For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cooking Up Holiday Gifts . . .

COOKBOOKS MAKE GREAT HOLIDAY GIFTS for those who love to entertain or are simply interested in the joy of preparing fine, interesting food for their families. Often, a cookbook tells stories (my favorite kind) about the author and the recipes, the countries and people the recipes originated with, or the experiment that yielded a favorite meal. Others are guides to ingredient sources along with creative recipes. Available through any independent bookstore, here are five that I especially enjoyed this year and will include among the gifts I give:

A PLATTER OF FIGS and Other Recipes, David Tanis (Artisan Books 2009). Six months of each year, David Tanis is head chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, where he’s worked since the 1980s for legendary Alice Waters. The other half of the year he’s in Paris preparing meals in a 6x10-foot galley kitchen in his 17th-century apartment. This book was conceived from his belief that the best meals are simple, easily prepared, and served without too much fuss. I blogged about this book earlier this year at http://carstensfeast.blogspot.com/2009/07/platter-of-figs-joy-of-eating.html. Check out his recipe for festive, juicy Scallops a la plancha.

CLEAN FOOD: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source, Terry Walters (Sterling Epicure 2009). Thinking it’s time to break away from processed foods loaded with preservatives and other chemicals? Walters has written an easy-to-follow guide to eating closer to food sources, cooking and preparing meals based on the best and freshest locally grown ingredients. Includes an introduction about various foods to help you understand why choosing organic over conventionally produced foods is more healthful and how even small changes, over time, can make a difference in how you feel. The recipes are the frosting on the cake! To learn more about Walters: http://www.terryskitchen.net and click HERE for a delicious recipe for Roasted Squash with Fennel & Asparagus.

A HOMEMADE LIFE: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg (Simon & Schuster 2009). This entertaining narrative cookbook comes to you from the enormously successful, award-winning blog Orangette (http://orangette.blogspot.com) and is a heartwarming tale of Wizenberg’s family, her search for the right career, and a new romance. It comes laced with mouth-watering recipes, clearly set forth and easy to prepare for even the beginning cook. This book was featured in FEAST; you can access a scrumptious deep chocolate cake recipe HERE

RAW ENERGY: 125 Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body, Stephanie Tourles (Storey Publishing 2010). This book is due out in January, so may not be available yet, but can be pre-ordered. Eating raw has been shown to be a positive addition to a healthy lifestyle, and even if you don’t want to completely leave cooking and meats behind, this book provides a roadmap for combining ingredients to create “enzyme-rich and irresistible organic foods of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, nuts, and legumes.” Tourles is a licensed holistic esthetician who has been practicing and teaching healthy living for more than 20 years. Her website: http://www.stephanietourles.com/

Another book, about that Queen of Cooks, Julia Child, has risen to the top of a lot of reading lists this year as a result of the resounding success of the film Julia/Julie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. I think anyone who loves food and books would enjoy finding this one under their tree:

MY LIFE IN FRANCE, Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme (Reissued by Knopf 2009). The totally fascinating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with a country and discovered her professional destiny. It’s a tender story in many ways about a woman who finds her way, sometimes humorously, sometimes against great odds, always with the support of her loving husband Paul, to become one of the best known celebrity cooks of all time. This book is now available in various editions plus audio.

I’d love to know what cookbooks are on YOUR gift list this year—??

-- Rosemary Carstens

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Artistry of Painter Kevin Red Star & Earth Magic Media . . .

The 34th Annual American Indian Film Festival will take place in San Francisco, November 6-14, 2009. National American Indian Heritage Month is celebrated every year in the month of November to honor and recognize the original peoples of this land, and, since 1975, the American Indian Film Festival has displayed over 2000 films providing inspiration and support for Native film projects.

The festival encourages filmmakers to present Native voices, viewpoints, and stories that have been historically excluded from mainstream media; to develop Indian and non-Indian audiences for this work; and to advocate tirelessly for authentic representations of Indians in the media. This year the festival will premiere over 80 new feature films, shorts, public service announcements, music videos, and documentaries from US American Indian and Canada First Nation communities.

A highlight of this year's events will be a 24-minute documentary short on American Indian artist KEVIN RED STAR created by Earth Magic Media, a Canadian film company. It is one of seven half-hour documentaries produced for the From the Spirit series III.

The Kevin Red Star film is the first about a US Native American and the team is thrilled it was selected for festival screening. Earth Magic’s team consists of Raymond Yakeleya, an award-winning Dene television producer, director, and writer originally from Tulita (formally Fort Norman) in the central Northwest Territories; Bill Stewart, a producer, writer, and director based in Edmonton with over 35 years experience in the film and television industry; and Carol Chapelski, production coordinator, with over 12 years of experience in the television industry.

Kevin Red Star, a member of the Crow tribe, was born and lives and paints today in Lodge Grass, Montana. This film traces his journey as an artist from Montana to Santa Fe's American Indian Art Institute, to the San Francisco Art Institute and 1969's Woodstock, and back home to Montana. He works primarily in acrylic, ink, and collage, and, as can be seen by the photo above, creates bold, evocative images (with a contemporary twist) of his ancestral Crow tribe, culture, and history. His work is available in galleries across the western United States (a listing of representatives and many original works and prints can be seen by visiting his website.

The Kevin Red Star film will screen Wednesday, Nov. 11, 7:00 p.m. at the Landmark Embarcadero Center Cinema. Prices are $8 general / $7 students and seniors.
For a full schedule of events, go to http://www.aifisf.com/

-- Rosemary Carstens
Carstens Communications