New American Comfort Food
Saveur New American Comfort Food
by James Oseland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taking comfort food to the next level, 4 July 2011
Saveur presents their take on comfort food - from around the world. Most recipes have pictures and there are very instructive sidebars which give information such as; know your artichokes, clam varieties with pictures, legumes, butter, kimchi, perfect poaching.

Recipes included are; snacks, starters and salads, soups and stews, eggs, pasta and noodles, fish and shellfish, poultry, meat, vegetables and sides, baked goods and sweets, drinks, with especially interesting variations and region drinks - like 6 Texas cocktails and 6 regional Bloody Marys.
Family favorites have been matzo brei with mushrooms and asparagus, pork loin stuffed with prosciutto and broiled salmon steaks with tomatoes, onions and tarragon.

It is not an all encompassing book, but one that will give some different recipes than one might normally serve. This book is not necessarily for the beginning cooks, however the recipes are not that difficult or complicated and with the help given in the sidebars a beginning determined cook could learn a lot. It would be a good addition to a cookbook collection or for those who wish to take their comfort food up to the next level.

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