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Book of Donair

Book of Donair

Everything you wanted to know about the Halifax street food that became Canada's favourite kebab
edition:Paperback
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Take Back the Tray

Take Back the Tray

Revolutionizing Food in Hospitals, Schools, and Other Institutions
edition:Audiobook
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County Heirlooms

County Heirlooms

Recipes and Reflections from Prince Edward County
edited by Leigh Nash
photographs by Natalie Wollenberg
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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The Whale and the Cupcake

The Whale and the Cupcake

Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska
edition:Paperback
tagged : essays
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Alpine Cooking

Alpine Cooking

Recipes and Stories from Europe's Grand Mountaintops [A Cookbook]
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

I was told by a station agent that the ski from Plan Maison station in Cervinia, Italy, to the Riffelalp hamlet above Zermatt, Switzerland, would take “about two hours, if that.” But what I should have paid attention to was the sign posted outside the lift ticket booth. “Weather conditions can change rapidly,” it said. “Please be particularly careful in event of wind, rain, fog, hail, or snowfall.”

And so, for the following hours as I made my way across the Italian border at an elevation of nearly 3,900 meters (13,000 feet), the winds increased, the sky turned black, and I couldn’t see my ski poles in front of me. I felt I was in the Upside Down, with little ability to orient myself. As I inched along, I encountered few people, which eventually turned into no people. The last person I saw was the Klein Matterhorn lift operator, who told me he was shutting down the lifts due to wind and even if I wanted to go back, I couldn’t.

I told myself to keep calm as I started the descent. What would normally take twenty minutes for an average skier like me took a lot longer, but I can’t tell you the specifics because I was scared, but also angry. Angry at the weather, angry because of the lifts, but mostly angry at myself for doing this—all for the purpose of eating Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (see page 212).

Alpine Cooking will take you from the Olympic glory of Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo, through the towering Dolomites to the northern Italian province of Alto Adige/South Tyrol, past Ötzi the Iceman’s place of discovery in Tyrol, Austria, down the slopes of Zermatt, Switzerland, and over to Mont-Blanc, ending in the twenty-one hairpin turns of the Alpe d’Huez in France. This book took six years to research, write, and travel . . . more if you count the incubating stages when I was trying to wrap my head around how to capture the enormity of these Alpine mountains and the food served within, alongside, and atop them. After completing a handful of Alpine trips myself, I wanted to share the experiences with my family and friends, who were inspired by the stories—often about food—I brought back home to Montreal. I yearned to buy books, or even a book, that combined the narrative of my past Alpine experiences with actual how-to tips and on-the-ground knowledge. I wanted a book about everything Alpine: from the best rifugios (mountain huts) to kitsch mountain films (it’s a genre!), Swiss folk art, mountain literature, hotels and the families who run them, history, and ghost stories. And, oh yes, recipes too. And maps. Lots of maps. Except that book didn’t exist.

Sure, there are Frommer’s and Lonely Planet and “just the facts” guidebooks. There are also haute cuisine cookbooks written by Alpine chefs. But that wasn’t my speed nor my vision. So, I decided to write this book; partly because no one else had done it yet—fit all of this skiable feast under one roof—and partly because I couldn’t resist the adventure of what lay ahead.

I remember early in my travels taking the chairlift in Alta Badia, Italy. As I ascended toward the church of La Crusc, with the alpenglow of the Dolomites behind it, I looked down, around, and behind me at the rifugios and huts all scattered in the snow like roasted chestnuts, and wondered what set one apart from another? Who served what? Could I ski to all of them? Were they open in the summer, and then could I hike to them? There was so much good eating in just one view.

I have skied and hiked mountains in Canada a few times, but rarely in the United States. The Alps are my first love, and they are all I really know. Upon seeing a photograph of my ski-day lunch, say, a Tiroler Gröstl (golden potato hash with local speck, and maybe cabbage and egg) with esoteric Alsatian bottles of wine sprouting out of the hills of snow behind me, my North American friends would comment about the lack of a Chef Boyardee facsimile served on a red plastic tray with a bag of Lay’s and a soda. As they recalibrated their idea of what mountain lunch could be, I realized how much of a story there is to tell. And so, I started keeping a journal of the people (chefs, hoteliers, helicopter pilots, winemakers, cheesemakers) I met, the best things I ate, the cultural observations, and the mistakes I made. (So many mistakes.) In trying to see, but moreover, eat as much of the Alpine range (200,000 square kilometers/77,000 square miles) as I could, I sometimes overlooked a detail. It usually included overestimating what is physically possible to do in one day without really considering weather conditions; for example, skiing to a hotel over a country boundary with my sleepover bag (and my laptop—how do you think I wrote this?) on my back through a blizzard. (And yes, those Zürcher Geschnetzeltes were worth it.) Or underestimating the amount of time it would take to drive from place to place, not counting the multiple stops for anything that looked remotely delicious.

Even after so much Alpine traveling time, this book is still only an Alpine primer—a two-dimensional account designed to inspire you. I came back from the Alps with approximately 175 recipes stuffed in my mind and proverbial snowsuit. Of those, I whittled down this collection to more than 75 must-haves, either because they are valuable and unique additions to any arsenal, or because the story of them was intrinsic to my Alpine trip. On the foldout pages, you will also find four country maps identifying the mountain-hut locations that inspired the corresponding recipes of my Alpine tour. And I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface here; indeed, I can imagine traveling the rest of my life, writing books of this size, and I still wouldn’t come close to capturing the magic of the mountains. Perhaps I’m just getting started.

I hope you cook from this book, sure, but the delicious and authentic recipes are just an excuse, really—a trail of little crumbs, and okay, fine, maybe some Reblochon too—to lure you into the mountains and to follow my journey, to encourage you to breathe in the mountain air. Many of these recipes are classics of mountain cuisine—dishes you’ll find in almost every inn of an area. Others reflect the talent and individual creativity of chefs I’ve met along the way. Still others were created at home, away from the Alps, and dedicated to the regions that inspired them. But all are rooted firmly in the Alps.

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Kosher Style

Kosher Style

Over 100 Jewish Recipes for the Modern Cook
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

From the Introduction
Kosher Style is for those who love delicious modern food, travel writing or both. It’s a cookbook with food writing that respects the traditions born in eastern European kitchens, while traveling beyond. Jewish readers will love it for the taste memories they can recreate, while others will be won over by the gorgeous full-color photography.

So why is it called Kosher Style? Excellent question. While dozens of countries host at least a small Jewish population, the global community is concentrated in two areas. Israel and the United States account for 83 percent of the global Jewish population, with about seven million in each. Canada is home to about 500,000 Jews. A chunk of this global population of Jews is kosher, but even more of them are what we call “kosher style.”

“Kosher style” is how many Jews eat today. This can mean dining on a smoked meat sandwich at a non-kosher deli, or eating a slice of sour cream coffee cake after you’ve had steak for dinner. It can mean Chinese food on paper plates in your home, or a lobster dinner eaten out while on vacation. For many, being Jewish tends to be more about culture than kashrut (the practice of keeping kosher), and it can be confusing at the best of times. I’ll get into the rules of kashrut on page 4. But first, let it be known that this book isn’t just for Jews. It’s also for the other 99 percent of the population.

Recent market research studies peg the kosher-food industry as being worth over $17 billion, and the kosher label’s popularity is growing. In 2009, 27 percent of packaged foods had the kosher denotation, but by 2015, it appeared on over 41 percent of packages. It’s not that the world has suddenly gone meshugenah for kosher food. The reasons behind the dramatic uptick are completely nonreligious. Some people buy kosher food because of perceived cleanliness, others owing to dietary restrictions (such as vegetarians) and still others to avoid certain allergens such as shellfish.

In this book are all the recipes you need for successful shellfish- and pork-free home entertaining, be it for a Jewish holiday or a workaday dinner. From crave-worthy snacks to family-size salads, soulful mains to show-stopping desserts, all of the recipes in this book are doable in the home kitchen and are clearly marked as either a meat dish, dairy dish or pareve (neutral). Think: latkes, knishes, General Tso’s chicken and Toblerone-chunk hamantaschen your family will plotz over.

Kosher Style is for anyone who likes to cook and loves to eat, and it’s especially for those yearning to create new shared memories around a table brimming with history, loved ones and maple-soy brisket.

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