The Epic Crush of Genie Lo | Extract

Applying for college and maintaining an image of perfection is difficult enough, and then you find out you’re immortal and your town is under siege from Hell-spawn…

Genie Lo is Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the modern day, and we couldn’t be more excited.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes fifteen 15-year-old Genie’s every waking thought. But when she discovers she’s an immortal who’s powerful enough to bash through the gates of Heaven with her fists, her perfectionist existence is shattered. Enter Quentin, a transfer student from China whose tone-deaf assertiveness beguiles Genie to the brink of madness. Quentin nurtures Genie’s bodacious transformation – sometimes gently, sometimes aggressively – as her sleepy Bay-area suburb in the Bay area comes under siege from Hell-spawn. This epic YA debut draws from Chinese mythology, features a larger-than-life heroine, and perfectly balances the realities of Genie’s grounded, Oakland life with the absurd supernatural world she finds herself commanding.

Click here to read an extract from The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee.

Tweet us @ACBYA using #GenieLo to tell us what you think!


 The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee is out this August – order your copy here.

A Taxonomy of Love | Extract

A Taxonomy of Love

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

Click here to read an extract from this swoon-worthy YA romance.

Have you fallen head-over-heels for A Taxonomy of Love? Let us know @ACBYA using #TaxonomyOfLove


 

A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen is out January 2018 – click here to pre-order your copy!

Odd & True | Extract

Odd & True

The latest from master of historical paranormal, Cat Winters, about a pair of monster-hunting sisters with a dark past. Taking inspiration from the legend of the Jersey Devil and adding in two strong female protagonists, this supernatural story won’t disappoint.

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of a monster slaying and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life – permanently injured and in constant pain from an accident.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister – despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances – might, indeed, have magic after all.

Click here to read an extract from Odd & True.

Tweet us @ACBYA using #OddandTrue, with your thoughts!

 

Odd & True by Cat Winters is on sale September 2017 – order your copy today.

BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | QUEENS PARK BOOKS

Bookshop of the Month image

To celebrate the final day of Independent Bookshop Week, we have chosen a wonderful indie for our July Bookshop of the Month: Queens Park Books! 

Queens Park Books is everything an independent bookshop should be. Their wonderful window displays make it virtually impossible to not go in and when you do it’s a place where you can happily lose yourself in the bookshelves. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming with a traditional look that makes you feel like your home away from home. We especially like how they use the feature tables to showcase genres and themes with a focus on the book covers – it’s such a lovely touch to have the books facing outwards showcasing the designs.

Now that’s just the shop – all bookshops would be nothing without it’s booksellers and Lisa, Laura and the team are the best of book champions. You can tell they love books (good thing too considering their day job) and getting them into the hands of readers is something they do so well. They know their customer and are always on hand to get the right book to the right person.

This is a short summary of why we have chosen to award Queens Park Books our first Bookshop of the Month award. Many congratulations to you all from all of us at Abrams and Chronicle Books.

We caught up with the lovely Laura from the shop and asked her some very important questions:

1. Congratulations on winning Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Queen’s Park Books in three words?

Creative, energetic, attention-to-detail.

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?

The children’s and sci-fi reading areas.

3. Where do you like to read?

My favourite place to read is on holiday. I go back to my parents house a few times a year, who live in Stratford Upon Avon. I go for a few days and will take loads of books to read while I’m there!

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?

Some kind of writer – I used to be a fashion journalist.

5. Excluding Queen’s Park Books – what is your favourite bookshop?

I have a payday routine where I go to Foyles on Charing Cross Road, I get a hot chocolate and then head for Forbidden Planet. I couldn’t choose between the two!

 

You will find Queens Park Books at:

87 Salusbury Road
London, NW6 6NH

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

Vegetables on Fire | Recipe

Because grills are not just for meat eaters!

Vegetables on Fire

This is a grilling book dedicated to vegetables that eat like meat. The first of its kind, this cookbook features 60 recipes that star vegetables caramelised into succulence for satisfying, flavour-forward meals. Cauliflower steaks, broccoli burgers and beets that slow-smoke like a brisket are just three of the meaty but meatless meals to base a great cookout around. More than 30 stunning images showcase the beauty and variety of these recipes, each of which includes instructions for charcoal and gas grilling as well as using a grill pan on the stovetop or under the broiler. For vegetarians, those who love to grill, and anyone looking for more creative ways to prepare vegetables, this handbook is destined to live beside the grill.

The following recipe is from Vegetables on Fire by Brooke Lewy. 


 

SQUASH TACOS WITH BLACK BEANS, PICKLED ONIONS, AND PEPITA SALSA
© 2017 by Erin Kunkel

 

SQUASH TACOS WITH BLACK BEANS, PICKLED ONIONS, AND PEPITA SALSA
Serves 4

Like all good tacos, this version, made with butternut squash, is full of flavour, colour and texture. Be sure to make the pickles as their crunchy, salty bite brings out the best of the sweet squash.

  • Red onion and radish pickles
  • Pepita Salsa (recipe follows)
  • One 15-oz [425-g] can black beans
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ lbs [680 g] butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-in [2.5-cm] cubes, or yellow and green summer squash, cut into wide strips
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Make the pickles and the salsa.

Drain and rinse the beans and then add them to a small pot with the oregano, ½ tsp of salt, the red onion, and a ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 to 15 minutes until beans are slightly thickened and flavours have melded, but the beans are still fully in tact. Keep warm.

In a large bowl, toss the squash with the oil, 1 tsp salt, cumin, and chili powder. If using a charcoal grill, make a medium-hot fire; otherwise heat gas grill to high. Using a grill topper, cook squash cubes over the hottest part of the grill and turn until they have grill marks on all sides and are a bit charred at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Once the squash has taken on color, move the whole grill topper to the cool part of the grill, cover, and cook until the pieces are tender but still offer some resistance when pierced with a knife, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the grill.

Lightly grill the tortillas on the coolest part of the grill. When they’re heated through and soft, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to transport them to the table. To assemble the tacos, top each tortilla with pepita salsa, squash, beans, and pickled onions and radishes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

INDOOR METHOD: Prepare the pickles, salsa, and beans as directed. Preheat oven to 400°F [200°C]. On a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet, oil and season the squash as directed. Roast until tender and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Proceed with remainder of recipe as directed, using a medium dry skillet, or the microwave, to heat tortillas before serving.

PEPITA SALSA

Adding pumpkin seeds to the salsa adds a nice texture to the Squash Tacos. This salsa is also great in a bowl with tortilla chips or spread on a quesadilla before grilling.

  • 3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup [70 g] roasted, salted pepitas or shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce,
  • plus 1 Tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, pepitas, onion, chipotle, adobo sauce, cilantro, and garlic clove and blend until the mixture is well combined but still has texture.

Taste and adjust seasoning.


 

Vegetables on Fire: More Than 60 Recipes for Vegetable-Centered Meals from the Grill by Brooke Lewy is out 27th June 2017 – order your copy today.

 

Vegetarian Heartland | Recipe

 Eat well, wherever your ventures lead you

Vegetarian Heartland

Celebrated photographer and blogger Shelly Westerhausen presents 100 wholesome, meatless recipes for everything from drinks to desserts. Thoughtfully organised by the adventures that make a weekend special-picnics, brunch, camping and more-this gloriously photographed book will inspire folks to eat well, wherever their vegetarian ventures lead them. Celebrating a fresh perspective in food, here’s a new go-to that’s perfect for vegetarians and anyone looking for more delicious vegetable-forward meals.


The following recipe is an extract from Vegetarian Heartland by Shelly Westerhausen

Hiking_Excursion_Vegan_Chocolate_Chip_Chunkin_Bread
© 2017 by Shelly Westerhausen

Vegan Chocolate-Chip Pumpkin Bread

MAKES 1 LOAF

I really, really, really wanted to include a savoury pumpkin bread recipe in this book, but I served it alongside this chocolate pumpkin bread recipe and several of my recipe testers said that this sweet (and vegan!) recipe was just too good to pass up. The bites of coarse salt you taste every once in a while give the perfect savoury balance to the not-too-sweet, spiced bread.

  • 2 cups [280 g] whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup [200 g] packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2⁄3 cup [165 g] pumpkin purée
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1⁄2 cup [120 ml] melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup [60 g] chopped pecans
  • 1⁄2 cup [90 g] dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup [105 g] raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line a 10-in [25-cm] loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, fine sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and add the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, water, and coconut oil into the centre. Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the pecans, chocolate chips, and 1⁄2 cup [70 g] of the pumpkin seeds. (Be careful not to over-mix.)

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and top with the remaining 1⁄4 cup [35 g] of the pumpkin seeds and the coarse sea salt.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into slices and serve at room temperature. To store, wrap in aluminium foil and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.


Vegetarian Heartland by Shelly Westerhausen is on sale 20th June 2017 – order your copy today.

Pizza Camp | Recipe

Pizza Camp

The ultimate guide to achieving pizza nirvana at home, from the chef who is making what Bon Appetit magazine calls “the best pizza in America.”

Joe Beddia’s pizza is old school – it’s all about the dough, the sauce and the cheese. And after perfecting his pie-making craft at Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, he’s offering his methods and recipes in a cookbook that’s anything but old school. Beginning with D’OH, SAUCE, CHEESE, and BAKING basics, Beddia takes you through the pizza-making process, teaching the foundation for making perfectly crisp, satisfyingly chewy, dangerously addictive pies at home.


The following recipe is extracted from Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia

© 2017 Randy Harris
© 2017 Randy Harris
Asparagus, Spring Cream, Onion, Lemon Pizza

Makes one 14- to 16-inch (35.5- to 40.5-cm) pizza

The first asparagus of the season is always a treat. Make sure you wash it, as it can be a little sandy. You also need to make sure that you get rid of the woodsy, inedible bottoms. The freshest cut stuff that you find at the farmers’ market is always best. I slice the spears into little coins. The thinner the better.

  • 1 ball dough: use your favourite dough or pick some up from a local pizzeria
  • ⅔ cup (165 ml) Spring Cream (See note 1)
  • 3 ounces (85 g) fresh mozzarella, pinched into small chunks
  • 2 cups (220 g) shredded low-moisture mozzarella
  • About 2 cups (270 g) chopped fresh asparagus
  • Fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons grated hard cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500°F (260°C) or, if possible, 550°F (287°C). To make the pizza, first follow the instructions on prepping and rolling out the dough included in the Make & Bake section (see below).

Cover the dough with the spring cream, then add the mozzarellas. Now I like to add a very liberal amount of asparagus. Season with salt. Bake as described in Make & Bake (see below).

Finish with the grated hard cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, a spritz of fresh lemon juice from the wedge, and the chives.

Note 1: Spring Cream

Makes about 4 cups (960 ml)

This pizza marks the end of winter, when the only in-season ingredients have been mushrooms and potatoes for a few boring months. Winter in Philly is the longest season: It’s cold, there’s no parking, and everyone is angrier than usual. So when spring arrives and you emerge, like Punxsutawney Phil, from drinking in dark bars and see your fat, bloated shadow, this pizza—highlighted by a few fresh herbs plus lemon juice and zest for acid—will make you feel better about the world again.

  • 1 handful of basil (10 to 20 leaves)
  • ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh fennel fronds
  • ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh chives
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • Fat pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups (960 ml) heavy cream
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until slightly emulsified. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Make & Bake

Use your favourite dough or pick some up from a local pizzeria.

Our goal is to replicate the brick oven we use at Pizzeria Beddia, which absorbs and radiates heat, for baking in your home. I recommend using a good baking stone. A thick stone will hold heat better and longer. If you don’t already have a stone (or a baking steel), you can always go to a home supply store and buy a bunch of terra-cotta tiles. They come in all different sizes, so just get enough tiles to cover the rack of your oven. They’re perfectly square so they fit together really well with no gaps—just find ones that fit your oven. Those work—trust me, I’ve tried everything.
Place your stone on the lowest shelf of your oven, then turn your oven to its highest temperature. Most ovens go to 500°F (260°C) and some to 550°F (287°C). Heat your stone for at least one hour before baking.
Now that the oven is good, we can focus on the dough. If you’re taking your dough out of the fridge, give it about 15 minutes or so to warm up a bit so it will be easier to work with. It should have doubled in size in the fridge. If it hasn’t, let it sit at room temperature, covered with a slightly damp towel, until it does.
Next you can set up your “pizza station.” Take the sauce out of the fridge. Then get your utensils ready: sauce ladle, dough scraper, and pizza cutter. You’ll also need a medium to large bowl with a couple cups of flour in it. This will act as a dunk tank for your dough and for flouring your workspace. You’ll also want a cup with a few ounces of semolina flour for dusting your pizza peel. Please do not use cornmeal. I find its texture distracting and don’t think it belongs on a pizza.
Rolling out the dough
Lightly flour your counter and your hands. There is a lot of moisture in the dough, so you want to keep your counter and hands well-floured at all times—otherwise the dough will get sticky and impossible to handle. Lift the dough from its surface or container. If it doesn’t seem to want to move, you’ll have to use a dough scraper. Flip the dough into the flour bowl so the top side of the dough ball gets dusted first. Flip it once more, making sure that the dough is completely coated. Press the dough down into the flour, then pick it up and place it on the floured countertop.
Pressing your fingers firmly into the dough, start by flattening the center and work your way out toward the edge to make it wider, until it’s about 7 to 9 inches (17 to 23 cm) wide. Pushing down on the dough will release some of the gas and actually begin opening up the dough. Be careful not to disturb the outermost lip. This will eventually become your crust.
The next step is a bit tricky. Your goal is to take this disc of dough and carefully stretch it to about 14 to 16 inches (35.5 to 40.5 cm) without tearing it or creating a hole. I pick it up with floured hands and begin to gently stretch it over my fists, letting gravity do most of the work.
Once you’ve stretched it enough, put the dough back on the counter, making sure there is a generous dusting of flour underneath. Take a few generous pinches of semolina flour and dust your pizza peel. Make sure it’s coated evenly. Gently lift and transfer your dough to the peel. Make sure both your hands and the peel are well-floured. You are now ready to dress your pie.
Baking the pizza
Now it’s time to put the almost-pizza in the oven. With a firm and steady hand, take the peel and insert it into the oven at a slight downward angle, touching the tip of the peel to the back edge of the stone. This may not come easy on your first try, and it will take some practice to gain confidence. Give the peel a short jerk forward so that the dough begins to slide off the peel. Once you have the front end of the dough safely on the stone, gently pull the peel out and close the oven.
The hard part is over. It’s time to let the oven do the work. Time your bake. It’s best when your oven has a window and a light for watching the bake. I like to watch.
Let it go for 4 minutes. The crust will rise significantly. Then change the oven setting from bake to broil, cooking the pizza from the top down until the crust begins to blister. The residual heat of the stone will continue to cook the bottom. (If your broiler is at the bottom of your oven, skip this step and continue to bake the pizza as described.)
I cook all my pizzas until they’re well done, which could take up to 10 minutes total (sometimes less). Just keep checking so you don’t burn it. Look for the cheese to colour and the crust to turn deep brown. It may blacken in spots, and that’s okay.
When the pizza is finished baking, slide your peel underneath it in a quick motion so that the pizza is sitting directly on top of the peel. Take it out of the oven and place it on a cutting board. There it is: a glorious pizza.
NOTE: Do not use your peel as a cutting surface. I made that mistake early on and ruined the peel. A cutting board or an aluminium pizza tray is best.

Pizza Camp by Joe Beddia is out now – order your copy today.

Grocery | The Invisible Behemoth on Main Street

Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America

In Grocery, bestselling author Michael Ruhlman offers incisive commentary on America’s relationship with its food and investigates the overlooked source of so much of it – the grocery store.

In a culture obsessed with food – how it looks, what it tastes like, where it comes from, what is good for us – there are often more questions than answers. Ruhlman proposes that the best practices for consuming wisely could be hiding in plain sight – in the aisles of your local supermarket.

The following is an extract from Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman


THE INVISIBLE BEHEMOTH ON MAIN STREET

Grocery stores are where we purchase most of our food – $650 billion annually at thirty-eight thousand of them in America, $1 trillion if you count all retail food sales(1) – yet most people know almost nothing about how they operate or where the food they sell comes from. We do, however, count on their always being here. While food issues drive some of the most compelling stories in the news (after national and international crises) – everything from the gluten-free fad, the pros and cons of genetically modified foods, questions about food’s possible impact on increasing gastrointestinal illnesses, food fanaticism, food recalls, anxiety about food expiration dates, eating disorders, the paleo diet, our $1 billion-per-day health care crisis – we remain more confused than ever by conflicting information we receive in the news about the food we eat.

Some of this confusion can be clarified and explored by looking inside a grocery store.

The American supermarket is like no other retail store, and we use it like no other retail store, venturing out to buy groceries on average twice a week, every week, all year long, to feed ourselves. A family’s biggest expense, after housing and transportation, is groceries (about 10 percent of its income). A small portion of the population grows some of their own food, but almost no one, or no family, fails to go to a grocery store each week. It’s the only store most Americans have to spend money in. Those who can’t get to one tend to be sicker than those who can, according to researchers who study urban and rural food deserts, places where there are no convenient grocery stores.

Grocery stores are more than just places to buy food. They are in a broader sense a reflection of our culture. During the Cold War, for instance, supermarkets were a powerful symbol. “With their dizzying array of processed foods, [supermarkets] came to be regarded as quintessential symbols of the triumph of American capitalism,” writes Harvey Levenstein in Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America. During the impromptu 1959 Kitchen Debate in Moscow, then Vice President Richard Nixon pointed to the astonishing variety of goods available to Americans as evidence of capitalism’s superiority, pooh-poohed by Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. The next year, however, when Khrushchev and his pals visited a San Francisco supermarket, “the expression on their faces was something to behold,” writes Levenstein, quoting Henry Cabot Lodge, one of the hosts.

Because they are a reflection, even symbol, of our culture, and thus a gauge of who we are, supermarkets illuminate what we care about, what we fear, what we desire. They offer a view of our demographic makeup, including how much money we have and how big the country is, not to mention how much it is changing. The grocery store describes the effects of global warming on farms from Washington down through California, the state of our oceans, and the health of our land. It is a showcase for the latest food production innovations, which is critical given the world’s escalating population. And the grocery store is at the center of broader issues of how the food we eat affects our bodies and our body politic.

All these issues, and countless others, come into focus when viewed through the lens of the American supermarket, food’s last stop before it enters our homes. Though we aren’t often reflective or thoughtful about grocery stores, they are in truth a barometer of our country’s collective state of mind.

Why this lack of attention? Perhaps because on the surface, grocery stores seem banal. Perhaps because they are so ubiquitous. I don’t know. There’s a scene in the extraordinary film The Hurt Locker, in which an American serviceman, a bomb diffuser, is home after a tour in Afghanistan, and is grocery shopping with his wife and young child. The fluorescent lighting in the supermarket aisles makes even the brightly colored boxes and packaging seem flat; we sense that the character, played by Jeremy Renner, will not be able to exist in this colorful but dead consumer landscape – a landscape embodied by the grocery store. Sure enough, he is soon back in Afghanistan, suiting up to dismantle a car bomb.

We tend to use grocery stores without thinking about them, or if we do think about them, it’s with mild annoyance, the thought of shopping itself a chore. What we rarely reflect on is what a luxury it is to be able to buy an extraordinary variety and quantity of food whenever we want every day of the year.

I’m often asked about the reason for our country’s growing obsession with food—the emergence of “the foodie,” the 1993 creation of a 24-hour TV channel devoted to food, chefs becoming celebrities, new cooking appliance fetishes, and ever-fancier kitchens that see less and less actual cooking. My response is that when something you need to survive starts making you confused and sick, you become obsessive about it. We don’t tend to think much about air, but if we suddenly didn’t have any, it would be pretty much all we’d be able to think about. The same might be said about grocery stores—if they suddenly vanished, if our only option for sustenance was the Cheesecake Factory or a CVS pharmacy, we’d think about them a lot.

Part of the reason we don’t think about them is that food, on a daily basis, isn’t a concern in this country. We have a lot of food—more than what we need, in fact. It’s available every hour of every day. Just walk into any supermarket in America, an industry that responds aggressively to what America wants to buy, and you enter a landscape composed of tens of thousands of square feet of inexpensive food, food that’s critical first to our comfort and ultimately to our health and happiness. And yet there’s something wrong here, and we know it, though we can’t we quite get at what it is.

Here’s what this book is not: It is not a history of grocery stores, though their transformation from trading posts to country stores to stores selling packaged food to everything-under-one-roof supermarkets is part of the story. It’s not an aisle-by-aisle tour of each of the ten main departments of a grocery store (produce, grocery, seafood, meat, floral, bakery, frozen/dairy, deli, prepared foods, wine and beer). Nor do I report on the industrial system we’ve developed to feed our hunger

for beef and pork, the methods and impact of overfishing our oceans, or even the ways the major food manufacturing companies (Kraft, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Nestlé, etc.) create, market, and profit from the food that seems to be making us sick. And this is not a nutritional guide to what is on the shelves and how it affects our health, though food choices and health are central to my story. These issues have been widely covered in other books and in the media. (2)

This book is instead what I would call a reported reflection on the grocery store in America, and an expression of my own love, anger, opinions, and concerns over what is in them, how it got there, and what it all means. I’ve been writing about food and cooking since 1996, when I snuck into the Culinary Institute of America to write about what the most prominent cooking school said you had to know in order to be a chef. In the intervening two decades, food issues have become some of the most pressing and confusing of our time. Because these issues are so numerous and disparate, I’ve had to be selective about what I choose to write about, and about these subjects I do not attempt to conceal my opinions.

I cover the food that interests me, the people who are most outspoken in the grocery business, and follow the stories that matter to me, whether it’s on a vast ranch in a national park in Idaho or on a tour of the grocery store with my physician. In researching this book, I visited farms, stores, and produce auctions; I joined grocers at food shows and interviewed the cheese makers they buy from; I toured a fish auction in Honolulu, one of the major fish auctions in the country; I bagged groceries, got to know the people who ran the stores and who worked in them, and generally hung out in the supermarket. In short, as a lover of food, a cook, and a person who cares about the future of food in America, I wrote a book that, using a small family grocery chain in my hometown of Cleveland as my inroad, is the book that I wanted most to read. Ultimately it is a story that’s never been written: an appreciation of, and wonder at, the American grocery store and the complex and fascinating business of retailing food to a country of 350 million people.

But it is also, as you’ll see, a deeply personal subject, and I try to tell that story as well. Happily, I grew up in a household that loved food and cooking, the place where, surely, my love of food and my fascination with grocery stores began. Having written about the food world for twenty years now, I’ve come to care about food more than I ever thought possible—about how we grow it, raise it, catch it, kill it, package it, distribute it, buy it, cook it, and dispose of what we don’t want. Our food (and the cooking of it, or lack thereof) is more important than most people realize, and we fail to understand this at our peril.


1 Figures from Food Marketing Institute and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2 See Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma for beef (and more), Ted Genoways’s The Chain for pork, and Paul Greenberg’s Four Fish for seafood. Michael Moss’s Salt Sugar Fat investigates food manufacturing giants. Dan Barber contrasts industrial agriculture with potential models for growing food sustainably in The Third Plate. Marion Nestle explores every department in the grocery store, examining food from a nutritionist’s vantage point in What to Eat.

Visualising Spheres of Knowledge

The Book of Circles Cover

In The Book of Circles, his companion volume to the popular Book of Trees, Manuel Lima takes us on a lively tour through millennia of information design. Three hundred detailed and colourful illustrations cover an encyclopedic array of subjects, drawing fascinating parallels across time and culture.

Here are a few of the spectacular images from The Book of Circles:

William Billings, Musical score for the song “Connection”, 1794 Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
William Billings, Musical score for the song “Connection”, 1794
Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Frontispiece to The Continental Harmony (1794), a book by William Billings containing dozens of psalm anthems and hymns. Billings was a prominent early American choral composer. This illustration represents the score for the tune “Connection” as a four-stave, circular piece of music, which starts at the top of the outermost ring and works its way to the centre.

 Dave Bowker, One Week of the Guardian: Wednesday, 2008 Credit: Dave Bowker
Dave Bowker, One Week of the Guardian: Wednesday, 2008
Credit: Dave Bowker

Part of a series of experiments exploring how to visualise the content of the Guardian newspaper in an artistic and engaging way, a diagram showing the popularity of fifty-four news articles. The concentric circles group articles into colour-coded categories (e.g., life and style articles are shown by orange, technology by cyan, and science by blue), with the least popular category positioned in the centre. Word counts for each article are noted within speech bubbles.

Nicholas Felton, Feltron 2007 Annual Report, 2008 Credit: Nicholas Felton
Nicholas Felton, Feltron 2007 Annual Report, 2008
Credit: Nicholas Felton

Pie chart displaying the statistics for an average day of the author, plotting various data such as number of emails sent, miles run, or cups of coffee consumed. Between 2005 and 2015, information designer Nicholas Felton meticulously documented his daily activity to create his Personal Annual Reports, compilations of information graphics that give an overview of each year, set out in the style of corporate reporting. The project is an exploration of how to graphically encapsulate the activities of an entire year, as well as how we can glean data from rapidly changing technology

Anna Filipova, Lineage of Sin in the Bible, 2009 Credit: Anna Filipova
Anna Filipova, Lineage of Sin in the Bible, 2009
Credit: Anna Filipova

Chart measuring time through sins, as described in the Bible, displaying an inverse relationship between longevity and sin. Longevity decreases from Adam (the first man) to Moses at the same time that sin increases. The outer ring, read counter clockwise, moves through the major events of the Old Testament. Relevant biblical verses that reveal someone’s age are cited, and the average age for an epoch is shown underneath (coloured rings).

Ernst Haeckel, Drawing of an ophidea, 1904 Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ernst Haeckel, Drawing of an ophidea, 1904
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Lithograph of an ophidea, a type of echinoderm similar to a starfish. Ernst Haeckel was a German biologist who published a series of detailed lithographs, Kunstformen der Natur (Art forms of nature), over the course of five years. These images of microscopic biology have been hugely influential on both the arts and science.


Click here to find out more about Manuel Lima’s books.

Man VS. Child

Man VS Child

Author and comedian Doug Moe knows first-time fathers are as worried about being terrible at their new terrifying jobs as new mums are. But while most modern fathering guides centre on men’s oafish parental failings, Man vs. Child forgoes condescension in favour of fresh and irreverent wit.

This guide for first-time dads tackles funny but important questions, like how to be a good dad without becoming a BabyBjörn-wearing tool in the process, or what to do if your child loves your iPad more than they love you. From caring for a newborn to dealing with a kid on the verge of adolescence, Moe breaks fatherhood down into survival lessons like “Time to Decide About God” and quizzes that ask dads to reflect on hilarious parenting questions like “Is My Child Too Annoying for This Restaurant?”

Chapters include:

-Newborn: Keeping This Weird Thing Alive Awhile, Even As It Tries to Kill You
-Your Interesting Baby, Maybe the Most Interesting Baby Ever
-Man v Toddler: Does Your Toddler Want to Kill You?
-Now That My Kid Doesn’t Need Me, What Is My Life Worth?

Balancing relatable humour with heartfelt advice, Man vs. Child will appeal to any dad looking for both laughs and real guidance from a man who has had – and survived – these experiences himself.

The following is an extract from Man VS. Child by Doug Moe.


Tantrums: Welcome to the Darkness

The main thing about toddlers isn’t toddles, it’s tantrums. I guess “tantrumers” doesn’t roll off the tongue sufficiently. Tantrums are the ubiquitous freak-outs wielded by toddlers everywhere to get what they want through a combination of embarrassment and torture.

Everyone Thinks You are a Monster

Most parents will do almost anything to make tantrums stop. Private, home-based tantrums are horrible, but they are manageable for strong parents. But what do you do about public tantrums? Everyone stands around staring, watching you fail, and blaming you for the screaming child ruining their day. Tantrums aren’t your fault! Of course, maybe you forgot to feed your child. Or you skipped a nap in violation of the sleep schedule. You did both? Wow. But embarrassment is the enemy of good parenting. A parent impervious to embarrassment is an irresistible force.

Everyone Thinks Dads are Dumb

For centuries, men have reaped the benefits of male privilege: first dibs in land, voting, power, etc. But mid-meltdown, that power dissolves and the centuries of female wisdom and child-rearing responsibility comes back to haunt the beleaguered dad. Nosy biddies all over will start to question even the best dad if he is with a kid in mid meltdown. They just assume that you are as big an idiot as all the lovable TV dads they’ve come to know from the story box they watch at home, and they will give you some “extra help.” Try to accept this help as graciously as possible. They’ll say, “She looks hungry!” or “Is everything okay?” If you get sarcastic or angry, all you’ve done is confirmed that you are a big dumb dad who doesn’t know how to keep it together. Give them a politely clenched smile like mothers everywhere have practiced forever.

Talk to Yo ur Kid Like She is a Tiny Cavemen

Although some tantrums are inevitable, many are caused by the frustration a toddler has in communicating her desires and feeling heard. There’s lots of advice out there on this. One approach I enjoyed came from the book The Happiest Toddler on the Block. This book advised that toddlers are like tiny cavemen—and not just because they both wear overalls.

According to this view, the correct approach can mitigate tantrums.

1. It’s best to talk to toddlers in short, emotive phrases, as if you are talking to a caveman. But instead of saying things like “Big sky-bird eat mommy” (Caveman), you say things like “You want snack! You want SNACK! You hungry! SO hungry!” (Toddler) to mirror their concerns back to them in a way they’ll understand.

2. Then you add what you want to get across: “But daddy no have a snack! Snack when we home. Almost home. Then SNACK!” The book calls this the “Fast-Food Rule”—somewhat confusingly since now I’m just thinking of that drive-in on The Flintstones. It’s called this to help you remember to repeat back “his order” (what he wants) before you tell him “your price” (what you want).

3. I also think it’s fun to say “May I take your order?” but your mileage may vary.

If talking like a caveman doesn’t work, you can always try an old dad standby: ignoring. Most dads are great at ignoring things, a handy characteristic when a kid is pitching a fit in public and can’t be reasoned with. Know that you are not a bad dad, despite what literally everyone else in the world thinks.