Tasty Books Book Club-June Selections!

It’s the first week of June and time to get thinking about some great summer reads for our Tasty Books Book Club! (details on how it will work and how to order books are here). Below is the June 2011 book selection list with a description of the titles (from the publisher or online site–they say it just as good or better than I can!):


American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) by Jonathan Bloom
From Publishers Weekly-
Since the Great Depression and the world wars, the American attitude toward food has gone from a “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without” patriotic and parsimonious duty to an orgy of “grab-and-go” where food’s fetish and convenience qualities are valued above sustainability or nutrition. Journalist Bloom follows the trajectory of America’s food from gathering to garbage bin in this compelling and finely reported study, examining why roughly half of our harvest ends up in landfills or rots in the field. He accounts for every source of food waste, from how it is picked, purchased, and tossed in fear of being past inscrutable “best by” dates. Bloom’s most interesting point is psychological: we have trained ourselves to regard food as a symbol of American plenty that should be available at all seasons and times, and in dizzying quantities. “Current rates of waste and population growth can’t coexist much longer,” he warns and makes smart suggestions on becoming individually and collectively more food conscious “to keep our Earth and its inhabitants physically and morally healthy

The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick
Suburban soccer mom Amy has always wanted to stand out from the crowd. Former child prodigy Linnie just wants to fit in. The two sisters have been estranged for years, but thanks to a series of personal crises and their wily grandmother, they’ve teamed up to enter a national bake-off in the hopes of winning some serious cash. Armed with the top-secret recipe for Grammy’s apple pie, they should be unstoppable. Sure, neither one of them has ever baked anything more complicated than brownie mix, but it’s just pie-how hard could it be?

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients by Jeff Hertzberg MD and Zoe Francois
Two years ago, the authors published Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, presenting European-inspired loafs and baked goods, relying on traditional baking ingredients. After the authors started a blog based on that book, they responded to readers requests for recipes for healthy breads, including those made with less white flour, lower refined sugars and gluten-free options. Relying on the same five-minute, no-knead method, a master recipe is the base for most of the 100 recipes. The book’s strength lies in the unusual selections inspired from around the globe including Turkish pear coffee bread; tabbouleh bread with parsley, garlic and bulgur; and Indian-spiced doughnuts. A chapter entitled “Sneaky Breads” cleverly incorporates fruits and vegetables into doughs, resulting in tasty and healthy creations such as brown rice and prune bread and beet-red buns. A selection of pizzas and an entire chapter dedicated to gluten-free baked goods round out the title. The friendly tone, including headnotes and stories behind recipes, keep this from becoming a didactic diet book. Though traditionalists may shy away from the method and ingredient substitutions presented, others will find inspiration within the pages of this unconventional baking title.

The Greatest Potatoes by Penelope Stowell
In an effort to serve the perfect fried potato dish to the famous but fussy Cornelius Vanderbilt at Cary Moon’s Lake Lodge House Restaurant, fry cook George Crum accidentally invents the potato chip. This story is based on true events.

President of the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston
From Booklist- Brianna Justice plans to be a millionaire when she grows up, just like her hero, celebrity chef Miss Delicious. When Miss Delicious credits her rise to the top to the experience she gained as fifth-grade president, Brianna knows what she must do. With the support of her best friends, Brianna strategizes her worldwide domination, starting with a successful run for president of her own fifth-grade class. But unexpected and underhanded competition from new girl Jasmine Moon threatens not only to ruin Brianna’s ambitions but to knock Brianna’s moral compass out of whack as she loses sight of herself and her purpose in a win-at-all-costs race. Although Jasmine’s villainy seems over the top and Brianna’s peeps turn on her unconvincingly, Brianna’s struggle to run a clean campaign is believable and entertaining. Cupcake recipes and a fair amount of U.S. history are worked into the book.

Each week I’ll further highlight one (or more) of the books and we’ll get the discussion going! For the cookbook selection, choose a recipe that looks good to you and then we can all share our experiences. Leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy reading!


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