Wakefield Press sent out a copy of the very glossy, rather lovely looking Berry Hill: Stories and Recipes from Beerenberg Farm recently. The book is exactly what you'd expect given the subtitle; the story of how an innovative, larrikin Australian rural family took a seemingly small idea and ran with it, full-steam ahead, making the production of jam their incredible success story. If you've ever sat on a Qantas flight and been served breakfast, chances are you've tasted Beerenberg's fruit-packed jams. The book features an array of recipes, both savoury and sweet, as well as a detailed, entertaining family history and some truly excellent tips for growing strawberries, something I'm gonna need 'cause thus far, I do nothing but destroy them...I'll report back when they go into the ground soon.
The second book I've had the great pleasure of being sent came from far further afield. Luisa Weiss' New York publisher contacted me, asking if I'd like to review her new, highly anticipated by those of us in blogland, book, My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with recipes). That'd be a yes, right?
Luisa is undoubtedly a gifted writer, something born, we learn, of her lifelong love of reading, but she's also a gifted cook, something also born of childhood fascination. The book fills in some of the gaps her blog The Wednesday Chef occasionally left open, evoking a sense of this being her space to let go, to share how she was, sometimes, really feeling. Unlike Molly of Orangette's first book, I did not feel as though I was reading anything on paper that I'd read online before - Luisa should be championed for that alone!
As the story of Luisa's return to the beloved Berlin of her childhood unfolds, each chapter is rounded out with an appropriate, delicious recipe. I loved the food she describes in Berlin, a food culture I know practially zilch about, and these passages are among the best the book offers.
I read it from cover to cover, recovering from a doozy of a cold in the sun, on the front steps, one beautiful warm afternoon, and it's light and lovely enough to charm anyone, I think, back to wellness. For her next book - gosh, I hope she gets another one - I'd love to read more and more about Berlin's food culture. Recommended.