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The Art of Kintsugi: Learning the Japanese Craft of Beautiful Repair

Alexandra Kitty. Schiffer, $27.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-7643-6054-1

Journalist Kitty (The Dramatic Moment of Fate) presents a beautifully photographed and eloquent survey of kintsugi, the Japanese practice of repairing broken containers with powdered gold. Intended as a way of leaving repairs both noticeable and aesthetically appealing, the craft rests on the philosophy of wabi-sabi, which Kitty sums up as the belief in “accepting the impermanence of our life and our environment.“ After explaining kintsugi’s philosophical underpinnings, Kitty shows how to use kintsugi on pottery, as well as for jewelry and statuary and in mixed-media works. Her step-by-step directions include advice on how best to apply kintsugi’s traditional gold powder, a recipe for making the requisite rice glue, and guidance on how to apply the specific kind of lacquer, known as urushi, that can create the beautiful shine that kintsugi is known for. Kitty strongly advises against painting with gold pigment, which creates an overly artificial look, and gives suggestions for those who want to experiment with copper, bronze, or silver powders. Kitty’s loving overview of this ancient Japanese tradition will appeal to many crafters, both for the aesthetic possibilities it opens up and as an art based on “one of the most powerful and resilient beliefs: that we can triumph over catastrophe.” (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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The Art and Science of Foodpairing: 10,000 Flavour Matches That Will Transform the Way You Eat

Peter Coucquyt, Bernard Lahousse, and Johan Langenbick. Firefly, $49.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-22810-084-3

Science and data-visualization drive this intriguing graph-filled reference dedicated to engineering new flavor combinations. The team—chef Coucquyt, bioengineer Lahousse, and tech entrepreneur Langenbick—employ such analysis as “gas chromatography-mass spectrometry” and plenty of gusto to arrive at 70 “aroma descriptors,” then map those smells to myriad food and drink items. Those options are then matched with a vast assortment of companion offerings, adding up to 10,000 (often surprising) flavor combinations. Results are plotted out using flowing and segmented taste wheels and color-coded grids. A brown dot, for example, represents the woody aroma with descriptors including balsamic, pine, and the compound phenolic. A deep dive into coffee finds that the drink has over a thousand different aroma molecules, though no more than 40 are perceivable by humans, and dictates that freshly brewed coffee shares the same floral and spicy notes as grilled green asparagus. French fries, meanwhile, have the caramel and roasted notes that make it a nice match with pan-fried pheasant or Japanese muskmelon. Restaurant professionals and intrepid amateurs will find plenty to ponder in this heady outing. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Flavor for All: Everyday Recipes and Creative Pairings

James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-0-358-16406-7

Husband-wife collaborators Briscione, a two-time Chopped champion, and Parkhurst follow 2018’s The Flavor Matrix with an info-packed recipe collection focused on the fundamentals of flavor pairings. The 100 recipes are divided into categories such as vegetables, land, and sea, each annotated with flavor, taste, and chemical compound notes. For example, the chemistry underlying spicy kiwi and bacon grilled cheese sandwiches relies on the compound 3-carene and the aromas of bell pepper and lemon—as well as resin and rubber—to build flavor. If the scientific annotation proves to be a bit overwhelming, cooks can dive straight into the recipes, which lean toward Briscione’s Southern roots. There’s an unami-rich summer dish that combines clams and squash (compound: dimethylamine) with garlic, basil, and tomatoes. A chianti-braised beef with grits (compound: 2-phenylethanol), meanwhile, has notes of fruit, honey, lilac, and rose. Dessert stars include a decadent chocolate and red wine bread pudding, while cocktails feature temptations like a butternut old-fashioned. Each ingredient also gets labeled with its taste profile: i.e., garlic is umami; Dijon mustard both spicy and acidic; fresh pineapple sweet. Home cooks as curious about what goes on inside the pot as what goes into it will have a ball. Agent: Joy Tutela, David Black Literary Agency. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Fruit Cake: Recipes for the Curious Baker

Jason Schreiber. Morrow, $32.50 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-297745-8

Food stylist Schreiber debuts with an inspiring collection of recipes for cakes enriched with fruit that will be a revelation for fruitcake skeptics. The volume opens with snackable desserts like poached pear and quince crumb cake, followed by handheld cakes that include delicate raspberry almond petit fours. Schreiber shines in his “Showstoppers” chapter, which features complex creations like a peanut butter and jelly cake brightened with a layer of strawberries and a decadent four-layer key lime confection. Last but not least are a lineup of sumptuous fruitcakes, such as a stout-soaked cake with dried tart cherries, apricots, candied ginger, and milk chocolate that will convert even the most vehement soaked-cake hater. Schreiber’s chatty style keeps things relaxed, but can also distract, as in his chocolate caramel banana roulade, where he instructs bakers to refrigerate the filling “until you’re ready to fill the cake, which I realize you probably aren’t because I haven’t told you how to make it yet.” A sharp design comprising easy-to-follow ingredient grids and modern–vintage-feel photography adds a polished touch, and Schreiber’s explanations of commonly misunderstood baking concepts (on room temperature: one’s kitchen is not guaranteed to be it) round things out. This will tantalize bakers seeking a modern approach to classic desserts. Agent: Sharon Bowers, Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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How to Weave a Navajo Rug and Other Lessons from Spider Woman

Barbara Teller Ornelas and Lynda Teller Pete. Thrums, $29.95 (152p) ISBN 978-1-73442-170-5

Fifth-generation weavers Ornelas and Pete (Spider Woman’s Children) offer experienced weavers inspiring instruction in the art of creating Navajo rugs. They first relate the craft’s origin story: the deity Spider Woman gave the skill to the Navajo people after she was taught to weave the universe by a spider god. Ornelas and Pete clarify that Navajo weaving was not borrowed either from the Pueblo or Europeans, as some historians posit. They describe the sheep that traditionally provided the wool, though they, and most fellow Navajo weavers, now use mill-spun yarn. Carding (combing and cleaning the wool) is consequently less important, but, they state, still a rewarding community activity, and a good way of “blending different colors of wool together to create a greater range of hues.” While also touching briefly on making blankets and tapestries, the authors spend most of the book on the rug project, providing instructions that are intricate, detailed, and, for those new to weaving, intimidating. They also include notes on cultural symbolism (the vertical yarn lines on the loom represent sky, lightning, clouds, and rain) and a smattering of humor (“having a warped sense of humor” helps when using a warp frame). Ornelas and Pete’s passion for their craft and their heritage results in a lovely and unique crafting resource. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Milk Street: Cookish: Throw It Together

Christopher Kimball et al. Voracious, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-54030-8

Milk Street founder Kimball (Milk Street: The New Rules) collects solid recipes with six ingredients or fewer that build flavor with powerhouse components rather than fussy prep. Most of these meals, in which “time is no longer the key ingredient,” are prepared in a single pot. The simplicity is appealing and the flavors are bright: a salad of shredded fennel and celery root pops when tossed in mustard dressing, and harissa brings the heat to pasta with yogurt. Sections are conventionally broken down by main ingredient, but then subdivided by method, so that the section on beans and grains includes heating canned beans in a microwave, tossing in flavorings (like charred tomatoes) and allowing them to cool into a salad. Options are the name of the game: a quintet of dipping sauces is recommended for fried chicken cutlets, and shredded pork can be transformed with miso; rosemary and balsamic vinegar; or soy sauce and star anise. Globe-trotting cultural references include West African–style chicken with peanut butter, Balinese-style roasted pork shoulder, and Korean-style noodle soup with kimchi and gochujang chili paste. Desserts offer crowd-pleasers such as four differently spiced rice puddings. The quick-and-easy concept is carried out consistently, and this clever title will be a boon for weeknight cooks. Agent: David Black, the David Black Agency. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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The Pie Room: 80 Achievable and Show-Stopping Pies and Sides for Pie Lovers Everywhere

Calum Franklin. Bloomsbury, $30 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4729-7361-0

Chef Franklin will charm home bakers with this delicious glimpse into the pastry magic that happens in the “Pie Room” at his Holborn Dining Room restaurant in London. Starting with “Tools & Techniques,” Franklin lays down building blocks including rolling pastry, then walks readers through essential equipment. Classic dough recipes follow, including choux, puff, filo, and brioche. Dishes skew toward the savory, and bakers can dream up elegant dinner parties to make prawn Thermidor vol-au-vents or up the home Friday-night ante with options including a Moroccan chickpea and feta pie that’s both elegant and substantial without taking hours to prepare, and kid-friendly surprises such as a “melting, gooey” mac ’n’ cheese pie. A handful of sweet options are featured, among them the always-in-style glazed apple tart (which feels wonderfully British as it suggests clotted cream spooned alongside), and a rhubarb and custard tart made with shortcrust pastry, topped with vanilla-infused custard, and arranged with rhubarb batons. A chapter on side dishes showcases some of the restaurant’s popular fare, with selections like “Perfect Hasselback Potatoes” and roasted carrots with cumin. Readers looking for hearty winter fare will want to give this a look. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia

Tom Stevenson and Orsi Szentkiralyi. National Geographic, $75 (800p) ISBN 978-1-42622-141-5

This full-bodied reference aims to be for wine-lovers an “encyclopedia to everything... whittled down to a graspable level” and absolutely delivers. Originally published in 1988, Sotheby sommelier Szentkiralyi was brought on for this extensively revised and updated edition. The first of the volume’s three parts explores wine basics with a rundown of grape varieties, a list of well-known barrel makers, a guide to aromas, and a cogent course in tasting. The second section offers a 10-page “chronology of wine” landmarks, from the Earth’s first vine, circa 500 million years ago, to the 2020 Australian wildfires. The sprawling third section attempts no less than to catalog and explore every wine appellation on the planet. As such, these some 600 pages offer as much an atlas as an encyclopedia, complete with color maps, photos of verdant countryside, and hundreds of brief descriptions of production in territories both familiar, such as Alsace in France, and less expected, such as Bhutan. Sips of entertaining trivia (“Madeira gives its name to the only wine in the world that must be baked in an oven!”) and historical perspective (Lebanon’s wine-making heyday was “arguably in the second millennium BC... the toast of the Greeks and Romans”) pour in along the way. Vast and varied, the scope of this impressive work would make Dionysus swoon. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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12 Principles for Raising a Child with ADHD

Russell A. Barkley. Guilford, $16.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-4625-4255-0

Clinical psychologist Barkley successfully distills the most practical material from his comprehensive parenting manual, Taking Charge of ADHD, into a concise and accessible guide. Devoting a chapter to each of 12 “principles,” he begins by laying out his position that ADHD is a biological disorder, not the willful “behavior problem” educators and fellow mental-health professionals sometimes treat it as. Barkley further explains that children who have the disorder struggle with executive function in general, as well as impulsivity. He encourages parents to work with their children to develop a deeper sense of time beyond the present (in the chapter “Make Time Real”) and a greater awareness of the consequences of their actions (in “Promote Your Child’s Self-Awareness and Accountability”), but first and foremost to “Use the Keys to Success” by having one’s child professionally diagnosed, identifying his or her particular strengths and talents, finding resources to develop these abilities, and accepting and supporting one’s child unconditionally. Barkley also recommends letting go of less important demands, such as household chores, and, for the sake of one’s own well-being, cultivating mindfulness and forgiveness. Parents in Barkley’s target audience should find his guide to be a valuable and reassuring go-to. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Chaat

Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy. Clarkson Potter, $32.50 (272p) ISBN 978-1-98482-388-5

Chef and Chopped judge Chauhan partners with food writer Eddy to reminisce on their travels via India’s vast railway system, where food and beverage carts and markets offer passengers a quick bite or a drink. They collect a bounty of recipes, in four sections broken out regionally, beginning in the north, where Gajar ka Halwa (carrot pudding with saffron and pistachios) is served up in the junction station at Amritsar, and the popular street food, Nadir Monji (spicy, crispy-fried lotus root), gets paired with tamarind and green chutneys in Srinagar. To the west, there is the renowned Bombay sandwich of Mumbai, a panini-like affair filled with cheese, potato, beet, and other vegetables, while in the southern port of Mangalore—where, Chauhan says, “Each visit has left an indelible mark upon” her as a chef—coffee is boiled with basil, cardamom, and ginger to create the sweet and spicy Chukku Kappi. Ending in the east, Chauhan returns to her hometown of Ranchi to rediscover a favorite childhood treat, the “universally beloved” puchkas (semolina puffs stuffed with potatoes and chutney, and spiked with a cilantro-lime “spicy water”). Food photographer Linda Xiao does an outstanding job bringing color and texture to each plate and frothy glass. An entire country’s quick eats come to the home kitchen in this transporting collection. Agent: Jonah Straus, Straus Literary. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/18/2020 | Details & Permalink

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