Each week on the 49th Shelf homepage, we highlight new releases. We also make theme-based lists and showcase lists from guest contributors and 49th Shelf members. This page archives these selections so they are always available to our members.
Herbs add spirit to cooking. They awaken and stimulate the palate, adding an extra dimension of liveliness in return for very little effort. With assertive herbs in the pot, there is less need for salt, butter and cream. To start cooking with herbs, use only one new herb each time you try a dish. But be generous. Fresh herbs have a richer, smoother, more complex flavour than do dried herbs which tend to be sharp or bitter. For that reason, fresh herbs can be measured by the handful or sprig.
On Haida Gwaii you don't see a lot of "glistening stemware" (you'll see glistening silverware at least at Copper Beech House where it is polished, if not daily, then annually by the tireless Jules) and the only limousine I know of is the one Smokin' Joe has parked in his front yard as a rusted—out garden ornament, but we can assume that all the wild foods we pick, harvest, or catch, though not organically certified, are beyond organic: eating local is the new organic; foraging is the new eating local. Wild foods grow wildly, wherever they choose to put down roots, not where anyone with a wad of pesky certified organic produce stickers says they are allowed to grow. Wild foods defy domestication and won't be tamed.
The hard part of the project was coordinating contributions from 90 chefs and getting a comprehensive representation of seafood and fishes. And there was the local versus national focus to consider. Although there were recipes from chefs across the country, most came from B.C. And we didn't consider the possibility of a "national readership" early on. Would a reader in Ottawa or Halifax be able to source most west coast fish?
Fortunately, I don't have that problem with the second Ocean Wise Cookbook. Many more chefs and restaurants across Canada have become Ocean Wise. Many of their recipes feature seafood and fish sourced locally, such as PEI mussels and Lake Erie pickerel. And editing the first cookbook was a huge learning curve: I learned that frozen can be better than fresh; that many fish farms are sustainable; and sardines really are delicious, thanks to the Ocean Wise chefs' superb recipes.
Embed our weekly title selections from 49th Shelf on your own website. The embed will automatically refresh with new books each week.