Golson, Terry (text) & Ben Fink (photos). The Farmstead Egg Guide & Cookbook. rev. ed. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2014. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781118627952. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9780544188402. COOKING
In 2006, chicken owner and professional chef Golson published The Farmstead Egg Cookbook to highlight recipes made with local eggs. This revised edition also showcases the joys of owning chickens. In the first part of the book, Golson expertly presents a brief overview of keeping chickens, discussing raising layers and how to handle fresh eggs. The majority of the work is devoted to a bounty of recipes featuring eggs as the main ingredient, ranging from the simplest forms of fried, poached, and shirred eggs to quiches, custards, sauces, and soufflés. Golson includes an instructive and entertaining introduction to each dish, and there are plenty of helpful charts and color photographs. VERDICT Golson provides a full-circle cookbook for those who won’t end up caring if the chicken or egg came first. This comprehensive volume is recommended for all collections, especially those with a community interest in urban farming.
Kassinger, Ruth. A Garden of Marvels: How We Discovered That Flowers Have Sex, Leaves Eat Air, and Other Secrets of Plants. Morrow. Mar. 2014. 416p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062048998. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062049032. SCI
Reluctant science student (she wanted to be a poet) and confessed plant murderer (her victim: a kumquat), Kassinger has traveled an unlikely road authoring numerous popular scientific articles and books (Paradise Under Glass). Here, she aims to “saunter” through the history of botany. An amiable and enthusiastic guide, she avoids a strict chronological treatment of the evolving science of botany, instead moving easily back and forth between historical and modern times. Kassinger punctuates her account with practical plant conundrums: Why, for example, did a neighbor’s old hickory tree die? How do those megapumpkins get to be so big? How do breeders engineer black petunias? Kassinger shows the progress of botany as resembling other branches of knowledge—i.e., built on the shoulders of giants—and she brings to life pioneering figures such as Robert Hooke, Marcello Malpighi, Nehemiah Grew, Joseph Priestly, and Charles Darwin. She also meets living plant researchers who are continuing the tradition. VERDICT Kassinger’s witty approach to a complex subject will win readers, but her really neat idea is to fit a personal quest for greater botanical knowledge within the larger historical development of the science. Students unsure about their fitness for scientific careers will be reassured by this book; gardeners will be intrigued.
Tunick, Michael H. The Science of Cheese. Oxford Univ. 2013. 312p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199922307. $29.95. SCI
The average American consumes 34 pounds of cheese annually, but most of us don’t ponder the complex scientific processes involved in cheese making. In his first book, Tunick (research chemist, Dairy & Functional Foods Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture) delves into the history of cheese making (like many discoveries, it was accidental) and the fascinating and varied methods that transform milk into cheese. He provides a skillfully organized tour of the major cheese varieties, exploring the provenance and geography of cheese making, the chemistry of flavor development, and the sensory experience of eating cheese. Tunick’s more technical scientific information, including chemical diagrams, is confined to boxes that can easily be skipped by general readers without losing the overall thematic thrust of the title. VERDICT Although readers will find that a basic knowledge of chemistry enhances enjoyment of the book, Tunick writes in a highly accessible style, with a delightful affinity for the subject matter. The results are essential reading for anyone interested in food science and culture and especially those seeking a robust introduction to the scientific aspects of homemade and artisanal cheese making, growing ever more popular.
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Simeone, Vincent A. Grow More with Less: Sustainable Garden Methods. Cool Springs. 2013. 192p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781591865513. pap. $21.99. GARDENING
Zoob, Caroline (text) & Caroline Arber (photos). Virginia Woolf’s Garden: The Story of the Garden at Monk’s House. Jacqui Small: Quayside. 2013. 192p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781909342132. $40. GARDENING
Health & Medicine
Gruno, Brad. Brad’s Raw Made Easy: The Fast, Delicious Way To Lose Weight, Optimize Health, and Live Mostly in the Raw. Harmony. 2013. 256p. illus. index. ISBN 9780385348126. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780385348133. HEALTH
Heimowitz, Colette. The New Atkins Made Easy: A Faster, Simpler Way To Shed Weight and Feel Great—Starting Today! Touchstone: S.& S. 2013. 352p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781476729954. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476730028. HEALTH
Hersey, Baird. The Practice of Nada Yoga: Meditation on the Inner Sacred Sound. Inner Traditions. 2013. 208p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781620551813. pap. $16.95. HEALTH
Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research. Johns Hopkins. 2013. 162p. ed. by Louis Galambos & Jeffrey L. Sturchio. index. ISBN 9781421412924. pap. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421412931. MED
Peery, Pamela. Pop: 50 Amazing Secrets to a Successful Labor & Delivery or C-Section. Cassidy. 2013. 118p. ISBN 9780988680104. pap. $14.95. HEALTH
Shouse, Deborah. Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey. Central Recovery. 2013. 180p. bibliog. ISBN 9781937612498. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781937612504. HEALTH
Cattell, Hudson. Wines of Eastern North America: From Prohibition to the Present; A History and Desk Reference. Cornell Univ. Jan. 2014. 400p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801451980. $45. BEVERAGES
Watman, Max. Harvest: Field Notes from a Far-Flung Pursuit of Real Food. Norton. Mar. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9780393063028. $24.95. HOME ECON
Wizenberg, Molly. Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage. S. & S. May 2014. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9781451655094. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451655124. HOME ECON
Kilham, Benjamin. Out on a Limb: What Black Bears Have Taught Me About Intelligence and Intuition. Chelsea Green. 2013. 248p. photos. index. ISBN 9781603583909. $24.95. NAT HIST
Strycker, Noah. The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human. Riverhead. Apr. 2014. 304p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781594486357. $27.95. NAT HIST
Pääbo, Svante. Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes. Basic: Perseus. Feb. 2014. 288p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780465020836. $27.99. SCI
Paabo (director, dept. of genetics, Max Planck Inst. for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig) presents a scientific memoir of his—and his colleagues’—work in paleogenetics as they seek to learn more about those humans who populated the Northern Hemispheres before we did: Were Neanderthals our ancestors? He relates the progress of his own career in DNA studies from his native Sweden to Germany to the University of California, Berkeley, and eventually to the recently founded Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, as he describes challenges and accomplishments in finding and identifying ancient DNA. Along the way, readers behold the complex web of cooperation and competition among scientists, the politics of submission to the top journals, and the ego in assigning species status to a discovery, as well as Paabo’s lack of faith in paleontologists: they develop evolutionary theories from bone morphologies, while Paabo’s ilk seek the realities of the DNA story. Yet it’s clear that the retrieving, amplifying, and sequencing of ancient DNA are fraught with their own potentials for error. The technicalities of paleogenetics deepen as the chapters progress. Some readers may be forgiven if they skip ahead to the final two chapters, where the drama of Denisovan discoveries is palpable. VERDICT Scientific understanding of earlier humans is fast evolving. For the nonce, this is a go-to volume on the subject for serious readers. (P.S. In spite of the title, the DNA of Neanderthal women is crucial—as Paabo well knows!)
Papagianni, Dimitra & Michael A. Morse. The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science Is Rewriting Their Story. Thames & Hudson. 2013. 208p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500051771. $29.95. SCI
If you want grounding in our current understanding of our human predecessors, Papagianni, a PhD archaeologist, and Morse (How the Celts Came to Britain), a writer with a PhD in the history of science, have written the book for you. Although focused on Neanderthals, the authors set their discussion accessibly within the deeper context of the scientific study of hominid evolution generally, moving forward in chapters describing what is now understood of how former humans and hominids lived and functioned from about one million years ago to approximately 25,000 years ago. That’s the remarkably long time frame within which other humans may have walked the earth. Papagianni and Morse describe the evolution of tool use and manufacture, for example, so that we see what sets Neanderthal tools apart from those of their predecessors such as our common ancestor with Neanderthals, Homo heidelbergensis. (Inserted stand-alone two-to-four- page pieces such as “Stone tools: the basics” are very helpful.) The authors describe the differing points of view among notable paleontologists, archaeologists, and anthropologists (those groups Paabo, above, looks down on) about such matters as where Homo sapiens themselves evolved, Neanderthal burials, and Neanderthal–modern human interbreeding. Last, the authors show some of the ways in which our own culture keeps the Neanderthals with us to this day. VERDICT Highly recommended for general access collections on human evolution.