Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada

Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada: A Photographic Guidebook to Finding and Using Key Species

by David L. Spahr

This book presents photographs and information on more than 20 varieties of mushrooms, including how to find them and prepare them. For this review I will focus on the chapter on Maitake, which is being studied for its potential to boost the immune system and fight cancer.

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101 Things I Learned in Culinary School

101 Things I Learned in Culinary School

by Louis Eguaras with Matthew Frederick

“The culinary world is ever evolving, as familiar techniques and experiences continually give way to new ones and force chefs to reevaluate their comfort zones. A chef’s understanding of food and cooking thereby needs to extend beyond knowledge of ingredients, technique, tools, and equipment. A chef must be a scholar of colors, textures, and fragrances. He or she must know the history of food, its chemistry and alchemy, the art of presentation, and how to keep customers safe. A chef has to know how to manage and meet customers’ needs and expectations, how to create and manage budgets, and how to delegate and answer to those working around him or her.”

This book introduces a variety of such topics. Here’s a sample of 10 items covered in the book.

Why the chef’s jacket is double breasted. The front of a chef’s jacket is reversible. This allows a chef to wear the clean side over the dirty side if entering the dining room to greet guests. Additionally, the double layer of heavy cotton protects against hot spills and splatters. Cloth toggles are used instead of buttons, which can snag, break, or melt into food. The vented cuffs turn up, getting them out of the way of foods and leaving a fresh edge to turn down when entering the dining room.”

Good beef is 30 days old. Beef is aged to allow an animal’s natural enzymes to break down tough connective tissues, resulting in deeper flavor and improved texture. Dry aging needs at least 11 days and may take more than 30 days. The meat is hung and exposed to climate controlled air, where it loses 15 to 30% of its weight, mostly due to water evaporation, becomes meatier and more buttery, and develops a more concentrated flavor. Dry aged beef is rarely found in supermarkets.”

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Clean Gut

clean-gut

Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health

by Alejandro Junger, M.D.

Dr. Alejandro Junger is a cardiologist and a practitioner of functional medicine who concludes that gut dysfunction is the root cause of “most of the chronic diseases affecting people today as well as many acute problems.” Doctors will often treat symptoms rather than the root cause. Dr. Junger’s approach is to put the patient on a detoxification diet first. This often solves the problem; other times it unmasks problems, such as parasites and yeast overgrowth. Continue reading

In Defense of Food

in-defense-of-food

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

by Michael Pollan

“Most nutritional advice we’ve received over the last half century has actually made us less healthy and considerably fatter…[Americans] suffer substantially higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity than people eating any number of different traditional diets.” Continue reading