Sunday, April 13, 2008

He said beer, she said wine, by Sam Calagione and Marnie Old

I've been super busy lately and haven't had much time to blog at all. But I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to talk about a great book I got recently: He said beer, she said wine, by Sam Calagione and Marnie Old.
I was really looking forward to this book, especially because it's published by DK which is one of my favourite publishers. I recently wrote about another book that they published, Morimoto. Well, they did not disappoint this time. The book has great pictures and a good amount of text as well, and is a great fun read.
Sam Calagione is the beer guy and Marnie Old is the wine woman. At the beginning of the book they explain who they are and why they are defending beer/wine. Then follows a short history of wine and beer, how they started to be part of culture, and who were the peoples drinking them. They also defend their choice of drink.
I particularly liked the story of wine, how it is produced, the difference between red and white. since I've been trying to learn a bit more about all of it (I am getting there, my readers may remember that I rate Educating Peter by Lettie Teague. Well, I can now distinguish some types of wines, and I now go beyond only knowing that there's red and white). It is very useful to have a reference about wine flavours and what it all means. I especially like the "travel guide" approach, which is not surprising since DK makes so many travel guides. The same approach comes a bit later with an explanation and "guide" to beer.
Later the Food Debate section comes, which explains food pairing for both wine and beer. There are sections for pairings with cheese, veggies, sandwiches, pizza and pasta, spicy food, shellfish, fish, poultry, meat and desserts. Quite interesting to learn about how beer can be paired with some food that are usually associated with wine, and viceversa. The only problem is that I believe it may be difficult to get half of the beers and wines in the book here in Ontario. We are at the mercy of the LCBO, and if they do not bring those wines, I believe we have little choice. Now I know how to do substitutions with yarns, so a similar approach may be useful for the beers and wines presented in the book. Nevertheless it is super interesting and worth a read.
At the end of the book there are a few recipes with suggested pairings of both beer and wine, the idea is to have a few friends or family over and see which drink is preferred with the foods. Lots of fun, indeed.
All in all, this is a great book that I totally enjoyed reading and having. It is a great reference and includes user-friendly and fun information for learning about both beer and wine.

Oh, one extra thing, the retail price for Canada is $28.

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