Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cooking with Cannabis: Delicious Recipes for Edibles and Everyday FavoritesAug 15, 2016 by Laurie Wolf Paperback ( Quarry Books);HerbNov 10, 2015 by Herb and Melissa Parks Paperback (Inkshares)

Cannabis cookbook elevates the art of edibles

Product DetailsProduct Details

The cookbook goes beyond brownies and cookies, with recipes for dishes like butternut squash soup and tomahawk rib eye.

When you think of edibles, what comes to mind? Cookies and brownies probably, but co-author Laurie Wolf's Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis and Cooking with Cannabis is about making delicious dishes that just happen to include marijuana.

Wolf is a trained chef and recipe developer, so when faced with the challenge of creating 'green' meals that didn't taste like old school edibles, she approached it as she would any new food.

"It was like learning how to work with a new herb, and a new herb that wasn't that popular," she tells Shad.

While Wolf is licensed to possess pot, the way both the States and Canada are moving with regards to marijuana, she believes cookbooks like hers are the way of the future.

"I believe that there'll be a section in one of the supermarkets, like next to the gluten free. You know, maybe there'll be the cannabis," Wolf adds.

But whether you're giving cannabutter a try or preparing a dish from her cookbook, Wolf says when you find the dose that works for you, don't move on to a higher one.

"Too much is a nightmare."

 Try out a couple recipes from Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis for marijuana infused butternut squash soup and bone-in rib eye.

(Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis)

  1. 2 tablespoons cannabutter​
  2. 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, finely diced
  3. 1 (2- to 3-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  4. 5 cups unsalted chicken stock
  5. 1 cup heavy cream
  6. Pinch of ground nutmeg
  7. Kosher salt and finely ground fresh black pepper, to taste

  1. In a large pot, melt the cannabutter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cream, then turn off the heat and let the soup cool slightly.
  3. Working in 2 batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup directly in the pot.
  4. Return the blended soup to the pot and rewarm it over medium-low heat. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper before serving.

(Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis)

  • 1 (18-ounce) bone-in cowboy-cut rib eye, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil Kosher salt and coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic-herb cannabutter or another compound butter of your choosing

  1. Put a 12-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 500F.
  2. Rub the steak with the oil and season it liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Wearing an oven mitt, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and put it on the stove over high heat. Put the steak in the pan and sear it for 1 minute, then turn it and sear on the other side for 1 minute. Flip the steak and carefully return the pan to the oven.
  4. Cook the steak for 3 minutes, flip it, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 140F. Remove it from the oven and let it rest, tented with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes.
  5. Slice meat off the bone and cut into thick slices. Top with cannabutter.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

“The Story of Hebrew,” by Lewis Glinert, Princeton University Press, 296 pp., $27.95

From the Bible to Sir Isaac Newton: How Hebrew Survived and Thrived

Eschewing the familiar, triumphalist narrative of ancient glory and modern rebirth in Zion, 'The Story of Hebrew' follows the twists and turns of the Hebrew language from its beginnings to contemporary Israeli usage.

Sir Isaac Newton was fascinated by the Hebrew language. The pioneering English physicist, famous today as one of the founders of modern science, wrote voluminously on prophecy, the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple, Maimonides’ philosophy, and the end of days, all based on his own translation and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible and its rabbinic commentaries. In one of these unpublished manuscripts, entitled “Miscellaneous Notes and Extracts on the Jewish Temple,” written around the year 1680 and now kept in the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, Newton analyzed the description of a prophetic vision of the Temple in the book of Ezekiel, quoting from the original Hebrew in a steady, clear hand.

Newton was not the only non-Jewish scholar studying Hebrew and Jewish works at the time. Known as the Christian Kabbalists, this group of late Renaissance thinkers, which included Francis Bacon and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, sought the esoteric and mystical powers hidden in the Hebrew language and alphabet. Irrational though these linguistic investigations may seem today, as Lewis Glinert writes in “The Story of Hebrew,” “Christian kabbalism could be said to have supplied much of the intellectual confidence that underwrote early modern science.”

For all its importance, Christian Kabbalah is usually deemed a curiosity of intellectual history, and is certainly seen as a side branch in the development of the Hebrew language. The fact that Glinert devotes two fascinating chapters to Christian Hebraicists like Newton is representative of his overall approach. Eschewing the familiar, triumphalist narrative of ancient glory and modern rebirth in Zion (with nothing worth mentioning in between), “The Story of Hebrew” follows the twists and turns, false starts and blind alleys of the Hebrew language from its biblical beginnings to contemporary Israeli usage. Glinert describes how, throughout the ages, Hebrew has fended off linguistic competitors — Aramaic, Greek, Arabic, German and, now, English — and, under the right circumstances of social stability and intellectual opportunity, has risen to the highest levels of scientific and poetic expression. “The Story of Hebrew” recasts Jewish history as a whole as a struggle to preserve not Judaism or Jewish culture, but the Holy Tongue itself.
Linguistic innovation and social change

Glinert, a professor of Hebrew Studies and Linguistics at Dartmouth College, is an ordained Orthodox rabbi as well as a language expert, and “The Story of Hebrew” draws on both these aspects of his professional life. His familiarity with and respect for rabbinic literature allows him to highlight these texts’ genius and linguistic creativity, which other, less religiously minded scholars might avoid. With wit and a light tone, Glinert covers an impressive range of sources in this compact volume, and accompanies his discussions with a wealth of quotations from the sources in his own clear translations. In examining the tension between vernacular and literary Hebrew in the Second Temple period, the significance of the rabbis’ decision to preserve the Mishnah in Hebrew rather than Aramaic or the grammatical insights of medieval Sephardi scholars, his focus is on how such linguistic innovations reflect underlying social changes (an academic discipline known as socio-linguistics). The result is a history that conveys the richness and evolution of the Hebrew language without getting bogged down in technical details.

“The Story of Hebrew” begins, as it should, with the Bible. Glinert discusses the Bible's few explicit reflections on language and language use, for example in the Tower of Babel story, as well as the subtleties of biblical style, which, in contrast to the epic poetry of neighboring Babylonian, Sumerian and Greek cultures, was mainly expressed in prose. Glinert also touches on the limited evidence for ancient Hebrew found outside the Bible on seals, inscriptions and pot sherds . However, as he writes, “our main witness for ancient Hebrew is the Bible itself.”

This natural focus on the Bible as the Hebrew linguistic canon, just as it is the canon of Judaism, is one of the book’s central themes. Glinert devotes a long section of “The Story of Hebrew” to the Masoretes, the Jewish scholars in Tiberias, Jerusalem and Babylonia, living between 600 and 900 CE, who established the authoritative text of the Hebrew Bible. They determined the authoritative spelling, pronunciation and phrasing of the biblical text; invented a notation system for vowels and cantelation; and compiled statistics of words, verses and peculiar phenomena, all intended to preserve the text against copyists’ inevitable errors.
As Glinert writes, the prodigious Masoretes were not inspired by some pedantic fetish. Like other late antique cultures, Jews preserved their sacred texts orally. Even reading the written Bible, which lacked punctuation and diacritics, required recalling a memorized version of the text. However, broader historical changes upset this long-established system. At the time, he writes, “a chain of events was unfolding that threatened this entire system of perpetuating Judaism’s sacred texts. Following the Arab conquests of the Middle East that began around the year 630, Arabic of some sort rapidly eclipsed Aramaic, becoming within a century the prestige language across most of the region and by 900 its main Jewish colloquial.... Soon Arabic was as foreign to an Arabic speaking Jewish schoolboy as German is to English speakers. Even skilled cantors were having problems with the intricate poems they had to recite in the synagogue. No doubt adding to the confusion were the period’s Jewish migrations and social change.”
Of course, the rise of Islam and the dominance of Arabic also led to a flourishing of Jewish creativity in Hebrew that remained unparalleled until the modern age. Infused by the cross-fertilization with Islam’s rich literary, philosophical, mystical and scientific traditions, Jewish writers throughout the Islamic world, many of whom also wrote in Arabic, composed enduring monuments of medieval Hebrew literature: Saadiah Gaon’s grammatical works, Maimonides’ "Mishneh Torah," Yehuda Halevi’s poetry and much more.

Glinert also focuses on a more obscure, but no less important, instance of medieval Hebrew creativity. In southern Italy around the turn of the first millennium, Jewish physicians began composing medical and scientific treatises in Hebrew. Shabbatai Donnolo, who authored “Sefer Hamikrahot” on pharmacology, the medical and scientific compendium “Sefer Hakhmoni,” and “Sefer Hamazalot” on astrology, was the first such writer whose works have come down to us. He, or perhaps earlier, now unknown figures, launched a Hebrew scientific and medical revolution that led to the revival of spoken Hebrew as the language of instruction in early medieval medical schools. In the 12th century, an influx of Jews fleeing religious persecution in Spain strengthened the trend. This movement inspired a massive project of translating Arabic scientific knowledge to Hebrew, and then to Latin.

“In many ways, the twelfth and thirteenth centuries marked a high point of Hebrew technical literacy — spurred not just by scientific curiosity but also by a desire to compete with the literate Latin and Spanish culture emerging in Christian Spain,” Glinert writes. “It would take another six hundred years before Enlightenment Hebrew would compete with German and Russian with equal passion.”

Hebrew's revival

The final two chapters of “The Story of Hebrew” return to more familiar ground. Covering the period from the late 18th century to the present, Glinert discusses the explosion of Hebrew writing by European Jews. Though most accounts of the revival of modern Hebrew focus on the role played by members of the Jewish Enlightenment, Glinert insightfully relates the profusion of Hebrew journalism, poetry and fiction to the nearly contemporary Hebrew folktales authored by Hasidic masters like Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. “The Story of Hebrew” traces the development of modern Hebrew from a small band of East European Jewish intellectuals, through the Zionist movement and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, to its adoption as an official language of Palestine under the British Mandate and the national language of Israel today.

It is possible to appreciate anew the monumental achievement of establishing Hebrew as a living language in Glinert’s awestruck description of the wholesale adoption of Hebrew by early 20th-century immigrants: “How did they find the words? Not by committee, nor by scholarship, but by trial and error. Linguists would give a great deal to know more about how it worked. This was, after all, the only known case of the total revival of a spoken language — but, maddeningly, it never occurred to anyone to observe how it was all happening. We will never know how teachers were teaching it, how children were speaking it, or how the young adult immigrants transformed the literary Hebrew they know from Russia into an everyday tongue.”

In the nearly 70 years since the establishment of the State of Israel, Hebrew has become the mother tongue of millions of Israelis, and the second language of millions of Palestinians, and of Jews the world over. Rightly, Glinert’s discussion of Israeli Hebrew offers no neat conclusion. “The Story of Hebrew” describes the contentious politics of language in Israel today: how pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary play a role in the cultural struggles between the old Ashkenazi elite and Mizrahim, and how English continues to make inroads into the speech of everyday Israelis. Glinert gives the example, which any casual observer of an Israeli mall or shopping district can confirm, of the dominance of the English language and Roman script in advertising and brand names. Though there are exceptions, the English used in stores like Fox or Home Center evokes luxury, cosmopolitanism and quality.

All in all, Glinert is overly pessimistic about the ability of mainstream Israeli culture to preserve Hebrew. In particular, his dismissal of Hebrew literature as stuffy and conservative, ignores the diversity of contemporary Hebrew letters, not to mention music, television and film. But what remains enduring and true is Glinert’s contention that the story of Hebrew is not over: as it has for centuries, the language will continue to change and develop, and, against all odds, to survive.

Homemade Memories by Kate Doran by Camilla Stoddart (Orion) #IBRCookBooks

Previously in-house writer and editor for Heston Blumenthal and cookery publisher at Penguin, Camilla is a freelance editor and writer who manages to combine her love of food with her love of words for a living.

Kate Doran was nicknamed the ‘little loaf’ as a toddler because her appetite for bread was apparently bigger than she was. Many years later when looking for a name for her baking blog, the moniker seemed perfect and she has been writing about her adventures in home baking at ever since. The blog is personal, charming and visually delightful which is why Kate has gathered such a loyal following, hungry for her common sense advice and indulgent recipes. Now she has made the leap from blog to book, as many bloggers do, but Homemade Memories doesn’t feel like a recap of the last four years of experimentation, instead it’s an homage to her childhood and the snacks, puddings, cakes and drinks that gave her her love of sweet things. The book is full of funny stories and happy memories together with the recipes they have inspired – ice creams from Italian holidays, chocolate fridge cake from children’s birthday parties, iced buns that remind her of half time in netball matches at school, her granny’s rock cakes etc. Her childhood sounds lovely, as does Kate, and her book is a most pleasant place to spend time.

What sets Homemade Memories apart from other baking books is the collection of homemade versions of classic childhood treats like Jaffa Cakes, Jammie Dodgers, Milky Ways, Sherbert Fountains and even Ferrero Rocher. While I am sadly not the sort of woman who makes her own After Eights, I do believe Kate when she says they’re worth the effort. As she says, you not only know that there are no nasties in what you are eating, you also get the added extras that come with making things from scratch – the smells, the anticipation, the satisfaction and the opportunity to lick the bowl . . .

Jaffa orange cakes by Kate Doran

Butterscotch devil's delight by Kate Doran

While the recipes are inspired by childhood, this is not really a cookbook for children – the recipes are relatively advanced and the results are sophisticated. For example, Kate’s version of my own childhood favourite, butterscotch Angel Delight, is laced with whisky and there are other naughty treats like boozy chocolate fondants, Amaretto Bakewell tarts, Irish Cream fudge and chocolate milk with coffee and whisky. It’s a book for grown-up kids who want to revel in nostalgia but update the classics with a contemporary twist. And the twists are glorious – think Fig and hazelnut bread and butter pudding, Coconut and raspberry Battenburg, Cardamom and honey Mini Milk ice lollies and Malt whisky loaf.

Chocolate honeycomb biscuit cake by Kate Doran

There are, however, simpler recipes in the book and lots of crowd-pleasers too. I made the Chocolate honeycomb biscuit cake with my children which was spectacular despite being extremely easy, so easy in fact, that the utter deliciousness of the finished cake was almost unexpected. There was something about the texture and the combination of flavours that raised it above the average fridge cake and made it a total knockout with the kids and adults alike. Maybe it was because we made the honeycomb ourselves which I highly recommend doing – it’s dramatic and fun and it tastes better than any honeycomb I’ve had since my own childhood. ‘It tastes of honey’ said my son with wonder and in that moment I was reminded why Kate is so passionate about making your own treats even when it seems like a faff. Maybe I could be the sort of woman who makes her own After Eights after all!

New Italian Cooking Cook Books Shoutout :Florentine: The true cuisine of Florence Hardcover – March 15, 2016 by Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant) ;Where to Eat Pizza Hardcover – April 25, 2016 by Daniel Young (Phaidon Press) asting Rome – Katie Parla and Kristina Gill (Clarkson Potter, 2016),Nina Capri – Nina Parker (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016);Acquacotta: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany's Secret Silver Coast Hardcover – March 14, 2017 by Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant) ; Gelato Messina: The RecipesMay 5, 2015 by Nick Palumbo Hardcover( Hardie Grant);The Italian Baker: 100 International Baking Recipes with a Modern Twist Hardcover – October 4, 2016 by Melissa Forti (Author), Danny Bernardini (Photographer),(Quadrille Publishing); #IBRCookBooks

New Italian cookbooks for every type of cook

Love Italian food? Read on for a selection of some of the best Italian cookbooks published this year, including new releases from Antonio Carluccio and Nina Parker. Whether your interest lies in pizza, pasta or discovering more about specific regional cuisines, these are the best books to get you inspired in (and out of) the kitchen.

Whether you're an aficionado or simply looking to hone your skills for some 'fakeaway' action, I have gathered together some of the year's best new Italian cookbooks for your viewing pleasure. Before any cyber pedants out there flex their fingers eagerly and point out that we're not even halfway through the year yet, I hasten to point out that this list is a work in progress (and 'so far this year' wasn't such a catchy suffix to add on the end of my title). These books have been loosely grouped according to theme: all-rounders (those covering a broad range of recipes, whether centred around a particular ingredient or style), regional cookbooks and those which blur the line between kitchen counter and coffee table.

I'm always wary of books with 'everyday' in the title, as it can so often be a sign of a chef struggling to find a concept. A good cookbook, I believe, should be able to balance a broad appeal and great selection of recipes with a strong concept at its core. Pasta by Antonio Carluccio is a prime example of such a book, and the clue to its big idea is very much in the name. Yes, this explores pasta in all its myriad forms, whether big, small, fresh or dried. There's an informative introduction covering the history of pasta, its different shapes and the basic techniques for making and folding your own fresh pasta before the book launches into its recipes proper. Pasta is an impressive all rounder in the sense that Carluccio shares everything from rustic dishes (think a hearty pan of minestrone, or a golden macaroni pie) to elegant plates of crab ravioli perfect for serving up as a starter – there's even a section of pasta desserts for any culinary adventurers out there. Demonstrating the origin of each recipe on a tiny map of Italy is a nice touch, and a great way to learn the different culinary influences at play in the country's different regions.

The Italian Baker - Melissa Forti

Let's Cook Italian - Anna Prandoni

Pastiera Napoletana by Luca Marchiori

The Italian Baker, the first book from Sarzana's effortlessly stylish Melissa Forti, is a fantastic cookbook for those whose interest in Italian food is matched only by their sweet tooth. The book is divided into three parts, covering classic regional desserts (many of which are gleaned from vintage baking texts), Italian spins on some of the recipes she has come across during her time travelling the world and some of her signature bakes. The photography and styling, much like the author herself, are striking and the slabs of dramatic, sometimes even sultry, cakes in low lighting make a refreshing change from the endless plate-of-prawns-by-the-ocean shots which so often make up Mediterranean cookbooks.

Have an army of little cooks that you're keen to deploy over holidays and weekends? Anna Prandoni's bilingual book Let's Cook Italian can take cooking with your children beyond flapjacks and fairy cakes to a number of delicious and simply explained Italian recipes. Despite being billed as a family cookbook, the dishes you'll find have not had their authenticity compromised for the sake of young palates (and if an Italian child can grow up on Milanese breaded veal chops then why can't yours!). This approach to recipes and the child-friendly tips for each comes from the author's own experience growing up in an Italian household where she was regularly put to work in the kitchen helping out, whether grating cheese, rolling dough or shelling fresh peas to serve with prosciutto. The lack of photographs might put some people off, but in my opinion the beautiful illustrations from Emanuela Ligabue are the perfect substitute. Printing the recipes in both English and Italian is a great way to pick up some handy menu-friendly language skills and, with primary colours and accomplished design, the look of this bold and creative book is beautiful, too.

Timballo del Gattopardo – macaroni pie by Antonio Carluccio

Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino by Antonio Carluccio

Whether you're reliving a special trip or your holiday budget extends to drinking Negronis in your own kitchen pretending you're in slightly more exotic climes, regional cookbooks are a fantastic way of expanding your foodie horizons. If you already have some idea of what constitutes Italian cuisine and feel like digging deep to discover how the food of Italy changes in line with its landscape, these picks will help you get to know what gives Italians living in, say, Veneto or Campania their strong sense of regional pride.

Of all of them Florentine and Five Quarters do what all good region-specific cookbooks should – they have you looking up the cost of flights to Italy (one way, no less) before you're barely through the first chapter. That's not to say the others don't bring on extreme twinges of lifestyle envy – the endless shots of dappled seas and azure skies in Nina Parker's Capri throws the grey London drizzle into sharp relief, and the joy with which Tasting Rome's Kristina Gill photographs Rome and its inhabitants had me once again bemoaning the fact that, despite being a card-carrying classicist, I have never managed to visit.

Florentine - Emiko Davies

Capri - Nina Parker

Pollo alla Romana by Amy Gulick

Five Quarters and Tasting Rome both focus on Italy's capital city, a place where a number of Italy's most famous dishes (think Carbonara, Cacio e pepe and Pollo alla Romana) originate. Both are beautiful books and there are plenty of crossover recipes – including those listed above – but are quite different in their approaches. Tasting Rome is very visual, with each dish photographed and plenty of landscape, reportage and street photography thrown in for good measure. Meanwhile Five Quarters is, unashamedly, as much a personal memoir as it is a recipe book, with Rachel Roddy coming from the Nigel Slater school of text-heavy cookbooks. Keep the former on your coffee table or kitchen shelf, and save the other for your bedside table to dip into every night – if you're lucky you might find yourself dreaming of gnocchi.

Florentine is one of those cookbooks which feels too beautiful to be left on a shelf, rather fitting for a text celebrating one of Italy's major hubs of art and culture. The cover is striking, while the design inside is simple but effective, with each recipe stunningly styled and shot. Baking is a particular highlight of Florentine (and, I'm sure, of Florence), with the first two chapters dedicated to bread, cakes and breakfast pastries to serve alongside a heady shot of espresso.

Finally, a little further south, there's the Campania region which Nina Parker showcases in her latest book Nina Capri. This book is a real celebration of their way of life, a peek into the everyday sort of recipes which people living in close proximity to such glorious produce (not to mention incredible weather) are lucky enough to enjoy. It's nice to have a chapter on breakfasts, a meal that doesn't immediately spring to mind when one thinks about Italian cuisine – now, of course, I can do nothing but think about fruit salads, ricotta pancakes and jams when I dream of Italy. Elsewhere there are plenty of delicious seafood recipes, from fritto misto to baked mackerel and 'nduja, along with colourful salads, fresh sauces and a great selection of cocktails.

Firenze’s finest: the best food markets in Florence by Giulia Scarpaleggia

Spaghetti alla puttanesca by Nina Parker

These books might be a little more niche, but they’d be perfect for the type of person whose life is consumed by food fantasies and meal planning. Indeed, the first on the list isn't a recipe book at all – Where to Eat Pizza, a vast tome you might’ve noticed doing the rounds on social media lately, is a marvellous compendium of the very best pizza restaurants around the world. The list of ‘regional experts’ who helped compile the book is vast, reassuringly suggesting that this is no desk research job – these people have eaten their way through the best pizza in all corners of the globe and they’ve got the greasy fingers and heartburn to prove it. The entries for each venue are small, but the concise paragraphs give you all the information you need to know before tentatively going out on a limb in pursuit of a perfect pizza: address, opening hours, pizza style, recommended order and, handily, whether or not the restaurant accepts credit cards.

Where To Eat Pizza - Phaidon

Gelato Messina

Like so many others who find themselves with an in-depth understanding of Julio-Claudian literature and absolutely no idea whatsoever what they want to do with their lives, a few years ago I spent several months living in Australia. While I might not have found myself I did find Messina, a far more useful discovery. Messina is famed for making quite possibly the best gelato in Australia, and the creativity with which they come up with new flavours regularly (I went one week and they'd created gelato to reflect the personalities of Game of Thrones characters) and design spectacular gelato-based patisserie is breathtaking. If you're looking for more inspiration for working with your ice cream maker this probably isn't the book for you (try the first Messina book, Messina Gelato) as many of these creations are complex feats of patisserie (such as a so-called 'Bombe Alaska filled with chocolate gelato, raspberry sorbet and Italian meringue). Instead, this book appeals to a curious mind, keen to learn what goes on under the glossy, smooth finish of a domed dessert and satisfy an appetite whetted by weeks of watching silicone moulds and spray glazes on Bake Off: Crème de la Crème.

A Lot On Her Plate by Rosie Birkett (Hardie Grant, £25.00) #IBRFoodBooks

Rosie Birkett is a London-based food writer and her first book takes its name from her increasingly popular blog of the same name, offering recipes inspired by family, friends and her love of food.

Rosie Birkett is a London-based food writer/stylist and the book takes its name from her increasingly popular blog of the same name. She states “we eat to live, but, when we can, there’s nothing better than living to eat”. Rosie gives a detailed introduction of her journey with food explaining her influences from around the world, specifically India, Vancouver and Mexico, and gives the reader a basic understanding of the best way to shop for produce, kitchen equipment and store cupboard essentials.

Breakfast and brunch begins with a cod’s roe and sweetcorn fritters recipe which seems a little odd until Rosie justifies that she is not a morning person and needs the chilli to wake her up! Some of the breakfasts are staples such as granola and pancakes but many are Mexican- or Indian-based, making a refreshing change for the first meal of the day.

Starters are seafood focussed, which Rosie cites back to her trips to the seaside as a child with her family; Dad’s seafood sizzle is an easy to prepare shellfish mix, while octopus carpaccio is much more challenging, adventurous and time consuming, but definitely worth the wait.

Every dish has its own story, and many reference culinary friends she has made along the way, the Indian restaurant Dishoom being a favourite. This gives the reader an insight into what Rosie likes to eat as well as what she likes to cook.

There are strong Italian influences in the main courses, risotto, squid ink pasta, porchetta and polenta all make mouth-watering appearances, along with ingredients such as 'nduja, Gorgonzola and radicchio. Rosie also champions the use of lesser known (and inevitably) cheaper cuts of meat. Feasts for friends are comforting dishes covering both hot and cooler weathers and are easily adaptable from 2 to 20 guests.

Alongside favourite salads such as panzanella and fig and Gorgonzola, Rosie gives us some more exciting and unusual combinations, like a shredded sprout salad with a buttermilk and Jalapeno dressing, and a warm salad of roasted aubergine and broccoli with an anchovy and lemon dressing. Family influences remain strong with Mum’s seafood orzo salad.

Desserts are clearly close to Rosie’s heart as the recipes really shine in this section, every dish looks and sounds delicious with the lychee and hazelnut pavlova, and the blueberry, basil and almond pudding pie being particular favourites. The only criticism for this section would be that it isn’t long enough!

Essentials are a mix of things that “add a bit of ‘wow’ to your cooking arsenal” and include everything from preserved lemons and siracha mayonnaise, to cumin brioche. A welcome addition to the standard essential chicken stock/custard/vinaigrette of many cookbooks.

A lot on her plate really gives us an insight into Rosie’s personality and style. There is something for every possible mood, season and level of cook; this book really succeeds in making the reader want to grab the phone, invite some friends over, and get stuck in in the kitchen.

Sex & Drugs & Sausage Rolls Hardcover – October 16, 2015 by Garrett Graham (Author), Cat Black (Author), Richard Corrigan (Foreword) ( Face)

Graham Garrett's Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls,that is part memoir, part cookery book. Discover more about the chef's background in the music industry and his journey to earning his first Michelin star, with recipes for a number of his signature dishes to try at home.Graham is in a position to share these stories another time in another book (hopefully), but for now the tales are of the world of music!

It’s not often you come across a book that combines the hard graft and delectable recipes of a Michelin-starred chef with the anecdotes and stories of a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, making Sex and Drugs and Sausage Rolls a highly unique read. I was just starting to eat solid foods when Graham Garrett was bashing the skins of his toms-toms with Dumb Blondes, Panache and Ya Ya back in the 1980s, so reading his account of this decade with a musical lens really provides a perspective I can appreciate and be somewhat envious of. So, why the transition from drumsticks to Thermomix? Well, while all good things must come to an end, it doesn’t mean good things of a different kind can’t begin.

Pork and foie gras sausage rolls by Graham Garrett

Treacle tart with blood orange by Graham Garrett

If we just focus on the food for a second, Graham demonstrates an understanding of the importance of simple, true flavours, with basic methods and recipes for homemade butter, buttermilk and dripping. A set of household staples from many moons ago, these three addictive ingredients are now fashionable again as we adopt the ‘backwards is the new forward’ approach to food. Indeed, just as nostalgic are humble recipes for cakes with ginger, banana and almond and his stunning Treacle tart.

He has also given the readers an interpretation of British classics with an element of finesse in ‘eat-off-the-page’ recipes for Sausage rolls with foie gras, smoked haddock salad and Eccles cakes.

There is something for all eager cooks, with over fifty recipes ranging from sweet and savoury snacks to full on indulgent dinners. My favourites are the spiced mackerel kebab, lamb bacon, sweetbread, peas and roast suckling pig. Influenced by Britain, the Mediterranean, Japan and beyond, Graham demonstrates his passion for great flavours that are big, bold, subtle, humble and elegant.

,1984 Hardcover – April 4, 2017 by George Orwell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ) [First published in England in 1949 by Secker and Warburg]

I first read 1984 under my desk in my Afrikaans e  class. I normally shy away from anything remotely political, but one of the things I remember about 1984 is that even though it deals with politics, it isn’t critical of a specific viewpoint, but of the seduction of power and what comes along with it. At a time when my country is stiffly divided, angry, and its citizens are suspicious of one another, I can’t help but think of Orwell’s classic, and wonder whether there’s something to be learned from reading it again.

Favorite Five

I propose that the top 5 quotes from this book are:
5. “As he looked at the woman in her characteristic attitude, her thick arms reaching up for the line, her powerful mare-like buttocks protruded, it struck him for the first time that she was beautiful. It had never before occurred to him that the body of a woman of fifty, blown up to monstrous dimensions by childbearing, then hardened, roughened by work till it was coarse in the grain like an over-ripe turnip, could be beautiful. But it was so, and after all, he thought, why not? The solid, contourless body, like a block of granite, and the rasping red skin, bore the same relation to the body of a girl as the rose-hip to a rose. Why should the fruit be held inferior to the flower?” 
4. “The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s own will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.” 
3. “A curious emotion stirred in Winston’s heart. In front of him was an enemy who was trying to kill him: in front of him, also, was a human creature, in pain and perhaps with a broken bone. Already he had instinctively started forward to help her. In the moment when he had seen her fall on the bandaged arm, it had been as though he felt the pain in his own body.” 
2. “Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.” (p.276)
…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…
1. “Her feelings were her own, and could not be altered from outside. It would not have occurred to her than an action which is ineffectual thereby becomes meaningless. If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.” 

New Words

Words are wondrous creatures. Put them together and they paint a picture. Rearrange them and the scene changes. But to be able to see what they are saying, we must first know what they mean.
New Word: pedant (noun)
Definition (Source: Merriam Webster): 1) obsolete: a male schoolteacher; 2a) one who makes a show of knowledge; 2b) one who is unimaginative or who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge; 2c) a formalist or precisionist in teaching
Origins: Middle French; from Italian ‘pedante’; first known use 1588
As in: “He bit hungrily into his bread and swallowed a couple of mouthfuls, then continued speaking, with a sort of pedant’s passion.” (p.54)
New Word: cadge (verb)
Definition (Source: Merriam Webster): beg, sponge
Origins: c.1812; back-formation from Scots ‘cadger’ carrierhuckster; from Middle English ‘cadgear’
As in: “Great areas of it, even for a Party member, were neutral and non-political, a matter of slogging through dreary jobs, fighting for a place on the Tube, darning a worn-out sock, cadging a saccharine tablet, saving a cigarette end.” (p.77)
New Word: simian (adjective)
Definition (Source: Merriam Webster): a remission of sins pronounced by a priest
Synonyms (Source: anthropoid, ape, baboon, chimpanzee, gorilla, imp, lemur, monk, orangutan, rascal, scamp
Origins: c.1607; Latin ‘simia’ ape; from ‘simus’ snub-nosed; from Greek ‘simos’
As in: “For hours at a time she would sit almost immobile on the bed, nursing his young sister, a tiny, ailing, very silent child of two or three, with a face made simian by thinness.” (p.168)
New Word: inimical (adjective)
Definition (Source: Merriam Webster): 1) being adverse often by reason of hostility or malevolence; 2a) having the disposition of an enemy: hostile; 2b) reflecting or indicating hostility: unfriendly
Synonyms: adversarial, adversary, antagonistic, antipathetic, inhospitable, hostile, jaundiced, mortal, negative, unfriendly, unsympathetic
Origins: c.1573; Late Latin ‘inimicalis’; from Latin ‘inimicus’ enemy
As in: “Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions.” (p.206)
New Word: solipsism (noun)
Definition (Source: Merriam Webster): a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also: extreme egocentrism
Origins: Latin ‘solus’ alone + ‘ipse’ self; first known use 1874
As in: “The word you are trying to think of is solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not solipsism. Collective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different thing: in fact, the opposite thing.” (p.279)

Conversation with the Reader

While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:
“Even if you’ve never read 1984, you probably know Orwell creates a distinctly frightening furturistic world where it’s dangerous to so much as have a personal thought. This, I remembered. What I’d forgotten was that Orwell showcases desensitization as an additional sign of dystopia at the beginning of his book.
“Towards the beginning, there’s a brief but intense scene at a movie theatre where the audience is laughing at footage of people being gunned down and bodies being dismembered by bombs. I could almost swear I’ve been in that exact setting. I wish I could say that one thing that doesn’t line up with reality is that in this scene, there are children at the movie theatre—yet we all know many parents will bring their children to see violence without a second thought. Our culture glorifies the ever-mounting intensity of violence in films. Audiences want to be shocked and it is getting harder and harder to do this as we, as a society, become desensitized, or start to think of certain violent acts as being okay: killing zombies and aliens is okay; justifiable revenge is allowable; humorous horror movies or films with artistic, stylized violence—somehow, these are fine.
“I know there will always be arguments back and forth over what really hurts people and what doesn’t, and I can’t say what is right for everyone. I will say, though, that growing up, I was unlike my peers in that I didn’t watch a lot of violent films and we never watched TV, not even the news. When I was in high school Spanish and the World Trade Centers were hit, teachers immediately turned on the classroom televisions. I sat there in shock, tears coating my cheeks as I watched live footage of people jumping out of burning buildings. Around me, my classmates laughed at the scene. I realize now that they had no idea how to react to the horror. They hadn’t been taught to; they had been taught to be entertained by it.”
“Orwell experiments a lot with what humans are willing to do when they cease to think of each other as humans. It’s a terrifying truth that people can objectify each other when encouraged. When you stop thinking of a person as a person, but as an ideal that you despise or an object to be owned, all sorts of tortures are possible.
“Over a couple of autumns, I worked at a Halloween theme park that boasted several haunted mazes and wandering costumed characters. The park was always crowded in October. The mazes were all fairly dark. While I was never hurt myself, I began to get very frightened working there after I realized that my costumed co-workers were getting harassed and even assaulted. Many of the girls were dressed in sexy costumes and were getting groped in passing, often without a clue as to who did it, and had no way of protecting themselves. Sexiness wasn’t a prerequisite for assault, though—even fully clothed workers were being fondled. Many people wearing masks got punched in the face. Plenty of guests who kept their hands to themselves had no problem calling out lewd remarks. Given the density of the crowds, victims were almost always unable to catch and report their offenders. It was disgusting to see how easy it was to turn a human being into an object for one’s personal enjoyment; all the park-goers needed to do was to pretend we didn’t have faces.”
“In Oceania, there is no privacy. All thoughts are picked up by cameras—an unpleasant look, a word barely muttered in anger. Even worse, neighbors spy on one another and sell one another out to the Thought Police. One way or another, the government is aware of every intimate thought and act of Oceania’s citizens.
“Is this much different from our own society? Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know the extent to which the government is privy to our phone calls and emails. We already know our physical location is being tracked through our cell phones and our cars, and so in many ways, we’re not unlike the citizens of Oceania as we stand aside and allow ourselves to be monitored for the sake of our protection, as if we were children.
“But even without that invasion, we spy on one another. With the help of social networking sites, we invite this invasion into our lives as we publicly post intimate details about ourselves, despite the number of stories I’ve seen where Facebook photos have gotten people in hot water. My favorite example is of the college students in New Mexico who broke into the Rio Grande Zoo and later posted pictures of themselves posing with the animals. They were quickly turned in to the police by other Facebook users and have since served out their punishment. There is also the example of Shawn Moore in New Jersey, who didn’t do anything illegal, but who posted a photo of his eleven-year-old son holding his new (and legally owned) rifle. After someone who saw the photo anonymously called the child abuse hotline, police raided his house without a warrant and threatened to take his children. It should be noted that Shawn Moore is a firearms instructor, a range safety officer, and a hunter education instructor; his son has passed the gun safety course and has a hunting license of his own. Perhaps that’s why the police left and haven’t returned (though it may have had something to do with the phone call from the family’s attorney).
“In spite of all the negative possibilities, our culture is welcoming of the lack of private moments—elaborate proposals and wedding dances work up our virtual selves into a frenzy. Private emails are shared to invite speculation and, in some cases, humiliation. Even though we know something as innocent as a cute pose in a new bathing suit could fall into the wrong hands and end up on a porn site, we continue to plaster the Internet with personal moments.
“Now that I’ve said all that, it occurs to me to ask: why would federal snooping bother America when so many of us are ready and willing to give out our private information along with that of our neighbor’s?”
“When Winston’s comrade Syme says, ‘It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words,’ I grimace. There is something so important about words, beyond the obvious that we need them to communicate with each other. As a writer, it hurts me when people don’t use their vocabulary to its fullest, when they rely on abbreviated forms of words, or think that only cussing will get their points across. Just as Oceania’s government takes it upon itself to destroy the English language, it seems many people today are gladly volunteering for the job. If we try, we can accurately describe a perfect sunset, what it means to love, or the act of giving birth—yet so often we say, ‘You’d have to be there,’ or ‘You’ll understand someday,’ or even, ‘There are no words.’ Take the challenge! Use all the words you know to describe the agony of your losses, or the height of joy you experienced when you achieved your greatest goal. What did your body feel? What did your mind do with what you saw? Honor words by using them and by using them correctly. Being able to pull a person into an intimate moment by an articulate string of words is what separates us from the animals around us.”
“One of the other key features of the Party’s tyranny is their desire to remove pleasure from sex, and, as much as they can, to discourage sex entirely, except for the purpose of creating more Party members. I’ve met many people who think that this is the main goal of organized religions: to portray sex as disgusting and passion as a sin, removing all joy from the act. With that in mind, you’d expect Orwell (who, though a church-goer, was loudly skeptical about it all) to have created a religion-ruled world…but he didn’t. On the contrary, Oceania strictly prohibits the worship of any deity. There is no religion, no God or gods. If you think about it, what better way is there to crush a people? For centuries, the world’s religions have ignited beautiful music, inspiring poetry, amazing art, and books upon books upon books. If you want to kill creativity, a good first step is stripping a people of their ability to worship. If you want to kill hope, take away the idea of a greater purpose. Cultures and religions all over the world find beauty and art in the act of sex. Oceania’s decision to remove the pleasure and joy of sex already begins to remove all gods from the scene…and taking their place is an omnipotent government: Big Brother, always watching, desires control of every passion in the body, with no reward in this life and no promise of an afterlife. Without something beautiful to believe in, there is no faith, no hope, and therefore, no fight left in the people.”
“Stories about brave rebellions, even small rebellions, leave me feeling weak. I know that we all want to be heroes, that we all want to go against the grain, to be the people who chain themselves to the columns of a government building in protest, but it isn’t possible for all of us to play that role. It isn’t possible for me to play that role. If a situation were to arise where I would have the opportunity to take to the streets with an angry mob screaming for justice, I know that, for the sake of my family, I couldn’t. I would have to stay at home in quiet disagreement in order to stay out of danger and out of jail. There are things I won’t risk if it means putting my child in harm’s way. And putting myself in harm’s way is the same as endangering my child.”
“I felt this the first time I read 1984 and I’m feeling it again this time around: I don’t believe in the war outlined in the book. For a people to want their government’s obsessive protection, there must be something for them to be afraid of. No one will agree to being constantly monitored and stripped of basic rights unless they see it as being for the greater good. Therefore, there has to be an outside source to band together against so that authority is never questioned. In the case of 1984, the citizens of Oceania, blindly trusting their government, have traded civil liberties for protection against the country they have been told they’re at war with. An actual war isn’t necessary once they have given up their rights; the belief in war is enough to keep the citizens in a constant state of surrender to their authorities.”
“As Orwell describes the cycle of history through Goldstein’s book, he explains that the three classes of people—Low, Middle, and High—are in a constant struggle. The High would like to stay there, the Middle would like to trade places with the High, and the Low, when they do want something (as they are usually crushed beyond consciousness by the others), want equality. Over centuries, the Middle and the High classes continually switch places, while the Low help out in rebellions with the promise of equality but always end up on the bottom again.
“I wonder sometimes whether equality is possible. As it stands, it’s often something to be monitored, which makes it impure, and therefore, false. A small-scale example: when I was in high school, we were playing tag football in gym class. One spunky field hockey girl shouted, ‘Let’s do girls against boys!’ All the other girls began to shout, ‘Yeah! Let’s do it!’ and taunted the boys because we were going to pulverize them.
“After the teacher okayed it, the girl added, ‘But to make it fair, our points are worth two to their one.’
“ ‘So you’re saying equality just means being better than the other team,’ I pointed out.
“I absolutely believe in equality in terms of our basic rights, and especially in terms of respect. Deep down, I think that is what we are all after, to not be walked on and to be spoken to as if we matter. I make an effort to that end every day. But I also believe in being recognized for our personal achievements in absolute honesty. I don’t want extra points just because I’m a woman. That is special treatment, not equality. Absolutely, if the fourteen-year-old girls want to beat the boys fair and square at tag football, good. They can. They should. But not on a rigged system; that is an illusion, not a victory.”
“One major part of the story is that newspapers and books in Oceania are often recalled and ‘fixed’ to fit the purposes of the Party. After that, there is no way to prove they were ever falsified. Additionally, the country’s statistics are regularly made up to boost their image. How easy would that be to do today? Inaccurate things are often published and then recanted. With so much content being published online, different versions of stories are always floating around, and people tend to only trust statistics that suit them, sometimes without having a clear idea of how the numbers were reached. Even pictures and videos fall under suspicion, as everything can be edited to look a certain way. When I first read 1984, the Party’s attempt to recreate reality seemed impossible, but now I think it would be very easy to dupe a country that was shut off from the rest of the world.
“Winston muses that the best books are those that tell you what you already know. I think this is largely how people decide which statistics to quote and which to ignore, which news sources they trust and which they don’t. We hear the news we want to hear, we accept what will back up our own beliefs and ideals.
“I know many people who choose a favorite news source and then trust that one only, accusing all other news sources of lying. Especially since the last presidential race, people are growing more suspicious of ‘the other side.’ But I think the nature of this suspicion belies danger, hubris, and even naivety. We know people are capable of bribery and of being bribed; we know that in this economy, one does what it takes to hold down a job; if you believe ‘the other side’ is using the news to its own advantage and ‘the other side’ suspects your side of the same, shouldn’t that call both sides into question? It can’t be possible that half the country is entirely moronic, but that is the conclusion each side comes to. We’re not living in the Oceania of 1984, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that we’re being lied to. In fact, it’s almost definite that we’re being manipulated—what other purpose does a ‘spin room’ have?
“Logically, if the news doesn’t match up or add up, both sides should be examined. If two kids were telling you two different stories about a broken lamp, it would be unjust to blindly affirm one child and punish the other. I know there are older examples in other presidencies, but most recently, the Benghazi incident stands out as an example of, shall we say, shoddy journalism. No matter which side you’re on, you can at least agree that there is something you don’t believe in the way the matter was handled. Why does the press’s dishonesty turn average citizens against each other?
“We should all be truth-hunters, willing to hear one another out. Something that upsets me is when, on either side of an argument, someone is pre-dismissed. You know what I mean—at the start of an argument, when one person says to another, ‘You’re too close-minded. I can’t have this conversation.’ That is close-mindedness! After the last election, I got so sick of the word ‘bigot’ being tossed around by so many people who really only meant, ‘I disagree with you.’ A ‘bigot’ is simply someone who is partial to his own beliefs and won’t listen to those with different thoughts. So hypothetically, if you decide someone is a bigot before listening to them, based on what your perception of their views is, wouldn’t that make you the bigot? Hypothetically, if you don’t listen to the other side, if you dismiss them as close-minded, then mightn’t you be, too?
“Let’s quit name-calling and hear each other out! Let’s be honest with each other. Let’s stop vilifying each other. I believe that the common man has the best intentions in mind, be it a radical belief that everyone has a right to marry whomever they choose or a radical belief that from conception, life is worth preserving at all costs. Let’s do things with respect instead of vandalizing and mud-slinging. Let’s hold each other accountable, get to the bottom of things. I believe in truth, not gray areas. Is it ever okay for thought to be manipulated? For lies to be printed as truth? No, not even with good intentions. Let’s seek honesty and not believe what we hear just because it’s comfortable. A pleasing lie is still a lie.”
“I’m not interested in living in a society where I have no personal thoughts, freedoms, or even permission to sing a silly love song. I’ve often wondered, though, whether the way of life described in 1984 would actually be a safe way to live if all personal thought were wiped out and there would no longer be the need for thought police? One hundred years into their future, when there is no chance at rebellion and no one who has ever had a decent steak or piece of chocolate remains, if science creates children and there is no sexual impulse, only comradeship—would the citizens be happy or would ancestral memory tell them they are missing something? If you live in ignorance of a corrupt system your entire life, blindly follow rules and believe all you see and read, never create anything you weren’t told to—would happiness be possible?”
“O’Brien says, ‘One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.’ Here is where I think Orwell’s warning lies. Anyone who seeks to strip any person of any rights, regardless of whether they are rights you care about, should be held in suspicion. Any organization that gets so large as to be able to control a person should be held in suspicion. Politics are nasty, but politics are not just reserved for politicians. Orwell gives the old warning, ‘Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ I’m no expert on politics abroad, and I am hardly an expert on my own country’s, but I will say that in a time when Americans grapple for power and struggle to be heard by their government, the thing to remember is that the government should fear us, not the other way around. If we cannot trust them to act in everyone’s best interest, we should be worried. And we should be heard. We are all on the same side here.”