Holiday cocktail ideas

Lillet, orange & vanilla mimosa

In the rush of holiday meal planning, it's easy to overlook the drinks. But having the right cocktail can make the dinner or brunch special, and Australian Gourmet Traveller has the goods, with a list of 20 Christmas cocktail ideas. The recipes range from traditional to contemporary. 

On the traditional side you'll find champagne crustas, eggnog, sangria, and a Bajan rum punch. The punch recipe is from chef Paul Carmichael, originally from Barbados. That's where his father developed the recipe, which he shared with Paul in the form of a poem: 

One of sour, two of sweet
Three of strong and four of weak
A dash of bitters and a sprinkle of spice
Serve well chilled with plenty of ice

More adventuresome cocktails include a bright and refreshing cucumber and Tequila concoction, and the Lillet, burnt orange and vanilla mimosa pictured above.

The EYB Library contains hundreds of vibrant holiday cocktail ideas, like these Member favorites:

German mulled wine (Glühwein) from
Pink sangria from Cuisine Magazine (NZ)
Fresh whiskey sours from Ina Garten
Sparkling pear Hanukkah sangria from The Kitchn
Spiced pomegranate gin from Jamie Magazine 
Batched rye-cranberry shrub cocktail from Serious Eats 
A winter sultan from Diana Henry at The Sunday Telegraph

State Bird Provisions, Review, Recipe and Giveaway

2017 is the year of the cookbook.

So many titles this year, more than any other, deserve a well-earned spot on "the best cookbooks of 2017" list. Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski's State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook is another such title. The couple's Michelin-starred restaurant by the same name is located in San Francisco and was named Best New Restaurant in 2013 by James Beard. Two years later, both chefs took the Best Chef West category. The power couple manage to remain married despite working together in the stress-filled restaurant business all while creating amazing food. They need to share their secrets for this seemingly Herculean, yet harmonious, union. When my husband works from home (on a different floor than myself) it throws off my whole game.

The couple's debut cookbook, State Bird, captures the spirit of the restaurant where guests start to eat even before an order is placed. Carts roam the restaurant with tiny bites for guests to sample. As I page through the book, I find myself dreaming about the flavors and textures of each dish based on the photographs alone. For instance, the first recipe State bird with provisions (fried quail - the state bird of California is quail)- the super crunchy breading (a mixture of flours, pumpkin seeds and bread crumbs) jumps off the page, the generous shards of parmesan along with the rainstorm of chives and black pepper promises to be the perfect bite. I am excited to experiment with this recipe. 

The entire book has the same feel. These folks love food - good food.  With dishes such as Everything pancakes with smoked mackerel, cream cheese, and sweet-and-sour beets; Fried pork belly with plum, fish sauce, herbs, and long pepper; and Dutch crunch "bao" with carrot halwa, all levels of cooks will find excitement and inspiration here. The measurements are in weight and volume and the recipe instructions are detailed with components outlined clearly and separately. For example, the quail is set out over four pages, one page devoted to the finished dish photo. Breaking these recipes down for us, makes them less intimidating: marinate the quail, bread the quail, make the onions, and then finish the dish. 

Special thanks to Ten Speed Press for sharing the following recipe today and for providing three copies of this beautiful book for our contest below. 

Black butter-balsamic figs with basil and fontina fondue 
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Serves 4 

Make the fondue 

  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup shredded Fontina Val d'Aosta or Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche 


Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Immediately turn the heat to very low to keep warm. 

Pour an inch or so of water in a second small saucepan and bring to a boil. Put the cheese in a heatproof mixing bowl that will fit in the saucepan without touching the water. Set the bowl in the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. When the cheese begins to melt, about 30 seconds, pour in the warm cream. Continue to cook the cheese mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cheese has fully melted, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Stir the egg yolk, salt, pepper, and Tabasco into the cheese until well combined. Turn off the heat, remove the bowl, and stir in the crème fraîche until well combined. Cover and keep warm for up to 1 hour. 

Finish the dish 

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 large ripe fresh figs (preferably Black Mission or Kadota), halved lengthwise
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp thinly sliced scallion (white and green parts)
  • Micro basil leaves or torn basil leaves for garnish

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. Let it bubble and crackle, swirling the pan occasionally, until it stops crackling and turns golden brown, about 1 minute. Continue to cook, swirling constantly, until the butter smokes and turns a blackish color, about 30 seconds more. 

Put the figs, cut side down, in the pan, turn the heat to medium, and cook without stirring until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add the thyme and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Toss well and continue to cook, tossing occasionally and making sure to brown the round sides, until the figs are deep golden brown and soft but not falling apart, about 2 minutes. 

Add the vinegar to the pan, turn the heat to high, and cook, swirling and tossing constantly, just until it reduces slightly to glaze the figs, about 30 seconds. 

Drizzle about ½ cup of the fondue on a large plate, top with the figs and glaze, and sprinkle on the scallion and basil. Serve right away. 

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on January 13th, 2017.

Batali steps down following sexual harassment allegations

Mario Batali 

After reports that four women have accused the culinary megastar of sexual misconduct, Mario Batali announced that he would be stepping back from day-to-day operations of his restaurant ventures. ABC has also asked the chef to step away from the daytime talk showThe Chew, where Batali is one of the hosts.

Three of Batali's accusers worked for the chef, while the fourth did not work for him but did work in the restaurant industry. Her allegation stems from conduct at a party in New Orleans approximately ten years ago, where she says that Batali groped her breasts after she spilled wine on her chest. The stories from the three employees combine with this account to show a pattern of behavior that dates back many years.

Batali was reprimanded for inappropriate behavior as recently as two months ago, said a spokesperson for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, which provides support to some of the restaurants where Batali is an owner. In a statement to the website Eater, the chef did not deny the allegations. In his statement, Batali said "I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses."

Women have been reluctant to come forward with their stories, citing Batali's huge influence in the industry and his reputation as being vindictive as reasons they have remained silent. One woman who claims she was inappropriately touched by Batali in the 1990s said that the chef "has clear intent on being threatening when he is wronged. And the level of vindictiveness is very chilling. So, it never occurred to me to share tales out of school."

A few of the women have mixed feelings about Batali, noting that he has hired and championed female chefs in his restaurants. Del Posto's kitchen is currently led by a female executive chef and executive pastry chef. 

With the restaurant industry's longstanding reputation as a "boys club" with a pervasive culture of harassment, Batali will likely not be the last prominent chef to face allegations of impropriety. Earlier this year John Besh left his restaurant group following several accusations of harassment, and four women have also alleged harassment by former Jean-Georges pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini. 

Vanilla extract in an instant

vanilla extract

A couple of weeks ago we discussed vanilla in our Spice Support on baking spices. There was a blurb about a shortcut to homemade vanilla extract - and now we have details to go along with that blurb. The Kitchn recently posted a tutorial on how to make vanilla extract with an Instant Pot

While traditional recipes require weeks or months for the beans to release their delicious flavor and aroma into the surrounding alcohol, using an Instant Pot means you can have extract ready in less than one day. This is perfect if you wanted to make vanilla to give out as holiday gifts but hadn't got around to it yet. 

In addition to an Instant Pot or similar electric pressure cooker, you'll need a few glass jars with screw-on lids, and of course vanilla beans and 80-proof alcohol (vodka is the preferred spirit due to its neutral flavor profile). The Kitchn does not recommend trying this in a stovetop pressure cooker. After cooking, the vanilla will be ready to use once it has cooled, although you will get more flavor if you allow it to steep for another week or so. 

I opted to make vanilla extract the old-fashioned way - the photo above is of the beans at the start of their process a couple of weeks ago. Had I discovered this method before, I would have tried it. Let us know if you have done this - The Kitchn promises a flavor as full as the long-steeped method.

Cookbook Gift Guide for the Ultimate Collector

We all know someone special, like myself, who has the mother lode of all cookbook collections. We want to give them the greatest gift of all - a cookbook that they don't own, but how does one know without having access to their Eat Your Books profile and even then have they indeed loaded all their titles?

I have put together a list of cookbooks that likely will not be in those super-collectors' collections so that you will be forever known as the gift whisperer. For other ideas for those less-obsessed collectors, be sure to check out my Top Books of 2017 and my earlier gift guide which shares links to guides from prior years. All gift guides have been tagged with #giftguide so that you can click that tag and bring them all up. 

Please remember, if you are interested in buying any books (or any items from our affiliates), using the BUY BOOK  button for your purchases helps support our indexing efforts and you can access our affiliate stores through these direct links Amazon USAmazon CA and Amazon UK with the same result.


Global Cuisine

The Iraqi Table
by Raghad Al Safi is the result of the author having collected recipes for over a decade, refining and then compiling them in this stunning book. The Iraqi Table is a loving tribute to the author's motherland and its food which bears the influence of many cultures and eras, making it a rich, eclectic and complex culinary experience. This book needs to be on everyone's shelf as is it filled with photographs that capture the soul of Iraqi cuisine preserving it for those who have left this complex country or those who have never been. The recipes are utter perfection and tempt me like no other book on this varied and vibrant area of the world. From street food to comforting meat dishes and delicious desserts, the 100 authentic recipes here along with personal anecdotes all pay homage to the author's love of her heritage and the family table.

Palate Passport
by Neha Khullar takes readers on a trip around the globe to learn about the people, places and history where each extraordinary dish was discovered. Along with recipes and personal stories, readers will feast on other relics collected along the way including original artwork from India, beautiful photos from Portugal and age old rituals from Croatia. Both a cookbook and short story collection, the book will serve as inspiration to cook international dishes at home and motivation to travel with these dishes as a compass.

Polpo E Spada: Catch of the Day: Recipes and Culinary Adventures in Southern Italy by Domenico Ottaviano shares stunning photographs of the sea- and land-scapes of Italy and the luscious seafood dishes and recipes that are unlikely to be found elsewhere. From antipasti to main courses, fresh seafood is featured with one tempting dish after another. Pinzimonio of caramote prawns with chicory tips, Couscous with white amerjack ragout, and Cuttlefish stuffed with savoy cabbage and pine nuts are just a few examples. This book is the choice for the seafood or Italian food lover or anyone who appreciates gorgeous food and scenic photography.

Other global titles for gift giving include:

Advanced Cooking

Master Chefs Of France, The Cookbook is a stunning volume filled with beautiful photography that can also double as a coffee table book. 77 of the best French Chefs in the world share their trusted recipes including appetizers, soups and main course dishes. 154 recipes in all with a forward by Jacques Pépin and preface by Paul Bocuse with gorgeous photography by Alan Batt, known as Battmann.

Chasing Bocuse: America's Journey to the Culinary World Stage by Philip Tessier is a book brimming with personal anecdotes, vibrant pictures, and a course-by-course offering of recipes for the home chef from the famous competitions. As Tessier describes the journey to the competition first as competitor, then as coach including the chaos, pressure, and the glorious result, readers will feel every heated moment. With a collection of recipes for meals served at every stage, readers will be able to taste those moments as well. Combining a great story with recipes crafted by America's culinary giants, this beautiful celebration of a historic victory will make every reader feel and cook like a champion.

Advanced cooking - one more level up

Caldos / Broths by Ricard Camarena is for the cook or chef that wants to understand the complexity of creating broths, sauces and soups. This book is written in both Spanish and English and unlocks the code of flavor in broths that are the backbone of most dishes. Camarena oversees a cluster of Michelin-starred restaurants that have generated a great deal of excitement. A major reason for that excitement is chef's intensely flavorful broths, which underlie nearly all his dishes and are prepared using innovative methods. Here, he lays out his philosophy and techniques for making and using broths. This is definitely one area of cooking that I wish to master and I look forward to soaking in the knowledge shared in this title.

Ideas and Recipes between Cuisine and Pastry
 by Jose Romero is where sweet and savory disciplines converge. The book is presented both in English and Spanish with 27 chapters with over 40 creations with step-by-step photographs. Like Caldos above, this book will strengthen your understanding of balancing flavors to create the perfect bite.


Restaurant/farm to table

The Volante Farms Cookbook: A Century of Growing by Ryan Conroy is a beautiful seasonal title that shares the history of the farm that began in the western foothills of Italy in 1881 and lands in Massachusetts where Volante Farms is located. Recipes include Peach polenta upside-down cake, Last of the tomatoes bread pudding, and White chocolate rhubarb scones along with vibrant photographs. This new title deserves your attention.

The Myrtlewood Cookbook: Pacific Northwest Home Cooking
 by Andrew Barton shares beautiful home cooking that takes cues from the kitchen gardens and forest harvests of the Pacific Northwest. Andrew Barton and his friends run Secret Restaurant Portland, a monthly supper club. After hosting dinners for five years, a culinary style emerged that reflected his practical approach to cooking: accessible recipes alive with flavor, lovely on the plate and the palate. This title delivers 100 recipes that amplify the tastes, colors, and textures of summer tomatoes, fall mushrooms, winter roots, and spring greens. You will gain nearly as much from reading these recipes as from cooking them. We will be bringing you a full promotion on this beautiful book soon.


Modernist Cuisine

Of course, every serious cook and baker would love the Modernist Cuisine titles. They carry a hefty price tag and deservingly so. Modernist Bread is the newest addition to the Modernist family and has been the recipient of stellar reviews. Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Bread are on my wish list.  Modernist Cuisine at Home I own and love and provides a glimpse into the genius minds behind these titles. 

I hope this unique list helps you for those hard-to-buy-for cookbook lovers. 

In praise of ugly food


If you spend any time on Instagram, you may start to feel a bit insecure about your cooking and baking. Impeccably staged, lushly lighted, stunning photographs featuring glistening vegetables, intricately decorated pie crusts, and artfully composed plates could make anyone eye their grilled cheese sandwich with disdain. But just because a dish is not gorgeous doesn't mean is not delicious, says Kat Kinsman at Serious Eats

Kinsman relates an event she witnessed at a Southern Foodways Alliance symposium, where chef Sean Brock created a chicken and dumplings dish with his mother. At previous demonstrations, everyone snapped multiple images with their phones, uploading the beautiful shots to social media. With Brock's dish, however, people hesitated, and Kinsman realized it was because the dish wasn't photogenic. But it was delicious, and part of an historic event, so Kinsman took a photo and posted it with the caption "Some food isn't pretty and does not need to be."

Her concern is that by only posting images of the most visually pleasing foods, we are in danger of creating a history that will omit some of the most valuable and important foods of our time. Kinsman is "terrified that the less-lovely and monumentally delicious ducklings will be lost to the ages, overshadowed by prettier dishes in this new era of visual gluttony." 

In the world of potential dystopian futures, one without ugly food may not seem that bad. But imagine a world where people never knew about chicken and dumplings, beef stew, baba ganoush, hummus, or split pea soup. That is not a future I would like to see. To combat this, Kinsman makes sure to post photos of dishes that are meaningful to her, regardless of how pretty they may look. I think that's a splendid idea, and I'm sharing a photo of yesterday's lunch of potato and dumpling soup, similar to the German chicken soup with dumplings recipe from Food & Wine by Molly Yeh.

Baker's Royale - Naomi Robinson

Baker's Royale: 75 Twists on All Your Favorite Sweets by Naomi Robinson is jammed full of desserts, but not just any desserts - these  desserts are modernized classic recipes or what I fondly refer to as Naomi-ized desserts. In 75 recipes for all seasons and occasions, the popular blogger turns familiar desserts on their heads: macarons get a s'mores treatment; pavlova is gilded with Snickers and brownies; profiteroles get a make over with pecan and caramel crunch and so much more. Naomi's book is one of my top cookbooks of 2017.

I've been a follower and fan of the blog, Baker's Royale, from the beginning way before the rest of the world knew Naomi was a star. Her food shots are what all photographers dream of shooting and her recipes are exciting and fun. For years, I hounded the woman about her cookbook (where is your cookbook!?) but life and a new baby slowed things down a bit. Baker's Royale, the cookbook, has made its debut and it is everything I hoped for and well worth the wait.

Naomi has a style that others long to copy in both her recipes and how she captures those dishes behind the lens. Her recipes aren't pretentious or fussy.  A simple Chocolate-dipped orange and Earl Grey shortbread cookie looks elegant and sophisticated under Naomi's spell. Measures are given in weight and volume and chapters are organized as follows: Cookies, Brownies, and Bars; Pies and Tarts; Plate-Scraping Cakes; Single Servings; Confections; and Cool Treats and each filled with desserts that will wow you and whomever you choose to share, if you choose to share. 

Special thanks to Naomi and Running Press for sharing the Bananas Foster parfaits with us today and for providing three copies of her book for our contest below.


Bananas Foster Pudding Parfaits
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This is one of those classic desserts to which I gave a modern update by replacing the pyrotechnics with a simple pan sauté. And then I flipped it into a pudding parfait and finished with brûléed bananas and a sprinkling of caramel popcorn for a crunchy fun finish.

Makes 6 (8-OUNCE/235 ML) SERVINGS

For the pudding

  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (590 ml) whole milk, divided
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons gold rum
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the whipped cream topping
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar

For the brûléed bananas

  • 3 medium bananas, peeled and cut on a diagonal into 1/4-inch/6 mm slices
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) demerara sugar
  • 1 ounce (31 g) caramel corn


TO MAKE THE PUDDING: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup/60 ml of water to a boil, using the handle of the pan to swirl the mixture (do not stir directly). Cook until a dark amber color is reached, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add 1 1/2 cups/350 ml of the milk, as the mixture will bubble wildly.

In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together remaining 1 cup/240 ml of milk and the cornstarch. Add the eggs and whisk until combined. Add the milk mixture to the caramelized sugar mixture. Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook until thickened, making sure to stir continuously, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum, vanilla, and salt. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface and transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely, about 4 hours.

TO MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the cream and granulated sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.

TO MAKE THE BRÛLÉED BANANAS: Sprinkle the cut side of the banana slices with demerara sugar, then use a kitchen torch to brûlée until browned and toasted.

Assemble the parfaits by evenly dividing the pudding and whipped cream among six 8-ounce/235 ml cups. Top with the banana slices and caramel corn.

Reprinted with permission from BAKER'S ROYALE © 2017 by Naomi Robinson, Running Press, Photos by Naomi Robinson.


The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on January 11th, 2017.

White Chocolate, Almond and Cranberry Bars

Most of us are familiar with that famous coffee shop that serves a cranberry white chocolate bar during the holidays. In another life, I loved those bars. Now they seem overly sweet and leave a heavy grease-like coating on my tongue. When the holidays roll around, I think of them as I love the flavors of cranberry and white chocolate.

Recently, Eagle Brand reached out to me to see if I would like to create a holiday recipe using their sweetened condensed milk. That red, white and blue of Eagle Brand's is proof that God loves us and wants us to make dessert - so I said, Yes!.

I've been mulling over a white chocolate, almond and cranberry type of magic bar and thought this was the perfect opportunity to make that happen. I was eager to start baking this morning and gathered all my ingredients together. The recipe that follows is what I had intended to make but I had a sweet accident occur and will share that variation of this crust here.

In my haste, I thought I had pulled out graham cracker crumbs but once I added the crumbs to my melted butter I realized I did, in fact, pull the corn flake crumbs from the pantry (why I took these out of the box and didn't label them I'll never know). I had a conversation with myself for a few moments. Should I start over? Why did I do that? How bad could it be?

As Darcie did in her earlier article, I went with this mishap. I wasn't going to throw out good ingredients and start over. I tasted the crumbs and decided to add a tablespoon of sugar and a bit of orange zest. It looked good and I was hopeful it would work. Fast forward to an hour later, that accidental crust was really delicious and if I do say so myself I like it better than the graham cracker crust. So if you like to try something different, feel free to try my mistake. If not, follow the crust I intended to make. The switch out is one for one but I did added a touch of sugar to even it out and the zest for a bit of a kick. (Photo of the tart below show the corn flake crumb crust version; the bars show the graham cracker crust)


White chocolate, almond and cranberry bars
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For the crust:

1/2 cup  butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 

For the bars:

1 (14 ounce) can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 cups of white chocolate (chopped or chips) 
1 cup of flaked coconut 
1 cup of slivered almonds
1/2 cup of fresh cranberries (dried cranberries are fine but I love the pop of tartness with fresh)
1 1/2 teaspoons of orange zest 

For the glaze

1/4 cup of white chocolate, melted

For decoration (optional but looks amazing on the tart)

Sugared cranberries (I scaled this recipe to make 1/2 cup of berries)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9 (or 8 x 8 for a thicker bar) inch baking pan with no stick cooking spray, or prepare with butter. 

Combine graham crackers and butter and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumb mixture. Sprinkle the orange zest on top of the condensed milk (reserve a bit for finishing). I added a pinch of salt as well to the condensed milk to balance it.

Layer with the white chocolate, coconut, almonds and cranberries (just as you do for the Magic Bars). Bake 25 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool. 

While the bars are cooling make the Sugared cranberries (scale down to a 1/2 cup), set aside. Next melt the 1/4 cup of white chocolate, it took 30 seconds in the microwave to soften and then I stirred until fully melted. 

Drizzle the white chocolate over the bars, cut into bars or diamonds and place a few sugared cranberries on the bars while the drizzle is still wet to help them stay put. Sprinkle the rest of your orange zest on your bars and enjoy. 

The extra sugared cranberries are yours for doing a great job and I'd only add them if you are dressing the bars up. I made this recipe two ways - bars with the graham cracker crust and a fancy tart with the corn flake crumb tart. 


Neapolitan pizza-making achieves UNESCO World Heritage status

Neapolitan pizza

Naples, the city where pizza was perfected, just received major recognition for its world-famous pies. UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, recently added pizzaiuolo -- the art of Neopolitan pizza-making  -- to its 'Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'. More than two million people had signed a petition in support of the Italian city's bid for world heritage status. 

Neapolitan style pizza is an art form and watching the skilled pizzaiuoli knead, toss, and twirl the dough is mesmerizing. Only two types of pizza are deemed authentic by the Naples-based Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza). The organization only provides its trademark to establishments that make  marinara pizza (tomato, oil, oregano and garlic) and margarita pizza (adding cheese and basil) - no other toppings or flavors are allowed.

In awarding the status, the UNESCO committee stated that "The culinary know-how linked to the making of the pizza, which includes gestures, songs, visual expressions, local slang, the ability to handle the dough, show oneself off and share it is an indisputable cultural heritage."

Photo of Neapolitan pizza from Great Italian Chefs by The Silver Spoon Kitchen

Friday Flashback - The Food Stylist's Handbook and Food Styling Workshops

Today's flashback is a look at The Food Stylist's Handbook: Hundreds of Tips, Tricks, and Secrets for Chefs, Artists, Bloggers, and Food Lovers by Denise Vivaldo and Cindie Flannigan. Denise and her team are the stylists to the stars and this book is an updated paperback version of her 2010 classic. Denise also was a busy caterer in Los Angeles and rumor has it she has been working on a memoir, I will be first in line to buy it!

Denise and Cindie are very generous with their time and knowledge. The Food Stylist Handbook Group on Facebook is a place where budding food stylists and photogs can share their work and receive advice. As we are all having great fun uploading our photographs here at Eat Your Books and in our cookbook club, I thought it would be a great idea to share the girls' group and information about their workshops. I think the photos that our members share are fantastic, but if you are like me you are always looking for ways to master a skill.

The handbook shares the tips and secrets of the trade with cooks who want to become master stylists or take a photo of pasta that doesn't look like the entrails from the Loch Ness Monster, like my pasta dishes always turn out. Not a budding food professional, no problem there is plenty of knowledge to take away from this book even for the home cook. Want to present a special showstopper dessert or main course on the holiday table, this book is the resource for you. 

Denise and Cindie have a weekend workshop coming up in March of 2018 in Monrovia, California and information on that workshop can be found below which shows how the weekend is laid out . Information can also be found on their website. Girls come to Denver for a workshop weekend!

I recommend picking up a copy of this book if you want to level up your plating and styling game even if only for your own personal gratification. Put down the sprigs of parsley and pick up The Food Stylist's Handbook: Hundreds of Tips, Tricks, and Secrets for Chefs, Artists, Bloggers, and Food Lovers.



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