Book Reviews

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For Christmas, I received three new books and thought I would write a little review for each of them as I would highly recommend them all if you’re into travel and food.

Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
I rarely ever cook Italian food which I know is bad since there is so much more to it than just pasta and marinara sauce. Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking features 150 recipes that are billed as “delicious and simple, anyone can master them” which is something I love to hear. While there is a chapter devoted on pastas, polentas, and risottos, there are also chapters on fish and meats including recipes like Lamb Stew with Saffron and Tomatoes and Baked Rice with Mussels Bari Style. In the week that I’ve had the book, I’ve already made two recipes from it-a sinfully sweet Caprese Torte (chocolate lover’s dream) and for dinner last night, one of the best pastas I have ever eaten-Pipette with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley and Capers (see, no red sauce). The book is hardback and features simple yet enticing photographs. I look forward to trying out many more recipes in the future.

The Afternoon Tea Collection by ACP Magazines Ltd.
Ever since I attended my first “afternoon tea” at the Westin Moana Surfrider in Hawaii last fall, I have become hooked on this centuries-old British cultural tradition. I’ve always loved drinking tea (I don’t drink coffee, period), but the idea of being able to drink tea AND consume the most delicious of little culinary concoctions has completely won me over. So, when I saw this charming book at Barnes and Noble (a chain book retailer here in the United States), I immediately put it on my Christmas list. The book contains dozens of recipes for all sorts of treats one would find at afternoon tea ranging from sandwiches to scones to little cakes to big cakes, biscuits, and more. Some of the recipes I can’t wait to try out are the Tiramisu Roulade, Rhubard and Almond Cakes, and Lemon Creme Brûlée Tarts. Although I don’t have a proper tea service, here’s to hoping I can have my own real afternoon tea party one day.

Four Seasons of Travel: 400 of the World’s Best Destinations in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall by National Geographic
I’m a sucker for travel “coffee table” books and when I saw that National Geographic was publishing yet another one, I requested it for Christmas. While some of the destinations are a bit “repetitive” in the travel world as in they’re always featured (i.e. Amsterdam in the spring), others seem more unique and intriguing (Hokkaido, a region of Japan that is thought to be like Vermont, just with an Asian flair or the Top 10 Winter Drinks to try including Glogg in Norway). I like these types of books because I love flipping through the pages to see which destinations I’ve been to and experienced, which places I’ve always dreamt about visiting, and which places are completely new to me but all the same are added to my ever growing list.

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  • Reply
    Jo Ann M.
    January 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    These are the types of books I would want to own as REAL books! They all sound great, but I must have “The Afternoon Tea Collection” because, although I am a coffee drinker, I love tea and its accompanying “culinary concoctions”!

    The tradition of “afternoon tea” seems so elegant and sophisticated. I love those types of things. I could live very comfortably in “Downton Abbey”!

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 5, 2014 at 3:13 am

      The Afternoon Tea Collection is a real treat. I’m hosting a book club meeting this week and plan on trying out one of the delicious sounding recipes. Hopefully it will turn out well and I can blog about it later!

      Yes, Downton Abbey indeed! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s season premiere.

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    The last book looks like my kind of thing, might have to add it to next years wish list (this book is also great for inspiration and a great coffee table book

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 6, 2014 at 2:54 am

      I’ve seen that book, am always browsing through the pages in the bookstore. One of these days I will just need to get it 🙂

  • Reply
    Pipette with Sweet Potatoes, Parsley, and Capers-Italy - The Red Headed Traveler
    May 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    […] Christmas I received a couple of new cookbooks including one by famed Italian chef, Lidia Bastiaich. She has a fabulous restaurant here in […]

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