Some Good Books for a Cold New Year’s Eve 2014

Wine glasses. Photo by Edward Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.This year is drawing to a close and New Years Eve is upon us. Between the record cold weather in L.A. and the checkpoints looking for people having fun, a lot more people are opting for a quiet evening at home. A bottle of wine and a nice book can be a good way to ring in the New Year. Here’s some good choices to read while you are waiting for 2015 to arrive.

  • “Meat and Potatoes” by Rahm Fama. There are plenty of cookbooks that have great recipes with lots of good ingredients. The problem is, most of those are really not made for the home cook. Rahm Fama, from the Food Network’s Meat and Potatoes TV show, provides a book for the rest of us. Simple, tasty recipes with easy to get ingredients and simple instructions. Photos, anecdotes and simple instructions make this book perfect for both the good cook who wants some simple, dishes and the basic cook who needs a little hand holding and a recipe that is not intimidating. Most of the recipes also include matching side dishes so it is easy to plan a nice dinner with this book. Rahm Fama has certainly made it easy to put together a meal that tastes better than many that you would pay big bucks for in a restaurant. Pork Loin Roast, paired with Cassoulet-Stuffed Red Peppers and Braised Green Cabbage, is an easy set of recipes to follow. If your dish looks like the plated photograph then you are certainly on the path to a nice dinner. The proof is the taste, though and the recipes I have tried have been spot on. Clarkson/Potter Publishers, Crown Publishing.

  • “Whispers of My Heart” by F. L. Jewels. Sometimes, such as NYE, you just want something to read that is relaxing, even beautiful, easy to pick up and easy to put down. In other words, something where each segment stands alone. F.L. Jewels has put together a book of poetry that is perfect when you want something to cuddle up with on a cold night with a glass of wine. With her poetry taking elements from Middle Eastern as well as Eastern philosophies, Whispers of My Heart stimulates the thinking part of your mind, warms your soul and may just be the perfect way to spend a quiet evening. Outskirts Press.
  • “Million Dollar Bash” by Sid Griffin. The Basement Tapes were an important part of the transformation of folk music into what became folk rock and ultimately just rock music. Sid Griffin not only tells the story of the creation of the Basement Tapes, with Bob Dylan and The Band recording song after song to get what they wanted, but has also compiled a detailed list of the songs, musicians and takes that wound up as part of what is now understood not to be just music sessions but a seminal event in the history of rock music. Along with the full compilation of the tapes, Million Dollar Bash tells the good, the bad and the stories that help make this event come alive. Jawbone Press.
Ed Simon

About Ed Simon

Ed is a native of Los Angeles who loves food and food cultures. Whether he's looking for the best ceviche in Colombia, the best poke in Hawaii, the best tequila in Jalisco, the best Bun bo Hue in Vietnam or the best Taiwanese Beef Roll in Los Angeles, it's all good food! He also loves a good drink. He's had Mai Tais in Hawaii, Bourbon in Kentucky, Tequila in Mexico and Rum in Jamaica. His wine escapades have taken him to Napa, Sonoma, the Willamette Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. And he's had beer all over the world! Music is another of Ed's passion, writing and interviewing many classic rock, rock and blues musicians. Getting the great stories of road experiences from them is a particular delight. Traveling also fits in with Ed's writing, exploring all over to find the most interesting places to visit, even in out of the way areas.
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