Does your Dad like Southern cooking? Or perhaps I should re-phrase: “Like good food?” Restauranteur, celebrity chef, doting husband, father of four, and almost-Iron-Chef, John Besh offers his personal insights into home cooking in My Family Table. This beautiful and impressive coffee table/cookbook includes tons of pictures that leave you wondering if National Geographic is missing their top photographer? They’re beautiful, with lots of photos of the Besh family at home. Some look like a Norman Rockwell painting, while others look, well, a lot like my family, and yours, which is refreshing. Chapters include topics like “Sunday Supper,” “School Nights,” and “Breakfast with My Boys.” And I have to say, there’s a lot of love in the pages of My Family Table. The text is warm, and genuinely helpful, mixing the insights of day-in-day-out family cooking, with the experience of a world-class chef. And the recipes are so delicious! Yet no matter how delicious, they are quite straightforward, with simple ingredients lists like, “sweet potatoes, bacon fat, salt.” My favorite recipe that I’ve tried is so far is the Cauliflower Mac & Cheese. Especially after reading his book, I still can’t believe that John Besh isn’t an “Iron Chef.” But, John Besh and his lovingly made book, My Family Table, are unforgettable.
Another on my list of celebrity chefs/restauranteurs who I can’t believe didn’t win “Iron Chef,” is Seamus Mullen, who also has a new coffee table/cookbook, Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food. Just leave this around, and when hubby says how delicious this or that recipe looks, you could suggest that he might want to try to make it tomorrow night. The book itself is divided into four sections, one for each season, and where he likes to celebrate the season — whether in Barcelona or on the family farm. Each chapter focuses on a single, main ingredient, like olive oil, poultry (“Good Birds”), anchovies, berries, squash, “Good Fish,” eggs, mushrooms, or greens. Seamus’ point is that by eating well, we “can improve our sense of well-being.” And who can argue with that? Among my favorite sections are his advice and recipe for brining meat and poultry — you’ll never want another kind of turkey again — and I loved making (and eating!) the Plum Cake, and Xato Salad, made with escarole, romesco sauce, and anchovies. Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food is certain to make you feel better, in lots of ways.
What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding is in its third, revised, and updated edition. Which says something right there. Unlike the film version of, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the humor is more reassuring and calming, than anxiety-producing. It is written by someone who has had a child before… five of them, in fact. Author Thomas Hill walks dads-to-be through each month of pregnancy, with recurring sections like, What Your Wife May Look Like, What to Buy This Month, and A Couple of Things to Say to Let Her Know You’re Caring, Sensitive, and Up On the Required Reading. There are also sections on Living with Baby, and pre-pregnancy, and What You Should Have Known About Home Pregnancy Tests Before You Bought This Book. It includes suggestions like listening to their wife, not freaking out, and that there is a thing called “attachment parenting”. I would say that the main point of What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding is that your wife is going through a lot, so be cool/extra kind to her, which is very considerate, in my opinion.
But if your dad-to-be needs more humor, less advice, then parody book, How Not to Kill Your Baby, may be a better choice. The tone is suggested by the “READ BEFORE OPENING” which includes warnings for the book itself, such as “CHOKING HAZARD if your child has a large, book-shaped mouth,” and “ALLERGY WARNING: This book is printed in a facility that also prints Peanuts.” Or, in the section on “Disciplining Your Child,” where it helps dad to learn how to avoid power struggles with your toddler, such as offering your child choices like, “Would you like to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?” This is helpful, How Not to Kill Your Baby explains, because then “she will have to say “No” twice, providing her lungs with twice as much exercise.”
So, if your husband could use some sympathetic humor with caring for a new baby, this would be a great book to get him.
Teamwork Means You Can’t Pick the Side that’s Right offers excellent insights into worklife during the Great Recession. And seeing how the daily Dilbert comics are still being printed in newspapers, the book version of the comics are very handy. And quite a bit more insightful than any traditional business tome. Plus, it’s printed in lovely color, on high quality paper. Teamwork Means You Can’t Pick the Side that’s Right has many classic and insightful comics, like the one where the devilish, pointy-haired boss asks Dilbert how long a new project would take, and he responds with how he’d first “need to invent some sort of device that reverses my sense of right and wrong.” And the boss responds, “So… Are we talking about a week… Or a month?” I’m not sure if it’s funny because it’s true, or because the idea of a boss actually asking is simply bizarre, but I do know that no one has their pulse on the worklife of America like Scott Adams.