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!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Business Unusual . . . Farm Chicks in the Kitchen!

Teri Edwards and Serena Thompson (see photo below) partnered up six years ago to turn their enthusiasm for cooking, junking, and crafting into what has become a thriving business. They now have an annual Farm Chicks show in Spokane, Washington, which offers a line of jewelry, clothing, and stationery items, and are contributing editors to Country Living magazine. This year they’ve added the title “authors” to their mounting list of accomplishments.

THE FARM CHICKS IN THE KITCHEN: Live Well, Laugh Often, Cook Much (Sterling 2009) offers a collection of recipes that epitomize their philosophy: tasty, simple to prepare, and friends and family will love them. These are not elaborate, oh-too-fussy foods such as those often found in haute cuisine cookbooks by famous names. These are foods to live with, to brighten up any family’s meals. They offer comfort and nutrition and stretch the usual daily foods that are your staples.

Pumpkin waffles, tangy cucumber cups, savory sweet potato soup, Asian quinoa salad, pies and shortbread, plus many, many more add up to 52 recipes in total accompanied by more than a dozen craft projects. With their usual Farm Chick style, Serena and Teri transform unexpected found objects into repurposed items to use and share. The book is laced with stories and recipes that include the many friends they’ve made on their business journey, and memories and anecdotes about childhood, cooking, and junking. A really fun, unique gift for the person who loves to cook for a family and can’t pass up a garage sale because it might hold hidden treasures!

The farm chicks’ website: http://www.thefarmchicks.com

-- Rosemary Carstens

Monday, June 15, 2009

Southwest Sizzle . . .

New Mexican cooking is a style all its own, not to be confused with Tex Mex, Mexican, Native American, or other variations on the theme. It has its own unique flavors and the green chile itself can become an obsession (says one who knows!). So what to do if you DO crave New Mexican food and you live far from its source? Take advantage of your next visit to Santa Fe and sign up for a hands-on cooking experience at the SANTA FE SCHOOL OF COOKING on West San Francisco Street. They are educational, informative, and just plain fun—and the whole family can join in!

Just a sampling of classes include A Day in the Country of Northern New Mexico: Farms and Vineyard Tour, New World Tapas, Wine Maker’s Cooking series, , Simply Santa Fe, Chile Amor, Restaurant Walking Tours, Salsas, and the Contemporary Southwest series. There are also classes on Native American and Mexican foods. Students get involved in the process, learn about authentic ingredients, sit down together for a well earned, mouth-watering meal, and take home the recipes. Full descriptions of all of the classes and prices (with a calendar at the bottom) can be found at: http://santafeschoolofcooking.com/Cooking_Classes/Class_Descriptions.

There is also a market at the school where you can pick up ingredients not available in your community that you discover you just can’t live without. At the website you can order a range of products plus download recipes to try on your own. Happy eating!

-- Rosemary Carstens

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Think you know how to make decisions? Thinking once, twice . . .

HOW WE DECIDE, Jonah Lehrer. Houghton Mifflin 2009. Think it’s the rational mind that makes the best decisions? The less emotional involvement the better? Think again says Jonah Lehrer in this fascinating new book about where decisions take place in the brain and the important interaction of experience-based emotion and pure “fact-based” analysis. Lehrer makes a topic that could be a yawn pertinent and gripping as he tells stories of real-life, critical decisions made by pilots, sports figures, and poker players, and he makes you think hard about how you form your own opinions and choose among options. If you want to make better decisions and utilize the strengths of various parts of your brain, this is a good place to begin.

This young writer is no slouch at making his own decisions and has put his brilliance to work as a contributing editor at Wired and as author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. A Columbia U grad who studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, Lehrer has written for the New Yorker, Nature, Seed, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. He’s also a contributing editor at Scientific American Mind and National Public Radio's Radio Lab. To learn more, check out his blog at http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/ or his website at http://www.jonahlehrer.com/

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Pigs, Poultry, and Perry

COOP: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting, MICHAEL PERRY. Harper 2009. I recommended Truck: A Love Story when it came out a couple of years ago, but I think Coop is even better.

We left Mike’s life adventures shortly after he married, sleeping off the excitement in the back of his pickup, and here we pick up as he, his wife, and his daughter Amy, plus a new little Perry on the way move into a Wisconsin farmhouse that has seen better days, sited on thirty-seven acres of overgrown farmland. The year ahead will hold chicken and pig escapades, a baby birthed at home by a midwife, reminiscences of his own farm childhood, with touches of sweet appreciation for his family life and keen observations about the unexpected hand of fate in each of our lives.
Perry is witty and writes well. He doesn’t go for the braying laughter we encounter in much of the fodder produced in Hollywood. He elicits belly-shaking snorts and blasts of laughter by speaking of the secret thoughts we all share, the everyday absurdities and joy life offers in abundance if you are paying attention.

-- Rosemary Carstens