Friday, July 26, 2013

It's All About Food Porn

I am going to step into a weighty subject - literally.  These two books weight about 5 pounds each.  And while you might think with all that poundage, these are candidates for an e-reader, think again.  These two books need to be savored in all their printed, full-color photographic, splendor.

I call them 'food porn' because the first thing you do is look at the pictures and drool.  Forget reading the material until you have paged through these tomes from cover to cover and back again.  Then you can read the articles.

The first book, and I'll labeled it 'R' rated, is Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.

And this is how I was enjoying flipping through this book....

sitting on the patio in the morning with a cup of coffee and a pad to take some notes.  Notes like,  (1) I need this book, (2) I need to buy a food scale for the kitchen, (3) I need a thermometer for the oven, and (4) I need to exercise more so that I can make and eat the food made from the recipes in this book.

With brief stories on how each of the people involved in this book got to where they are, Bouchon Bakery then opens up like stepping through the doors of a bakery.  There are the cookies, tarts, cakes and breads all neatly arranged in their places.  A continuation of Sebastien Rouxel's 'cooking clean' philosophy.  

The recipes are to die for and the directions easy to follow.  However, and this is explained and stressed at the start of the book, the recipes are mainly in grams and ounces rather than cups and spoonfuls.  There is a conversion for most of the recipes, but I think I am going to have to get the scale and start measuring in order to make the breads I want to make. 

Color photographs accompany most of the recipes, but not all.  Or there is one photograph showing several different products at one time a few pages away from the recipe.  This is the only negative I have about the book.

Now for the 'X' rated book.  And this one I immediately sent a message to Savvy to get for herself and a friend (who is an avid baker and in training to become a professional baker).  It is on my Amazon wish list (if anyone would care to get it for me---my birthday is coming up you know!)

I happen to know that this book is 5.5 pounds of pure lusciousness, I weighed it.  A hot pink cover, opening this book is like opening the door of a French patisserie, in all it's brass and glass glory.  This is food porn at it's finest.

The recipes are rated according to difficulty, but with the almost step-by-step instructions it would be hard to go wrong.  Macaroons to shortbread, this book has it all and shows it to you in beautifully detailed colored photographs.  It should be illegal to make a book like this.   Little time is wasted on background, but jumps directly into the dough.  Hopefully, I will have this book in my hands, not as a library book, but as MY book by Christmas baking time.

These books make me glad I have saved and purchased two things recently - (1) a Kitchenaid stand mixer and (2) my recumbent bike!  I will be 'kneading' both. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's Not About the Sex Anymore

WARNING:  Potential spoilers involved.

I just finished Affliction, Laurell K. Hamilton's latest installment in the Anita Blake series.  Interesting enough, this year is 20 years of Anita Blake.  Wow, how time flies when you are having fun!

At 570 pages, this is not a 'summer read on the beach' type book. And, as usual, with all the action taking place in only 48-72 hours, you are exhausted by the time the book is over, but in a good way.  

Micah, one of Anita's main men, is called home because his father is dying a terrible death from a bite from a rotting zombie.  Anita and Nathaniel accompany him as support, also knowing their presence could cause even more family trauma.  

With a hospital full of cops (Micah's father is a sheriff) and religious zealot family members, this reunion is even more unpleasant.  Not to mention there are zombies feeding on people, people disappearing and the presence of a master vampire causing havoc.  

While Micah sees to his father and a hopeful reunion with his immediate family, Anita and her men are called upon to assist (reluctantly on both sides) local law enforcement officials in solving the latest problem.  Edward/Ted is called in when Anita is hurt (but not for long) and you know, if Edward/Ted is involved, it's going to be good.

As usual, you are lead panting along until the last 50 pages of the book.  I do have to say that while Hamilton writes some of the sexiest scenes around (and has for years - move over Shades of Grey), her story is what it is all about.  In fact, there are times I want the sex to be over (although Nicky and Dev in a shower with me---sigh) and to get back to the action.  That's the sign of a good book in my estimation.

The ending left me wrung out.  As Anita calls on her powers which have been building, you find yourself holding your breath and lending your powers so she will be successful.  Jean-Claude makes an appearance and a surprise revelation.  Some tears will be shed, both in sadness and in joy.  

The downside of this book is that after I finish it, I now want to go back and reread the last few books.  But the good news is that Hamilton is working on the next Merry Gentry book, which will be out next year.  The bad news is that I have to go back and reread those too.  And they are all in storage.

Monday, July 22, 2013

An Embarrassment of Books

Between a couple of trips to Sam's Warehouse Club and Costco and the discovery of the Helena Library I am up to my ears in books - literally......

This doesn't count the two on my bedside table I am currently reading or the ton that I have on my Kindle to read.  And school starts in about 3 weeks, so I will have books there to read.  Now to fit reading time into my schedule....