What I’ve Been Reading – Advance Reading Copies

I’ve signed up with Net Galley to receive electronic Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) for review. It’s a lot of fun – you can select the books you want to review, and you’re under no obligation to finish a title or submit a review. It’s a great way to see what’s new in the publishing world, and also to branch out of your comfort zone and try books in different genres. I particularly love getting cook book ARCs – I love photography and styling, and cook books these days tend to be hitting it out of the park in terms of gorgeous photography! I also enjoy cook books that tell a bit of a story – whether it’s about the author and their experiences, a different country or culture, or a period in history. Food is always about more than just nutrition – it’s about history, politics, culture, religion, nature and so much more.

OK, enough babbling – here are a few of the ARCs I’ve been perusing lately:


Back in the Day Bakery – Made With Love / Cheryl Day, Griffith Day

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Mouthwatering food photography, personal anecdotes and a commitment to simple, uncomplicated baking made from scratch make this cookbook a beautiful addition to any home-baker’s collection. Cheryl and Griffith Day are self-taught bakers running a small business in Savannah, Georgia, with an emphasis on old-fashioned recipes with a little twist. Make no mistake, these recipes are not going to be easy on your waistline, but the goodies included in this collection would be delightful treats as part of a balanced diet.

Food52 Vegan – 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen / Gena Hamshaw

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I am not a vegan, nor will I likely ever become one. Severe nut allergies make many popular vegan recipes unsuitable, and to be honest I am not entirely sold on the vegan philosophy. However, I am committed to eating more mindfully, and I try to keep an open mind about different philosophies, and attempt to learn as much as I can.

I particularly enjoyed this beautiful cook book because of its simple, gentle approach to veganism – never strident or judgmental, and always practical, this is a collection of recipes that can fit into most people’s every day lives. Author Gena Hamshaw is in the business of creating beautiful, delicious vegetable-driven dishes. Whether you prepare them as part of your animal-free diet or include them in your omnivorous lifestyle is entirely up to you! “I hope the book will enrich your meatless repertoire and spark – or rekindle – a love affair with vegetables”, the author writes, perfectly summing up the spirit of this inspiring cook book.

The Food of Oman – Recipes and Stories from the Gateway to Arabia / Felicia Campbell

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I’m a geography nerd, and I’ll admit even I would be hard-pressed to pinpoint Oman on a map. Ask me to describe the food and culture of this tiny Sultanate, and I’d be at even more of a loss. American Felicia Campbell, who boasts a masters in food studies specializing in Arabic cuisine,  takes readers on a tour of this diverse country, steeped in history and culture.

While ostensibly a cookbook, The Food of Oman is really more of a cook book – memoir – travel guide – history textbook hybrid, complete with stunning photography. Campbell understands the complex ways in which food, politics, culture, history and religion are interwoven. Through the pages of her book we gain not only a better understanding of the cuisine of this region, but also a deeper awareness of the people who create and share this cuisine. We truly get a feel for the every day lives of every people just like ourselves, who may live thousands of miles away, but who love to share good food with good friends as much as we do.

I haven’t made any of the recipes form this book, so I can’t comment on their usability, but as a fascinating introduction to Omani culture this cook book is highly recommended.

NOTE – These electronic advance reading copies were sent to me via Net Galley for review. I received no compensation for these reviews, and all opinions are entirely my own.

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