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review 2020-06-01 08:47
The Geeky Chef Cookbook
The Geeky Chef Cookbook: Real-Life Recipes for Your Favorite Fantasy Foods - Unofficial Recipes from Doctor Who, Games of Thrones, Harry Potter, and more - Cassandra Reeder

I always like it when people take something they like, in this case food, and look in a lot of different places how other people are dealing with it. In the geeky chef cookbook, accompanying the blog, there is a collection of foods, both savory and sweet that has links with many fandoms.

The recipes often look great, but what I particularly liked about this cookbook, except for the research that went into designing foods that have something very meagre descriptions in the works they originate from, was the sheer number of different fandoms that the book touches upon. I think it is simply impossible, if you even slightly identify as geeky, to not find at least some of your favorites here.

I haven’t made any of the recipes myself, although I really want to make those lemon cakes from ASOIAF, the cake from Portal, and the cauldron cakes from HP. Apparently, I’m more of a sweet tooth than I give myself credit from.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2020-05-24 14:56
The Christmas Cookie Plate
The Christmas Cookie Plate: 50 Years of Award-Winning Cookie Recipes From The Russell Kitchen - Julie Schoen

by Julie Schoen

 

I don't normally read much of the introduction to cookbooks but go straight for the recipes. This one was an exception as the author's story about her mother and grandmother's talents for baking was actually very interesting. I also found myself actually reading through the recipes rather than picking and choosing a few of especial interest as I usually do.

 

I found myself saying "I'm going to have to try that," on many of the first recipes, though the bulk of them were pretty standard and there were an inordinate number using coconut, which I do like but not in everything! I started reading too close to Christmas this year to do some trials for my holiday baking, but I'll be trying out some of these recipes through the year and I expect some, like candy apple cookies, will make it into next year's holiday baking plans.

 

A lot of the recipes use ingredients only available in the U.S., and one was even made from a German Chocolate cake mix only available in the U.S., so they aren't all the treasured family recipes that the introduction would lead me to believe. Still, a few of them look really good.

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review 2020-05-24 14:35
The British Table
The British Table: A New Look at the Traditional Cooking of England, Scotland, and Wales - Colman Andrews,Christopher Hirsheimer

by Colman Andrews

 

Traditional British cookbooks can be difficult to find in England. Seriously, ethnic cookbooks are everywhere but apart from BeRo and Mrs Beeton, the more modern cookbooks tend to pass over the Brits.

 

This one is full of beautiful, full color pictures and information the author has picked up while traveling in the UK. Some of the observations made are interesting to read from an American self-professed Anglophile's point of view.

 

The recipes start out with good, basic recipes for oatcakes, porridge, bacon rolls, etc., then it gets fancy with Omelette Arnold Bennett, which I've never heard of. It struck me as the sort of thing you would find in a good restaurant.

 

Some of the soups were a bit fancy, also more like restaurant fare than home cooking. The chapters cover Breakfast, Soups, Fish and Shellfish, Poultry and Rabbit, Beef, Pork and Lamb, Wild Game and Offal and Savory Pies and Puddings. These are followed by Vegetables, Desserts and Confections, and then even cover sauces and condiments, Teatime and drinks.

 

They deviated from English food on Gnocchi, which is Italian. But this was followed by some traditional Scottish recipes and soon came back to English with fish and chips. It seemed to me there was a lot of fish and seafood, but we do have a history of that on this island nation. Some Indian recipes were included, which is a popular cuisine here since colonial times, and the poultry section even included grouse, which you won't see in the usual cookbooks.

 

I maintain that my Yorkshire Pudding recipe is better, but there were several recognizable traditional recipes. I didn't know what to make of the vegetable recipes. It seemed directed at vegetarians, and someone ought to tell the author that builder's tea means milk and one sugar!

 

I think this might make a good first cookbook for Anglophiles who have an interest in the history of British cuisine. I don't know anyone who makes their own mayonnaise in modern times, but the overall balance gives a nice taste of the history of food in Britain.

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review 2020-05-16 14:20
Only in Naples
Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law - Katherine Wilson

by Katherine Wilson

 

Non-fiction.

 

This story is non-fiction and is the personal experiences of the author when she visited Naples and ended up marrying an Italian man. She comes from a well-off family and found herself at that crossroad where one decides what to do with their life, and against all convention for her 'set' chose Naples as her destination for a holiday before going to college.

 

She takes us through her discovery of Italian culture and a very different attitude towards food than she grew up with in a part of American society where eating disorders are far too common. I found her comments on the Italian women's awareness of their physicality very interesting from a cross cultural point of view, as well as her observations of how regular eating schedules left her feeling satisfied after meals and no longer binge eating.

 

Other aspects of the differences between American and Italian culture were also interesting to read, as she had a familiar intolerance with some of the different customs. There seemed to always be something to upset or confuse her, or she would blunder in ways that upset the natives and taught her an ever expanding set of customs in a culture very different from what she had known.

 

I found the writing very engaging and although I don't come from the same sort of background the author did, I could identify with her bewilderment in some situations and the juggle of trying to fit into a different culture while still learning the rules. I was also pleasantly surprised at the end because she gave detailed recipes for some of the more popular food she told of in the story. I now know how to make authentic Neopolitan Ragu! I'll leave the octopus for others though.

 

Altogether a very satisfying read that left me feeling like I had experienced Naples from the inside, among the natives.

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url 2020-05-11 02:31
Cooking: Lentil Soup recipe from Kitchn

No picture, because I ate it and packed the leftovers away before thinking to do that. I'll probably end up making this again, because the flavor was great and it was overall really easy to do. I peeled and cut the carrots earlier in the week and froze them, since I wasn't quite sure when I'd be making this, and used green lentils instead of red (not sure that I've ever even seen red at the store before) and dried minced onions instead of fresh. It worked out well, and my apartment now smells amazing.

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