Book Review – In the Land of Cotton

In the Land of Cotton
Written by: Martha A. Taylor
Published by: Outskirts Press
Date: April 6, 2009
Pages: 270
Format: Perfect Paperback
ISBN: 978-1432734718

In the Land of Cotton will open your eyes, educate you and touch your heart; a story of civil rights, racial intolerance and a life long love.”

Book Description – From
Immerse yourself in this highly anticipated political docu-drama set in the Deep South amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.
Martha was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha’s natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone’s life changed forever.
Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times – a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color.
The year was 1956.”

In the Land of Cotton is absolutely fantastic! From page one I was hooked! When I first read the synopsis for In the Land of Cotton I was really intrigued but I hadn’t realized that it was based on Martha A. Taylor’s life as she grew up in the Deep Southern United States, in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Here I am, trying to write the review and I am somewhat at a loss for words; it is really difficult to express how much this story moved me and educated me. So much more than a memoir, this story grabs the reader and shares, through Martha’s experiences, what was going on, in and around her small world (politics, civil rights, war, wages, etc.) while she was growing up. The reader may well feel like they’ve opened a time capsule. Thoroughly researched and well documented, In the Land of Cotton will open your eyes, make you ask questions and captivate you with its honesty and humanity. I was really amazed and saddened by how little I knew about the civil rights movement and the civil unrest that was the cause of so much hardship, death, fear and hate in the 1950’s – 1960’s. Martha had a very close and taboo relationship (because of race) with the Boyd family; the reader will see the world through her eyes. I fell in love with Martha and Silas’ love story and I felt so torn for them — living in a society that would not tolerate them being together because they had different skin colours; Martha – white and Silas – black. This is Martha’s story and the story of a nation as it struggles with racial intolerance and discrimination.
The foreword is written by Clifton Dobbins the 3rd and the prologue summarizes & concludes many of the topics covered in the course of the story. Thank you Martha, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your story with us!
I can not recommend this book highly enough; everyone should read this story! I smiled, I laughed and I sobbed my eyes out and…I can’t really say much more without ruining the story, other than to say that I absolutely LOVED this book!!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!

Find out where to buy this book.

Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Martha A. Taylor for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen

A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen,
Seasonal Recipes and Memorable Meals
Written by: Lucy Waverman
Published by: Random House Canada
Date: October 13, 2009
Pages: 304
Format: Softcover
ISBN: 978-0679314585

A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen is a lovely cookbook with easy to follow recipes, carefully organized by the months of the year. You can pick any month and find mouth-watering recipes — from appetizers and main course dishes to delicious desserts! Lucy incorporates seasonal ingredients into her traditional recipes and also includes them in a bunch of fresh, newly inspired dishes. Flavourful and unique, you’ll be the toast of the evening when you prepare these dishes for your guests.

A sample of the recipes inside:

Leek and Chicken Soup
Spiced Fruit Salad
Aromatic Mediterranean Shortribs
Apple Caramel Tarts
Chive Potato Cakes
White Chocolate Raspberry Tart
Asian Pear and Cabbage Slaw
Pumpkin Squares
Apple Strudel
Chicken Burger Stuffed with Portobello Mushrooms
Traditional Fried Fish
Triple Chocolate Attack
…and a whole lot more!

Lucy Waverman is a Cordon Bleu–trained food columnist with the Globe and Mail and Food Editor of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s Food & Drink. She is the author of eight cookbooks, including the James Beard–nominated and Cuisine Canada Gold Medal–winner A Matter of Taste (with James Chatto).

This softcover cookbook is well-bound and sure to put up with a lot of usage in the kitchen. There are some beautiful, full colour photographs that accompany some of the recipes. I would like to have seen more recipes that had pictures to accent them; as a visual learner, images help me to decide upon a particular dish. There is a table of contents at the beginning of the book and a detailed index at the back of the cookbook — both very helpful. All in all, a really great cookbook for someone who is looking to expand upon their basic cooking repertoire; you’ll find many distinctive, unique dishes from this cookbook! Many of the recipes remind me of some very tasteful, expensive restaurants and their signature creations!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it

Read more about A Year in Lucy’s Kitchen.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Bigger Damner Book of Sheer Manliness

Bigger Damner Book of Sheer Manliness, 2nd Edition
Written by: Von Hoffman Brothers
Published by: QNY
Date: October 15th, 2009
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0843717846

Book Description
“The von Hoffman Brothers are at it again with the Bigger Damner Book of Sheer Manliness, a revised and updated release of their 1997 classic Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness. This book is a rallying cry for every guy whose time has come to get back to his masculine roots and reclaim lost ground in today’s mixed-up world. Face it, after more than a decade since the original hit book’s debut, the time has come for guys to get a reminder that their favorite pastimes are here to stay and more fun than ever! And women, haven’t you wondered why so much of the male population shares a common love for cars, manly movies, beer, and WD-40? This book is an equal opportunity celebration of manhood, whether you’re a guy looking for new ideas and great suggestions, or a lady trying to figure out why that man in your life acts so passionately about the strangest things. Inside you’ll find musings on manly sports, dirty jokes, great chili recipes, 200 names for your “Johnson,” women we like, profiles of pioneers and outdoorsmen, advice to cure hangovers, limericks to help spread manliness through rhyme, and much, much more!”

This large, Coffee Table book will be the topic of much conversation and it is bound to bring brothers, fathers and uncles together for a side-splitting, eye-opening discovery…a vast collection of trivia, photographs, illustrations, jokes and more, await…a veritable smorgasbord of MANLY topics and all with the same sarcastic, masculine bent on the topics and commentary. It goes where few men have gone before and covers topics such as: guns, knives, food, jokes, women, sports, crazy inventions, movies, fishing and a WHOLE lot more!!! There are all kinds of illustrations, both black and white and colour; they are all handsomely printed with high quality and a tasteful presentation of the “Man-tastic” material. You and your buddies will have hours, upon hours of fun looking at and reading through the Bigger Damner Book of Sheer Manliness. I would be shocked if you didn’t try some of what you’ll read and see, right in your own backyard (not that I’d recommend it).
There is a fair amount of nudity, foul language and lots of crude, vulgar humour for those who dislike the afore-mentioned content.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it

Read more about Bigger Damner Book of Sheer Manliness.
Find out where to buy this book.

Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Langenscheidt Publishing Group for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Earth to Table

Earth to Table,Earth to Table
Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm
Written by: Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann
Published by: Random House Canada
Date: September 15th, 2009
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0307356840

Earth to Table is much more than a cookbook; it covers a wide range of organic, “slow food” topics, delicious and unique recipes that use all-organic ingredients and features several Chief profiles.

A sample of the recipes inside:

Scrambled Eggs with Chives and Caviar
Saffron Rice
Rhubarb Fool
Maple Shoofly Pie
New Potatoes Salad with Green Beans and Shallots
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chilies and Cheese
French Vanilla Ice Cream
Shortcakes with Chantilly Cream and Macerated Strawberries
Plum Tarts
French Onion Soup
Pizza Dough
Roasted Pork Loin with Fennel
Braised Short Ribs
Apple Tarts
Double Crispy Onion Rings
Herbed Dumplings
Sticky Toffee Pudding
…and a whole lot more!

Jeff Crump is an Excutive Canadian Chef who has worked in a number of the world’s top restruants; Lumiere in Vancouver B.C., The Fat Duck, Bray, England and at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Jeff is a Canadian Slow Food pioneer and he promotes the use of seasonal food that is grown locally.

Bettina Schormann is a Pastry Chief who began her career in culinary arts after receiving a degree at the University of Windsor. She has worked in every section of the restaurant, including service. Pastry has since become her passion. Bettina has won numerous awards including the Lindt Chocolate Competition and the OHI Professional Pastry Chef Award. She has studied the pastry arts in Paris, New York and Toronto. Bettina has been pivotal in the unique relationship between the Ancaster Old Mill Restaurant and ManoRun Organic Farm.

This securely bound, hardcover cookbook is just the thing for cooks who are very selective and prefer to use organic foods; it is also a very functional cookbook for those of us who are non-organic cooks and food consumers. Each of the seasonal recipe sections is prefaced with an introduction that talks about the foods available during that particular season; the flavorful and imaginative recipes are easy to understand and easy to follow with a clear layout that makes this a great cookbook for beginners, right on up to experienced cooks. There are several enlightening profiles that feature Chiefs from around the world; they add some of their feelings and explain some of their personal ideas about food and the restaurant business. There are lots of gorgeous, full-colour photographs that enhance an already enjoyable cookbook. There is a concluding section at the back of the cookbook that includes 18 extra, basic recipes that every cook needs to know, followed by an appendix and an index. Some of the recipes are a little too trendy and modern for my tastes, but I’m really old fashioned when it comes to food so don’t let it stop YOU from picking up a copy of Earth to Table.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it

Read more about Earth to Table.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Ripley’s Believe It or Not! 2009

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Seeing Is Believingripleys seeing is believing
Edited by: Rebecca Miles (Managing Editor), Judy Barratt and Sally McFall
Published by: Ripley Publishing a Jim Pattison Company
Date: August 4th, 2009
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1893951457

The latest Ripley’s Believe It or Not! hardcover volume is the 6th in the series and it certainly seems to go the extra mile. The cover is vibrant with a very eye-catching (pun intended) hologram on the front cover. With hundreds of full-colour pictures and photographs, most of which are highlighting some of the bizarre content inside, you are not going to get bored with this book. The majority of the tidbits or factoids are inside are in point form with some of the more outrageous ones highlighted or spotlighted on partial or full-page spreads with really big photographs. Each page is printed in full colour (unless they are black and white photographs). With 31 museums all over the world, you’ll definitely want to plan a visit for your family; you will all have fun trying to figure out if the outlandish displays, claims and interactive features are real or not. Or, you could just save some of your money and buy this book instead!

This book’s content is sorted into the following categories:

Strange But True
Extreme Earth
Incredible Feats
Unusual Customs
Crazy Creatures
Travel Tales
Fantastic Food
Body Oddity
Strange Sites
Artistic Licence
Amazing Science
Beyond Belief

Here’s a tiny sample of what’s in store for you:

Big BurgerPlaying Scrabble While Skidiving, Guy Blows Up Baloons With His Eyes, A 9 year old’s $10,000 5-day Shopping Spree, Edible Organs, Exploding Toilets, 9,000 lb. Ball Made From Rubber Bands, Elephant Man, Lava Surfer, 100 Person-Strong CheeseHuman Kite, Toilet Paper Wedding Gown, Two-Faced Kitten, 2,000 lb. Cheese Sculpture, 15 lb. Burger, Barnum and Bailey “Freakshow” Showcase, Magnetic Man, Pulls A Van With His Eyelids and much, much more!!!

Scrabble Skydiving

You, your family and friends are going to have hours upon hours of hackenwerth-balloonsenjoyment from Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Seeing Is Believing. You’ll be grossed-out, amazed, disgusted, surprised and just plain shocked by some of the foolish, idiotic, imaginative and hard-to-believe stuff inside; most of all, you’ll be getting your money’s worth!
I’m not sure if I personally believe all of the claims and pictures, but I’ve enjoyed this book, regardless!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it

Read more about Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Seeing Is Believing.
Find out where to buy this book.

Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Wellons Communications for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Reviews – Modern Classics, Book 1 & 2

Modern Classics, Book 1modern classics book 1
Written by: Donna Hay
Published by: Ecco
Date: 2002
Pages: 192
Format: Trade Paperback
(Trimsize: 8×12)
ISBN: 978-0060095246

Top Pick

Modern Classics, Book 1 includes recipes in the following categories: soup, salads, vegetables, roasts & simmers, pasta, noodles & rice, savoury pies & savoury tarts.

A small sample of the recipes inside Book 1:

Potato, Bacon & Leak Soup
Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Thai Beef Salad
Spinach and Cheddar Soufflé
Basic Gravy
Roast Pork Loin
Roast Leg of Lamb
Bacon & Egg Pies
Fettuccine Carbonara
And so much more…


Modern Classics, Book 2modern classics book 2
Written by: Donna Hay
Published by: Ecco
Date: 2003
Pages: 192
Format: Trade Paperback
(Trimsize: 8×12)
ISBN: 978-0060525897

Top Pick

Modern Classics, Book 2 includes recipes in the following categories: cookies, biscuits, small cakes, cakes, desserts, hot puddings, pies & tarts.

A small sample of the recipes inside Book 2:

Shortbread Biscuits
Chocolate Brownie
Melting Moments
Lemon Slice
Mango Cakes
Apple and Cinnamon Tea Cake
Chocolate Truffle Cake
Summer Trifle
Poached Summer Fruits
Lemon Soufflé
Christmas Pudding
Berry Tartlets
And so much more…

Donna Hay has written more then 17, award-winning cookbooks and she is the editor of the donna hay magazine; it has more than 300,000 Australian readers, has subscribers in 82 countries around the world and it is a top-selling international food magazine. Donna’s cookbooks are beautifully presented with many, large, full-colour, elegant photographs of the respective dishes; the photographs really motivate the reader to get out there and start cooking! Both of these cookbooks have a wonderful variety of mouth-watering recipes inside; theres something for everyone. The cooking instructions for each recipe are very concise and this is perfect for the experienced cook. At the same time, these succinct instructions might cause a few problems for the beginner cook who might prefer more step-by-step instructions until they can get the hang of things. I still recommend that cooks with all levels of expertise, buy these cookbooks, but the less-experienced cooks may want to save these fine books for a few weeks, until they’ve become a little more comfortable in and around the kitchen. For experienced cooks, these books are the answer! I firmly believe that you can never have too many cookbooks; if you don’t have the space to store a vast cookbook collection, I highly recommend that you add these modern classics to your small list of must-haves…you won’t be disappointed. At the back of each of the cookbooks there is a list of tools that you will need (and pictures of the tools), a detailed glossary and a helpful index. These classic, but fresh recipes are sure to please the most discerning guests and keep your guests coming back for more .
I very highly recommend these cookbooks to anyone who loves to cook!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!

Read more about Modern Classics, Book 1 or Modern Classics, Book 2.
Find out where to buy: Book 1 or Book 2.

Link to the Author’s Website:

Link to the Publisher’s Website:

A special thanks to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of each of these cookbooks to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Creating Empty Bottle Moments

Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking With Clive Creating Empty Bottle Moments
Written By: Clive Berkman
Published By: Baxter Press, 2009, 259 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978-1888237719Top Pick

Creating Empty Bottle Moments is a fantastic cookbook with delicious recipes, photos, tips and an interesting history of Clive Berkman as he “cooked and created” his way through his career; superbly bound in hardcover and vividly presented, make sure you pick up your copy today!”

Creating Empty Bottle Moments: Cooking With Clive is Top-Notch! From the front cover forward I was captivated by the beautiful layout, full-colour photographs, mouth-watering recipes and the friendly, down-to-earth tone. More then just a cookbook, this hardcover masterpiece gives us a genuine feel for Clive Berkman, the man as well as World Class Chief. As an Award-Winner in the Cookbook/Food category of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards and the Winner of the 2009 New York Book Festival’s award in the Cookbook category, Creating Empty Bottle Moments gives the reader everything they were hoping for and a whole lot more! I am now a big fan of Clive’s work; the diversity and quality of each recipe takes some old favourites and adds a new twist while presenting very unique and delectable selections of entrees, appetizers, desserts, breads, sides, soups, salads and more. Easy to understand and even easier to follow; I guarantee that your mouth will be watering before you’re done.

A random selection of recipe titles are:

Blackened Shrimp Quesadillas
Curried Chicken Salad
Red Beans and Rice
Shrimp Fritters
Spinach and Watercress Soup
Baked Alaska
Apple Strudel
Yorkshire Puddings
Almond Tartlets
Cajun Barbecued Shrimp and so much more!

There is a table of contents, an index of recipes and 15 pages (at the back of the cook book) of absolutely indispensable tips for every cook regardless of skill level.
I very highly recommend this cookbook to beginning cooks right on up to gourmet chefs!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!

Link to the Author’s website:

Link to the Publisher’s Website:

A special thanks to PR By The Book for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy