This week I wrote about five tombstone-size food books released just in time for the holidays. Here I want to point out some smaller, perhaps lower-profile books that are just as worthy of attention:
Encyclopedia of Pasta
Oretta Zanini de Vita
(University of California Press)
Three hundred and ten pasta shapes from Abbotta Pezziende
, identified by ingredients, method, aliases, how served, region, and history and etymology.These falloni ("big phalluses"), typical food of the hill towns that once surrounded the lake, have no precise recipe: each housewife made them with whatever greens grew in the countryside and along the streams.
The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin
Becca Dilley & James Norton
(University of Wisconsin Press)
Profiles of 43 of 44 active graduates of Wisconsin's 15-year Master Cheesemaking Program. Serves as an encyclopedia and road map to many of the larger cheese makers to our north—not a retiring bunch at all. I'll make Limburger, just leave my Limburger alone. If somebody else comes in and says, 'I'm gonna make Limburger," we will have a battle.
Best Food Writing 2009
Holly Hughes, editor
Fifty short articles on everything from oversize portions to raw-food controversies to the taquerias of Mexico City. Includes pieces by Trib
reporters Mark Caro and Monica Eng.. . . discussing the fatal "death cap" mushroom, two ounces of which make a fatal dose, he remarked, people who have eaten it and survived said it tastes really good.
The New Oxford Book of Food Plants
J.G. Vaughan and C.A. Geissler
(Oxford University Press)
Gorgeously detailed full-color scientific illustrations with highly detailed botanical information on everything from grains to legumes to oilseeds to citrus fruits to grapes to stimulants to seaweeds to fungi.. . .toxicity can occur in unusual circumstances, such as in the Netherlands during the food shortages of the Second World War, when tulip bulbs were eaten as a famine food. Their high concentration of oestrogens resulted in abnormalities of the menstrual cycle in women.
Field Guide to Candy
Following Quirk's compact guides to meat, seafood, cocktails, and others, pastry chef Chu's offers more than 100 recipes including mochi, burfi, gummy bears, and mendiants.By the 1840s , taffy-pulling parties were common social events. Young courting couples used the excuse of pulling candy to spend time in close proximity.