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Shelf Life Blog

11/23/2017 - 2:02am
Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World

Making bread from flour, yeast, water/milk and whatever else goes into your recipe is one of the most satisfying things a person of any age can learn, and there are so many good lessons for homeschooling, too. There’s measuring, of course, but there are a lot of little things that baking reinforces. Patience: it takes time for a loaf of bread to rise. An eye for detail: how do you know when the bread is mixed enough? When it's done? Sharing: whether you’re sharing an Amish or sourdough starter or a complete loaf of bread, sharing can be the best part of baking.

Even with all those good lessons, author Elizabeth Harbison and illustrator John Harbison go it one better by including a cheerful history of bread making in their book, Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World. You’ll learn how people across the world and across time have made their bread. They might use different kinds of flour. They might not even use yeast. But it’s all bread, made to be enjoyed—and shared.

11/22/2017 - 2:02am
The Lumberjack's Beard by Duncan Beedie

Big Jim Hickory is a lumberjack.

Every day, he awakes next to a forest, in a little log cabin, and he completes his morning routine: Limbering-up exercises—it's very important to limber up if you're a lumberjack. Jim also has a hearty breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup before he sets out with his trusty ax and heads into the forest.

CHOP-CHOPPETY-CHOP! Jim's ax echoes at every tree he cuts.

11/21/2017 - 2:01am
Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham

The last time we saw historian Vickie Preston and Special Agent Griffin Pryce, they were solving a series of murders in the Boston area (Dying Breath & Dark Rites) with the FBI's paranormal team, the Krewe of Hunters. After the wrap-up of these cases, Vickie and Griffin are eager to begin their new life together in Virginia.

Now comes their next baffling case in Wicked Deeds, involving none other than the Master of Horror himself . . . Edgar Allan Poe.

11/16/2017 - 1:57am
Cover to Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story

With its simple, glowing pictures by Jill McElmurry reminiscent of folk art, Pat Zietlow Miller’s Sharing the Bread is a rhyming, picture-book distillation of the many good things about a shared Thanksgiving. All the family—aunt, uncle, mother, father, sister, brothers, grandmother, grandfather—help make the feast, and all the family enjoys sharing it.

11/15/2017 - 1:56am
The Reminders by Val Emmich

The Reminders is a sweet, charming story filled with quirky characters, told in the alternating voices of Joan and Gavin in sections named after John Lennon’s songs and interspersed with Joan’s doodled drawings from her journal.

11/14/2017 - 1:56am
The Cornbread Gospels: Over 200 Recipes by Crescent Dragonwagon

People can be mighty particular about their cornbread. They have strong feelings about which kind of meal to use (yellow or white), what to cook it in, what to use for leavening, and what to add in for extra flavor—or not. From such regional and personal beliefs comes Crescent Dragonwagon’s The Cornbread Gospels, with delicious takes on this homespun favorite.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the joys of cornbread, whether it’s a semi-soufflé of spoonbread for the Thanksgiving meal or something plainer to go with your New Year’s Day black-eyed peas, The Cornbread Gospels has your dish. Drawn from the recipe files of excellent cooks from across America and around the world, you’ll get a taste for different cultures as well as their preferred methods and flavors, with the talented wordsmith Crescent Dragonwagon as your guide.

11/09/2017 - 1:52am
The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater

Marco the fox watches as the antlered ship arrives in the harbor. This makes him wonder about the world out there. "Why don't trees ever talk?" he thinks. "How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea?"

But when Marco proposes these questions to his fellow foxes, they do not know how to answer him. "What does that have to do with chicken stew?" they ask. 

So begins the tale of The Antlered Ship. Soon after the arrival of the massive vessel, Marco greets the ragtag travelers on the gangplank. "We hope to hire a seaworthy crew," explains the captain, a deer named Sylvia. "I'm afraid we aren't very good sailors." 

11/08/2017 - 8:46am
Cover to The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it seems like a good time to revisit the dessert possibilities. Of course, there would be mutiny if pumpkin pie weren’t involved, but have you considered the addition of Butter Rum Cream Pie or Bourbon Pear Crumble Pie? Or, how about taking traditions to the next level with Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie?

Two sisters from the Midwest gathered in Brooklyn and opened a first-rate pie shop. It seemed like the logical thing to do. Although they all had degrees in finance and the arts, a bust economy had them marshalling their resources as they found that sticking to a family tradition—they were at least the third generation to make a living from the kitchen—reaped delicious and tangible rewards.

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