The Whole World in Your Hands

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It’s like holding the world in your hand–or at least that’s how I felt when reading In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti. Every other page bears a photo, and every photo bears a story and a recipe highlighting the traditions of a grandmother. Grandmothers from Sao Paulo and Stockholm find their place alongside grandmothers in Tokyo, the Fiji Islands, Tirana, and Zambia, among others. And while their stories are wonderful (and often made me smile), it is the photographs that are the real highlight of the book. The stunning images ¬†of kitchens and grandmothers and dishes bring to mind the similarities and differences of our world. At one point, I was delighted to see the same olive oil that my mother (now a grandmother) uses in the kitchen of another grandmother in Veracruz, Mexico.

While you are more likely to try some recipes than others (unless, of course, you just so happen to have fresh iguana, caterpillars, or shark on hand), even a quick skim through the book will show you that the majority of the recipes are not only doable but also delicious-looking. From Sinigang (tamarind soup with pork and vegetables) to Feijoada Light, Chirashizushi (scattered sushi) to “Bison under the Midnight Sun,” Vegetarian Tamales to Burekoep Domate (layered egg custard pie), Calimberti has captured the beauty of these ethnic foods through gorgeous photographs.

I would recommend this book to any grandmother, world traveler, social studies teacher, or homeschool family in search of a taste of the world.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.

Paint. Every Day.

Daily Painting

When I was taking a college class on creative writing, my professor advised us to read widely about other authors. Their work would inspire us, she said. The way that they approached writing would help us see all the possibilities and help us get out of our occasional brain freezes.

The same is true for an artist. Any great painter or sketch artist needs to view others’ work from time to time in order to stay fresh and inspired. Carol Marine has put together a book to do just that.

Daily Painting by Carol Marine is a delightful cross between an artist’s support group and a beginner’s advice book. With gorgeous images (which, in my opinion, justify purchase of these book even if simply to tear out pages and frame them), Marine has created a visual treat that will inspire artists to lock themselves in their studios for hours.

The author begins her book with a short retelling of her own journey toward daily painting. Like any other artist, she struggled with perfectionism and often put off projects and ideas simply because she was afraid of failure. Learning to view painting as more of a daily ritual than a series of great masterpieces, Marine overcame that fear and now has a booming blog and teaching career. Her own experience is great support for all the advise that she lends to others.

Throughout the book, short biographies of various artists give the reader a sense of community. In addition, concise descriptions of various painting terms (value, lighting, subject matter, etc.) provide novice artists with some structure to add to their inspiration. Thus, any artist–new or experienced–will find this book helpful.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.