The New Bookish Column of Dash of Prosecco
Frrreeezing cold | November 2022
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The New Bookish Column of Dash of Prosecco
Dear readers, I’ve been thinking of starting a column entirely devoted to cookbooks and the like. Is this something you might be interested in?
The column would explore the foodie books that fill our lives: those special tomes that make us dream on a Sunday afternoon, teach us how to cook and bake, or simply entertain us, console us, and take care of us. Plus links to relevant readings and newsletters I love.
Now, I can’t promise you a monthly edition - in fact, this chronic back pain of mine is making it difficult to stay on track with the current publishing schedule as it is. If any of you lives with chronic pain, do let me know how you’re coping! - but I’d love to share more with you about all the books I’m collecting month by month. If anything, because they do bring mental respite from this ghastly pain.
Also, what should we call it? I’m thinking something along the lines of “The CookBook Corner” but I’ve always been crap at picking names, so I wonder if you have any suggestions for me?
The monthly book haul
Over the past year or so, I’ve been building a small collection of books around the theme of food: be it recipe books, memoirs, how-to manuals, or simply anything with a nice bit of good food writing in it, I’m interested (I’ve shared some of the most loved books in my collection in this anniversary post).
Every month I pick one or two titles that catch my attention and either buy them new, second-hand or ebook. I set a budget of course, because, as a matter of fact, a failure to curtail my shopping zeal would only lead to a fridge full of books and socks full of holes!
The monthly book haul is probably the happiest and most anticipated time of the month. It sets the tone for the upcoming 30 days and often inspires thoughts, meals, newsletters and whatnot. So, of course, it deserves all the attention and consideration I can muster… and a column of its own.
For the first instalment of the column (again, we should come up with a name!), I chose two books that anticipate the frreezing cold of the upcoming months, bringing us all the utility required to face winter with a well-stocked freezer, and some literary inspiration for the gifts we’ll soon dispense.
FREEZE FRESH: The Ultimate Guide to Preserving 55 Fruits and Vegetables for Maximum Flavor and Versatility by Crystal Schmidt.
As a young independent adult, I lived by the creed “buy only what you can consume and shop only when the fridge is empty.” Then I met my boyfriend of 10 years now (can I still call him boyfriend?), and it soon became obvious that a family will always be made of different people with different approaches to life.
In the marital process, I learnt that a little abundance is not a crime. I also witnessed how in between the cracks of our characters and tediously, banally hurried life there tends to slip an accumulation of food waste.
I admire that little guy that sits below our chromed fridge: there’s an immediacy to freezing stuff, a minimalism that makes it simply viable. No matter how hurried your life is, with a house stocked of freezer bags, managing the kitchen becomes so much easier.
Freeze Fresh focuses on 55 selected vegetables and fruits, each of them accompanied by “thoughtful, detailed freezing techniques”, “delicious recipes that freeze well”, and “recipes that use frozen produce.” The introduction tells the story of how modern flash freezing came about in North America and is followed by a number of guidelines about the very basics of freezing - I had no idea that blanched veggies would retain their nutrients, taste and texture much better than raw produce when frozen. So there you go, now you know, too.
Overall, an inspiring resource; the kind of book that preserves the simplicity of a gesture, like sticking chopped onion into the freezer, while making it even more effective.
Why I like it: it’s given me immediate inspiration to leverage freezing as a simple and quick way to reduce food waste, especially when we buy in bulk.
Pros: simple and straightforward; bonus recipes; doesn’t call for special equipment.
Cons: might be too basic for an experienced cook.
As seen in: Nicola Miller’s Great Big Autumn Cookbook Guide
MIDWINTER MURDER: Fireside Mysteries from the Queen of Crime, by Agatha Christie
Being new to Agatha Christie’s work, I was utterly unaware of the importance of food in her writing. Did you know she was quite the glutton?
Midwinter Murder is a brilliant collection of short mystery stories that is awfully suited to be read during the festive season. It begins with an unexpected foreword by the author herself titled “Christmas at Abney Hall”. Crammed in 4 pages, is a love letter to cream (which Agatha Christie enjoyed by the pint!) and a witty picture of Christmas breakfast, tea and dinner as they’d only be served at the Victorian manor called Abney Hall.
You can read Christmas at Abney Hall for free on the Internet Archive (just register and you’ll be able to borrow the book for one hour) or, if you happen to enjoy the cosy mystery genre, I highly recommend getting the Midwinter Murder collection linked above - perfect as a Christmas gift, too.
In my “to be read” list:
Newsletters for more food books
Paula Forbe’snewsletter, a treasure trove for any bookish foodie.
- 's seasonal cookbook guides and newsletter.
Marg Moon’sfor brilliant reading suggestions and food notes. In this post she shares her best reads of 2022.
Miranda Mills’ YouTube channel for cozy, British literature inspiration. Her latest Christmas gift guide is phenomenal.
Where do you get your cookbook and reading inspirarion these days?
My name is Sinù Fogarizzu and I’m a vegetarian food writer from the mainland of Venice, Italy. In 2021, I launched Dash of Prosecco, a Substack newsletter about learning to cook, identity and Venetian cuisine. I’m on Instagram & Twitter. Recently, I was interviewed by, brilliant food writer and author of .
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