January and February are the last big reading months on the farm. Other than daily clean-up and keeping the fireplace stoked, there aren’t a lot of chores. Soon, though, baby goats will arrive, the garden will thaw, and something will no doubt need to be painted. Until then, however, I’m going to curl up and enjoy some of the books that have stacked up on the night table. Let me know if you’ve read any of these, and if you liked them as much as I do.
The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love, Kristin Kimball. No, seriously. How did I miss this one when it first came out? Journalist interviews farmer, falls in love, gets married, starts dream farm in upstate. They should have their own TV show. Terrific reviews.
Heirloom Bulbs, Chris Wiesinger and Cherie Foster Colburn. Someone recommended this to us by email, and it’s an amazing find. While the world is slowly becoming aware of heirloom vegetables and heritage breeds, there hasn’t been many (any?) publications talking about beautiful heirloom flower bulbs. An incredible gift for a flower gardener. Beautiful back-stories, artwork, and information.
Up From the Blue, Susan Henderson. Lest you think that all we read are gardening books, I wanted to include one of my favorite books from last year. It’s a darker story, told through a child’s eyes, about a family battling with a mother’s depression. But it also has surprising moments of brightness. A real page-turner. A great book club selection for February.
We Took to the Woods, Louise D. Rich. Originally published in 1942, this is a great book for those who loved The Egg and I. It’s one of the earliest modern memoirs about leaving it all behind for rural living – something that just wasn’t done in the 1940’s. Plainspoken and lightly humorous. A true treat.
Fannie’s Last Supper: Recreating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Cookbook, Christopher Kimball. Josh’s mom discovered this one. Fans of the PBS series America’s Test Kitchen know Mr. Kimball as its exacting host. Fans of cooking know Fannie Farmer as one of the pioneers of modern recipe writing – she was one of the first to insist upon precise measurements. In this fun and informative book, Kimball delves into history in preparation for hosting an authentic dinner party based on Fannie Farmer’s recipes. A fun documentary by the same name has aired on PBS stations.
Dining by Rail: The History and Recipes of America’s Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine , James D. Porterfield. One of our neighbors shared this with us. Since we’re (too) intimately familiar with Amtrak, it was great to peruse through the history of these “rolling restaurants.” Equal parts history and recipes, this book details an almost forgotten era of culinary and travel luxury.