Since September of 2000, Alison has been the head of our children's department at the store. She buys books, coordinates events, and creates eye-catching displays! Befitting her position, Alison is an avid reader of children's books, and she also enjoys watching movies, hanging out with her three great daughters and baking. She has also been known to garden, but as of late nature is conquering her best efforts in the backyard.
I will never be able to afford a night’s stay at the Tutka Bay Lodge near Homer, Alaska, so I will have to be content with drooling over this beautiful cookbook. Written by the mother-daughter team who operate the lodge, it’s organized into sections based on the meals and activities of the day. There are so many amazing recipes I don’t even know where to start, but Salmon Bacon with Rhubarb Lacquer, Halibut Sliders, and Salmon with Miso Butter Pasta caught my eye. ~ Alison
“I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes.” As soon as I read that quote from the author’s grandmother on one of the first pages of this book, I knew I was in for a treat. Flinn, author of another of my favorites, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, has written a warm, wonderful and funny memoir about growing up in the Midwest, surrounded by loving family and good food. And there are recipes at the end of each chapter and at the end of the book, including those love-filled pancakes from Grandma Inez. What a treat! ~ Alison
I love making jam and pickled food. My husband thinks I am a little obsessed, but I get such joy from my shelves of full jars. These recipes are presented in wonderful detail, with photos and explanations. I’m going to try bacon jam because it sounds so interesting, and caramelized onion jam because it sounds so delicious, and homemade Sriracha because it would be the perfect holiday gift for my sons-in-law. I already have eight jam and preserving cookbooks, so the question is, do I need another? The answer is yes, if it’s this one! ~ Alison
I am not a vegetarian, but there are many recipes that intrigue me in this elegant new cookbook by Mollie Katzen of Moosewood fame. The savory Mushroom Bread Pudding, Gazpacho Salad, or anything from the chapter titled “Cozy Mashes” all sound delicious. The recipes are all vegetarian and many are vegan, so there will be something for everyone! ~ Alison
There is nothing more satisfying for me than a shelf full of homemade jam, ready to provide the wonderful taste of summer in the cold, dark winter. And even if you are a canning novice, McClellan’s clear instructions for small batches of jam and pickles will bring you closer to that same feeling of satisfaction. These are not the usual jam recipes—some of our favorites include Mixed Stone Fruit Jam and Spiced Plum Jam. But there are so many more I want to try, I might need another shelf! ~ Alison
Lee Child delivers again in his 17th thriller starring Jack Reacher, the mysterious man with no home. Reacher is hitchhiking (again) and is picked up by two men who might turn out to be murderers or perhaps something else entirely. The twists and turns of the plot, from the slow but steady build up to the slam bang-bang finish make this a true thriller! ~ Alison
This is a remarkable story about a man who escapes Nazi-occupied Holland and the horse he saves from the slaughterhouse. Together they beat the odds and rise to the top of the show jumping world. An inspiring book for any horse, animal or people lover. ~ Alison
Ever since I saw the movie Julie and Julia, I have been fascinated by everything about Julia Child, even hosting some “Julia” dinners where we cook from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I am looking forward to some quiet time when I can sit down with a cup of tea and read about the development of both that cookbook and the friendship between Julia and DeVoto in their personal letters. It will be a real treat! ~ Alison
This novel involves three women in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 during the civil rights movement. The story has broad appeal—my 82-year old mom, my 22-year old daughter and I all read it and loved it for the wonderful plot and characters that grab you and don’t let go! ~ Alison
The central character in this novel is a woman who runs a cake business in Rwanda and gives advice to a wide variety of customers. But the book is about so much more than that. It is a story about her courage to overcome her past and to help others to do the same, and about the healing power of food. ~ Alison
This book is hard to read in parts because of the violence to women, but the stories of hope and perseverance of these amazing people overshadow that. Most inspiring to me are the stories of individual women—one, for example, who built a hospital in a country in Africa that doesn’t officially exist, and another, in India, who let her past inspire her to work for rehabilitation and counseling for young girls held captive in brothels. The authors provide a lot of information that could be dry and boring, but because of the excellent writing, the stories and facts blend together to make an inspirational work. I am giving this book to my mom, my sisters and my daughters because it is so important and compelling. ~ Alison
Francis is back with one of my favorite characters, Sid Halley, who deals with race fixing, internet betting, and . . . murder.
The warm and witty writing in this book put me right there in France with the author-planning the menu for Christmas dinner, searching for the perfect oysters, and sharing in his glee at finding just the right wine in the most surprising place. This is a wonderful celebration of the love of food, family and Christmas!
I love reading books about cooking-not cookbooks, but books about people learning how to cook, experimenting with cooking, and talking about food. Flinn tells her tale of attending the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris with humor and charm, sharing her frustrations and eventual triumphs over the cooking, the chefs and the French language. The culmination is her boning of a 20 lb. turkey for a Thanksgiving celebration because it wouldn't fit into the small European oven. I don't want to know how to bone a turkey but I love reading about it! ~ Alison