Booze-themed cookbooks have never been terribly high on our everyday shopping lists, but there are those weekend moments when The Food of Morocco isn't quite what we're craving. OK, that's not really true. We'd be content with Paula Wolfert's harissa any day of the week. But we're all for occasionally having a little tipsy fun in the kitchen.
It also seems to be a trendy thing, as we've seen a steady stream of alcohol-inspired books arrive on our doorstep lately. The three that follow -- Beer, A Cookbook; Edible Cocktails; Never Cook Sober -- all happen to be from the same publisher, Adams Media (Beer, A Cookbook is actually a group effort from the Adams Media staff). Yeah, we're pretty sure they have really great office parties. Get a summary of each after the jump.
Beer, A Cookbook by Adams Media:
We're getting a kick out of Beer, A Cookbook as much for its campy demeanor ("Beer: It's what's for dinner" begins the Introduction) as for its democratic approach to beer brands (mass-produced beers are used in recipes more often than pricy Belgian-style ales), and that refreshingly brief Amazon description, at least at this writing: "Contains 40+ damn good dishes made with your favorite ingredient: beer."
Inside you'll find beer-battered fried fish, of course, but also a roast chicken made with Budweiser's Clamato (!) and an oniony-y prosciutto, pea and Pabst baked concoction dubbed the "Three Ps." Should you be the tailgating type, this is one of those laminated, glove box-type guides with thick, glossy pages, so it will stand up to those "tailgate salmon" and "three-beer chili" recipe road trip spills. A bonus: That "beer alcohol content" chart inside the back jacket cover should come in handy right around halftime.
Edible Cocktails by Natalie Bovis (aka the Liquid Muse):
Edible Cocktails is the most serious of the bunch, and really more in the garden-fresh cocktail book variety. Only here, the book serves as more of a Cocktail 101 primer with pantry recipe fodder (boozy preserves, homemade infused spirits and liqueurs) before getting into those produce-fueled cocktail recipes. The layout here is what is most interesting: Chapter three is devoted to grape-based cocktails in both its grape-based spirit (Pisco Sour, a Negroni variation ) and wine renditions (a Sauvignon Blanc and pear vodka cocktail; an "Italian" version of the classic French 75 cocktail with sparkling wine).
Cocktails using those homemade, alcohol-enhanced preserves make chapter appearances, as do offbeat infused-spirit recipes (blackcurrant whiskey, chorizo mezcal, prosciutto-infused vodka). Looking for variations on salt and sugar rims and garnishes like candied lavender sprigs and pickled grapes? You'll find those here, too.
Never Cook Sober by Stacy Laabs and Sherri Field:
The first two recipes in Never Cook Sober sum up this little book nicely: "Three sheets to the wind vodka and rum fruit plate" and "hazy tequila-salsa scrambled eggs." And yes, they are in the "Breakfast" chapter. For lunch, your Mad Men-inspired options include a "delusional chicken in white wine and yogurt sauce." Or, should you be in the sandwich mood, perhaps a "plastered vodka turkey wrap." Dinner is equally slap-happy with "play-it-again gin scallops" and "make-it-a-double vodka pork chops." Surprise, surprise, there are "mixology cupcakes" for dessert.
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Silly recipe titles aside, the real fun of this book is embedded among the quotes included in each recipe header. Because as Mark Twain was well aware, whether he ate that "straight-up shrimp" (p. 79) or not, "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is never enough."
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