October 23, 2018

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Oven-mitt stuffers

Have a home cook on your Christmas list? Here are some cookbook hints (hint, hint) for the boss in your kitchen

<p>Have a food enthusiast on your Christmas shopping list? Baking Class, It All Begins With Food, The School Year Survival Cookbook and Treat Yourself! could all be great gift ideas.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Have a food enthusiast on your Christmas shopping list? Baking Class, It All Begins With Food, The School Year Survival Cookbook and Treat Yourself! could all be great gift ideas.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/12/2017 (321 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Many of us — mostly children, you’d think — hang stockings on the mantelpiece at Christmas time.

Some of us adults are a little more direct — perhaps hanging a large, festive oven mitt — large enough to accommodate a cookbook or two. That leaves Santa with the task of choosing just which culinary tome to tuck into it so the cook’s family will also have something to tuck into.

Here is a mélange of ideas to help Santa narrow it down and serve up just the right “oven-mitt stuffer.”

We’ll start with the literary cook. Some cooks like context. They like to venture, via their armchairs, to other kitchens in other lands. If you have one of these cooks/bookworms — or “cookworms” — in your life, they might like one of these:

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*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/12/2017 (321 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Many of us — mostly children, you’d think — hang stockings on the mantelpiece at Christmas time.

Some of us adults are a little more direct — perhaps hanging a large, festive oven mitt — large enough to accommodate a cookbook or two. That leaves Santa with the task of choosing just which culinary tome to tuck into it so the cook’s family will also have something to tuck into.

Here is a mélange of ideas to help Santa narrow it down and serve up just the right "oven-mitt stuffer."

We’ll start with the literary cook. Some cooks like context. They like to venture, via their armchairs, to other kitchens in other lands. If you have one of these cooks/bookworms — or "cookworms" — in your life, they might like one of these:

 

Keep the Canada 150 glow going with Speaking in Cod Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey by Lenore Newman (University of Regina, $29.95). Starting with a Confederation lunch, Newman blends together the history and geography of Canada’s edibles in a somewhat scholarly cross-country attempt to explain that elusive concept of "Canadian cuisine."

 

 

 

 

 

Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip (Random House $35) is another travelogue, but this one has regional recipes and photographs to keep you on the road. It comes from two writers, Lindsay Anderson (British Columbia) and Dana VanVeller (southern Ontario), who take you along for a meet, greet and let’s eat with Canadians in every direction who are only too happy to share their recipes.

 

 

 

 

Skipping to our southern neighbours, The French Chef in America: Julia Child’s Second Act (Random House, $32.95) is the follow-up to Child’s My Life In France — penned by Child’s grandnephew Alex Prud’homme. Think of it as an opportunity to tag along behind the sturdy, irreverent woman who endeared herself to so many cooks. You can hear her voice in your head.

 

 

 

 

 

Invite your cook to pull up a glass of their favourite grape, get comfy with their schadenfreude and read In Vino Duplicitas: The Rise and Fall of a Wine Forger Extraordinaire by Peter Hellman (Thomas Allen & Sons, $37.95). Follow the illegal exploits of Rudy Kurniawan, who fleeced the wealthiest wine collectors in the world for tens of millions of dollars by selling them faux vintages. How did this unknown man from Indonesia transplant himself illegally to the United States and pull this off?

 

 

 

If an appliance junkie occupies your kitchen, they may already have an electric pressure cooker (an updated version of the slightly menacing old-style stove-top version). Well, there’s a book for that. Marci Buttars and Cami Graham blog Tidbits and they’ve created Master the Electric Pressure Cooker: More than 100 Delicious Recipes from Breakfast to Dessert (Skyhorse Publishing, $35), a manual that covers basics for beginners with an illustrated accessories guide and the kind of detailed recipes that will give you the confidence to know you won’t blow up your kitchen.

 

 

If your cook is more interested in low-tech tools, help them answer the burning question: Will It Skillet? 55 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Cast-Iron Skillet by Daniel Shumski (Thomas Allen & Son, $21.95). With a light touch of humour and a heavy pan, Shumski gives the basics for the cast-iron newbies and the "run with some different ideas" to the more experienced among us.

 

 

For an even more low-tech approach to the evening meal, your cook can’t go wrong with the incredibly cost-effective (and easy-to-clean) Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight from the Oven by Raquel Pelzel (Thomas Allen & Son, $28.95). The title is slightly deceptive — you’ll find recipes here for every meal and in-between — even oatmeal! Once your cook discovers how versatile this simplest of tools can be, they’ll be all over it.

 

 

 

Help inspire the harried parent who cooks. If the young’uns are still in diapers, It All Begins with Food From Baby’s First Food to Wholesome Family Meals: Over 120 Delicious Recipes for Clean Eating and Healthy Living (Leah Garrad-Cole, Random House, $29.95) is a sound choice with tons of nutritional notes and colourful illustrations to help young parents feel good about what they are putting on the table.

 

 

 

If the kids are older, The School Year Survival Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Sanity-Saving Strategies for Every Family and Every Meal (Even Snacks) (Random House, $29.95) from Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh will help keep everyone on an even keel until summer. Your cook will find a step-by-step list for setting up a pantry, including handy, healthy make-ahead biscuit, pancake and muffin mixes; an especially useful guide to interesting lunchbox sides and fillers (so they don’t have to fall back on those sugary, store-bought granola bars); and yummy dinners that will get them to the table before everyone dashes out the door yet again.

 

 

If you are the parent of a budding chef, Deanna F. Cook will get them into their aprons with Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake! (Thomas Allen & Son, $18.95). Recipes are rated for difficulty by one, two, or three rolling pins. She includes an illustrated glossary to introduce the language of the kitchen, pointers on measuring and safety. She gets them started with toast basics, moves them on to making the bread to make the toast, and then gets them onto completing bake sale-worthy treats. (A plethora of colourful labels are included for that very purpose.) Bonus features include design stencils, cookie-cutter templates, stickers and labels and gift tags. Coil-bound with a wipe-clean cover to keep it easy-to-read and neat.

 

 

A few books are out there for the cook who wants to immerse themselves in the cuisine of a specific culture. In an updated edition of Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead (University of Regina Press, $29.95), Canadian foodie Habeeb Saloum recounts his family’s journey from French-occupied Syria in the 1920s to start a new life in Saskatchewan. They survived both the journey and the not-always-friendly welcome to preserve and adapt a family’s culinary tradition. The book is a reminder of the important contributions that newcomers make to our culture: these early Arab immigrants are responsible for bringing to Canada two crops that have become a key part of Western Canada’s agricultural economy: lentils and chickpeas.

 

 

Dunka Gulin’s Falafel Forever (Ryland, Peters & Sam, $21.95) drills down to one Middle Eastern food we all love and adds new flavours and cooking methods. Find a good section on flavourful dips to add punch and even a recipe for a falafel casserole. Great for fun Friday night cooking.

 

 

 

 

Everybody loves Italian. Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali will get your more experienced cook talking with their hands and partying a little harder with their pasta-making recipes that will up their culinary game. Short essays on the way Italians celebrate events like sports, picnics, engagement parties and so on, also feature menu ideas. (Random House, $45.)

 

 

Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Authentic Island Cuisine will transport the cook’s imagination and your tastebuds to warmer climes this winter, while helping to keep everyone healthy and limber enough to limbo. Find everything from Trinidadian Doubles to Breadfruit Ravioli.

 

 

 

 

Want to get a really fun one for the whole family? Try Treat Yourself: How to Make 93 Ridiculously Fun No-Bake Crispy Rice Treats by Jessica Siskin (Workman, $21.95). Get everyone up to their elbows in melted marshmallows and creating wild and wonderful edible replicas of balloons, cereal bowls, bowling balls and pins. Even building the Empire State Building could be a fun alternative to passing Go and collecting $200.

After all, board games are fun, but you can’t eat them when you’re done.

Twitter: WendyKinginWpg

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