Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: Wine, Food and Friends

Wine, Food and Friends by Karen MacNeil

When I picked up this book, I didn't realize that this author was a host of a PBS show of the same name as the book. I did do a search for the show to see if they carried it on our PBS but it looks like it is a canceled show. I now wish I had read the book earlier as I really enjoyed the book and feel I would have enjoyed the show.

I would give Wine, Food and Friends 4 out of 5 stars. I was looking for a book that had specific recipes and suggesting a wine to go with it. And MacNeil did exactly like that.

The layout of the book is great. It is divided into seasons and then has 6 to 8 themed menus for each season. Such as for Autumn it has these menus: Autumn Light, Homestyle Supper, Asian-style supper, Casual Harvest Dinner, Flavors of Fall, Moroccan Nights and Classic Thanksgiving. At the beginning of each menu she tells you which wines to pair with all or some of the courses and why. The food and recipes she picks are perfect for the season. And all the recipes are from Cooking Light.

She picks very specific wines and even includes images of the label. She has little side bars of tips and little tidbits about the wine. And at the beginning of the book she has general charts about pairing wine with certain foods plus a quick guide where you can look at the chart and see Pinot Noir and see which recipes in the book go with a Pinot Noir.

My main problem with the book is that some of the wines she picks are very pricy and she doesn't offer alternatives. I wish she would have done more wide range. She does do menus with low-cost wines but one of her menus has wines that are $75 and up. And no alternative for other wines in other price ranges. I know I could probably pick a wine that is similar - such as if she recommends a chardonnay out of my price range I could pick another chardonnay but often she has specific reasons why she chose that chardonnay so that might not always work well with the meal just pairing it with another chardonnay. And then another problem is that I not sure I could always find a substitute at all as they are just one of a kind type of wines. But overall the recipes and the pairings are great. And it is a book I would enjoy having on my bookshelf.

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