Category Archives: Culinary Arts

The Hungry Scientist Handbook Book Review

It’s been said that science can be fun, but did you know it can be tasty too?  The Hungry Scientist Handbook is full of science experiments that are fun, and they are also edible.  Some of the experiments require some uncommon items, so it’s a good idea to choose a project first so you can gather the supplies needed.

One of the more simple projects in the book is from Chapter 12: Edible Origami, which brings traditional origami into the kitchen.  It shows you how to make origami cranes step-by-step.  This can be a trying task for a beginner, but once you figure it out and do it a few times, it becomes quite easy.  Once you have the technique of making the paper cranes down, the book will then ask you to make them using wonton wrappers, which are much more fragile.  After you have made the wonton wrapper cranes you will gently deep-fry each one in vegetable oil using a pair of tongs.  Once the cranes are golden brown around the edges, take them out and set them on a paper towel to cool.  Once the cranes are dry and have cooled, grab one and enjoy!

Theses oorigami cranes are great for a snack, but can also make any Asian-themed meal fun!

Yum-Yum Bento Box

Konichiwa, fellow students! I want to introduce you to the first book that I ever looked at when becoming a member of the library staff.

Now, I’m not a culinary student. I can’t even cook or bake very well. But this book caught my eye immediately. Not just because it’s adorable and colorful. And not just because it made me incredibly hungry, but because it made me feel nostalgic.

Yum-Yum Bento Box is a recipe book, to put it simply. These neatly made boxes are commonly found in Japan. In 2010 and then again in 2011, I was lucky enough to visit the country myself. It was a wonderful and eye opening experience, to say the least. But one of my fondest memories from my journey to the Land of the Rising Sun was the food, and more specifically, the bento boxes. They are truly a work of art.

If you’re someone, like myself, who is drawn to food shaped like penguins and teddy bears… then I would definitely recommend this book.

(Green) Thumbs Up!

Even though summer is nearly behind us, it’s not too late to think about gardening.  There are plenty of flowers and produce that can still be planted for a late fall harvest or springtime blooms.  If you’re brand-new to the plant scene, or want some fresh ideas on landscaping or growing your own food, take a look at some of the gardening books here at the library.

The All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening is the classic guide for gardeners.  In addition to a clear format written in everyday terms, it has tons of pictures as well as easy-to-read tables and charts.  The plant encyclopedia is useful for deciding what to plant and when.  Best of all, the guide was  recently revised to reflect organic practices.  It’s a great reference gardeners will find themselves using time and again.

If you’re interested in growing an herb garden, Reader’s Digest has published The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs as a companion to the Guide to Gardening.  This guide focuses on all things herbal — from growing herbs, to choosing the correct herbs, to preparing them for various medicinal, culinary, and decorative uses.  It is not necessarily a holistic guide, but rather a practical guide for the common herb enthusiast.

Perhaps you would love to start a garden, but live in an apartment with limited space.  Grow Great Grub understands, and is here to help.  This book has great tips for the urban gardener.  If your backyard is the size of a postage stamp, or if it consists solely of a balcony, don’t fret.  This book has suggestions for either situation, including raised beds and varieties that do well in pots.  You’ll be harvesting your home-grown food in no time!

Maybe you already put your garden in the ground last spring.  What will you do with the crops you don’t eat right away?  You need an easy, tasty way to preserve these hard-won prizes.  You need Canning for a New Generation.  This book takes a fresh look at the time-honored practice of canning fresh fruits and vegetables.  It goes beyond the boring basics with recipes for pickles, jams, and chutneys that will make you glad you spent all that time in the dirt last spring.

Major Literature

Summertime and reading a good book seem to go hand in hand.  If the only book you’ve picked up in the last few months is a textbook, it’s time to come to the library and pick up your own summer reading book.  The following great reads are as unique as the programs offered on our campus.

Chuck Palahniuk’s book Invisible Monsters will wake you up from the boredom of constant textbook reading.  This book, from the author of Fight Club, follows a fashion model who is horribly disfigured in a freak auto accident.  Her downward spiral and self-discovery as she travels across the country with a drag queen and his companion will keep your eyes glued to the page.  Along with all the unpredictable twists and turns, you’ll find a story that deals with the harsh realities of gender and beauty.

Swinging from one end of the heroine spectrum to the other, Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre is the epitome of the Victorian novel.  While the soap opera-esque plot revolving around the downtrodden, self-proclaimed “plain” Jane and the brooding, mysterious Mr. Rochester is reason enough to read this book, we confess that the cover art is our favorite part.  It was designed by designer Coralie Bickford-Smith as part of Penguin’s Clothbound Classics series.  This is one situation where it’s perfectly okay to judge a book by its cover.

The idea of expressing love through food takes on special meaning in Laura Esquivel’s book Like Water for Chocolate.  The book tells the story of the De La Garza family and the enduring yet forbidden love between Tita and Pedro.  However, food is the driving force of this novel: the characters infuse their meals with love, sadness, or whatever emotion they are feeling while cooking, producing intense results for those who eat it.  It’s a magical tale of the power of food in everyday life.

If you were ever a moody teenage girl, and haven’t read Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, you have some required reading to do.  Esther, a summer intern at a top fashion magazine in New York City, becomes deeply depressed and disillusioned with life, eventually attempting suicide.  After several tries, Esther finally meets a doctor who helps her fight the crippling depression that nearly cost her her life.  Plath’s coming-of-age novel puts a spotlight not only on clinical depression, but also on the problematic way creative women are treated in our society.

World Showcase: Japan

Japan’s vibrant, fascinating culture has had a definite effect on American design and culture.  Just take a look at a few of these items in the library to get a taste of Japanese style.

Fruits is a popular magazine with fashion students on campus, but did you know it is also a book?  The library has two collections of the best photos ever to grace the pages of this quirky Japanese street fashion magazine.  The wild combination of vintage trends with kids couture somehow ends up looking pretty cool.  While the look may seem pretty extreme, it has subtly influenced contemporary American style, most notably Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls collection.

Famous chef Takashi Yagihashi has made Japanese noodles a hot commodity.  You may remember seeing Takashi on the late-night talk show circuit a while ago promoting his book,
Takashi’s Noodles, based on his successful NYC restaurant.  If you’re a lover of ramen noodles, or really noodles in general, you’ll fall in love with the simple, tasty recipes in this book.  It’s comfort food at its Japanese finest.

More and more, the trend in interior design has shifted towards a minimal, clean look.  It’s a style that has been perfected by the Japanese for centuries.  Japan Style is great for the interior designer looking for inspiration on simple yet functional style.  The captions and descriptions of the model houses included give the reader history on aspects of Japanese style as well as ideas as to how to make items more functional in a small space.

Neo Japanesque Graphics is a treat for graphic design students.  The designs included in the book put a modern spin on traditional Japanese design motifs. Additionally, it gives design examples using a variety of different commercial mediums, including packaging, letterhead, calendars, etc.  It’s a good example of the clash between old and new Japanese style.

Keeping Your Taste Buds Cool

With the temperature rising, many people are looking for ways to keep cool.  The rest of us, however, are just looking for an excuse to eat ice cream.  Either way, the library has plenty of books that will show you how to make delicious frozen treats to help beat the heat.

If you own an ice cream machine and you’re feeling adventurous, this book is for you.  Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home is a collection of unusual ice cream recipes from the popular Ohio-based ice cream parlor.  While it includes recipes for traditional flavors, it also has unique flavors like Cognac Ice Cream and Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream.  Other flavors, like Sweet Potato  or Goat Cheese Ice Cream, make you wonder if they were created on a dare.  In any case, this book is sure to give you an ice cream experience that is anything but ordinary.

For our vegan friends who love a sweet treat, take heart: The Vegan Scoop has got you covered.  This book focuses on vegan and dairy-free  ice cream and gelato recipes.  By using soy- and almond-based “milks”, the author maintains that vegan-based frozen desserts have richer, truer flavors.  Some people might think going vegan means giving up good food, but judging by ice cream flavors like Chocolate Pretzel and Key Lime, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Italian ice cream, or gelato, is another delicious treat that can be created at home with the help of this book.  In addition to gelato, it also has delicious recipes for sorbets (fruit-based gelato) and granitas (a crushed-ice drink).  The beauty of gelato is its simplicity: most recipes only call for three or four common ingredients.  A small price to pay for a delicious international treat!

If you prefer your frozen treats on a stick, Pops! is the book for you.  It’s a collection of crazy frozen concoctions made using everyday ingredients.  You don’t need a special mold to make most of the recipes: as long as you have a stick and something to pour your creation into, you can make ice pops.  Freeze your Caramel Latte Pops in espresso cups, or use glass steins to make your Root Beer Float Pops.  Get creative, but don’t forget to make a couple for your favorite librarians!

Reference Check

One section of the library that often gets overlooked is the reference section. It really is the best-kept secret of the library. The reference books are so good, we keep them here so they’re always available. We simply couldn’t live without these books, and I bet once you starting looking around back there, you’ll feel the same way.
If you’re a fashion student, one of the coolest books you’ll ever use is The Denim Bible. It’s an encyclopedia of all things fashion denim, including brand names, trade techniques, and style trends. In addition, it includes entries for industry terms related to the manufacture of denim textiles and garments. If you’re working on a project related to sportswear and jeans, make this resource your first stop when beginning your research.

Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market is a valuable tool for artists looking for freelance jobs. The directory includes listings for galleries, magazine/book publishers, advertising agencies, even poster and greeting card companies! Entries provide contact information, a brief description of what the company is looking for, and how to submit your work for consideration. For the young creative professional, this book is a vital source of information when starting your career.

Interior design research often means wading through the myriad of design styles and variations. It can be frustrating trying to find a book that has both good background information and great pictures. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, take a look at The Abrams Guide to Period Styles for Interiors.  Not only does this guide do a good job at organizing styles and periods into easy-to-read units, it also provides beautiful full-color pictures for every style.

Encyclopaedia of Typefaces is just what the title implies — an encyclopedia of type.  This classic typography reference contains examples, descriptions, and the history behind hundreds of classic fonts. It also includes an index of important type designers. While this guide is a great guide for standard fonts, it does not include modern fonts that are products of the technology era. So while you’ll find Times New Roman in this book, you certainly won’t find Comic Sans in this book (thank goodness).

A common assignment for culinary students is to write a report about a fruit or vegetable.  Since there aren’t many books out there about the mighty kiwi, you may want to take a look at Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. This encyclopedia of produce has almost every fruit, vegetable and herb imaginable, including exotic items not usually found in the grocery store. Entries include the cultural history of the item as well as nutrition and common uses. Make your chef proud and use this book for your next report.

 

Mmm…Dessert…

As you’ve probably noticed if you have ever been in the student lounge when a huge tray of pastries appears, people love dessert. And justifiably so — what’s not to love about a huge slice of cake with a mountain of frosting on top, or a double-chocolate brownie straight from the oven? If your mouth isn’t watering yet, come to the library and take a look at our huge collection of dessert books. Here’s a few from our shelves to keep your tastebuds tingling just a bit longer.

Baking Style is probably the worst book to look at if you are craving sweets: it’s filled with gorgeous pictures of cakes, cookies, pies, and other beautiful desserts. This book will be a hit with bakers and designers alike: while the overall design of the book is visually appealing, the recipes are equally as sweet-tooth appealing. If you need further convincing, take a look at the Chocolate Chip Cake recipe. Trust me, you’ll be sold.

If you’re one of those die-hard pie people, this is possibly your new favorite book. Cutie Pies isn’t your typical pie cookbook, though — all the pies in this book are tinier, single-serving versions of the traditional pie! Some pies are muffin-sized; others are baked in little glass jars; and some look more like popovers than pies. Try one of these recipes, and you’ll be surprised that such a huge taste can come from such a tiny pie!

Speaking of tiny treats, have you noticed the new macaron craze that’s sweeping the nation? Yes, these petite pastries are now officially the hippest treat in town. Even if you aren’t interested in making them yourself, take a look at I Love Macarons.  You’ll find yourself fascinated by the rainbow of flavors (green tea?) and their corresponding color code. It even includes ideas on how to gift-wrap your macarons; that is, if you can bear to part with any of your delicious treats!

Are you a dessert rebel? Like your sweets with a little bit of a salty edge? Then consider Salty Sweets your new dessert manifesto. This book is full of familiar favorites that have been tweaked to have that perfect combination of salty and sweet that makes an ordinary treat an addicting one. From s’mores to sorbet, you’ll never look at another dessert again without wondering how it would taste with a dash of sea salt.

Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, “As a culinary master, I’m going to need a cookbook that is a little bit more challenging.” Well, here it is: Momofuku Milk Bar, a collection of recipes from the famous New York dessert restaurant of the same name. This restaurant is famous for its innovative desserts, like Crack Pie and Cereal Milk Ice Cream. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients or complex instructions — if the pictures are any indication, your hard work will be rewarded.

Do restaurant customers want more vegetarian options?

According to this recent New York Times article by James Beard award winner Mark Bittman, Americans are choosing to consume less meat. In fact, he says that the United States Department of Agriculture reports that our country’s meat consumption is down 12% from 2007. Bittman explains that there are many possible reasons for this decline, but the fact remains that consumers are making the decision to eat less meat. What do you think this means for chefs and for restaurants? Will you work on creating vegetarian entrees as part of your culinary repertoire? Do you think that having a solid grasp on vegetarian cooking will make you more hireable? Do restaurants with vegetarian options appeal to a broader customer base?  If you are interested in reading more about vegetarian cooking, the library has dozens of great books and DVDs for you! Here are a few examples:

How to cook everything vegetarian – Mark Bittman

Veganomicon : the ultimate vegan cookbook – Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

Tassajara cookbook : lunches, picnics & appetizers by Karla Oliveira

The complete Italian vegetarian cookbook : 350 essential recipes for inspired everyday eating – Jack Bishop

New vegetarian : more than 75 fresh, contemporary recipes for pasta, tangines, curries, soups and stews, and desserts / by Robin Asbell

The meat lover’s meatless cookbook : vegetarian recipes carnivores will devour – Kim O’Donnel

 

Pasta image courtesy of Nuchylee.

2011’s Top Food Trends

The Huffington Post has just released their list of the top ten food trends of 2011. Read their article, The 11 Biggest Food Trends of 2011, and see if you agree. Surely, macarons are no surprise, but pimento cheese? Who knew?

While we regrettably have no titles on the culinary preparation of insects (!), if you are interested in reading more about some of the other food trends, stop by the library and check out these great books:

Top Pot Hand-Forged Donuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker

by Mark and Michael Klebeck ; photographs by Scott Pitts

 

 

The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes

by Dale DeGroff ; photographs by George Erml

 

 

 

Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant

by Anthony Myint & Karen Leibowitz.

 

 

 

I Love Macarons

by Hisako Ogita

 

 

 

Whole Beast Butchery: The Complete Visual Guide to Beef, Lamb, and Pork

by Ryan Farr with Brigit Binns ; photographs by Ed Anderson