Some photos and book reviews: Libation and In Late Winter We ate Pears

First grapes

Long time no see, I took a little break there but here I am again. I want to remind you (and myself) that July month’s Paper Chef is on, there is time until Tuesday midnight so you can still get creative.

But what I really want to blog about today are two books I have received for review and that I feel quite enthusiastic about: Libation, A Bitter Alchemy by Deidree Heekin which is about wine, Italy, tastes and smells and memories, and In Late Winter We Ate pears A Year of Hunger and Love-seasonal recipes and stories from an Italian kitchen by Deidre Heekin and Caleb Barber which is about flavours, memories and how to recreate them. You can see and hear the authors talking about their books and their restaurant, Osteria Pane e Salute, here and here. To be honest I am always a bit reluctant when it comes to books about living in Italy as they often give the reader a romanticized picture of Italy that I don’t recognize but I was pleasantly surprised by both books. Let’s start with the one I read first, Libation. Now I am not at all interested in wine, I like drinking a good wine but that is about it, I always avoid articles about wine in food magazines and stop listening when people start talking about it so I suspected that I was not the right kind of reader for this book but how wrong I was – I am exactly the right kind of reader! Deidre Heekin managed to catch my interest straight away, her passionate interest in wine and spirits and her view of them as transmitters of memories, flavours and culture made me see the whole subject from a new perspective. The structure of the book is a little bewildering at first as it mingles memories, recipes and the story of her own wine making project but I soon got used to it. I just wish that more people could write about wine in that way so that I could go on learning about it.


The second book, In Late Winter We ate Pears, is, as I mentioned before, also dealing with memories, this time of food and a year spent in Italy, a year that struck a cord in both of them and as I see it must have changed the rest of their lives. The book is divided into four sections, each covering a season, with short essays or reminiscences about food and life in Italy and Vermont written by Deidree Heekin. These are followed by seasonal recipes written and created or adapted by Caleb Barber, the recipes are predominantly from the northern half of Italy which I like as Italian food too often is associated with the cooking from the more southern parts, nothing wrong with that but I think it is important to show how varied Italian food actually is. It is a good selection of recipes with the nice relaxed attitude to the process and with the attention to the ingredients that permeates Italian cooking, many of the recipes I obviously know already but I have earmarked several to try very soon!
To conclude I can only say that if you are like me a ignoramus when it comes to wine or a wine lover and/or if you are interested in true Italian cooking and good writing you should read these books. I did and I truly enjoyed it!


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