It's been a banner year for books in the DIY sector. Our already groaningly full bookshelves are all the heavier for the bounty that has come out this year. Here's a few that we keep finding ourselves thumbing through, reflecting on and cooking from:
Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It
Our pal Karen Solomon is back with a follow-up to her "Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It," and it's as engaging and enjoyable as its antecedent. "Can It" breaks down a wide variety of cooking projects of varying levels of ambitiousness, each chapter adhering to the imperative syntax of the title. This is surely a book we'll return to again and again, at least as often for the recipes as for the sparkling wit. Read our review.
The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking
Look, Martha Stewart I ain't. All that said, I have found inspiration in Kate Payne and her new book, "The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking," spun out from her blog of the same name. You can tell she finds great inspiration in making each homemaking task her own little conquest, and delights in sharing her hard-won efforts with the reader. Unlike Martha's relentless pursuit for the camera-ready life, Kate's tips are approachable, inspired, and will not send you into a shame spiral. Read our review.
Hunt, Gather, Cook
Hank Shaw is an avid outdoorsman, and with his past experience as both a line cook and reporter, brings a triple threat to the food world: A man who can hunt and forage his own food, make creative and compelling dishes from it, and then wrap it in eloquent prose. Hank takes on foraging, fishing and hunting, and breaks down what you need to know about each of them. It's an excellent starter kit for beginners, and a good companion for those with at least a little experience in the field -- literally. Read our review.
Preserving with Friends
OK, this is a DVD, not a book, but still very much worth watching. Host Harriet Fasenfest takes you through the basics of water bath canning and making a few jam recipes before hauling out the big guns. Harriet has hand-picked her friends, including preserving guru Linda Ziedrich, and fermentation sherpa Sandor Katz, who are experts on various subjects. After watching Harriet and her friends’ lessons, you’ll feel like you just graduated from Canning U. Even Harriet, an experienced canner in her own right, learns a new thing or two. Read our review.
Georgia Pellegrini attended Wellesley, Harvard and the French Culinary Institute of America -- hardly the kind of person you expect to see wielding a gun. But while working at Blue Hill Farm, she killed her first turkey, and it drove her to get closer to the source of her food by hunting. Pellegrini takes you on her journey from avid eater to skilled hunter.
Tart and Sweet
Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler team up for this terrific book that will appeal to new and experienced canners alike. Spend some time perusing the Canning Basics section or dive right in and try out some of the recipes that are divided up by season. Whether you’re making jams and jellies or pickles and salsas, Tart and Sweet has over 100 recipes to experiment with including some that will take advantage of your already canned goods.
Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World
Want to know how to make your own chicken coop, create your own cleaning products or whip up a batch of homemade hair gel? Authors Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen take a detailed look at the hundreds of ways you have a true “DIY” lifestyle and you don’t have to live in the country to do it. This guide will have soon have you raising chickens that you can eat with your home-grown vegetables, cooked on your solar cooker and eaten off of plates you’ll wash with your own dish soap!