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Reviews by: Jim Berman

The Canadiano is the elegant, little, black dress in the coffee making closet of cool tools.

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Pros: Ultra portable, craftily made and powerful deliverer of flavorful coffee

Cons: Slightly fussy at clean-up time, but not a big deal

  The Canadiano… coffee maker? -Jim Berman   I love coffee. Not like a passing fancy or a casual relationship that can be fulfilled with a mere quickie hook-up at, say, a gas station or a platonic nudge emanating from the tankard of burnt, astringent rust water bubbling out of an urn at fire hall gatherings. No, friend, there is a gentle calmness to coddling a mug of coffee; the aroma filling the vacuousness of your face that expands to devour the warm-chocolate nuttiness. The hot wash across the soft tissue that arouses and awakens nether regions to heighten the reality of the moment, the day, the task at hand, the adventure that awaits in the dark recesses of our waking...
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A lesson for cooks as much as he scribed a lesson for living

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Pros: Articulate, engaging writing with colorful memoir

Cons: Not as much cookbook as treatise on a few dishes

Ivan Ramen by Ivan Orkin (Author) with Chris Ying (Author) Reviewed by Jim Berman   Ivan Orkin wrote a cookbook as much as he penned a piece on motivation. He wrote about the nuance of subtle, nearly unperceivable flavor as much as he composed a book on survival.  He wrote a lesson for cooks as much as he scribed a lesson for living. Ivan Ramen is a timely prescription for bringing refreshing energy into the kitchen; learning about patience; grabbing the cojones of adversity and creating opportunity. From Long Island to the audaciousness of opening a Ramen noodle shop in Tokyo, Orkin recounts his odyssey with colorful acumen, droll narratives and cunning detail.   The...
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O’Halloran and Holton artistically dispense the cooks that share the needle that delivers an endorphin rush through and from the kitchen

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Pros: Contemporary, visual stunner

Cons: Somewhat similar genres of food, but not to a fault

Eat Ink by Birk O'Halloran (Author) , Daniel Luke Holton (Author) Reviewed by Jim Berman   Cooks are branded into their field. They wear “I’m a cook” as a badge of honor; a war wound, a number across a mug shot. When you shake hands with a cook, you feel the rugged callousness of their hands from sweeping the carnage across their cutting board or hefting a ten-inch chef’s knife over many long nights. They are much like members of a gang; they brandish colors and have lifted heads when they tell of their occupation. There is no I’m “just” a cook. Hell no! “Just” is for somebody else, but not a cook. It’s a pride thing. We’ll tell anybody that cares to listen and even those that do...
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A life-changing approach to bringing Zen living to

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Pros: Written in a language that appeals to cooks

Cons: Opening your mind to Zen studies may be tough for the unconvinced

Instructions to the Cook Bernard Glassman & Rick Fields   Reviewed by Jim Berman   Guilty! I judged a book by its cover. I was in between titles, waiting for Ivan Ramen and the new Rene Redzpi, while I doggedly flopped through the new releases section at the local big-box  book store. The title, Instructions to the Cook caught my attention and I bought it, unopened without even a glimpse at the back cover, a gander at page one or even a shot at the author bio.   And it isn’t a cook book. Or even a book on food.  Joke is on me. Rather, it’s about life. And cooks need a little set of instructions now and then.  “Cooking, like life, is about...
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Well constructed mechanism for tackling bakeshop feats

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Pros: Serious tool for professionals and advancing students

Cons: Not much in the way of anecdotal delivery

The Professional Bakeshop Tools, Techniques, and Formulas for the Professional Baker Wayne Gislen   Reviewed by Jim Berman   Wayne Gisslen, if not the authority on kitchen texts, has to be high on the list. So, when he breaks out a new volume, it is well worth an examination. In his latest construct, The Professional Bakeshop, Gisslen takes on everything from Almond Paste to Zabaglione with none too meandering paths towards and through the fundamentals, yeast doughs, quick breads, cookies, custards, cakes and plating, with solid visits to pies, syrups and applied techniques, among others.   For clarity’s sake, this is not a recipe book. And it is not for the casual...
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Fabulously complete; a solution to every classic Italian cooking conundrum

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Pros: Deftly designed with serious cooks and cooking students in mind

Cons: Not for culinary criminals looking to steal a few minutes of study; serious food handlers, only.

The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine The International Culinary Center with Cesare Casella & Stephanie Lyness   Reviewed by Jim Berman     I did not want to like The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine.  Any collection that appears ‘complete’ rarely ever is. Through the pages, I look for some recipe or technique that I know to be lost. And usually it is; not necessarily, some obscure bit, but a chunk that should be there but is absent and then my confidence wanes. Delightfully, I am proud to proclaim I do not think that to be the case with The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine. The compendium is all...
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When Cooks Cook for Themselves

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Pros: Honest food, genuinely captured, captivating

Come in, We’re Closed Christine Carroll & Jody Eddy   Reviewed by Jim Berman     There are few cooks, if any, which do not tire of the food served in their own places. For one reason or another, it is overload to be around the same food every day. Yeah, yeah, menus change and seasons change and products change. Still, there is a monotony that can set in with eating what you serve day after day, shift after shift. Does that mean that there is no mojo in the food we serve to our guests? Certainly not. But, imagine making and eating an omelet for breakfast everyday for three months. Consider Mumford & Sons listening to music; I would guess they wouldn’t...
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A primer on food as adventure and sustenance

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Pros: Beautifully produced with content that matches

Cons: This is not a cookbook, so don't expect a recipe collection

Edible Selby Todd Selby   Reviewed by Jim Berman     Todd Selby is not a chef. Rather, he is a photographer and illustrator. Since food really is the universal language, not being a chef didn’t stop Selby from culminating a book bursting with great food, interesting characters responsible for that food and whimsical dialog that runs droll and, often, irreverent. I like a little cynicism  sprinkled on my eggs; it awakens the taste for digesting some different writing. Edible Selby is definitely different; it is not a cookbook and really will not fit neatly into your kitchen collection. Part travel, part food, part photo collection, Edible Selby speaks to...
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ChefTalk.com › Jim Berman › Reviews by Jim Berman