CULINARY THRILL SEEKING: Enjoy books for the holidays

Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dale L. LaFleur Jr. is partial to science fiction, but Fleur Fine Books offers a bit of everything, from a reception area full of cookbooks  to shelves of mysteries, romances and spiritual writings. It’s a fun, new stop at 1720 Magnolia Ave. Book lovers, you’ll be impressed by how many books they fit on those shelves.

Now, here are some books that have come across my desk as publishers promote holiday offerings:

‘Cajuns and Other Characters’

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Journalist Jim Bradshaw keeps history fun with pecan-throwing ghosts, soaped up hangings and tales of crawfish-eating, dance-loving, politicking people of Louisiana. “Cajuns and Other Characters” is his latest Pelican Press release, which is peppered with Port Arthur references. These are column-style quick reads to keep by your nightstand. You might read about your cousins! You’re for sure gonna laugh, cher. Bradshaw was an editor of the Lafayette (La.) Advertiser and writes C’est Vrai columns for your entertainment, and no doubt his own.

‘Poke a Stick at it: Unexpected True Stories’

Accordions, air-dried laundry and Oklahoma spiders are some topics on which Connie Cronley claims knowledge. I imagine she comes home with a column from every venture, no matter if it’s the tattoos she’s seen on a grocery run to the ruffles a mess of painters endured as she portrait posed. This woman is funny. I say again, she is funny. Her collection of musings will have you wanting to read “one more” before you get up from your chair.

What else would one expect from a woman who collected so many little black dresses they became an art exhibit?

‘Whole Cooking and Nutrition: An Everyday Superfoods Approach to Planning, cooking and eating with Diabetes’

That title is just about longer than some of the amazing recipes. Try this on yogurt, cereal, salad or the book’s oven-roasted figs:

Everyday Cinnamon Walnut Crumble

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Combine the ingredients in a food processor, pulsing to form a ‘crumble’ texture.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Recipe credited to “©2016 by the American Diabetes Association, Inc.® To order this book, please call 1-800-232-6733 or order online at”

Katie Cavuto may still have to convince the newly-diagnosed that cooking up healthy super foods like grilled lamb chops and lemony barley pilaf is easy and worth it. This one is another example where the title seems nearly as long as the easy instructions. She doesn’t have to convince me. This book is gourmet all the way and I’m with her: once you have the good stuff you won’t know why you ever went for the “fake” supermarket stuff. Natural versions of real food are appealing, fragrant, flavorful and much better for you than salty, sugary packaged “stuff.”

‘I Modify Ikea’

I’d heard about Ikea years before I got to the one in Katy, and now it’s a regular stop for a warehouse full of ideas. The first opened in Sweden in 1958. This book reports it’s the world’s largest store now, offering “flatpack” furniture, meaning, you assemble it yourself. The lines are basic and functional and you can imagine worldwide residents connecting because they organize their kitchen ware and socks in similar formats.

Elyse Major and Charlotte Rivers turn Ikea shelving on its side, add pipe legs and adapt a custom look to stylish storage.

Make it your own with these ideas from attaching napkin holders to the wall to keep your mail handy to painting on those basic white pillows. It’s easy to make something good even better. Way better. These women have turned spice racks into bathroom shelving and used straws – drinking straws – to brighten a child’s room. Get going.

‘Fly Dogs’

Oh, the moment you know that mouth grab for the flying disc will set just right, the victory of clearing the ladder, the beach sand kicking up from your paws … It’s a dog’s life, and Todd Berger is watching you. These dogs in air are “euphoric,” as the book of photographs promotes. Viewers can’t help but smile with them. I passed this book around a dinner party and everybody had their favorites. So many breeds, so many jumps.

I love the looks of pure joy the pups mastered and the skill with which Berger captured it all. Hope he got a treat after all that running around with his camera.

Activity Books: ‘Just Imagine and Play’

On the Farm and On the Site are books with press outs and stickers that take children from chick hatching and a corn maze to traffic cones and brick piles. One has tractors and horses and the other has dirt piles and wrenches. It’s fun and fresh and plays just as well with your grandkids as these sort of books did when you were young. Visit for more.