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Books for Christmas gifts, part 1


For the foodies and healthy food lovers…

Part one of Lesley Thomson’s review of books that will make interesting and entertaining Christmas gifts, featuring…

Menus that Made History by Vincent Franklin & Alex Johnson. A truly entertaining, informative and amusing book with snippets of history behind 2000 years of menus from Ancient Egyptian to current times. A perfect gift and one to pick up and enjoy at any time.

Field Guide to Mushrooms & Other Fungi of South Africa by Gary B Golman & Marieka Gryzenhout. A beautiful, informative and easy to understand guide.

The Fit Foodie: Meal Prep Plan by Sally O’Neil. Packed with ideas for healthy food and advice on how to prepare and store food for your very own ready-to-eat meals.

**Menus That Made History by Vincent Franklin & Alex Johnson

Newly published, this is an interesting and highly entertaining collection of 75 of the most iconic menus, which reveal not just the story of food but periods of history, famous works of literature, notable events, and celebrity figures from prehistoric times up to the modern day.

Do you know what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate after landing on the Moon? That the first restaurant in America to offer á la carte menu was Delmonico’s in New York, for the coronation banquet of George IV a pineapple was the piece de resistance, and the Hindenburg’s “millionaire flight” served Indian Swallow Nest soup?

The first vegetarian restaurant was the Hous Hiltl in Zurich in 1898, the first MacDonald’s was actually called The Airdrome until they moved premises in 1940, and it was back in 1810 when Britain’s first Indian restaurant, the Hindoostane Dinner and Hooka Smoking Club in Marylebone, London, opened.

Historical moment

Each menu provides an insight into its historical moment – from the typical food on offer in a nineteenth-century workhouse, the variety of meals for passengers on board RMS Titanic, the prices of meals at London’s Lyons’ Corner House in the 1950s and what prisoners in Alcatraz Prison were served on Christmas Day.

While some menus give an insight into sport, such as the 1966 England’s World Cup dinner, also included are cameos on well known people – as well as the purely fictional and fantastical fare of Ratty’s picnic in The Wind in the Willows, and Asterix and Obelix.

Funny, informative with excellent pictures, menus were chosen mainly for the story behind them, Vincent Franklin and Alex Johnson have put together a collection of 75 menus, revealing not only the story of food, but also casting a new eye over periods of history, famous works of literature, notable events and celebrity figures, from prehistoric times to the present day Even a menu from the world’s first dog-restaurant, Lily’s Kitchen Diner – where else but in London?

**Published by Kyle Books ISBN 978 0 85783 528 4 rrp R325

Book Review: Living the Wild Life by Ian Whyte

**Field Guide to Mushrooms & Other Fungi of South Africa by Gary B Goldman & Marieka Gryzenhout

This is an amazingly beautiful book, and on a subject that so few people realise how wonderful mushrooms and fungi are. Neither plant nor animal, mushrooms constitute a unique group of organisms. They occur in such a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colours that identifying them can be difficult.

This colourful guide, with more than 850 superb photographs, is perfect to help quick identification in the field. Featuring 200 of the most distinctive and conspicuous mushrooms and other fungi found in SA, there is information on ecology, distribution, habitat, description, similar species and edibility and toxicity.

A brief introduction outlines the basic anatomy and biology of mushrooms and the role they play in sustaining all life. There are also guidelines to foraging and to photographing mushrooms, Latin and common names in English and Afrikaans and a small selection of simple, delicious mushroom recipes.

‘Mushroom fundi’

Gary B Goldman, known at the “mushroom fundi” is an amateur enthusiast based in Cape Town. He leads foraging expeditions, runs mushroom-growing courses and cultivates his own mushrooms.

Mycologist Marieka Gryzenhout (PhD) is a lecturer in the Department of Genetics at the University of the Free State and a member of various mycological associations. She is the author and co-author of numerous scientific papers and books on fungi.

Mention should be made of chief photographer, Liz Popich, who took many of the breathtaking photographs.

We defy anyone to walk in their garden, forest, fields or just down the road, without looking for one of these intriguing specimens. You will never look at a mushroom or fungi the same way again!

**ISBN 9 78 1 77584 654 3 Published by Struik Nature/Penguin Random House May 2019, rrp R370.

Recommended books for Christmas, Part 2

**The Fit Foodie: Meal Prep Plan by Sally O’Neil

Sally O’Neil has put together a fun and colourful practical guide to preparing and storing healthy meals.

Knowing your fridge is full of ready-to-eat meals solves the stress of wondering what to eat after a hard day, spending less time on preparing meals and more time to enjoy life.

This three-step guide starts with preparing the protein; think one-tray three-way chicken, quiche, falafel, fishcakes, Asian-style mince and satay tofu. Step 2 is batch and store in the fridge, freezer and pantry. This includes paleo bread, muesli, hummus, dressings, fritters, and even chocolate bars and treats.

Step 3 puts it all together in over 75 different combos. This is fast-action meal assembly that will stop you ever getting bored: try poached chicken with buckwheat and miso broth, roasted pumpkin with honey and rocket, salted chocolate banana bread with ricotta cheese or zucchini fritters with pecans and fennel.

Overhauled eating habits

Each recipe has a colour photograph and icons at the bottom of the page with tips on how long to store, what to eat it with, suggested substitutes of flavouring. Filled with great ideas, using chicken, fish and loads of fresh food, there is lots of fun to be had eating these prepared meals.

Sally O’Neil, aka “The Fit Foodie”, moved to Sydney from the UK in 2010, overhauled her eating habits and started meal prepping to save time and money, and lost 14kg in the process.

A healthy body starts with the fuel you put in it, and when you’re busy, it’s easy to let that slip… Rather spend a couple of hours preparing and have food ready for the week.

**Published by Murdoch Books ISBN: 9 78 1 911 632221 rrp R360

Main picture: Kira auf der Heide/Unsplash

Contact Lesley Thomson – 072 640 2737;


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