SMORGASBORD: Candy field guide . . . Better bacon . . . Lookin' sharp
Candy field guide Halloween marked the start of fall candy season. Whether bought or homemade, candied sweets now will be found in homes through the December holidays. It's timely, then, that Anita Chu has just written her "Field Guide to Candy: ...
Candy field guide
Halloween marked the start of fall candy season. Whether bought or homemade, candied sweets now will be found in homes through the December holidays. It's timely, then, that Anita Chu has just written her "Field Guide to Candy: How to Identify and Make Virtually Every Candy Imaginable" (Quirk, $15.95). In it, you'll find all types of homemade treats, from the simplest candied nuts to the more complicated, filled, molded chocolates.
The guide includes many tips on working with chocolate and sugar, as well as tools for successful candy making.
'Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon: Stories of Pork Bellies, Hush Puppies, Rock 'N' Roll Music and Bacon Fat Mayonnaise," by Ari Weinzweig (Zingerman's Press, $29.99), essentially is a real bible of all things smoked pig, an engrossing, affably rambling, borderline obsessive one-stop swine seminar, from the winding genealogy of Wilshire-cut British bacon to an appreciation of the physically repulsive lardo (cured back fat from the chubbiest Italian pigs), with two-dozen bacon- centric recipes that you don't see every day (such as oyster and bacon pilau).
That said, what we have here is also a genuine discovery, not widely distributed, the first major release from Zingerman's Press, the new publishing arm of Zingerman's Deli, an ever-expanding Ann Arbor, Mich., institution (zingermanspress.com).
Weinzweig, Zingerman's co-founder (and a Chicago native), has a conversational writing style so loose, the book unnecessarily sacrifices a bit of the authority you expect from someone knee-deep in pig parts. On the other hand, a lack of pretense is refreshing for a guy who knows the difference between bacon in central Kentucky and bacon in southwestern Kentucky.
And Weinzweig makes a convincing case for for "the olive oil of North America," its smoke as central to American flavors as olive oil is to the Mediterranean.
Cooks -- especially those who do it for a living, handily -- will love the new Chef's Choice Diamond Hone 464 Pronto two-stage knife sharpener. It makes quick work of giving a good edge to stubbornly dull knives. Find it at retailers nationwide and online at sites such as amazon.com and chefscatalog.com for about $40.