February 22, 2019
Downtown Dining Week Cookbook Roundup
By Jennifer Cockrall-King
To build on all that great Downtown Dining Week momentum happening March 8 to 17, the Downtown Business Association has collaborated with Audreys Books and curated a selection of the eight must-have cookbooks and culinary narratives right now. During Downtown Dining Week, Audreys is offering these at 10 percent off. Allez cuisine!
Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup: The inspiring life of Chef Gail Hall. To honour the life of Gail Hall, caterer, culinary activist and local foods champion in Edmonton, her friend, food writer, and CBC Radio Edmonton restaurant critic Twyla Campbell dove into Hall’s inspiring and food-driven life. The result is a moving memoir that includes Hall’s best recipes, stories from culinary travels and tours, and tales from her life that centered around friendship, love, and food. And if you’ve regretted not attending one of Hall’s classes, Campbell will lead a cooking class March 10, along with a guest chef and other surprises. In the pleasant surroundings of Chef Gail’s home kitchen, you will create a 3-course meal with Canadian wine, fresh produce from City Market on 104.
There’s a reason every DIY foodie and chef is flocking to The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Foundation of Flavor by René Redzepi and David Zilber. This very big book of fermentation knowledge and technique is encyclopedic. It’s also highly enjoyable and surprisingly readable thanks to lots of step-by-step photos and Toronto-raised chef Zilber’s ability to explain the art and science behind vinegars, kombuchas, misos, kojis, fermented fruits and vegetables and more.
With so much emphasis on cooking and eating together, it’s refreshing to find a new title that acknowledges that work schedules, commuting, and living on one’s own are just as much a part of modern reality as gathering for meals. In Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One, Michelin-starred chef (and tv celebrity) Anita Lo, provides plenty of globally inspired recipes that remind us of the value and joy of taking care of ourselves.
Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Café and Other Stories by Canada’s Chinese Restaurants is a culinary road trip to where Globe & Mail journalist Ann Hui tracks down unique Chinese-Canadian dishes, their cooks, and small town Chinese restaurants in every province as she pieces together fascinating stories that have contributed to our national culinary identity.
Edmonton-raised chef Corbin Tomaszeski left for the Food Network lights - Dinner Party Wars, who didn’t love that show?—and prestigious restaurants of Toronto many years ago, but he keeps coming back to educate and entertain us at Christmas in November at the Jasper Park Lodge. His fans will be thrilled with his new cookbook, In Good Company: Easy Recipes for Everyday Gatherings. It’s signature Tomaszeski style of easy-to-throw dinners based on comfort-food recipes, but it also contains stories about Tomaszeski’s farm-born Alberta roots. Look for recipes for his Baba’s perogies and the Tomaszeski family borscht.
What if you matched great food to great wine, rather than the other way around? This is the central theme of the brilliantly written Wine Food: Adventures in Drinking and Cooking. Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker demystify the flavour components of wine, gives us recipes that work, and helps us to create our own food pairings based on what we want to drink.
Extreme weather events and a survivalist DIY ethic, Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse might as well be a love-letter to living through Edmonton winters. This hotly anticipated book, however, is actually from Montreal restaurateurs Fred Morin, David McMillan, and their cookbook collaborator Meredith Erickson. Like their iconic restaurant and their smash hit first book, this new one is cheeky and skews toward the urban-homesteader crowd. However, if the apocalypse ever hits, you might need a recipe for soups, stews, and such as well as homemade cough drops, soap, and Worcestershire sauce.
While it won’t be available until October, Edmonton chef Shane Chartrand, executive chef of SC Restaurant at River Cree Casino & Resort has co-written his first cookbook with the help of Jennifer Cockrall-King. Taking its title for the Cree word that means “Come in; welcome; there is room,” Tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine is gorgeously photographed cookbook with 75 recipes. It also contains stories about Chartrand’s highly emotional stories of not knowing his Indigenous roots until 29 years old and the journey he is now on to discover what it means to be an Indigenous professional chef right now at this important time of Truth, Reconciliation, and the rise of Indigenous cultures. Audrey’s Books will honor the promotional discount for any copies of Tawâw ordered during Downtown Dining Week.
Downtown Dining Week is March 8 to 17. To view the participating restaurants and menus, click here.