Library shelf : 7th Feb

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With a birthday in early January that follows quickly after the Christmas period, my little gift stash is perhaps a little bigger than others who get to spread their celebrations around the year more evenly. Having said that, I want to thank my family for their food related gifts this year and to share some of my new cookbooks. I won’t be giving a full review – just sharing some of the features I’ve enjoyed about these books so far.

William and Suzue Curley, an English-Japanese pâtissier couple who now own and work together at William Curley Pâtissier Chocolatier have chosen to share their ideas, recipes and experience by writing books on both topics; Pâtisserie and Couture Chocolate. I spent quite a lot of time mulling over the evolution of chocolate consumption and the history and social phenomena of cake last semester as I wrote my assignments so this pigeon pair of books were very thoughtful gifts from my parents. Although I feel a little overwhelmed by the very specialised ingredients and instructions, the recipes and presentation are both inspiring and very beautiful. I may become less overawed in time but for the moment they are, at least, very lovely eye candy!

Catching up with my grandma over the phone last year I would often give her updates on my cake essay and she would compliment this with tidbits she’d learnt while watching the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off. For my birthday she gave me a copy of the Hummingbird bakery cookbook, full of baking recipes I hope to try out in the next few months!

The last Christmas food book was not a recipe book but an very interesting piece written by Rebecca Huntley, “one of Australia’s most respected researches on social and consumer trends” (as it says on the back of the book). Does Cooking Matter? is a very interesting reflection on the importance of cooking and how this question is perceived in the contemporary Australian context. It was encouraging hear someone else so thoughtfully and intelligently articulating and commenting on a problem dear to my heart.

The final piece of food ‘media’ that was a delightful addition to our summer holidays was Adam Liaw’s Destination Flavour: Japan series on DVD. If learning to make bento boxes last year got me interested in cooking Japanese food, then Jonno’s Christmas gift of this series definitely inspired me to try more Japanese food both at home and when eating out! Adam is a gently enthusiastic presenter who is very engaging and respectful of this ancient culture and their food traditions. With a diversity of Japanese food experiences represented, we felt like we’d almost had a tour of the country in the comfort of our little beach house on the central coast!

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