Tag Archives: Aroma

Looking for a CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall drinking game? Bingo!

So you’ve decided to watch CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall on Wednesday evening. That means you’re either a climate wonk who’s willing to spend seven hours of your precious free time listening to politicians prattle about global warming, or you can’t figure out how to change the channel. Either way, hello and welcome!

The town hall’s rules of engagement are simple. Ten presidential candidates will have 40 minutes each to share their ideas for fixing humanity’s biggest and scariest problem ever. And what better way to prepare you to digest that marathon strategy-fest than a little climate action aperitif?

That’s right, we’ve come up with the ultimate drinking game to complement the delicate aroma of the world bursting into flames. (Though abstainers should feel free to stick with us and sub a couple of Marianne Williamson’s pre-debate yoga moves).

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If you follow our nifty drinking guide, our goal is to leave you sober enough to decipher Bernie’s thick Brooklyn accent but drunk enough to keep the TV on when Biden promises to unlock the power of “American innovation.” (Drink!)

Ready? Let’s go.

How to play

The game itself is simple: climate candidate bingo! Keep tabs on each presidential wannabe’s quotable quotes and take a sip for each phrase that gets mentioned. We’re sure the multiple hours of dense, environmental policy proposals will just fly by. (You can download a PDF version of the bingo board here.)


The games begin at 5 p.m. Eastern with former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. The “fun” won’t end until Cory Booker closes out starting at 11:20 p.m., so consider chugging some water at least every time CNN switches moderators or you’ll be Wolf Blitzer-ed by the time Amy Klobuchar rolls up.

5:00 p.m. Julián Castro
5:40 p.m. Andrew Yang
6:20 p.m. Kamala Harris
7:00 p.m. Amy Klobuchar
8:00 p.m. Joe Biden
8:40 p.m. Bernie Sanders
9:20 p.m. Elizabeth Warren
10:00 p.m. Pete Buttigieg
10:40 p.m. Beto O’Rourke
11:20 p.m. Cory Booker

Pregame idea: Raise a glass to the dearly (Democratically) departed.

Your brain (and liver) should probably be grateful that not all of the original 20-some Democratic candidates have made it this far in the election cycle. But a few drop-outs had some interesting climate ideas along the way. If you’re up for pregaming, consider pouring one out for the following candidates:

Jay Inslee — Ah, the original “climate candidate.” The Washington governor’s impressive environmental record and, um, crowd appeal will be sorely missed during this town hall. I would tell you to take a shot for every climate plan Inslee released during his run for president but there are six of them and I’m not trying to kill you. So slowly sip a sustainable beverage for dear old Jay as you scan the remaining candidates for your new “climate daddy.” (Google if you dare.)

John Hickenlooper — The former Colorado governor is gone from the presidential foray but not forgotten (because he’s running for Senate). His climate plan, however, which didn’t do much to offset his history of boosting fracking in his state, might merit a little forgetting. If you do drink to his memory, just make sure it’s not fracking fluid — that’s John’s job.

Kirsten Gillibrand — The #metoo candidate was the most recent campaign casualty in the rapidly thinning Democratic primary. She is survived by her impressive $10 trillion climate plan, which includes a tax on carbon pollution. Raise a glass of whiskey, Gillibrand’s “favorite comfort food,” to that.

Bonus doomsday dares

Need some additional entertainment? Spice up the evening with a few of the following challenges:

Phone your grandma when Joe Biden calls one of the other full-grown adults on stage “kid.”
Shotgun a Michelob Ultra every time Elizabeth Warren gets raucous applause for one of her six climate plans.
Have a friend go into another room and read last year’s entire 2,000-page Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Whoever cries themselves to sleep first wins!
Scream “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” at the TV when someone uses JFK’s moon landing project as a metaphor for taking on climate change.

Seven hours of climate policy might feel like a poor substitution for, say, an official climate debate, but it’s a major step up for broadcast media. Last year, national broadcast networks spent only 142 combined minutes discussing the issue.

Ideally, an uptick in coverage would be spread out over the course of several months, not concentrated in one brutally long political masterclass. But the occasion seems to have prompted a number of 2020 procrastinators to release climate plans ahead of the event. On Tuesday, Warren, Klobuchar, and Booker unveiled proposals, and Buttigieg slid in just under the wire, releasing his climate plan Wednesday morning. Harris said she also intended to release a plan pre-town hall.

But you know what? We’ll take what we can get, even if it’s too little too — Ding dong! Who’s there? The delivery guy with the baked potato you drunkenly ordered in honor of Amy Klobuchar.

Go to bed.

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Looking for a CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall drinking game? Bingo!

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Breakfast with Einstein – Chad Orzel


Breakfast with Einstein

The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects

Chad Orzel

Genre: Physics

Price: $16.99

Publish Date: December 11, 2018

Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.

Seller: Perseus Books, LLC

Your alarm goes off, and you head to the kitchen to make yourself some toast and a cup of coffee. Little do you know, as you savor the aroma of the steam rising from your cup, that your ordinary morning routine depends on some of the weirdest phenomena ever discovered.  The world of quantum physics is generally thought of as hopelessly esoteric. While classical physics gives us the laws governing why a ball rolls downhill, how a plane is able to fly, and so on, its quantum cousin gives us particles that are actually waves, “spooky” action at a distance, and Schrodinger’s unlucky cat. But, believe it or not, even the most mundane of everyday activities is profoundly influenced by the abstract and exotic world of the quantum.  In Breakfast with Einstein, Chad Orzel illuminates the strange phenomena lurking just beneath the surface of our ordinary lives by digging into the surprisingly complicated physics involved in his (and anyone’s) morning routine. Orzel, author of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog, explores how quantum connects with everyday reality, and offers engaging, layperson-level explanations of the mind-bending ideas central to modern physics.  From the sun, alarm clocks, and the red glow of a toaster’s hot filaments  (the glow that launched quantum mechanics) to the chemistry of food aroma, a typical day is rich with examples of quantum weirdness. Breakfast with Einstein reveals the hidden physics all around us, and after reading this book, your ordinary mornings will never seem quite as ordinary again.

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Breakfast with Einstein – Chad Orzel

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The Newest Eco Food Trend: Blended Burgers


Though many environmentalists understand that red meat isn’t always green, it can be tough to forgo a juicy beef burger for its vegetarian alternative when dining out.

The all-or-nothing approach is common when it comes to red meat consumption, but restaurants are now taking strides toward a sustainable happy medium.

Introducing Blended Burgers

The newest trend in sustainable burgers is the blended burger — a beef patty blended with mushrooms. It still has real meat for those who just don’t want to give it up, but its carbon footprint is significantly smaller.

While you’ll find these burgers popping up on menus at sit-down restaurants everywhere, they’re just gaining steam in the fast-food world. Sonic, which has more than 3,500 restaurants across 45 U.S. states, was the first national fast-food chain to adopt this healthier burger alternative, which rolled out nationwide last month. Their version is called the Signature Slinger, and it’s made from three simple ingredients: 100 percent beef, savory mushrooms and seasonings.

Starting under 350 calories and at $1.99, the Sonic Signature Slingers combine beef and mushroom into one patty. Photo: Business Wire

It was a smart move. As the demand for sustainable food rises and more folks choose natural beef sources, quick-serve restaurants find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Fast food is known for being cheap, but sustainable beef isn’t. Because mushrooms are relatively low in cost, the blended burger could mean higher-quality, antibiotic-free, hormone-free beef without a spike in price.

All About That Taste

Blended burgers typically have significantly fewer grams of fat, carbs and calories compared with their all-beef counterparts. But now for the big question: What about the taste?

The James Beard Foundation has partnered with the Mushroom Council to host The Blended Burger Project, a contest and movement encouraging chefs to create their own mushroom-beef blended dishes. Competitors’ dishes are judged in terms of their creative use of mushrooms, flavor profile and overall presentation. With more than 200 enthusiastic participants in 2017, the contest is well on its way toward balancing nutrition, sustainability and flavor in America’s food system.

As previous award winner Stephanie Izard points out in an interview with the James Beard Foundation, “you shouldn’t have to sacrifice flavor in order to think sustainably.”

Mushrooms have a meat-like consistency and are incredibly juicy. So, when it comes to meat substitutes, they’re a no-brainer. They add a mild umami-flavored kick to burgers and give dishes unparalleled depth.

“Mushrooms have really come into their own as a solution to changing dietary patterns, earning their place on the plate with their nutrient quality, flavor impact and incredible functionality,” said Greg Descher, vice president of strategic initiatives and industry leadership at the Culinary Institute of America, in the company’s study on mushroom-beef blending.

A Sustainable Outlook

Who will offer a blended burger next? While McDonald’s recently announced some big steps to reduce carbon emissions — the equivalent of taking 32 million cars off the road for a year — the announcement did not include any menu changes.

Getting McDonald’s on the blended burger bandwagon would make a huge difference. With 37,000 locations around the world, there’s no denying the impact of the fast-food behemoth.

“Where McDonald’s goes, usually the rest of the restaurant industry eventually follows,” said Sara Senatore, a senior research analyst at a restaurant investment research firm, in an interview with The Washington Post.

Fortunately, McDonald’s has recognized the environmental impact of beef production and plans to address sustainable agriculture practices in its green initiatives. It remains to be seen just how the company will do that, and how other meat-serving establishments will address their undeniable environmental impact.

While a blended burger may not be a perfect solution, it’s a great option for meat eaters. Given the success of Sonic and other restaurants using this approach, we hope more eateries will join this sustainable movement.

Would you try a blended burger? Let us know in the comments.

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The Newest Eco Food Trend: Blended Burgers

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Indica vs Sativa: Are These Useful Titles or Just Smoke and Mirrors?

?Is it an Indica or Sativa strain??

Whether you?re a moderate or proficient user of cannabis, you?ve most likely heard this question in numerous cannabis conversations ? but what does it really mean? More importantly, does it really even matter if a cannabis product is determined to be an ?Indica? or ?Sativa? strain?

Where do the terms ?Indica? and ?Sativa? come from?

A quick history lesson: In 1753, Carl Linneaus classified two subspecies of cannabis: Cannabis sativa L (hemp, non-intoxicating) and Cannabis Sativa (psychoactive and intoxicating). A second subspecies discovery was made by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785: Cannabis Indica.

Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica are responsible for the Indica/Sativa classifications we know today. These taxonomic classifications are somewhat controversial, but the important distinctions have to do with geographic origins, variances in morphologies (shape of leaves, plant height, growing conditions), and slight differences in genetics.

A quick cultivation lesson: This Sativa and Indica taxonomy helps cultivators indicate the physical qualities of a particular strain (technically known as a cultivar) and its growing conditions. Sativa plants typically grow tall with bright, narrow leaves. Indicas typically grow into short, dense plants with wide leaves with deep green colors. Sativas have longer flowering cycles and are better suited for warm climates with long seasons, while Indicas have shorter flowering cycles and are capable of growing in cold climates with shorter seasons.

Due to extensive crossbreeding over the past fifty plus years, cultivators have effectively eliminated pure Sativa and Indica cultivars, leaving behind only hybrids that may lean more heavily toward one or the other initial subspecies, further confusing matters for the end user.

Are the effects of Indica and Sativa different?

You?ve heard it before: Sativas are invigorating, Indicas are relaxing. Sativas get you high. Indicas get you stoned.

Your local budtender may be quick to use words like ?cerebral,? ?heady,? ?uplifting,? ?energizing? and ?like a cup of coffee? when describing Sativas, and words like ?relaxing,? ?sedating,? ?full-bodied,? ?stoney? and ?like a cup of nighttime tea? when describing Indicas. Although all marijuana strains are now technically hybrids, a third categorization, Hybrid, is reserved for strains that have a balance of effects inherited from the genetic crossing of Indica and Sativa strains.

What does science have to say?

Let?s cut to the chase ? is it scientifically accurate to label cannabis as ?Indica? and ?Sativa? based on genetic ancestry? The answer: not likely.

Or, as famed cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo puts it: ?The sativa/indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature is total nonsense and an exercise in futility.?

Science is increasingly backing this up. Bedrocan, one of the largest producers of legal medicinal cannabis, teamed up with Canadian Dalhousie University to study the genetic differences between cannabis labelled Sativa and Indica. The study analyzed 149 different cannabis samples to determine if the genotype and chemotype accurately correlated to their reported ?ancestry.? ?The results indicated that there is ?no clear evidence of ancestry differences between Sativa- and Indica-labelled cannabis.?

In short, the reported genetic lineages of strains are somewhat dubious and less distinct than cannabis cultivators and breeders would have consumers believe.

However, Bedrocan?s study did find a strong relationship between chemical and genetic profiles. This suggests that the Indica/Sativa classification has much more to do with a strain?s terpene profile and less to do with its cannabinoid profile, as previously believed.

This finding makes sense and is supported in other studies. When indicating the effect a particular strain will produce, consider the cannabinoid and terpene profiles, as the concentration of terpenes will not only indicate the aroma and flavor of a particular strain, but also shed light on the associated effects. Research is confirming that aroma profiles of a plant, coupled with the ratio of the two major cannabinoids (THC and CBD), are the most important factors when attempting to determine the possible effects of a strain.

The main Indica and Sativa takeaway

While an Indica and Sativa label may accurately indicate its genetic lineage, it doesn?t necessarily predict what effects that strain or product will produce. Not all Indicas produce Indica-like effects and not all Sativas produce Sativa-like effect. It is common to find strains with an Indica lineage that have Sativa-like effects. If you take Indica/Sativa categorization with a grain of salt and pay attention to cannabinoid and terpene contents, you?ll have a clearer picture of what each cannabis product has to offer.

Nicolas Gonzalez-Podesta is the Director of Science and Education at Weedmaps. He directs Weedmaps? educational initiatives and works with a range of professionals including scientists, government officials and educators. Weedmaps is the world?s largest marijuana technology company working with enterprises, governments, and consumers to provide the leading cloud platform to power the marijuana industry.

Related Stories:

Is Cannabis Actually Addictive?
4 Groundbreaking Studies on Cannabis and Disease
Why People Rave About Cannabis Yoga

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


Indica vs Sativa: Are These Useful Titles or Just Smoke and Mirrors?

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An All-Natural DIY Oven Cleaner That Really Works

If youre anything like me, residue from last falls apple pie drippings might still be dried onto the bottom of the oven. To scrub it off, you have a couple of options: good old-fashioned elbow grease, or using the self-cleaning mode (if your oven has one), which typically means itll heat up to 8001,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The latter isnt exactly appealing when its still warm outside, andcould even damage the oven.

Elbow grease it is. Now that pie-making season is around the corner, its time to roll up your sleeves and get the job done. But dont bother with conventional oven cleanerthe chemicals and fumes can literally bepoisonous, potentially leading to issues like throat swelling and pain, vision loss, and organ damage. Yikes!

Know what can get the job done without the health hazards? Citrus, vinegar, and baking soda. Try this easy three-ingredient DIY thatll dissolve oven stains fast.

DIY Oven Cleaner


Peels of 2 oranges or lemons
2 cupsapple cider vinegaror white vinegar
Baking soda


Combine citrus peels and vinegar in a mason jar and seal. Let sit 5 days. Transfer liquid to spray bottle.

Sprinkle baking soda all over inside of oven, and especially on grimy areas. Spray your oven cleaner onto surfacethe baking soda and vinegar will react and bubble up, helping to lift baked-on food remnants. Wait 15 minutes. Wipe surface clean.

Written by Dana Poblete. Reposted with permission from Thrive Market.

More from Thrive Market:
Transform Your Tub Into a Spa With These Fizzy, Floral DIY Bath Bombs
Here’s the Coolest Thing You Can Do With an Orange Peel
How to Make Your Own Soothing Antibacterial Cream That Really Works — No Chemicals Needed

Photo Credit: Thrive Market/YouTube

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


An All-Natural DIY Oven Cleaner That Really Works

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Aromatherapy for Sensual Living – Elana Millman


Aromatherapy for Sensual Living

Essential Oils for the Ecstatic Soul

Elana Millman

Genre: Health & Fitness

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: June 16, 2015

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC

Aromatherapy has successfully infiltrated our world. The flowers are speaking and we are listening. Innocuously, most people have a bottle of lavender, peppermint, or even oregano tucked away in the back of the drawer or medicine cabinet for an emergency bout of insomnia or nausea or to conquer a cold or flu. We have been told that flowers heal and cure and we believe. Through positive experimentation, most people understand that essential oils can be used, not only for beauty or as perfume, but also for medicinal purposes. With the trend toward more natural remedies, aromatherapy is quickly becoming a staple for those who want to empower their own health and healing and avoid costly doctor visits. People are waking up to the inherent powers of nature and doing so with brilliant results. However, most people don’t yet know the depth and breadth to which essential oils can heal and help. Be the Flower is here to teach. With the daily use of essential oils, your immune system will be stronger, you will look more youthful, and you will actively be aligning yourself with the divine knowledge held within the plant kingdom. You have virtually endless options to choose from to empower your health and open a treasure trove of luscious libations to tempt and tease.

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Aromatherapy for Sensual Living – Elana Millman

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Aromatherapy – Kathi Keville & Mindy Green



A Complete Guide to the Healing Art

Kathi Keville & Mindy Green

Genre: Health & Fitness

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: August 1, 1995

Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

A comprehensive guide to using essential oils in health, beauty, and well-being. Aromatherapy offers countless uses, from cosmetics to therapeutics for balancing body, mind, and spirit. Drawing on 75 combined years of experience in botanical therapies, Keville and Green update their complete guide with the latest information for aromatherapy practitioners and students, providing an invaluable resource that includes more than 90 formulas for using essential oils in health and first aid, skin and hair care, massage, relaxation, and more. From the Trade Paperback edition.


Aromatherapy – Kathi Keville & Mindy Green

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16 Surprising Uses for Green Tea

Green tea has been around for thousands of years. Its no wonder the stuff sure is tasty, and is shown to have a number of great health benefits. But there are plenty of other reasons to keep green tea around. From cleaning carpets to giving your feet a much needing pampering, read on for some surprising ways to use green tea.

Quick Tip: Store your used green tea bags in the fridge so they dont spoil.

Beauty and Health

1. Reduce Eye Puffiness. The tannins and caffeine in green tea helps reduce both puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. Brew two bags of green tea. Take the bags out of the water and, with your fingers, squeeze out as much liquid as you can and let them cool to room temperature. Put one tea bag over each eye and wait 10 minutes before removing.

2. DIY Facial Toner. Green tea is found in a number of commercial skincare products but you can make some at home, too! Its also ridiculously easy: just brew some green tea, let it come to room temperature and transfer it to a clean spray bottle. Store in the fridge. Twice a day, spritz some on your face before using moisturizer. Its that simple!

3. Soothe Sunburns. Green tea contains properties that help with inflammation a major thing you want to combat if youre dealing with a sunburn. Soak a clean piece of cloth in cooled green tea and apply it to the affected area.

4. Pamper Your Feet. Green tea works well on puffy eyes because it reduces swelling and the same is true for your feet. After a long day, who doesnt want to relax with a nice, aromatic foot soak. Click here for a recipe.

Odor Fighting

5. Reduce Fridge Odor. Nobody wants a stinky fridge. Combat that by placing a dry, unused green tea bag in the refrigerator to absorb moisture.

6. Reduce Trash Odor. A couple unused green tea bags will also help stop foul odors that come from the trash. Keep a few unused bags at the bottom of your garbage can.

7. Clean Greasy Dishes. A used green tea bag is a great DIY sponge for cleaning greasy and grimy dishes.

8. Keep Litter Boxes Fresh. Adding some dry green tea leaves to kitty litter will help keep odors at bay and, whats more, your cat wont mind one bit!

9. Stash In Your Underwear Drawer. Green tea infuses a nice, subtle scent to your unmentionables. Keep an unused green tea bag in your lingerie drawer.


10. Clean Yoga Mats. One great way to clean yoga mats is to wash them in water with diluted green tea. Itll help keep them smelling fresh.

11. Clean Carpets. No, really! Sprinkling some used (but dry) green tea leaves 10 minutes before you vacuum the carpet will help you pick up more grime AND lightly deodorize both the carpets and the vacuum cleaner.

12. Clean Glass and Mirrors. Instead of tossing your green tea bag after you use it, brew it again, and use that weakened tea to clean windows and mirrors. Transfer room temperature tea to a spray bottle and wipe with a clean, dry cloth.

13. Clean Toilets. Deodorize your toilet by tossing a few used green tea bags in and letting them sit for an hour or two. Remove the bags, scrub and flush. Easy!

More Uses

14. Toss in the Compost. Green tea bags can absolutely be composted as long as the cloth is biodegradable, which many brands are.

15. Perfect Plant Watering. The big benefit of using green tea in the garden is that it absorbs water. Placing a used and dried tea bag at the bottom of the soil will absorb excess moisture and, over time, help redistribute that moisture more efficiently.

16. Naturally Dye Paper, Easter Eggs and More. Green tea is a great way to dye things, well, green! Click here for detailed instructions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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16 Surprising Uses for Green Tea

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Gardening Tips: Aromatic Garden 101



Gardening Tips: Aromatic Garden 101

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The 9 Best Cookbooks of 2014

Mother Jones

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Another year, another spate of brilliant cookbooks. Here are the ones that made the biggest impression on me, in no particular order.

Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes, by Jennifer McLagan. In 2005, nearly a decade before “bone broth” emerged as a craze, McLagan came out with Bones, a delicious defense of a culinary resource people normally discard. Three years later, when people like me were still mostly shunning the lard jar, she produced the equally excellent Fat, which she called an “appreciation of the misunderstood ingredient.” McLagan, perhaps the most idiosyncratic and underrated cookbook author of our time, has now trained her powers on the stuff that makes you grimace the first time it hits your palate: radicchio, dandelion greens, hops, brassicas, chicory, citrus zest, coffee, etc. “Without bitterness we lose a way to balance sweetness,” she instructs. “Food without bitterness lacks depth and complexity.” Bitter brims with luminous mini-essays on the science and philosophy of taste, and delivers dozens of straight-ahead recipes that teach us to tame and celebrate the most challenging of the five basic flavors.

Great gift for: People with adventurous palates.
Killer dish: Dandelion salad with hot bacon and mustard dressing.
Dish I’m dying to try: Pork chop (bone-in, fat lined) in coffee and black currant sauce.

Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes, by Nick Balla and Cortney Burns. Based on a single meal several years ago, I’ve always assumed San Francisco’s Bar Tartine—sister to the justly venerated Tartine Bakery—specialized in simple bistro food. So I wasn’t overly excited when this substantial, beautifully produced tome arrived. But rather than deliver yet more versions of steak frites or coq au vin, the book reads like a manifesto written by radical gourmet homesteaders—one of the weirdest and most compelling cookbooks I’ve picked up in years. I got lost in the rabbit warrens of the opening “projects kitchen” section, where the authors lay out in detail all the stuff they make from scratch. “Our dairy program began humbly—with yogurt, sour cream, and kefir—and evolved to include all the products we currently use: blue cheese, pepper Jack, gouda, triple creams, feta, and fresh cheeses such as mozzarella, goat cheese, and farmers cheese,” the authors declare. Whoa. Ever wondered how to make your own kefir butter? Balla and Burns have you covered. I had never heard of “black garlic” before. Turns out, “holding garlic at 130 F for two to three weeks renders the cloves as black as tar.” Is that a good thing? “All of the characteristic sharpness disappears and is replaced with a molasses-like sweetness and an aroma reminiscent of licorice.” Then there’s the spice mixes. Forget, say, homemade curry powder. Think “charred eggplant spice,” a powder that “tastes like the pure flavor of earth and smoke” (other elements: charred, dehydrated chile peppers, huitlachoche—a corn fungus—and green onions.) Surprisingly simple (but never obvious) recipes follow the opening section’s wild innovations. I predict this book will be seducing and flummoxing me for years. Also, I’ve got to get myself back to Bar Tartine.

Great gift for: Anyone with radical gourmet homesteader tendencies; and jaded home cooks in search of inspiration.
Killer dish: Chilled beet soup with coriander & yogurt.
Dish I’m dying to try: Someday? Smoked potatoes in black garlic vinaigrette with ramp mayonnaise.

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi, by Yotam Ottolenghi. Have we reached peak Ottolenghi? That was my question when I cracked the latest from the ubiquitous London chef, whose classics Plenty and Jerusalem seem to grace the shelves of most everyone I know, and won a spot in my 2012 best-of list. Known for his colorful, vibrant, vegetable-centered Mediterranean fare, the London-based, Israeli-born chef has been profiled in The New Yorker and interviewed on every foodie podcast. Does he have anything more to say? Hell, yes. Plenty More ventures farther afield from the author’s native Mediterranean region than his other works, copping techniques and ingredients from Thailand, Iran, India, and more. It draws you in with the delectable photography, and keeps you hooked with irresistible combinations: oranges and dates; beets with avocado and peas; leeks with goat cheese and currants; and so on. Ottolenghi isn’t a vegetarian, but he’s a wizard of vegetables, and a master at conjuring up hearty meals by combining them with grains and legumes.

Great gift for: Anyone who thinks vegetarian food is boring; anyone who likes to cook and eat.
Killer dish: Pea and mint croquettes.
Dish I’m dying to try: Fried umpa (an Indian semolina porridge) with poached eggs

Honorable mentions

In Afro-Vegan: Farm Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed, the Bay Area writer/chef/activist Bryan Terry pulls off a mean feat: He uses stylish, spicy vegan fare—light on tofu and heavy on grains, greens, and legumes—to lure readers into recognizing the “centrality of African-diasporic people in defining the tastes, ingredients, and classic dishes of the original modern global fusion cuisine—Southern food.” Terry’s argument is unassailable—as convincing as his gorgeous peanut stew with winter vegetable and cornmeal dumplings.

• Despite the ongoing gluten-free fad, bread is having its day, as are books on baking. No home baker will want to miss In Search of the Perfect Loaf, in which the food politics writer and editor Sam Fromartz visits the epicenters of the global baking renaissance—Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, etc.—talking to its main characters and committing an epic and appealing nerd-out (with recipes) in service of home-cooked leavened dough. In Josey Baker Bread, San Francisco’s most celebrated young baker (yes, his name and vocation are identical) shows us how the pros do it.

• San Francisco’s The Slanted Door is a fancy restaurant that applies Vietnamese techniques and condiments to Northern California’s bounty. The Slanted Door, by chef-owner Charles Phan, is a surprisingly unfussy guide to working the restaurant’s magic at home.

• For the drinkers on your list, American Spirit is a spirited guide to what author James Rodewald calls the nascent “craft distilling revolution.” At the center of Rodwald’s book is a scandal. Because of loose labeling laws, most of the “artisanal” liquor on the market involves clever businesspeople “rebottling something that had been made at a larger distiller and calling it their own.” Rodewald profiles the (still relatively few) mavericks who actually are producing their own hooch—and teases out the considerable challenges of making great whiskey and other spirits on a small scale in an industry dominated by liquor giants and false marketing.

• After reading Rodewald, you’ll want to sip something stiff. Death & Co.a sumptuous cocktail manual from the instant-legend East Village speakeasy of the same name—delivers dozens upon dozens of ideas for taking the edge off in high style. I can’t imagine a more comprehensive snapshot of the mixology craze.

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The 9 Best Cookbooks of 2014

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