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Christmas with Southern Living 2011: Savor * Entertain * Decorate * Share
Christmas with Southern Living 2011: Savor * Entertain * Decorate * Share
by Southern Living Maga
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars South for the holidays, 30 Sept. 2011
This is a cookbook with about 350 recipes. It has an oversize width, about 9" which makes for huge pictures, but sometimes a more awkward handling... the pictures are luscious not all recipes have pictures, but there is at least one picture a page. The book contains ideas for table settings- all very elegant, which are Christmassy; however the recipes and menus could really be for almost any holiday.

There are test kitchen secrets on many pages, such as- to mash the potatoes by hand or they turn into paste if you use a blender. There are make ahead tips for many which really do help with party and dinner planning. Each recipe has the servings and hands on time and total time required for each dish. There is an index by ingredient and type of dish and a metric equivalent chart included.

The best factors in this book are the various hors d'oeuvres and snack type recipes. Main dishes, the sides that go with them, various drinks and desserts are included. These are recipes that I have seen before, but this collection is good gathered together. The absolute best one in here is the one for potato gratin with rosemary - it is a sure fire pleaser and will impress your guests in both presentation and taste; it's not that hard to make in fact pretty easy.
In total this is really not a specific Christmas book for the most part. It is great for entertaining for almost any season.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars To sew again, 28 Sept. 2011
This book gives directions for 32 quilts; however they are really not quilts made from scraps. In theory you could use scraps, but the directions are for only fat quarters and larger pieces of fabric.
With each quilt a project rating of easy, intermediate and complicated are given (inexplicably three are missing this). Hints are given, charts, steps and diagrams make the directions pretty clear; although I would not say this is for a beginning quilter, unless they were an experienced `sewer' with some determination to start on the easy ones.

There are very clear instructions in a general instruction section. The quilts that I had success with and look more difficult than they were are the; artisan star and seams of opal. The simple cross would be my first choice for an inexperienced quilter. It does turn out into a handsome project.
This is one of the better quilting books, but the price that it is listed at, sometimes seems a bit steep. It really does not deserve the title of scrap material either.

The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons
The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons
by Amanda Blake Soule
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family ideas, 28 Sept. 2011
This little book gives some ideas to get a young family back into the rhythm of the seasons and the rhythm of nature. It has a chapter for each month of the year and in each chapter are word and thoughts from mama and papa, like the ins and outs of children going outside and back in, in the winter. There are a few recipes in the whole book; the oat bread is very good. There are things to make or do such as knitting projects, growing herbs, going camping.
In total it's a sweet little book for your family or to give as a gift.

Kitchen Cures: Homemade Remedies for Your Health
Kitchen Cures: Homemade Remedies for Your Health
by Readers Digest Association
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandma was right, 25 Sept. 2011
If your grandmother or some other all-knowing friend or relative has ever advised you on how to heal some malady you will probably find it in here; although one of our family remedies, using loose tobacco for bee stings (which really works) is missing - but maybe tobacco isn't supposed to be in the kitchen. Otherwise there are over a thousand remedies that Reader's Digest says they have found that have passed the test of time and have ingredients commonly found in the kitchen pantry. These also had to be simple, not complicated or risky. There are cautions in the beginning that really should be emphasized more often throughout the book on; if you are pregnant, taking prescription medicine, have a serious heath condition, etc.

There are frequent warnings about when to call a doctor, which is good, since these are not substitutes for seeking medical help for malingering problems...but many certainly help in the short run.

The book contains four sections; one- giving an A-Z guide on natural medicines on your kitchen shelves, two- using your kitchen pantry to help your health and appearance, part three lists ailments in alphabetical order from acne to yeast infections and various ways to cure the problem, part four gives tips on practical home healing. There is an excellent index which gives ingredients and health problems.

I have used some that have worked and some that haven't, but yet have had others swear by them. Using dried cherries for gout has been successful for several members of my family, honey for hiccups, tonic water with quinine for leg cramps; apples for nausea are some of the time proven ones that have worked for us. Others like vinegar for a sore throat have been less successful, but each malady has several "cures" and the salt water gargle is a success.

This is a good book, especially for those who like to use natural remedies rather than reaching for chemicals which aren't as good for you and are more expensive. It's not an excuse to not go to doctors, but it can be a first step to use and much of a preventive guide too.

Illustrated Step-By-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books)
Illustrated Step-By-Step Baking (DK Illustrated Cook Books)
by Caroline Bretherton
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy bake,, 17 Sept. 2011
This is a big, heavy, bulky book which does make for big pictures (approximately 2"x2") of their step by step instructions. Not all recipes have step by step pictures, but there are step by step instructions and explanations for all and pictures of the finished product. There is also an easy to understand key for each: servings, prep time, and cooking time, freezing or storing information. Special equipment is also noted; such as loaf pan, brioche molds. There are some pictures in the beginning that have no identification which could easily have been remedied.
The inside covers contain useful charts of volume, oven temperature, cake pan, yeast, weight, volume, butter equivlilants and calculating pastry quantities. The book contains; everyday, celebration and small cakes, patisserie, cookies and slices, meringues and soufflés, cheesecakes, sweet and savory tarts and pies, classic, artisan, flat, quick breads and batters. There is also an index.

This is absolutely wonderful for a beginning cook or even those who are not used to baking from scratch and its joys. The book does miss some helpful points, that beginning cooks would need; like warning when you zest oranges and lemons not to get the pith/white part in and avoiding the bitterness it would bring. Then there is the method of making sourdough, which they do admit is cheating, by using flour and yeast and water and letting it sit for a few days.
The savory pie section is absolutely a hit in our family. The crab and shrimp tart with saffron is marvelous as is the steak and wild mushroom pie, fish pie, steak and kidney double crust pie, cold chicken and ham pie. There is a wonderful version of beef wellington - relatively easy and will impress the heck out of your family or guests and even the sourdough rolls are good (but I did use my own sourdough starter for them).
So beginning cooks and even more experienced ones might enjoy purchasing this book or especially getting it for a gift.

Classic Sourdoughs, Revised: A Home Baker's Handbook
Classic Sourdoughs, Revised: A Home Baker's Handbook
by Ed Wood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.39

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sourdough specific, 17 Sept. 2011
This is a good book for those that have baked bread before and perhaps tried sourdough and want to have more adventures with those recipes. I would not recommend it for a beginning bread baker. The directions and methods are for those that are a bit more experienced.

Ed Wood is an experienced sourdough baker. He is very exact and precise about his sourdough cultures and keeping them pure from yeast. Included in this book are; the birth and life of sourdough, the ingredients, putting it together, recipes that go from the basic sourdough to challah, to rye and then muffins, buns, pancakes and waffles. He includes baking with a bread machine which will probably be a relief to those that wish to use them. There are lots of savory bread recipes which are wonderful and some no-kneads are also included There is information on cultures from Sourdough International and an index.

If you would like to make your own culture, which is truly an adventure and an amazing project for interesting younger bakers in this art - that is included. He has come up with the idea and provides instructions for making your own proof box - just Styrofoam and a light bulb. The proof box is not that difficult and is a great tool in this age of air conditioned, controlled temperature housing.

It is a revelation for even some experienced bakers to learn of and be able to obtain different cultures and to bake bread using no commercial yeast. It's truly an experience that you should do if you have started to bake bread...which I would advise everyone to try - it's fun and such a satisfying experience.
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The Lexicon of Real American Food
The Lexicon of Real American Food
by Jane Stern
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.86

4.0 out of 5 stars All kinds of American food, 15 Sept. 2011
Jane and Michael Stern continue on their mission to discover and edify Americans about American food. This book contains an accumulation of information about regional food in alphabetical order from American chop suey to Wonder bread and Ya-Ka-Mein. There are some recipes and many photos of the food dishes, the places it is served at.
Information is given about each entry, its history, the local pronunciation and how it is served. Some entries are ½ a page others such as barbecue cover several pages. This will help you discover some dishes you might want to try if you are in America and learn more about.
It would have been better for this reason if the index could have included regional divisions and that the recipes were listed separately by page.

Some information is given on James Beard and Julia Child and other regional chefs/cooks. There is diner lingo and an entry on diner icons like the boomerang Formica pattern on counters and tabletops of old fashioned diners. Of course some regional dishes or names are missing...the tenderloin I have had in Virginia is not the tenderloin of Indiana and no grinders in the g's, it is listed under hero - so some regional names will not be under what you might expect, instead in another category, but at least usually listed in the index as to what page they are on. You will learn that your Wisconsin hamburger is liable to come soaked in butter- a butter burger; also how to order a cheese steak in Philadelphia - "wit" or "wit'out".
For many this might not seem at first glance, as interesting of a book as it turns out to be.

A History of Design from the Victorian Era to the Present: A Survey of the Modern Style in Architecture, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, and Photography
A History of Design from the Victorian Era to the Present: A Survey of the Modern Style in Architecture, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, and Photography
by Ann Ferebee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £32.50

4.0 out of 5 stars House style and more, 15 Sept. 2011
This book shows developments in design from the Victorian era to present day. It is an updated version from a 1970 book. It is not a picture book, there is actually more text than pictures, although there are plenty of them. Many photos are less than 3"x4". Most are in colour and labeled. Included are; Victorian design, art nouveau, early modern design, and late modern.
Each section is illustrated with both interior designs and architectural designs of the period, such as; Central Park, The Eiffel Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge. Interior designs take in chairs and even inventions such as telephones and the bicycle.

What does become confusing at times are the time jumps that occur in each section, especially the Victorian era where styles are shown up to the year 1968. This can be a bit disconcerting to see a Campbell's soup can in the Victorian era. I would have preferred more of a chronological approach, which is what the contents and organization implies. At times the subject matter seems all muddled up in its presentation and method.

This book would be of interest to designers of all sort and those who enjoy and are interested in construction and its details. It is a good textbook of the history of the continuation of design and of cultural icons.

Kitchen Simple: Essential Recipes for Everyday Cooking
Kitchen Simple: Essential Recipes for Everyday Cooking
by James Peterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.22

4.0 out of 5 stars Simple food, 15 Sept. 2011
James Peterson's `Kitchen Simple' presents recipes that have 30 minutes or less preparation, not counting cooking time. The elegance for these dishes is in their presentation the twist in some added ingredients. Not every finished dish is pictured and there are usually two recipes per page. Peterson gives a list and descriptions of ingredients equipment to have on hand. A short section on cooking techniques is included.

These are not the usual run of the meal recipes for the usual comfort food, but they are perhaps the modern day equivalent of that. There are recipes with a bit of a difference for your family or your guests. The recipes are not that hard, they are short and basically simple, especially if you are an experienced cook, but determined beginners would be able to handle these. There are some great ideas for making medallions out of salmon or other fish to keep thin parts from overcooking.
Our family has especially enjoyed the Russian tea cookies, the garlic soup with poached eggs, the fresh tuna salad and Peach Melba.
The book contains; hors d'oeuvres, soups, salads, vegetables, cheese dishes, seafood, pasta and grains, meat, poultry, sauces and desserts., breakfast, hot and cold drinks. An index is included.
This is a book for those that want to add something just a little bit different to their collection.

Contemporary Color in the Landscape: Top Designers * Inspiring Ideas * New Combinations
Contemporary Color in the Landscape: Top Designers * Inspiring Ideas * New Combinations
by Andrew Wilson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £34.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The power of natural colour, 13 Sept. 2011
Andre Wilson presents a coffee table book that is probably equal parts photos and text showing not just the colours of gardens but in other outdoor settings as well. He describes how we see, respond and design with colour. There are also chapters on contrast, intensity, minimizing colour, breaking the rules and inspired by nature.

The pictures are all lush and beautiful, but one wonders at times where is the fog and the drizzle which can present interest too and after all are a part of life, especially in England where most of these pictures were taken. Many times the plant varieties are named, but not always and that would have been better, especially when you see something you might want to acquire.
There are lovely close ups of flowers and plants to emphasize and show the palettes of colour and wonderful photos of natural colour in the urban landscape.
This is a book for gardeners, artists and lovers of colour and of course of gardens, especially English gardens in particular.

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