26 December 2010

Good Christmas Reads ... and Chai!

It's the second day of Christmas and my true loves gave to me ... books! Hurray!

While others may be out in the stores taking advantage of the sales, I am cozied up by the fire waiting for the blizzard that is bearing down on New England and reading a new book that was given to me by my pastor. She knows my taste! I am enthralled by this book. Laura Schenone has written an interesting and touching historical survey of American women's roles in putting food on their families' and friends' tables. She offers well-researched chapters on Native American food practices, early Colonial housewives' cooking challenges and innovations, the role of the African slaves in providing food for their families and their masters' tables, and onward right up to modern times. Mixed in with the history are first-hand accounts of how foods were prepared, recipes from some of the first published cook books, incredible old photographs and artwork that show women working in their kitchens and gardens, entertaining in their homes, working in the church kitchens and at bake sales, running restaurants and cafes, farming their food ... and on and on. This is an incredible book!

When I take a break from reading, I'll scope out some of the gorgeous websites and blogs in this book, Blogging For Bliss - Crafting Your Own On-line Journal ... a Christmas gift from my daughter, Sprout Sara. She knows the fun I've had beginning The Spice Garden and encourages me along my way to greater knowledge of the Internet ...

There are so many incredibly helpful tips in this book. I'm sure I'll be referring to it a lot as I learn more about blogging and continue to try new things in The Spice Garden!

When I want some real eye candy and a wonderful introduction to Nordic cuisine, I can flip through my other Christmas book,  NOMA - Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine. My daughter, Kate presented this to me on Christmas morning, saying, "Here, Mom. Some inspiration for your digital phtography and food styling."  It is a beauty ... just look at a few of these photographs styled by Christine Rudolph and shot by Ditte Isager! This is food and photography genius! The book is a portrait of Chef René Redzepi and his Copenhagen restaurant, NOMA.  Gorgeous food, gorgeous chef, gorgeous restaurant ...

Gorgeous Book

Grilled Lamb Shank and Ramson Leaves, Yellow Beetroot, and Elderflowers

Sea Buckthorn and Beetroot Flødeboller

Chef René Redzepi

I will be a busy reader in the next week! A winter storm, a good cup of chai from Sommer's recipe files at   A Spicy Perspective  (another of my favorite foodblogs!), and good books ... wintertime bliss! Hit the link to Sommer's blog and be prepared to linger a while. The link will take you to the chai recipe that she graciously allowed me to share with you! Enjoy!

Happy New Year, all! Thanks for your visit to The Spice Garden, for your comments, and for suppporting me as I learn my way here in cyberspace! See you in 2011! Cheers!


  1. You have a wonderful blog, and I'm so glad I found it. I am also a novice to using the computer in this new blogging way, but it sure is a blast!!

  2. Hi Susan! I immediately began to hyper ventalate (well, figuratively) when I saw you have NOMA! I ordered it and cannot get it from Amazon until mid February! It looks gorgeous and who would think Nordic Food would be on every Best of 2010 list?!

    So envious of your snow. We have none and it's mad the holidays feel so different! Love a good snow storm (if you have nowhere you have to go).

  3. soooo exited about your snow... i may have to come and visit!... love books... hate the stores... what is it that people feel they need to buy? Lord know's i'm staying on my sofa for a week!

  4. I would love to be curled up with a couple of books while a blizzard raged outside. Here in Arizona, though, there is only a bit of rain in the forecast. It just doesn't seem like winter yet, while the rest of the country is being pounded by storm after storm.


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