What we are reading Summer 2015

The Alcoholic Republic

"Rorabaugh has written a well thought out and intriguing social history of America's great alcoholic binge that occurred between 1790 and 1830, what he terms 'a key formative period' in our history....A pioneering work that illuminates a part of our heritage that can no longer be neglected in future studies of America's social fabric.

A bold and frequently illuminating attempt to investigate the relationship of a single social custom to the central features of our historical experience....A book which always asks interesting questions and provides many provocative answers.

Our Notes:
We enjoyed this book as it discusses the history of the farmers who was also distillers. The reason for converting their grain to liquid assets and the United States consumption in the late 1800s. A quick and informative read. 

The Compleat Distiller

Revised 2nd Edition. Published December 2010. There has never been a book published on the subject of home distillation as comprehensive as this. Every aspect is covered, from first principles to a clear explanation of the science behind it all. High yield fermentation techniques are described in detail, offering flexibility with efficiency. The design of every type of small still is examined, revealing many ways in which they may be improved. Precise details of how to extract essential oils and scents from plant materials are given, and methods compared. 

The data listed in the Appendix on Weights & Measures has been updated to reflect the latest research figures, and the Appendix on Vapor Management has been expanded to examine the technique more closely. Furthermore, a new Appendix on Air-Cooling has been added. No myths, no guesswork. Just tested and proven facts and designs.

Our Notes:
This is Macgyver's toolbox of the distilling world. A cornucopia of information and data. Use it more as a reference than a read from cover to cover. Still a great book to have at your side.

The Banh Mi Handbook

Created by Vietnamese street vendors a century or so ago, banh mi is a twist on the French snack of pâté and bread that is as brilliant as it is addictive to eat. Who can resist the combination of crisp baguette, succulent filling, and toppings like tangy daikon and carrot pickles, thin chile slices, refreshing cucumber strips, and pungent cilantro sprigs? You’ll have ample opportunities to customize your sandwich with filling options such as grilled pork, roast chicken, and “the special”—a delectable combination of garlicky pork, liver pâté, and Vietnamese cold-cuts.

Opening a new realm of flavor for anyone tired of standard sandwich fare, The Banh Mi Handbook presents more than fifty recipes and numerous insights for crafting a wide range of sandwiches, from iconic classics to modern innovations, including: 

Crispy Drunken Chicken
Shrimp in Caramel Sauce
Grilled Lemongrass Pork
Beef and Curry Sliders
Coconut Curry Tofu
Lettuce Wrap Banh Mi

Respected food writer Andrea Nguyen’s simple, delicious recipes for flavor-packed fillings, punchy homemade condiments, and crunchy, colorful pickled vegetables bring the very best of Vietnamese street food to your kitchen.

Our Notes:
We love sandwiches and banh mi is one of our favorites of all time. A great mix of French and Vietnamese. Maybe we will serve food at the Distillery in the near future.