Cheers to this spirited, perceptive guide.


A Beer Drinker's Guide To Knowing And Enjoying Fine Wine

For all the beer-drinking die-hards, Laughren serves an enticing, thorough, though not suffocating introduction to hops’ fermented friend, the grape.

Though the shelves creak under the weight of wine books for dummies and gun-shy tipplers terrified by wine-speak, here’s a welcome addition that’s relaxed, inviting and intelligent. Laughren is a bon vivant without being a boob, a sensualist even if he wouldn’t put it that way. He likes his beer—the book is liberally sprinkled with beer wisdom, as if to soothe the wary brewer—but he’s also a big fan of wine, and he wants readers in on the action. He aims to provide an unintimidating yet rich tour through the world of wine, highlighting its conviviality but undergirding it with a candid sense of what’s in the glass. With a healthy dose of detail, Laughren touches on the history of wine, factors in its production and an appreciation of terroir. He sketches various social scenarios and the wines he might choose to complement them: a zinfandel with a basketball game on TV; a big, young Brunello di Montalcino when the brothers of your new squeeze stop by to check you out; a cabernet sauvignon for dinner with the boss; a dry sherry when the squeeze comes over to break up with you. A sweet, bright humor pervades the book, as Laughren makes wine tasting sound like fun rather than an opportunity to embarrass yourself. His descriptions—“like sucking stones and chips of slate dipped in lime and lychee juice”—require attention. He’s chummy, like a knowledgeable friend who doesn’t need to wear it on his sleeve, though the insight seeps through. Most importantly, he’s on your side: “there’s no need to excuse your preferences,” he says, but be open to new experiences. Also included are excellent maps of wine-producing regions and a brief survey of various oenological tools.

Cheers to this spirited, perceptive guide.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0985533618

Page Count: 206

Publisher: Crosstown Publishing Inc.

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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