July 12, 2011

Loving the Library

Here's a quick rundown of the books I've been browsing through lately from my local library:

Stronger Than Dirt: How One Urban Couple Grew a Business, a Family, and a New Way of Life from the Ground Up I haven't actually read this one yet, but it's next on my list (I just finished the nearly 1200 page "The Shelters of Stone" by Jean Auel, so I can finally move on to something else).

Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too: The Modern Step-By-Step Guide to Preserving Food I think I have checked out every single canning and preserving book in the library system. This one didn't stand out that much, but I was happy that it covered drying in more detail than most books.

Your Farm in the City: An Urban-Dweller's Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals I also haven't gotten through this one yet. I'm a sucker for glossy photo-heavy books, but this isn't one of them.

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's & Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding & Seed Saving   Saving Seeds: The Gardener's Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds (A Down-to-Earth Gardening Book) These two books I've checked out several times before, but I wanted to read up on plant breeding a bit. I have started a small tomato breeding project that I'm really excited about (hopefully I can find time to blog about it soon).

India: The Cookbook My oldest brother suggested this book to me. He seems to cook nothing but amazing Indian food lately, and I'm hoping I can learn a few recipes myself.

What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets I love all the books by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio (Man Eating Bugs, Material World, What The World Eats, Hungry Planet) and I was waiting for this one on hold at the library FOREVER! It has a series of interviews with people around the world on their typical daily diet (including specific lists of what they eat, and how many calories they consume a day). It is very interesting because based on culture, poverty level, and career, the people they interview range in caloric intake from about 1200 calories (in a high poverty area) to 12,000 calories a day (a meth-addict from the U.K.)

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh ... Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees I'm pretty excited about this book because it has a nice thick section on each kind of farm animal (not just chickens and bunnies). If it were legal in the city, I would probably have pigs, ducks, turkeys, and goats, but so far, only chickens are legs.

The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 "Rooster Sauce" Recipes that Pack a Punch I'm a fan of sriracha, but I was a little disappointed with this book. I feel like most of the recipes weren't particularly original. Many of the recipes just took a normal recipe and added sriracha or substituted an ingredient with sriracha. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read.

Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods This book has a lot of beautiful photography (the kind of photography that I both love and hate at the same time). While the photos are gorgeous, I sometimes get annoyed with over-posed and over-produced photographs. You know, the photos where the garden is completely weed free, with jet-black soil, and every single vegetable is somehow miraculously at the peak of ripeness at the same time. Or the food photographs where the food looks haphazardly yet perfectly arranged, with antique serving implements laying nearby, coarse salt scattered over a hand-hewn serving platter, and scraps of raw ingredients visible in the out-of-focus periphery...kind of like this blog (I love this blog by the way and I only dream of taking such gorgeous photos). While I love these types of photos (and I wish I had a photo studio so I could take photos of this caliber), they do kind of misrepresent how things actually work sometimes. Gardening and food preparation and presentation doesn't "just happen" like that in the real world.

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded This last book was one I read in preparation for one of my written comprehensive exams. It was a really pleasurable read and got me kind of angry and concerned about the state of the world. It discusses a number of arguments for incorporating more native plants into the landscape and has some pretty convincing arguments. I actually felt kind of bad for all the "unnatural" plants I've filled my yard with!

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