Sunday, July 24, 2011

a little light reading and a little bit of soapbox standing

Below is a list of books that I find myself constantly referring back to, delving into, and recommending to people. I'm listing titles, authors, and ISBN numbers (when they are availiable). I am not providing links to Amazon because I, wholeheartedly, believe you need to go visit and get to know your local independent bookseller. I completely admit bias because my husband is my local independent bookseller (at Georgia's Oldest Bookstore, no less), but I feel that there are a lot of benefits to getting to know your local, independent bookseller. Once they get to know your particular reading habits, they will sometimes suggest a book to you that really dig. If you are nice enough to them, they might even pass along an advanced reader's copy or two to you. Your purchases at local, independently owned stores help to financially support your hometown. Remember that your local public library is also an invaluable, FREE resource.

So here's The LIST:

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Delicious Recipes for Use Year Round
Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard
ISBN-13 : 978-1-55407-256-9
                -I love this book. It is great for the beginning canner or the old pro. I like that the recipes produce small batches because you can try several different versions of salsas, jams, chutneys, jellies, etc. When you find the one you like the most, the recipes easily double or triple. Also, includes a small recipe section in the back for using your preserved goodies.
Don’t Throw it, Grow it! 68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps
Deborah Peterson & Millicent Selsam
ISBN-13: 978-1-60-342-064-8
-          Super cool book about growing plants from things that might otherwise have ended up in your compost bin! Each section is super concise with easy to follow instructions. Very cool if you have a child in the house.
Cubed Foot Gardening: Growing Vegetables in Raised Intensive Beds
Christopher O. Bird
ISBN: 1-58574-312-7
-          My copy is old, but I know that it has been reprinted several times. I think it is a great book for learning the potential of cubed foot gardening (i.e. raised bed) as well as a few tricks and tips. The author provides the reader with tons of stories about his own personal adventures. It is not a book about  “organic” gardening as he provides information about types of fertilizer to use, but those tips can be easily overlooked if you prefer to go au natural.

The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre!
Edited by Carleen Madigan
ISBN-13: 978-1-60342-138-6
-          I think the title is pretty clear, but I’ll let you know that this book can sate most any question you have about having a small farm- from what kinds of cows are good for what to how to make homemade beef jerky to the basics of canning. I like it because you get enough information to decide whether or not you want to pursue a particular venture further

Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock
Judy Pangman
ISBN-13: 978-1-58017-627-9
-          AWESOME book- gives details for making coops including how many chickens can fit comfortably in any particular coop.  Definitely worth getting if you want chickens in your backyard and something a little different from everyone else. Poulet Chalet, anyone? Also includes a great introduction section at the beginning for caring for your birds.
Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses
Rick Carroll
-          I’m not gonna lie- I’ve not made a single cheese from this book. However, many of them look awesome. Some look impossibly hard. The recipes in the back are enough to make one drool. Totally worth it for the cheese lovers.

The World’s Healthiest Foods
George Mateljan
ISBN: 0-9769185-4-4
-          This book is not cheap ($40), but I love it because it gives you lots of information about the nutrional value of 100 foods. For instance, did you know that watermelon has a much iron per serving as spinach? While the book does tend to promote a “diet” (though not one for losing weight, and a diet I do not follow at all), it gives great tips for how to reap the most nutritional benefit from the foods included.  If you don’t want to purchase the book, lots of the nutritional information in it can be found online- just google the title.
If after meeting your local bookseller you still aren't convinced or you just prefer the convience of ordering online, remember that many independent bookstores have online stores from which to order. Don't have a local, independent bookseller? Please feel free to use mine:

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