Here, just in time for gift-giving season, are recent food-related publications from Wisconsin chefs and writers, celebrating regional growers, cooks and food lovers.
A Cook's Journey to Japan
At first glance, Sarah Marx Feldner's bio doesn't strike you as made-to-order for an author of a Japanese home-cooking manual. She has a degree in library science, has hosted a morning radio show and is currently the executive editor for an online magazine. But Feldner's degree emphasized culinary collections and food research, her worldwide travels included several years in Japan, and the magazine she works for is the home-cooking media phenomenon Taste of Home.
Feldner puts all her skills and experience to superb use in A Cook's Journey to Japan: Fish Tales and Rice Paddies (Tuttle Publishing). The photography by Noboru Murata is stunning; perhaps most important, the recipes, ingredient guides and technique descriptions offer exactly what you need to create real Japanese dishes (both traditional and contemporary) in an American kitchen.
Eat Smart in France: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure
A 10th book in Gingko Press' award-winning culinary guide series is just out. Like the press' other publications, it leads off with a historical perspective that traces the sources of and influences on French cuisine. It takes the reader in snappy fashion from the Ice Age-ers' diet of woolly mammoth and wild mushrooms right up to the French resistance to genetically modified foods today
The book includes a tour of regional fare, recipes, food shopping tips, travel resources, glossaries of ingredients, cooking terms and menu items. It sounds like a tome, but again, like past publications, the new Eat Smart is a compact and accessible guidebook.
One thing different about Eat Smart number 10 is its author. Publisher Joan Peterson, who wrote (or co-wrote) the first nine books, looked to one of Madison's most devoted Francophiles to pen the new one. Ronnie Hess, a former CBS journalist in France, alumna of Fond du Lac's Postilion School of Culinary Arts and baker of amazing croissants, follows the successful Eat Smart format while letting her own practiced voice come through.
Peterson is currently researching Eat Smart in Norway - due out June 2011 - while Mary Bergin, another local travel writer, will join the ranks with Eat Smart in Germany.
Garden to Table Cookbook: Recipe and Resources for Gardeners (West Madison Agricultural Research Station and Dane County Master Gardener Association). Recipes and gardening tips for local crops. Available at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station, 8502 Mineral Point Rd., or by phone order at 608-262-2257.
Farm-Fresh: A Celebration of Local Foods and Farmers (Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition-MACSAC). 2011 wall calendar showcasing family farmers and seasonal recipes. Order at www.macsac.org.
Portrait of a Wisconsin Artisan Cheesemaker: 2011 Calendar. Wall calendar profiling 12 "pinup" cheese celebrities. Purchase at www.wisconsincheeseoriginals.com.
Savor the Summer Cookbook (Community GroundWorks). Troy Gardens' cookbooklet, with stories. For sale at Frugal Muse and other local businesses, or by phone order at 608-240-0409.
And due out this week: It Takes More Than a Chef, written and published by Wave Kasprzak, chef-owner of the Dining Room at 209 Main in Monticello. Find order information at www.209main.com.