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From hops to Hoosier pie, these new books by local authors celebrate the intersection of food, drink and family in heartwarming and sometimes unexpected ways. Cameron Psiaki
Follow Seattle magazine contributor and local food critic Matthew Amster-Burton in Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23) as he tries to instill a love of global grub in his now 4-year-old daughter. Unconvinced that all baby food comes from a jar, Amster-Burton’s memoir/cookbook, with more than 50 recipes (including lobster rolls and Thai shrimp curry), offers humorous anecdotes on adapting grown-up fare for kids and the merits of everything from artisan bacon to boxed mac ’n’ cheese, all with a heavy dose of the Seattle food scene.
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table (Simon & Schuster, $25) chronicles the food-peppered memories of Ballardite Molly Wizenberg, creator of the award-winning food blog Orangette. Beloved recipes, such as her late father’s potato salad, close each short chapter and give readers a window into how this Bon Appetit columnist—who isn’t professionally trained—fell in love with food. “Food is never just food,” she writes. “It’s also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been and who we want to be.”
B Is for Beer (Ecco Books, $17.95), a book whose cover proclaims, “A Children’s Book for Grown-Ups” and “A Grown-Up Book for Children,” is bestselling author and La Conner resident Tom Robbins’ first work of fiction in five years. It stars kindergartener Gracie Perkel, whose dad loves beer, and her quirky and often inebriated Uncle Moe, who regales the inquisitive tyke (and readers) with an impressive mix of beer history and trivia. Gracie’s own dizzying encounter with a cold one summons up the Beer Fairy, who offers a fantastic wheatfield-to-tap tour punctuated with Robbins’ subversive asides: “You mustn’t drink beer again until you’re at least 18.”
Renee Behnke, president emeritus of Seattle’s own Sur La Table, has collected years’ worth of entertaining expertise from her own favorite fetes in Memorable Recipes: To Share with Family and Friends (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $35). Co-authored by cookbook author and Seattle magazine contributor Cynthia Nims and featuring 140 original recipes (plus mouth-watering photos), Memorable Recipes is part cookbook, part party planner, with additional info on kitchen shortcuts and wine pairings.