Many Different Faces: Bibliography’s Extended Family

Cousin Connie Atherton, or Constance as she wanted to be called - she always said it sounded more grownup,  you know - inherited Grandma's large coffee-brown eyes. Grandpa's curly black hair went to his great-grandson Jake , whose sister Mildred emerged from their mother Flora's uterus with long tapered fingers, a Doppelganger of Uncle George,…

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Prelude to a Bio-Bibliography

“Let me take your coat, my dear.” I heard her voice as I stepped off the elevator, into the penthouse suite at the Chicago Hilton on a snowy day in late December. The tall, white-haired woman standing there, holding out her hands to me, drew me over the threshold, welcoming me. The color of Forget-Me-Nots,…

The Joy of Bibliographies

Compiling bibliographies is a bit like blowing bubbles, for you never know how big the bubbles will be or how far away they’ll float through the air. Or where they’ll land. And that’s the exciting bit about bibliographies. You can’t know when you set out on the journey where you'll end up. If you compile…

African Cuisines: Cookbooks for Exploration and Discovery of Superb Flavors

Only one of this year’s new releases in print cookbooks covers the cooking of Africa, unless you count books about Moroccan cooking by Fatéma Hal and Z. Guinaudeau, as well as Kittee Berns’s Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking. The rest only come in Kindle editions, a medium which is not my first choice…

SUGARPLUM VISIONS: Christmas Cookies

...visions of sugarplums danced in their heads. ~~Clement C. Moore~~ " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" Happy Holidays to all readers and visitors to Gherkins & Tomatoes / Cornichons et Tomates! I will "see" you again on January 2. 'Tis soon the season to be jolly. And to bake cookies, the sugarplums of today. I'm…

Le Potager du Roi, a Kitchen Garden Fit for a King

Winter still chills those of us north of equator and so the time has come to dream of gardens and kings and and cabbages and things like seed catalogs. A while ago (OK, more than a while!), because of the burgeoning trend nowadays for local foods and backyard gardens --- the most famous being the…

A Whiff of Madeleines and a Sniff of Curry: A List of Delectable Food Memoirs

Why do you love to read food memoirs? Barbara Frey Waxman attempts to answer that question in “Food Memoirs: What They Are, Why They Are Popular, and Why They Belong in the Literature Classroom.”* But it doesn’t take an academic treatise to prove what you, and publishers, know: food memoirs sell because people love stories.…

Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg

Now Christmas comes, ‘tis fit that we Should feast and sing, and merry be; Keep open house, let fiddlers play, A fig for cold, sing care away; And may they who thereat repine, On brown bread and small beer dine. Virginia Almanack 1766 To paraphrase former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld: There’s the Williamsburg Christmas…

Ghosts of Gourmet: Ann Seranne

About three days ago, caught in the throes of egg cookery, I realized that Ann Seranne's name doesn't ring a whole lot of bells these days in food circles. Who? Even Alice Arndt's celebrated Culinary Biographies fails to mention Seranne. We shouldn't ignore this lady and her place in the pantheon of culinarians contributing to…

A Honey of a Bibliography

Beekeeping is farming for intellectuals. ~~Sue Hubbell, A Book of Bees Here are some of the many resources I've relied on for the series on honey and bees (9/28/09 through 10/1/09). If you read no other material on bees and beekeeping, be sure to read Dr. Eva Crane's work. Letters from the Hive: An Intimate…

The Random Herbalist: Books About Monastic and Medieval Gardens

I find the following books enlightening, soothing, and motivating. My plan is to create/design a medieval/monastic herb garden over the upcoming winter and plant it starting next spring.* Monastic Gardens, by Mick Hales (2000) Private worlds glimpsed by a privileged few, monasteries have long maintained an aura of mystery. Outsiders imagine the silent seclusion, the…

Reveling in Books: DIY (Old) Food, Knowledge Lost and Now Found

Want to make your own cheese? How about pickles or chow-chow? Sausage and headcheese? Raise a couple of cows or keep a flock of geese? At a time when people want, no, need, to know the how-tos of old foodways, it seems that there’s a book for making just about everything. Fortunately, because this knowledge…

After Pizarro: Food in Colonial Peru and Today (Conclusion)

In Lima, a city more Spanish than perhaps any of the other seats of Spanish viceroyalties in the New World, the Spanish elite built huge mansions from the money raised by the tribute demanded of the natives and other less noble members of the society. Tribute usually consisted of the ubiquitous silver, but also included…

Celebrate Colonial American Cooking: Cookbooks for Thanksgiving and Christmas

Want to celebrate American food history and ingenuity this year? The great state of Virginia gave birth to eight U.S. presidents --- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. And they all liked to eat, some more than others. In fact, Thomas Jefferson still…

Ecstatic in Farmers’ Markets (with a List of Cookbooks at the End)

Not too long ago, driving through the flat land of northern Illinois, I passed near Galena, a charming Victorian town nestled among bluffs and rolling hills near the Mississippi River. Just before arriving in the town, along scenic Highway 20, several small farmers' markets beckoned. Now, truth be told, my hands tingle and my blood…

Turkey Talk and Stuff: A Gobble Ahead

"When the wine has stopped fermenting in November, the turkey is ready for roasting." --Italian Proverb-- The slight chill in the air lately conjures up dreams of fall nights replete with soup and crunching leaves underfoot and turkey dinners. Wild turkeys dart in and out of the bushes around the woods near my house. And…