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2020 Taste Canada Awards Shortlist
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2020 Taste Canada Awards Shortlist

By 49thShelf
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Now in its 23nd year, Taste Canada Awards / Les Lauréats des Saveurs du Canada has announced the titles of shortlisted cookbooks competing for a coveted culinary writing award. The winners will be announced during our Virtual Awards Ceremony on October 25, 2020 (dates subject to change). Learn more at http://tastecanada.org/2020-taste-canada-awards-shortlist/
Burdock & Co

Burdock & Co

Poetic Recipes Inspired by Ocean, Land & Air
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

Preface

Tonight is the sturgeon moon. I get a text from Julie, our manager at Burdock & Co:

hannah says sturgeon moon nite time to let go
of all that burdens you
write it down & submerge
it underwater :)
meet u later?

Yes.

I share the new plan with Gabe and Clea. We are out tonight in Chinatown, feasting and yelling at each other over the noise of the crowded restaurant. Gabe is one of my oldest friends and she now runs Harvest Community Foods, our sister restaurant, and Clea has taken up the task of editing this book. Tonight they are working to get my story out of me. And anyone who knows me knows I hate talking about myself.

Kevin (life partner, business partner, broth transporter, wine deliverer, architect) keeps reminding me I have a great story, and maybe I do, but for me it’s a process, more of a collection of spaces and moments, flavours and techniques that, when stitched together, become what I do, who I am.

From my first naive adventure going out ocean fishing, or discovering thealternative reality of botanicals, or planting gardens, building a bakery, working at great restaurants across the city—all these seemingly disparate events have led to what Burdock & Co is today, and to me sitting in a very loud restaurant trying to write a cookbook!

Julie’s text (thankfully) gives us a new mission for the night, and we escape onto Pender Street. We hatch plans to submerge our burdens. The closest body of water? False Creek. Paper? The sticky notes we’ve been writing recipe ideas down on all night. How do we get the paper to sink? Tie it to a rock.

Halfway to False Creek we stop at Campagnolo Upstairs on Main Street because 1) Gabe needs to pee, 2) while we’re here we might as well have another drink, and 3) we’re waiting for Julie, who’s getting off her shift at Burdock. It’s a precious night off from the restaurant for me, and my fatigue from the week is lifting. I write down my burden(s). It’s a list.

Julie arrives and I ask for butcher’s twine at the bar. The bartender laughs, but returns with four neat lengths of string. We tie our papers around rocks that we picked up on the way, and head out into the end-of-summer night.

We are giddy, happily drunk, walking through the empty streets. This is Vancouver to me, this nexus of Downtown Eastside grit, Chinatown refusing to give up, condos sprouting everywhere, dingy Main Street bars. Harvest is just around the corner on Union, and Burdock is up the hill, past the viaduct.

At the water, a gang of teenagers loiter under the constellation of Science World. A family down the way lights paper lanterns that lift off across the galaxy skyline of Vancouver city lights.

Julie pulls a jar of wine out of her bag and we all take a drink, then throw our burdens into False Creek, wondering if this drunken moon ritual will work. The rocks sink and the lanterns keep rising over us, over Vancouver, one by one, fat, slow stars, competing with the moon.

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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Regional / Cultural Cookbooks
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Cedar and Salt

Cedar and Salt

Vancouver Island Recipes from Forest, Farm, Field, and Sea
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Regional / Cultural Cookbooks
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Coconut Lagoon

Coconut Lagoon

Recipes from a South Indian Kitchen
edition:Paperback
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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Regional / Cultural Cookbooks
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Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen

Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen

Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

From the Introduction

The moment you step inside a Vietnamese house, you are bombarded with variations on a single greeting: “Have you eaten?” “What would you like to eat?” “Come and eat.” “Just one little bite.” “The chicken I cooked is still hot.” “Here, try my cream puffs.”

We are not in the habit of verbalizing our joys, or even less, our affection. We use food as a tool for expressing our emotions. My parents don’t say, “We’ve missed you,” but rather, “We’ve made some spring rolls,” knowing that I love to eat them anytime, anywhere. Similarly, when I’m traveling abroad on a book tour, they will report that my sons had three helpings of everything, as a way to reassure me. On our visits to my grandmother in New York, my mother would stuff the trunk with her own mother’s favorite dishes. My father would laugh at her, but he still flies to Washington, D.C., and loads Vietnamese dishes into the trunk of the car that will take him to my uncle’s house in a remote part of Pennsylvania. That ninety-two-year-old uncle is my father’s older brother, who fed and housed him during my father’s time at university. My father considers him a father figure, and he tries to express his gratitude through the best sausage, the best lemongrass beef stew, the best steamed pancakes, the best sticky rice cake, and the best dried shrimp to be found in the Vietnamese markets.

In the refugee camps, my mother and Aunts 6 and 8 would do their best to transform the fish rations we’d receive six days out of seven in an effort to bring a semblance of normality to mealtimes. One day my mother was able to make a thin dough for dumplings. I remember very clearly how she was sitting on the ground with the cover of the barrel that we used as a water tank. She rolled out her dough on that rusty metal plate, which here and there still bore spots of its original yellow paint. The meal that followed was almost beside the point—we were just thrilled to see her cooking something other than rice and fish. It was a moment of togetherness, of celebration.

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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Regional / Cultural Cookbooks
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Living High Off the Hog

Living High Off the Hog

Over 100 Recipes and Techniques to Cook Pork Perfectly
edition:Hardcover
tagged : meat, reference
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Excerpt

From the Introduction
If you have ever found yourself staring at the landscape of pork cuts in the cooler at the grocery store and felt lost as to what to buy (let alone how to cook and serve it), I am here to guide you. This book is packed with delicious pork recipes of all sorts—quick weekday suppers, appetizers for a few or many, elegant main courses and some BBQ and grilling fun. My goal is to help you expand the types of pork you purchase and then develop your confidence to transform those cuts into meals you’ll be proud to share with family and friends.

And who am I to guide you on this journey? Well, I’ve been cooking pork for over 30 years—my entire professional career as a chef. I can offer the perspective of someone who has spent three decades in professional kitchens, planning menus, buying on a large scale, trimming, portioning, turning wholesale cuts into attractive single servings, and more. I’ve always loved working in kitchens, experiencing the adrenaline rush, the teamwork and the satisfaction of service. But, these days, having left the pro kitchen behind, I also understand what home cooks are looking for. I now focus on the practical angle of creating delicious meals in a timely manner without going overboard or getting too complicated.

Of course, cooking at home is entirely different from doing so professionally. There isn’t the same urgency, budget or labor cost concern, and you get to eat the food! That said, regardless of the environment, I see cooking as a fun activity, almost like a puzzle to solve. Whether it’s a meal for a holiday, a special occasion, or a regular Tuesday evening, I love the planning and shopping; choosing the right music; pulling out tablecloths, platters and glasses; and even buying fresh flowers. I experience an unbridled sense of joy as I bring it all together, checking off the to-dos from my list, grooving to the music and tasting great results as I wait for the guests to show.

But the best part of cooking is the sharing. Most of my meals are enjoyed with just my sweetie, Anna, and when I get the nod of approval from her, it’s the best compliment ever. We’re so well-suited and nerdily enthusiastic about food that we often plan our next meal while eating the one at hand. Anna, as many of you may know from her TV work, is a trained pastry chef. My culinary background is as a saucier (someone who cooks meat and prepares sauces). When we cook together, magic happens. We instinctively go to our own areas: Anna works on dessert and the vegetable sides, and I do the trimming, cook the meat and make the sauce. We clean as we go and laugh the whole time. Even if there are serious things to discuss, we do so in the kitchen. Now that my daughter, Mika, has become an accomplished cook in her own right, she gets in on the action. She grew up surrounded by good food and has always understood how to survive without having to order out. As a family, we hit our stride in the kitchen or at the table—and I’m good with that.

“Living high off the hog” is an old term used to suggest you’re living the good life, able to eat the more expensive cuts of meat. In general, regardless of the animal, cuts from the upper (or “higher”) part of the body are more tender than the lower ones—historically, only the poorest people would eat the jowls, belly, hock or feet. However, pork is an affordable meat choice for many, so in this case, the phrase is not about living beyond your means but rather about getting the most out of life by enjoying good food.

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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Single-Subject Cookbooks
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Modern Lunch

Modern Lunch

+100 Recipes for Assembling the New Midday Meal
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

From the Introduction

Life is too short to eat a bad lunch. Yet, in our culture, the midday meal is a forgotten opportunity to reinvigorate ourselves with food that makes us happy and energized. It has to be fairly quick and easy, and that often means resorting to convenience foods. There seems to be no middle ground: it’s either buy lunch or pack something sad. So I’m here to help you formulate and practice new rituals (I know some of you are already on your way!) to make homemade, balanced, and delicious lunches materialize. I’m not suggesting that you have to cook a from-scratch, freshly prepared sit-down meal every day—it can be just as special when prepped ahead (your new “leftovers”), especially with a touch more attention and creativity put into the ingredients used, presentation, and packing than what we’re used to. I promise, the reclamation of lunch is simple!

Like most kids, I found discovering what was in my packed school lunch a thrill. My parents would send me to school with sandwiches of iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise on squishy whole-wheat sandwich bread, alternating only with peanut butter and honey or peanut butter and banana (which I still really enjoy). After the main course, there was always a treat of some kind, usually a small bag of cookies or chips, and a piece of fruit. And it was all stowed away in worn (clean yet always oddly cloudy) plastic containers that circulated between my older brother, me, and finally my younger sister, until they were retired to the recycling bin when they became officially too warped to snap shut.

As my eating preferences have changed, so have my lunches. However, the midday meal continues to have a hint of delicious nostalgia for me, not simply for the food but for the community it builds. Breakfast and dinner are often family affairs, while lunch is a break in our day when most of us are connecting with friends, colleagues, or someone who happens to be enjoying their meal on the same park bench. I’ve made friends with strangers by simply asking, “What’s for lunch?”

Lunch is a meal that needs a fresh coat of paint, a meal that deserves the same respect dinner receives, while still embracing the casualness of breakfast. To me, the story of lunch as it’s enjoyed today has yet to be told. Yes, it’s a break in the day to replenish the body and mind, even if you’re devouring a cup of noodles “al desko,” an Oxford English Dictionary-defined word (you’re welcome!). It’s a way to travel and taste a range of global flavors, all without a plane ticket. A homemade lunch saves you money, helps you eat healthier (made easier still with the recipes in this book), and gives you a swift boost to reenergize your day. And it’s a meal where the lighting is just so perfect for capturing a photo to share on Instagram (I do, @allisondaycooks). But it can be more than this, too. I’d like to introduce you to the “modern lunch.”

A modern lunch is special, simple, (mostly) make-ahead, healthy, share-worthy, community building, money saving, colorful, and delicious. It culls inspiration from world cuisines, is adaptable to your personal taste and pantry, and is always satisfying. It can be enjoyed at your desk, in the lunchroom, on a bench outside, at home, on the road, on a picnic blanket, in the car, at a set table, or on your lap in front of the TV. A modern lunch can be about connectedness: it’s a time to put yourself out there, socialize, and make new friends or bond with old ones. Done with intention and meaning, the modern lunch should get you excited about a quality midday meal!

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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Single-Subject Cookbooks
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Oven to Table

Oven to Table

Over 100 One-Pot and One-Pan Recipes for Your Sheet Pan, Skillet, Dutch Oven, and More
edition:Paperback
tagged : quick & easy
More Info
Excerpt

 
INTRODUCTION

ONE PAN, MANY POSSIBILITIES

This book couldn’t come at a better time. With an increase in obligations and digital distractions that tempt us away from the kitchen, a healthy, home-cooked meal is one of the sacrifices many are making. Fortunately, there’s a satisfying solution to help home cooks make stress-free, mess-free, and tasty meals a reality: one-pot or one-pan cooking.
 
The roots of cooking, from both an anthropological point of view as well as a personal one, began in one pot. Although scientists continue to hotly debate which group of people first mastered fire, it only stands to reason that they cooked most of what they ate in one pot simply because so few other tools were available. In my own starter kitchen—a small and ill-equipped one at that—it never occurred to me to own multiple cooking vessels. My student budget was tight and supplies were limited, but that didn’t stop me from dishing up grub to tables full of friends and fellow housemates. Today, I rely heavily on one-pot cooking for its convenience in helping me feed my brood of boys. With a husband and three sons at my table, all of whom unquestion­ably eat more than three times a day, making a meal in just one pot is what saves my sanity, not to mention my time.
 
Of course, families aren’t the only ones in need of these simplified cook­ing methods. My mom is a single working woman with a ninety-minute com­mute each day. Her commitment to eating well is reinforced when she can get dinner on the table in a timely manner. Not to mention, one-pot cooking lends itself well to a speedy cleanup, as fewer dishes inevitably crowd the kitchen sink. My oldest son—soon to be a university student in charge of making most of his own meals—is a devout one-pot cook, because good­ness knows if he had to rely on multiple cooking vessels to get food into him, he’d likely be living off of PB&Js for the next four to eight years. And let’s not forget about newlyweds and empty nesters, two demographics potentially also in need of mealtime simplification. One group is likely busy building their careers and has limited time for complex daily cooking projects, while the other group could be ready to scale back the amount of time they spend in the kitchen after decades of nightly meal making.
 
Using one of six groups of cooking vessels—skillets, sheet pans, Dutch ovens, everyday baking pans, enamel roasting pans, and stoneware casserole dishes—my one-pot creations are designed to bring a complete dish to the table using easy-to-source ingredients and a variety of foolproof cooking techniques. From stir-fries to stews and cobblers to casseroles, this collection of down-to-earth recipes brings ease, comfort, and bold flavours to everyday home cooking. Flexible and endlessly adaptable, preparing food in one pot not only saves time, both in the prep and post-meal cleanup, but also allows for smart seasonal cooking. The dishes included in this book are prepared or served in a single pot, pan, skillet, or casserole dish and emphasize the versatility that can be created with just a few pieces of humble cookware.
 
Speaking of cookware, the good news here is that you probably have most of these items in your kitchen cabinets already. Oven-to-table pieces like Dutch ovens, sheet pans, skillets, and casserole dishes are essential when it comes to feeding a busy family or hosting a gathering. Roasting pans, while perhaps less common, should be considered essential, as they are practical for so much more than roasts. They can be used to bake French toast or roast a complete chicken dinner, and they lend themselves well to cooking a vari­ety of side dishes. Not only do most of us not have enough space to store the pots and pans we need for cooking plus an additional set of dishes for serving food, it can be a hassle to transfer everything just to make the table look fancy. Instead, these pieces are ready to leap from stove to centrepiece in an instant. Most of these items are just as comfortable on the daily dinner table as they are at a holiday feast, and these recipes will not only streamline the meals you make, but also satiate the people you share them with.
 
My hope is that Oven to Table will show less experienced cooks just how easy it is to create simple, wholesome meals, while inspiring more seasoned ones to try their hand at new recipes and simplified techniques. Uncomplicated food can be the best to eat, the most fun to share, and certainly the most enjoyable to cook.

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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Single-Subject Cookbooks
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Vegetables First

Vegetables First

120 Vibrant Vegetable-Forward Recipes
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

From "Back to My Roots"
Throughout my career of promoting the importance of cooking together and eating together, the taste of those first summer vegetables and the joy of planting and harvesting food for the table have inspired me. My television and magazine work has evolved into a brand built on a modern vision for the art of family living. So, when we set up our new office headquarters, flagship boutique, and café on Montreal’s South Shore, I made sure the roof was reinforced so that it could support a thriving garden of eighty planters and two beehives. I enjoy seeing the plants grow, be shared among colleagues and used in our test kitchen.

For me, the power of vegetables is linked with memories and family stories. And that’s what I want to share with you: how fantastic vegetables can taste and how they can connect us to our roots. Finding it tough to get your kids to eat cauliflower or peas? It happens to the best of us. The important thing is to plant a seed for the future, by serving vegetables in smart, well-prepared dishes. Some life lessons take time, but in the end, we reap what we sow.

Like a vegetable garden, I hope this book becomes part of your daily life and grows with you and your family as you create your own memories.

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Why it's on the list ...
Nominated for Single-Subject Cookbooks
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