Red wine

French wine: a history by Rod Phillips.

People enjoy wining about how nothing quite stacks up to a snifter of Merlot from Bordeaux, but how is it that France developed its mastery of sour grapes? And can any of us Yanks really tell the difference between a good red wine and melted popsicles without reading the label first?

Coffee with Italian Sweet Cream

Popes, peasants, and shepherds: recipes and lore from Rome and Lazio by Oretta Zanini De Vita.

What makes Italian cream, Italian cheese, Italian bread worthy of that designation of origin? History, religion, and a healthy heaping of traditional recipes, that’s what.


Chocolate: A Global History by Sarah Moss.

How did a bitter drink of Native American kings become the world’s favorite sweet? What steps lie between the humble cacao bean and the processed bar of chocolate we smoosh into a s’more? Unwrap these questions and more with this handy volume.

Mashed Potatoes

The Vortex: A Novel by José Eustasio Rivera.

The Irish are most associated with potatoes in pop culture, but few know that spuds are native to South America, which has the most spudiversity of anyplace. But like the rubber trees of this epochal Columbian novel, the natural riches of South America ferment a potent brew of exploitation.

Coffee and Pie

A Broad-Side Against Coffee, corrected and published, as very proper for this age by J.H.

Once upon a time, coffee was extremely controversial and seen as a moral and religious failing—something blamed in no uncertain terms on far-off and dangerous foreigners. Who knows what we, today, turn up our noses at in righteous indignation that may one day be accepted? Preachers on their second cup of the day would do well to take note.

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