A collection of recipes that are as fresh and delicious as vegetables pulled directly from the garden.

AMEN TO THE GARDEN

DANDELIONS TO DINNER

Thompson, a certified integrative nutrition health coach and stay-at-home mom, offers a garden-to-table cookbook that celebrates the art of the homemade meal.

The author notes that, long ago, her Italian grandparents would send her father outside to pick dandelions for dinner; similarly, she involves her own children in the growing, harvesting, and cooking of their family meals. In this vibrant cookbook, she shares tried and true family recipes that focus on herbs and vegetables from her garden. After she discovered that most members of her family suffered from gluten intolerances, she started to explore cuisines from other cultures; as a result, all of the recipes here may be made gluten free. Readers should note, however, that some don’t include serving sizes, as the author says that she’s accustomed to adjusting the ingredients based on the size of the group for which she’s cooking. It’s obvious when reading the recipes how she got her nickname, the “Pepper Queen,” as she has a clear penchant for hot peppers, and readers who enjoy spicy food will get a lot out of this book. It also features tips that even advanced cooks may find helpful; for example, she shares her personal salt-mix recipe (three parts gray sea salt and one part Himalayan pink salt) as well as a simple note to store rice in the refrigerator. Her recipes focus on the quality of their fresh ingredients rather than on their quantity, and although she mentions many specific brands, she notes that she hasn’t received compensation from any of them; they’re simply her favorites. High-quality color photographs by the author accompany the text, including images of vegetable blossoms. Thompson also includes a list of resources that include where to procure some of the more obscure brands in the text.

A collection of recipes that are as fresh and delicious as vegetables pulled directly from the garden.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982228-66-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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