Bread & Wine

The Italian Baker: 

the classic tastes of the Italian countryside–its breads, pizza, focaccia, cakes, pastries, and cookies / Carol Field ; photography by Ed Anderson.

Publishers Weekly Reviews:
After 26 years, journalist and cookbook author Field returns with a revised edition of The Italian Baker. The new edition “upgrades” include color photographs, source guides, and updated equipment sections and instructions. A solid collection of traditional Italian baked goods, breads dominate, despite the title, with instructions on how to prepare loaves by hand, mixer, or food processor. An in-depth look at Italian bread baking and its history starts the section, and headnotes give regional notes and serving suggestions. Loaves span the Italian peninsula, from pane toscano scuro, a dark Tuscan bread, to casatiello, a Neapolitan Easter-season bread, and pane di Genzano, a bread from the city of Genzano, located south of Rome. A selection of focaccia includes variations with sea salt, sage, olives, and Gorgonzola, and a handy chapter focusing on using leftover breads guides readers to bread-based soups, salads, and desserts. Pizzas, cookies, tarts, and cakes round out the authentic and trusted title that includes such classics as pizza alla Siciliana, amaretti, and tiramisù.

Wine Country : A Literary Companion

Booklist Reviews:
No mere collection of essays and anecdotes on winemaking, this gathering of travelogues, journals, fiction, and poetry displays the rich literary tradition of California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys. From Native Americans’ slow rot under the subjugating hand of General Vallejo to the lurid shopping malls in Kate Braverman’s haunting “Winter Blues,” editor Russack goes well beyond wine-country idylls. As for humor, the good-spirited sarcasm of a Twainesque carpetbagger leads the way, with Jack London’s ornery horses and careening carriage lending support. Lyricism is naturally present, as in consumptive Robert Louis Stevenson’s reflections on escaping “poisonous fogs.” Other literary heavyweights included are Ursula Le Guin, Ambrose Bierce, and M. F. K. Fisher. And yes, there is winemaking, best described in two fiction pieces, one from the perspective of a migrant worker and the other showing a vineyard manager’s maddening struggle to pick and deliver grapes at their peak ripeness. Appeal will be strongest in, though not limited to, states with wine regions.

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread-and Thou

From Omar Khayyam

~ Edward Fitzgerald

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year  to All !

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