Holidays -- cooking

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes

By Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, & the Children's Museum of Boston

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"Filled with delectable recipes, hands-on family activities, and traditional tales to read aloud, this extraordinary collection will inspire families everywhere to re-create the magic of Chinese holidays in their own homes. They can feast on golden New Year's dumplings and tasty moon cakes, build a miniature boat for the Dragon Boat Festival and a kite at Qing Ming, or share the story of the greedy Kitchen God or the valiant warrior Hou Yi."
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A Year of Russian Feasts

By Catherine Cheremeteff Jones

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Equal parts travel memoir and cookbook, Catherine Joness critically acclaimed and award-winning book, A Year of Russian Feasts, combines her warm, insightful writing style with her sensitive approach to discovering her familys Russian cultural heritage and its cuisine.

Contents: Vegetarian dinner with a well-to-do Russian family -- Spring and the Russian bliny festival -- In the Danilovsky Monastery kitchen -- Orthodox Easter services and the Easter feast at the Lebedev's -- Tea with Antonina in Strogino -- A birthday party at Viktor's -- Russian summers: a time for preserving the bounty -- Autumn and mushroom hunting -- Valentina's baptism -- Russian winters -- Celebrating Christmas past and present -- A black-tie New Year's Eve celebration -- Russian weddings -- What Russians drink.

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Home Cooking

By Laurie Colwin

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Food and companionship played a large part in all of Laurie Colwin's smart, funny, heartbreaking novels, so it's no surprise to find that her monthly column for Gourmet touched on the same themes. Collected here and in More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen are her strong opinions on such topics as the perfect gingerbread, repulsive dinners, and her hatred of stuffing.

"At Thanksgiving time, friends would proudly confide their stuffing recipes, many of which I found personally nauseating: dried bread, prunes, oysters and water chestnuts, for example. Prunes and oysters! If such a dish were set before you at a resturant, you would flee in horror and dismay, but when it comes to stuffing, anything goes."

If that speaks to your condition, be sure to read "Turkey Angst," "All the Trimmings," and "How to Face the Holidays" from More Home Cooking. Never mind that I love stuffing anyway, or that her recipe for plum jam results in a delicious plum syrup rather than the thick, jamlike concoction she describes. I would happily read and re-read anything Laurie Colwin ever wrote (sadly, she died at 48 in 1992) -- in fact, writing this review has sent me back to her books yet again. A glass of red wine, a warm quilt, a cold autumn evening, and a Laurie Colwin novel -- heaven!
--Caroline Parr, CRRL Staff

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Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family

By Art Smith

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Art Smith is Oprah Winfrey's personal chef. Smith provides readers with an array of mouth-watering recipes that represent the very best of home cooking. He also discusses how to set the table in a way that gives reverence to the food and the guests; how various cultures give blessings before a meal; how different kinds of foods and dishes can contribute to an atmosphere of family unity; and so much more! Back to the Table is illustrated throughout with stunning photos of the food and of people sharing their tables, and their lives. He has cooked professionally for the families of celebrities and heads-of-state for almost 20 years.

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