Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Carols of Christmas by Andrew Gant

This week I had the privilege of reading and reviewing "The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs" by Andrew Gant. It's a 224 page hardcover book explaining the traditions and histories of many famous Christmas carols we know and love!

There are 21 Christmas carols in this book including O Holy Night, O Tannenbaum, Good King Wenceslas, and so many more. Each chapter features the history of one song, the lyrics, and the sheet music.

As someone who has been involved in music for over 19 years, I truly enjoyed learning about the histories of these songs! This book is actually quite technical, getting into the history and origins of the songs and even the theory and composition of each. It was an enlightening  to learn new things about old songs and traditions, such as the song, "O Tannenbaum." After much research on the author's part, it was learned that "Oh Christmas Tree" used to be "O Tannenbaum." Tannenbaum is another word for an evergreen tree and the song actually had nothing to do with Christmas at all. Many of the Christmas carols we know and love don't actually have anything to do with Christmas. I was fairly surprised about this since I have grown up singing many of these songs.

I think this is an excellent book for anyone interested in or involved in music. It will be fun to go through these histories with my girls during the next couple of weeks and months leading up to Christmas. We love music and history so it will go hand in hand for us. I rate this book as 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Food 52- Baking Version by the Editors of Food52

This is definitely not your average baking cookbook! There are 60 amazing recipes included in this collection. Everything from Breakfast Goods, Cookies & Bars, Fruit Desserts, Custardy Cakes & Puddings, Everyday Cakes, Special Occasion Cakes, and Savory Baked Goods.

Each recipe includes a full color photo, an ingredient list, a number of how many people it serves, and extensive directions.

What I liked best about this book is that it includes numerous styles and techniques that are not traditionally used. For example, the recipe for Raspberry Clafoutis includes a how-to on making your own scented sugar. Some of my other favorite features include the Baking Basics section. This includes everything from learning how to make your own buttermilk, to learning how to cut in butter or how to assemble and frost a cake.

I think this book would be excellent for someone just learning to bake, or even a seasoned chef! Not only does it have basic recipes like cream cheese cookies, but it also includes many somewhat adventurous recipes such as Balsamic Macaroons with Chocolate Chips! I am not much of an adventurous baker, but I found many recipes in here that I can't wait to try! My girls and I will have a great time creating Magic Espresso Brownies and Blueberry Schlumpf!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone in search of a good baking recipe book! I rate this book as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.