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Cookbook Review: 130 New Winemaking Recipes by C. J. J. Berry

Wine, bread, and fruit on a table.Summary:
A recipe book for making your own wine at home. Geared toward those who already have winemaking skills.

Review:
I requested this via Netgalley um *coughs* last year when I had the dream of making my own wine.  People in my family have done this for years, so I thought I might.  Well….the start-up and learning curve are a bit more than I anticipated or had time for, so I wasn’t able to make any of the recipes.  I did, however, still want to provide a review, particularly since I sent my dad a few of the recipes. (He has his own winemaking set-up).  So, let me put on my librarian uniform and get to it!

Given that making your own wine is kind of a down-home skill, the tone of this book is perfect.  Berry takes on an older relative giving you the low-down on secret family recipes tone to his writing, and it works beautifully.

The wine recipes are primarily organized alphabetically, although a few that are similar (elderberry wines, for instance) are clumped together that way.  It sounds odd, but it makes sense when reading through the book.  The book ends with some holiday punch recipes (including wassail) and, oddly, some beer brewing ones.

The recipes themselves are easy to understand, but I would suggest in the future that Berry either numbers the steps, bullet points, or splits up into a few paragraphs.  They are basically one huge paragraph, which can be less easy to use.  Another suggestion I would make is that the wines for the most part don’t say if they are red or white, and I’m sure that is something the reader would like to know before getting going in the making.

Overall, this is a nice collection of wine making recipes.  It feels as if your uncle handed you a book of secret family recipes, just the alcohol variety.  A working knowledge of winemaking is assumed, so this is recommended to those who already have a wine making setup and want to try out some new, unique recipes.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Netgalley

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Friday Fun! (Merry Chrismukkah!)

December 18, 2009 4 comments

What a busy week it’s been!  Full of good and bad stress.  Thankfully mostly the good kind.  Unfortunately stress of any kind can make me act kinda wonky, so…..sorry about that.

Over the weekend I visited my family in Vermont.  My nephew is 2 and has reached the “why” stage of development.  My brother and sister-in-law have grown a bit tired of it, but I gotta say I thoroughly enjoyed answering all of his “why’s” to the fullest extent.  Of course, I only was around him for a portion of 2 days, lol.  My aunt and uncle (who my dad lives with) were very hospitable, and I drank much wine.  My dad gave me housewarming money which was fairly promptly used to buy a toaster and a rice cooker.  They haven’t arrived yet, but they’re bright red and appear to be entirely awesome.

Monday was my presentation of my final team project for this semester of grad school, which means I am officially on winter break! Yayyyyyy!!!  I already got my grades, and they were both just fine and dandy.

This week I hosted a Chrismukkah gathering for my group of lesbian friends (I call them “The Lesbians,” and yes they are just fine with that.  In fact, they kinda love it).  I had my first attempt at making latkes.  I used the vegan sweet potato latke recipe from this month’s issue of Vegetarian Times magazine.  I was doubtful that substituting pureed sweet potato for egg would work, but by golly it did.  The latkes tasted great, although I need to work on figuring out the appropriate cooking time.  There aren’t the helpful bubbles that you get with regular pancakes, so a few got a bit, erm, burnt.  We lit the menorah (and I am proud to say that I can now sing the prayer), and we watched Claymation Christmas.  If you have never seen Claymation Christmas I hereby order you to go find it on Youtube.  It is quite trippy.  The Lesbians surprised me by giving me a crock pot!  This means you may be hearing about my vegetarian crock pot cooking adventures in the future.

You guys were totally going to get an adorable picture of my kitty snuggled up in wrapping paper, but I didn’t get a chance to download them to my computer.  I swear these Friday posts will have pictures eventually.

I hope everyone’s holidays are going well.  Try to enjoy and stay stress-free!