07 November 2020

Weekend Cooking: 2 Books for the Foodies on Your Gift List

2 Food Books for Gift Giving 2020In today's Weekend Cooking I have two books that could be perfect for you or for gift giving this coming holiday season. First up, is a fun but informative wine book, and the second is all about Christmas. As a special bonus today, I'm giving away a copy of the Christmas book to one of you--no matter where you live in the world. Hope your weekend is going well and you're staying safe and healthy. Now let's get to my thoughts about today's books.

Don’t let the title Vanessa Price’s Big Macs & Burgundy (written with Adam Laukhuf, and given to me as part of the Abrams Dinner Party) throw you off. Yes, this wine book has a playful and light element--as in what’s the best wine to eat with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich--but it’s also a down-to-earth guide to the wine and food that we little people indulge in. Note too that Price is a long-time professional sommelier, so her advice is based on solid knowledge. I'm grateful that she has been willing to share her wisdom with us.

As Price says,

The art of pairing food with wine is not without its mysteries, but it’s far from a mystical trick of culinary alchemy. At its most basic, it’s the informed process of combining complementary flavors and textures, either through contrast or accentuation, to create perfect balance.
2 Food Books for Gift Giving 2020Big Macs & Burgundy starts with a short discussion of how wine is made, the four elements of wine, and how our taste buds perceive those elements. Price then provides a guide to the 12 styles of wine and terrior. Finally, she shows us how the art of wine pairing is based on these bits of data and then tells us how to make our own pairings. Oh, and Price gives us lots of reassurance encourages us to experiment and relax.

The very first pairing is what to drink with basic take-out pizza (an affordable Montepulciano from Abruzzo) and the final pairing calls for a Hillside Cab with a porterhouse steak, specifically the expensive Cabernet Sauvignon from La Jota Vineyard. In between you’ll find pairings for specific cheeses and crackers, cereal, Halloween candy, burgers, Tex-Mex favorites, avocado toast, shrimp cocktail, cheesecake, spinach salad, pad Thai, Cheez-Its, and much, much more.

2 Food Books for Gift Giving 2020Throughout, Big Macs & Burgundy Price offers a ton of useful advice, like how to store your wine and why and when you might want to decant a bottle. We couldn’t find the exact recommended wines here in Pennsylvania (don’t ask: we have archaic liquor laws), but we found the recommended grapes from the recommended regions. Shown in my photos are the pairings of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with pizza and a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with grilled salmon.

Recommendation: Vanessa Price’s Big Macs & Burgundy would make a terrific gift for any wine lover who has a sense of humor and playfulness and for wine drinkers like me who are always open to learn more about wine and who welcome good advice on how to choose the perfect wine no matter what’s on our plate, from pretzels to caviar.

2 Food Books for Gift Giving 2020Now for the promised international giveaway. I know that for most of us, the 2020 holidays are going to be very different from what we’re used to. Still, we can make our celebrations as bright as possible and can dream of next year. To help you on your way, I’m giving away a copy of 2020 Christmas with Southern Living (given to me as part of the Abrams Dinner Party) to one of you.

This beautiful book starts with gorgeous photographs that will inspire you to up your decorating game. The examples range from elaborate entry-hall displays to simple centerpieces and kitchen island focal points. You’ll also get super ideas for pretty gift wrapping and unique ways to display your ornaments.

The core of the book contains holiday menus and recipes. You’ll find meals for a variety of occasions, such as the “Bluegrass Brunch,” a casual family meal; the “Gulf Coast Toast,” a cocktail party; and the “Southern Sit-Down,” an all-out holiday turkey dinner. You’ll also find extra recipes for delicious side dishes, no-cook nibbles, sheet pan dinners, and baked goods for gift giving.

2020 Christmas with Southern Living ends with a fabulous holiday planning section that will help you (if not this year, then next), organize all the things for your holiday. To-do lists, calendars, hotline phone numbers for extra cooking help, Christmas card lists, gift lists, hostess tips, party planners, decorating tips, and even a page to make notes for next year.

2 Food Books for Gift Giving 2020
The Giveaway: I’m thrilled to be able to offer a copy of 2020 Christmas with Southern Living to one of you, no matter where you live in the world. All you have to do to be entered to win a copy is to fill out the following form. I’ll pick a winner using a random number generator on November 13. Once I pick a winner, I'll email you and ask for your mailing address. Once the winner has been confirmed, I’ll delete all the data from my computer. Good luck! And thanks again to Abrams for the copy of the book.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


rhapsodyinbooks 11/7/20, 6:29 AM  

The wine pairing book sounds terrific. I love that it acknowledges what many people actually eat, like PB&J and pizza. And yes, of course people like that (i.e., me, for example) would appreciate knowing what wine to have!

Mae Travels 11/7/20, 6:45 AM  

In a way, it's funny that they have a book named "2020..." that doesn't acknowledge the reality of the situation this year! I guess you could still put a decoration on your kitchen island. For a lot of people, Christmas is often just a kind of daydream, why not this year too.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

gluten Free A_Z Blog 11/7/20, 7:32 AM  

I've always loved the recipes, photos, and entertaining ideas in Southern Living magazine. Looks like a beautiful book.

Jackie McGuinness 11/7/20, 8:31 AM  

Wine goes with everything!!! I have someone in mind for this book as a Christmas gift.

Tina 11/7/20, 10:18 AM  

We get take away pizza and have a bottle of wine too. Love the sound of that book Big Macs and Burgundy, I need to check that out.

There was a New Yorker cartoon showing a sommelier, tray held with a bottle of wine telling the two diners "This Chateauneuf du Pape won't f@#k up the taste of your cheeseburger." I always liked that one.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 11/7/20, 11:55 AM  

I don’t drink wine, but I do love Christmas. Thanks for the chance to win

Deb in Hawaii 11/7/20, 12:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb in Hawaii 11/7/20, 12:55 PM  

Both books look really good. I am especially intrigued by the wine pairing one. ;-)

Vicki 11/7/20, 4:17 PM  

The books sound interesting!

But... "what’s the best wine to eat with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich" Love it!

Marg 11/13/20, 1:50 AM  

Thank you so much for making this an international giveaway!

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