Thursday, December 30, 2010

Books for Christmas

I love books. I love giving them, receiving them, reading them, smelling them ... I just love books. So it's not a surprise that several of my favorite Christmas gifts were books.

There's my old standby - the Farmer's Almanac. Hubs gives me this book every year for Christmas, and every year I look forward to it. It's got lots of interesting, as well as practical, information in it. I love reading about what our weather will be over the coming year (Just an FYI - it's freakishly accurate. The books run from November to November, so the 2011 edition had the weather forecast for this current month of December. For our area, it indicated record rainfall and, you guessed it, we've had record rainfall), what trends are on the horizon, when to plant what, etc. It's a fun read and if you've never read it, I suggest you check it out.

Also this year I received two wonderful books that I've been enjoying immensely. The first one was noted on the sidebar last week under "What's on the Nightstand". It's a fabulous book called "Let's Bring Back" by Lesley Blume, in which she presents an alphabetized list of things she would like to see make a come-back. I have to say, for the most part, I think she and I are kindred spirits. What types of things? They run the gamut, but here are a few ideas (with which I agree whole-heartedly): satin pajamas, sealing wax, the use of the word "swell", dapper men, dressing 'up' ... you get the idea. It's a wonderful read that weaves a path of nostalgia. I have to warn you, once you read it, you'll jump right on the bandwagon with us!

The next book is currently on the sidebar ("What's on the Nightstand"); it's the Gourmet Cookie Cookbook. As you may already know, Gourmet magazine, as so many other things, went belly-up in 2009. I didn't read the magazine on a regular basis, but I did read it from time to time, and I do miss it. It certainly had it's place in the culinary world and I think it's sad that a publication that gave so much to so many succumbed to the frightening economy under which we're still cowering. Anyway ... the book is a wonderful compilation of the single best cookie recipe each year from their first year of publication, 1941, through their last year of publication, 2009. The book goes in year order so that you can see the progression of cookies; from the depression era when sugar was rationed, to later years when chocolate became king, it's really a wonderful look at how these sweets took on a life of their own. There are also amazing photographs of how the cookies were arranged for the cover of the magazine. Such care was taken to place the cookies just so - they are like miniature works of art! This is another book that I highly recommend. It will make a wonderful addition to your cookbook shelf and it's a book that I know I will refer to year after year.

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