Just when you think the offerings in the DIY food book space couldn't get better (truly, 2013, 2012 and 2011 were all pretty fantastic), 2014 is shaping up to be a bellwether year for top-notch works. I'm proud to call all of these authors friends and colleagues, so in the interest of fairness I will list them in order of publication date. All are currently available for pre-order. (Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.com from which I may derive a nominal amount of revenue.)
Modern Pioneering Touting "self-sufficiency is the ultimate girl power," Georgia Pellegrini's latest work espouses a soup-to-nuts DIY lifestyle that ranges from Martha (Mason jar lanterns and homemade notecards) to MacGyver (assembling a 48- hour survival toolkit in an Altoids tin). Georgia demonstrates how to conquer basic self-sufficiency skills, and look faaabulous doing it.
Preserving by the Pint Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars lives in a small urban apartment, but that didn't deter her from pursuing the preserving bug. Undaunted by recipes that called for bushels of fruit, she worked to scale recipes down to make them accessible to even the most compact domicile. Organized seasonally, these pestos, sauces, mostardas, chutneys, butters, jams, jellies, and pickles are speedy, too: some take under an hour.
The Put 'em Up! Preserving Answer Book Rounding out her trilogy in the series (following the original Put 'em Up! and Put 'em Up! Fruit), Sherri Brooks Vinton tackles the 399 most frequently asked questions about all aspects of home food preserving, including canning, pressure canning, refrigeration, freezing, drying, and fermentation. She also addresses setting up your kitchen, choosing the best varieties for your needs, making substitutions, and much more.
Sausage Making: The Definitive Guide with Recipes Of late, I've been hanging out with a group of local foodie friends and undertaking meat-related projects. We were inspired by last year's In the Charcuterie by Taylor Boetticher. Now, Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, another San Francisco-based butcher brings a book to the table, with a definitive tome on the daily grind. Having had a glimpse at his recipe for Lao sausage, I can't wait to tuck into this one.
The Hip Girl's Guide to the Kitchen Following on the heels of her Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, which I refer to on a nearly daily basis, Kate Payne comes back with another thoughtful work focusing on budget-minded and ecologically sound ways to love your kitchen and learn to make creative, delicious food, all in her delightfully chirpy tone. Her work is all hip and no hippie.
Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, have a heritage that goes back centuries, but have only recently returned to the spotlight as a way to make beverages that are sophisticated and surprisingly refreshing. New York cocktail writer Michael Dietsch delves deep on how to turn fruit, sugar and vinegar into a kaleidoscopic array of sweet-tart shrubs to mix with sparkling water or use in cocktails.
Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry Veteran DIY food blogger and doyenne of 2011's Charcutepalooza movement Cathy Barrow brings her well-rounded set of skills in this book. From double strawberry jam and chile-spiked tomatoes to duck confit and homemade pancetta, it's full of tips and techniques for preserving food at all times of year.