Book Club Tuesday: Short Stack Editions

It’s Tuesday! You know what that means…but before I get into my review and food talk let’s talk a bit about my life before food. Full disclosure: I am a “whim” person. At least that’s what my husband calls it (I think it’s just a nice way of describing how I become obsessed with something for a short period of time). Is it my fault that when I get interested in something I go all in? I love having a hobby, I mean, who doesn’t love to have something to do? So over the years my “whims” have taken me through card stamping, knitting, quilting, vintage jewelry collecting, fashion, and if you believe my husband, cooking. But I’ll be honest here — I think the bus stops with cooking.

Before I had a family and I worked outside the home, I was obsessed with fashion. Particularly vintage clothes and jewelry. I spent hours looking through The Sartorialist and, one of my favourite books: I Love Your Style by Amanda Brooks. What these two things had in common were people who were interested and inspired by fashion. People who had a notion of fashion as being timeless, collectible, utilitarian, selected, and unique (as you will see, these are some of the things that make Short Stack Editions so special…)  It wasn’t about what outfit you could buy straight out of a store or off a runway but what you could put together that expressed yourself through clothing. Vintage was a must but it’s also what helped to make a look unique. (If you’ve made it this far you’re probably already wondering what this has to do with cooking!? Just hang tight). So as I transitioned from thinking about fashion my thoughts about food still had vintage leanings. I wanted to be unique when I cooked — I didn’t want to make the same old recipes day in and out. In particular, I was drawn to vintage cookbooks and kitchen wares.  But don’t take my word for it, have a look:

I love these types of “capsule” cookbooks (well, not quite cookbook, not quite magazine) that focused on and encapsulated one topic (how I wish that my mom kept my grandmother’s cookbook about cooking with hot dogs but as a vegetarian it probably doesn’t matter). I think this is what initially drew me to Short Stack Editions — the vintage feel. It reminded me so much of these vintage cookbooks I’ve found. Not to mention each volume is brightly coloured with beautifully designed covers. Each one has some hand illustrations but no photos. It’s nice to have something that really showcases recipes rather than just being glorified coffee-table books.

If you’re not familiar with Short Stack Editions click on the link to get the full story, but in short these editions began as a Kickstarter campaign and then continued on as a popular and affordable way for home cooks to make delicious food (they’re also in the midst of writing a cookbook! So excited!!). Each volume has been written by a single author focusing on a single ingredient. One of the best things about these cookbooks is the passion each author brings to the subject. Not to mention all of the helpful hints and advice — thanks to Victoria Granof I know that to make super smooth hummus one must remove the skins of the chickpeas first (just a reminder — 2016 is also the International Year of Pulses so this volume is a perfect way to start your Pulse Pledge)!

The first volume I purchased was Lemons by Alison Roman. To be honest, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. As soon as I got my hands on that edition I was hooked — I’ve said it before but I love the colourful, graphic covers, not to mention the anecdotal stories on each recipe and the delicious recipes! What’s not to love?? With that first volume I made some really delicious dishes — take the Beet Salad w/ Cucumbers, Lemon, & Pistachios for instance. I made this for a Father’s Day lunch at my grandparents. Some of the most harshly honest food critics were in attendance — my grandmother and her sisters. Although I’m certain it never occurred to them to eat a beet raw, after trying this absolutely gorgeous salad they were converts! And to celebrate the three generations of fathers that day I made Coconut-Lemon Tea Cake — it was devine and made that day even more memorable! To look at that volume now — stained and worn — it was used in exactly the way it was intended.

So far I’ve been pleased with the recipes I’ve made. From snacks, drinks, and desserts to everything in between each dish has been completely amazing! Who could forget Chocolate Pasta (vol. 18 Chocolate Susie Heller) or Apple Pickles (vol. 11 Apples Andrea Albin)? Whatever else cooking should be at the very least it should be fun — not only for the person cooking it but also for the people eating. Needless to say, my family was pretty “wowed” at the Chocolate Pasta (savory I may add) I served yesterday. It’s only the second time I’ve made pasta, so I think my noodles were a little thick but no less delicious. If you’re familiar with the way I operate, you know I love IG and hashtags! So check out the hashtag #shortstackdsse to see other Short Stack recipes I’ve made.

I will point out that each volume has a variety of recipes that support many different diets so don’t think that if you buy, for example, Tomatoes by Soa Davies that it’s vegan or vegetarian just because the main ingredient is a fruit/vegetable. Maybe it’s obvious but I thought I’d put it out there just in case (also my cooking and reviews are very biased towards vegan and vegetarian cookbooks so I wanted to ensure no one has the wrong idea). This being said, I love cooking and so far each volume has contained enough awesome recipes for me to cook, enjoy, and keep coming back for more volumes.

If you were around last week and read my last review, one of the reasons why I have chosen to review Short Stack Editions this week is because I’ve been feeling that cookbooks are becoming really expensive lately (could be due to the falling Canadian dollar). And if you’re like me, you enjoy having magazines and cookbooks to freshen up weekday meals. Since each volume of Short Stack is the perfect combo of magazine and cookbook you can buy it without feeling like you broke the bank. At $14 USD it is a nicely affordable way to enjoy new recipes (sorry my Canadian peeps, $14 USD might seem like a huge amount but take heart! You can purchase them online from some Canadian retailers so you can save a bit on the exchange this way, otherwise Short Stack does ship to Canada). They also make wonderful gifts — I keep eyeing the Broccoli volume for my MIL (who, I’m convinced eats a head of broccoli a day!) and I was lucky enough to get the volume on Chocolate for Christmas (thanks Santa!)

Even now as I try desperately to finish this review my efforts are hampered by a bowl of Sweet Roasted Chickpeas from vol. 12 (Brown Sugar by Libbie Summers). A simple can of chickpeas transformed into an addictive snack — sweet, spicy, and slightly crunchy. Speaking of chickpeas, if this is your favourite ingredient then Short Stack has you covered — check out Chickpeas by Victoria Granof! It was this edition that inspired me to make roasted chickpea coffee then create an Instavid on it. If your not a survivalist or worried about the imminent zombie apocalypse then you might not know that chickpea coffee is a completely legit drink (and totally delicious too I might add).

I think this review will be out just in time for the release of Maple Syrup vol. 19 Casey Elsass. To quote one of my favourite film characters, Buddy the Elf: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup” — even if you’re not an elf I’m sure that this newest volume will be a sweet addition to any cook’s library.

** Due to unforeseen circumstances, blogs images prior to 2018 were deleted. Some images were recovered or replaced, some were not. Please accept my apologies if the text refers to an image that is no longer present.**

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