the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘cooking

what is my second love after books?  cooking!

 

ok, here’s a riddle for you: What is the best combination of cookbooks (you know the photos are what drew you in!) and reading fictional stories (that also have wonderful pictures)?

 

Manga that is about food, of course!

 

I’m currently enjoying these:

if you’re interested in Japanese food culture,  Oishinbo is for you.  this long running series is fairly episodic, so if you see a volume BUY IT, doesn’t matter too much if you read them out of order.  Each volume discusses some different aspect of Japanese food culture,  such as ramen, pub food, sake, traditional vegetables, rice, etc.  The artwork is good if not great, and the sheer quantity of cuisine knowledge is just hella fun and enjoyable.

 

if it’s recipes and how to’s you want,  What Did You Eat Yesterday is the series for you.  I’m reading these in order.   Uninspired at his dayjob as an attorney, Shiro loves to cook elaborate dinners for his boyfriend Kenji.  Not only do we get Shiro’s inner monologue of instructions while he’s cooking, but we also get to follow him to the grocery store where he designs meals around what’s in season and/or on special at the store.  The celery was such a good deal. . .  but how much celery can you possibly eat before it goes soft in the fridge?    The way Shiro explains the dishes, he makes it sound so simple and effortless! And then you get to the page where all the dishes are laid out on the table, and I just want to lick the page.  and fire up my wok.

 

What stories, novels, graphic novels, and manga have you enjoyed that revolve around food, food culture, eating, recipes, or preparing food?

 

have you ever tried to cook a recipe that you found in a novel, graphic novel, or manga?  how did it turn out?

 

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I was hoping to write full length reviews of these books, but well, life (and Netflix) happens, so I didn’t.  Here are some ultra quick reviews of some recent reads!

 

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I am finally on the Schwab bandwagon, and I can see why she has the following she has.  Vicious was hella fun! I described it to a friend as “gleefully violent”. Think Flatliners meets X-Men, But twice as snarky and three times as smart.  Tight writing, fast paced, not a wasted sentence. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book! I will def be reading the sequel, Vengeful.

 

Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter –  I really loved the first book, Noumenon, and my Dad did too. So we read the 2nd book together.  I had a hard time getting into this book, very little of the characters I’d enjoyed so much from the first book. Had I not been reading it along with my Dad I would have DNF’d it. Too much felt like a plot device – too much of “ok, so this plot thing needs to happen for the story to go in this particular direction because that direction makes sense”, and then exactly that happened. The big reveal at the end wasn’t a surprise at all. I wish C had been a bigger part of this book.  Lots of great science and an intriguing first contact plot line, but execution was flawed.

 

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal –  very fast paced, Kowal has a ton of story to cram into a not very long novel.  I loved the alternate history extinction level event – a meteor lands off the Atlantic coast, taking Washington DC with it. Within a few decades we may not be able to survive on Earth, so it’s to the stars we go! Elma is a “computer”, that is, she is a math savant who can do complicated calculations in her head faster than a 1950s computer can. She’s also a pilot. Who says women can’t be astronauts? Umm…   all the male astronauts, and the government,  that’s who. So Elma and all her female pilot friends will just have to prove them wrong. This book teetered right on the line of Punching You In The Face Every Other Page with all the isms. You might not even notice that aspect, you might love it, you might hate it.  This is a prequel to Kowal’s novellette The Lady Astronaut of Mars, which you can still read over at Tor.com.

 

Bride’s Story vol 10 by Kaoru Mori – Finally the story is  back to Amir and Karlak! Karlak has decided to spend a few seasons with Amir’s family, so that he can learn how to hunt with a bow and understand more about her family’s nomadic culture.  Amir’s brothers and cousins quickly adopt Karlak, and even though he has a lot to learn, they treat him with respect. Karlak is even gifted with a hunting eagle. I think Karlak went into this expecting Amir’s brother and cousins to treat him like a child, like a “city boy”, like a joke.  And they treat him with hospitality and respect.  The artwork in the scenes with the eagles were incredible! I love this series for the artwork alone!  The last third of the volume goes back to Smith. He gets the surprise of his life, and he’s going to decide what to do with her. And she no longer has a home to return to. Volumes 7 – 9 were all over the place and didn’t have much focus, so I’m happy that this volume has more focus and features more of my favorite characters.

Watching!

 

I’ve gotten hooked on The Final Table on Netflix  – Think Iron Chef mixed with the drama of Chopped, but the dial cranked up to twelve. It’s over produced and more than a little ridiculous. Lol, maybe it’s Total. Drama. Cooking show! My favorite part has become the “final plate” portion. The judges for the final plate portion of each episode give supportive and positive feedback.  There is a contestant I wish had more screen time, he is slender, wears round glasses, and wears his brown hair in a ponytail. I want to know how long his hair is. He looks like an anime guy!

 

And speaking of anime,  I’ve also gotten hooked on Castlevania, also on Netflix.   An American version of the Japanese anime, this is paced and designed more to western tastes and expectations. I nearly cried in the first episode. The characters are snarky, sweary, fighty, and the dialog is fantastic.  I’m only 4 or 5 episodes in, and we just met Alucard, who is most certainly not the sleeping savior soldier. (I knew he had to show up eventually). Oh boy, my female gaze is strong with this one! How are those pants staying on?  I know (i hope at least) he’s not there just for fan service, but DAMN.  Anyway,  great characters who are snarky, sweary, smart, and sexy? And an excellent Dracula story? Um, yes please!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. How about you? what have you read, watched, and enjoyed?

A while back I got talking about my cookbook collection. The husband and I have been on an Asian food kick lately – Pakistani food, Thai Food, Malaysian curries, fancy Ramen, Chinese dumplings.  We’ve been exploring the joys of curries thanks to this cookbook:

curry cuisineand one of our favorites out of here is Japanese Curry Rice. I think I explained it to my parents as “imagine your favorite beef stew kicked up with curry spices and then served over rice. It’s not as spicy as it sounds”.  Well, I lied. it IS as spicy as it sounds. That’s what the rice is for.  Plain full-fat greek yogurt on the side is good for cooling your mouth down.

I called this blog post “One way to make Curry Rice” because I’m sure there are a million ways. This is our way,  slightly adapted from the Curry Cuisine recipe.

NOM NOM NOM

NOM NOM NOM

Ready for lots of badly lit photos of delicious food? Are you prepared to dirty every saucepan and measuring spoon in your kitchen? let’s go!

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By the way, you’ve still got a few hours to enter the give away for a free copy of Bradley Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings of Sharakhai! Read my review, to see if this is a book for you!

I’ve been catching up my reading lately, which means I need to catch up on my review writing the rest of this weekend. But, there is this other type of book that I purchase obsessively. Books I find myself going back to again, and again, reading for the pleasure of them.  What kind of book am I talking about?  Cookbooks!

Husband and I got started on a copy of Joy of Cooking. You can tell how much I’ve used that cookbook by how destroyed the binding is, and how stained the pages are. It’s got some great recipes, and some priceless how-to’s for prepping cuts of meat, cooking turkeys, things to do with random vegetables, easy cookies.  It was a great starting point . . . but as the years went on we wanted something, how shall I say, more interesting?

Read on, for a short tour of my favorite cookbooks out of our collection. Cooking is better when the book holding the recipe is an enjoyable book all by itself, no?

"Everything Tastes Better Outdoors", "The Book of Jewish Food", and "

“Everything Tastes Better Outdoors”, “The Book of Jewish Food”, and “A Book of Middle Eastern Food”, by Claudia Roden

My growing collection of Claudia Roden books. If you see her name on a cookbook, buy it. Seriously. My mom gifted me with a copy of “The Book of Jewish Food”, and my fate was sealed as a devotee of Roden’s conversational recipe style. “Everything Tastes Better Outdoors” is all picnic foods,”The Book of Jewish Food” is a world-wide recipe tour of Jewish Communities from India to North Africa to France and “A Book of Middle Eastern Food” is basically 100% deliciousness.   One of these cookbooks is usually sitting on the kitchen table, because I just enjoy reading them, just to read them. you know?

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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