Phillip's birthday and my shoulder. It's much, much better now - back to normal, even. Lest I write a post without some sort of ailment, though, I'll tell you that this morning I took Phillip to school and went to work as usual, all the while feeling not quite right. I'll spare you the details, but I came home, slept away the morning, and rested in bed all afternoon, and am feeling much better tonight.
Since I was in bed all day, it was the perfect day for Issue 2 of Taproot to arrive! I've given it a skim and read a bit, and it looks great, just as I anticipated.
But the book that I spent most of my time with today was Food in Jars, Marisa McClellan's first book which came out recently. (Brace yourselves: I'm going to gush, with lots of italics.)
I'm a huge fan (dorkily so) of Marisa's blog of the same name, and pre-ordered the book months ago. To say that I wasn't disappointed is a huge understatement. Food in Jars far surpassed any expectations I had. This book is beautiful. The photography, by Steve Legato, is perfect. The size of the book is perfect (small enough to have out on the counter while making the recipes, but not too small). The layout and design is, well, perfectly perfect. It is the prettiest cookbook that I own, and I have waaay too many. The recipes all look amazing, but simple and do-able. The recipes go beyond the jams and jellies one would expect (although there are ample jams and jellies, fear not.) There are instructions for freezing fruit in jars, pantry recipes (the Rosemary Salt looks divine and I'm planning to make some for Christmas gifts) and granolas. The nut butter section has me swooning, and I'm especially excited about the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, part of the recipe is pictured above. I have never purchased a jar of Nutella because palm oil and sugar are two of the first ingredients. But this recipe, sugar and all, I would happily make. And I'm planning to, as soon as I can get myself to the bulk store to buy some hazelnuts.
Marisa's stories and introductions to the recipes are entertaining, the recipes are clearly written and have detailed instructions (nary a typo to be found!), and I love it.
*Edited to add: I was so excited as I was writing this that I forgot a couple of very important things that I love, and thought that this paragraph might be your swing vote, especially if you haven't canned before. Marisa's descriptions of the stages that the goods go through as you're making them are clear, descriptive, and super helpful. For example, I just made the Rhubarb Jelly tonight (pop, pop, pop!) and the description "It should look thick and syrupy and the bubbles should look glossy" was spot on. Also, her explanation of the saucer/freezer jelly set method is so seemingly obvious, but I didn't realize until I read it today that it's done to essentially speed up the cooling process to check out how it will set. Also, all of the recipes are for small batches, which means that they're not terribly time consuming, and there are recipes that can be made throughout the year - they're not all summer fruit ones. And lastly (I promise!) there's a recipe for cultured butter! Yahooooooo!)*
How's that for a rave review? *rave! rave!*
*Just so it's clear, I bought my own copy with my own hard-earned pay, and no one paid me or coerced me into writing this. Marisa's too sweet for that, anyway - she's proven it by patiently answering more than one canning question I've asked via Twitter!*