Monday, March 31, 2014

Standard Recipes for 50: Metric Edition: For employee cafeterias and other large food services.

Standard Recipes for 50: Metric Edition: For employee cafeterias and other large food services.  Paperback book spiral bound published by The Australian Government Publishing Service 1986, 255 pages.

“This book contains recipes for larger quantities of food. The first edition of Standard Recipes for Fifty was written and published in 1942. This is the twelth revision or reprint since then and the object has been to progressively incorporate changes to help users keep abreast of developments in the large-scale catering field and improve the quality of food produced in their services. Full account has been taken of nutritional and cost considerations, with the number of recipes included in this volume exceeding seven hundred of proven popularity.”

It seems like just yesterday that I wrote about a similar book that concentrated on the catering of salads for large numbers of people… or small numbers of large people. This title was published a few years later and obviously covers a broader range of food as the world is not made up of salad alone.  It caters for Australian tastes in large quantities and apparently was an excellent source of catering information here in Australia for many years, with nursing homes being particularly fond of some of the more Aussie dishes such as Sweet and Sour Pork, Moussaka and Meatballs in Curry Sauce.  It does also have a recipe for Lancashire Hotpot that serves 50.

I always imagine someone who is about to have a big dinner party, or has been roped into catering for a wedding (on the cheap) wanting/needing a book such as this.  I look forward to one day being invited along to a feast of Mock Chicken Croquettes, Sausages Duchess with Meatloaf.  I have of course picked out the choiciest recipes and have failed to mention the various potato salad recipes (…yes more salad), minestrone etc. that abound in this volume. 

This copy does have some marks and minor stains on more than one page… a good indicator that it’s a book that you can go back to for at least a second serve.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Magic in Frosting by John McNamara.

Magic in Frosting by John McNamara.  Paperback book (spiral bound) published by Kopykake Enterprises 1980, 104 pages with colour photographs.

INTRODUCTION: We are certain that you will find this to be the most different and complete book ever written and photographed on the subject of Figure Piping with soft frostings.

Frances is the originator of the “portrait cakes”, and is known nationally as “Frances the Cake Lady”. She has made numerous personal appearances on Television and cake decorating shows across the country.

John is the originator of the world famous “Pink Elephant Cake.” He is the world’s foremost authority on Figure Piping, and holds Lifetime Teaching Credentials in the Art of Cake Decorating.

President of KOPYKAKE Enterprises, Inc. Gerry is the inventor and developer of the KOPYKAKE machine and many other cake decorating aids currently in use internationally.

These are the three people responsible for this book.  Frances, John and Gerry were obviously masters of their craft and people who truly understood the fine art of cake decorating.  All those cake decorating shows back in the day, must have been in complete awe of cakes such as:



Yeah, forget about Bieber. Lawrence Welk is the guy we want on our cakes.

Obviously this book is a little out of date, but there are techniques and ideas here that are timeless.  This dragon cake would not be out of place at todays childrens parties…

OK… It’s not a dragon, it’s a dinosaur.  With a little bit of imagination and artistic license, one could easily turn it into a dragon… or even better… you could buy this app, which has nothing to do with this book, and just build a castle:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Out of Water: From Abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World’s Water Problems by Colin Chartres and Samyuktha Varma.

Out of Water: From Abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World’s Water Problems by Colin Chartres and Samyuktha Varma.  Hardcover book published by Pearson Education 2010, 230 pages with black and white photographs and illustrations.

This book is concerned with a broad range of issues which are causing problems with water shortages worldwide.  These problems include: “urbanization, industrialization, changing diets, biofuel production, and climate change” all of which are “aligning to exacerbate the crisis”.  Here in Australia we seem to have an increasingly regular drought cycle which is intermittently interrupted with years of plentiful rain/floods.  Fortunately we don’t have shared land borders that could cause issue with neighbours re who is entitled to how much of a diminishing supply (or a totally diminished supply).  This can only be a good thing as it appears that water is set to become one of the big issues world wide in the same way that oil now is.

There are those who poo poo these sort of “outlandish” thoughts.  The Australian prime minister and his Party whilst acknowledging that drought exists, seem reluctant… OK, I’ll write it… “are” reluctant to admit that climate change is a real issue in relation to these droughts and climate issues, not only world wide but particularly here in Australia.  Obviously money is involved somewhere, whether its in cutting funding to our Climate Commission or repealing our carbon tax legislation, they seem hell bent on continuing down some strange suicidal path.

“As water shortages lead to food and health crises, they may trigger greater social unrest and, thus, foster terrorism and potentially water wars.” 
Publishers Blurb

There are lots of things about water that we all take for granted (... or maybe i just take for granted) and this book is one that looks at the problems and solutions.  Water is important and a book such as this is a great place to start considering some of the issues associated with it and the lack of it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fresh Fruits, photographs by Shoichi Aoki, edited by Mark Sanders.

Fresh Fruits, photographs by Shoichi Aoki, edited by Mark Sanders.  Paperback book published by Phaidon 2006, unpaginated with colour photographs throughout.

Phaidon publish many wonderful, colourful and “of interest” books.  I’m very tempted to compare them to Taschen except of course Taschen have a slightly different take on the whole art, architecture, photography, and design thing than Phaidon does.  But I guess it’s the first comparison I thought of so… I guess that’s what I would compare them to… but maybe with less pornography.

This is a great book from 2006 and is a sequel to an earlier volume entitled Fruits.  The images are a compilation of photographs taken from a Japanese magazine also called Fruits, which documents Japanese teen street fashion.  This is not the stuff of Japanese salary men working long hours 7 days a week, but rather a joyful/playful journey through the world of colour and fun.  The theatre of some of these outfits is not lost in translation and it’s fairly clear that all of these people are passionate and serious about what they wear.

(The following photos have all been cropped as the edges were slightly blurry.  All of the photographs are taken on the streets of Tokyo. The book was difficult to scan.)

This isn’t the first copy of this book that I have found to sell and the very first copy I ever saw was at a friends house sitting on a shelf, face out.  The last copy I had took a while for someone to appreciate* and this copy hasn’t had much interest as of yet.  I think it’s a great book which is one of those titles that is just waiting for the right person to come along and…

* Buy.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara by Jorge Castaneda.

Companero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara by Jorge Castaneda.  Hardcover book published by Bloomsbury Publishing 1997, 456 pages with a few black and white photographs.


“In thinking of Che Guevara, one picture that comes to mind is the Christ-like image captured by Freddy Alborta of the revolutionary as martyr. The Bolivian army, who had executed the cornered and dejected Guevara the day before that photo was taken at Vallegrande, had not reckoned on his beatification as the emblem of courage and political sacrifice by a whole generation of students and activists.”

Che Guevara, revolutionary and poster boy.  A man whose face has adorned a million t-shirts around the world with an image probably as well known as a certain imperialistic soft drink.  That image is not the image mentioned above. The Christ like image the publisher is trying to convey as being important, is something completely different, possibly more in tune with that final image of Mussolini that this usually not so squeamish bookseller, remembers as being a truly nasty one.  “Christ like”?  Yeah, I get the comparison.  He’s lying down and he’s dead.  He has a beard and he has hair… and there are those that worship him.  

Che and some other blokes

The question is, was Che the Justin Beiber of his generation?  Probably not…  definitely not.  In 47 years from now, I doubt very much that I’ll be writing about a biography of the out of control, but well loved (by some) Canadian pop star… or about his image appearing on t-shirts.  Sorry Justin, but my belief is that in 47 years time Che will probably still be on t-shirts as those true beliebers out there will never let his memory fade.  For now though, I’m fairly sure that Justin is outselling Che in the t-shirt department.  What does this mean?  Do you think a Beiber biography is a book of interest?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Saints, Sinners and Goalposts: A History of All Saints East St Kilda by Colin Holden.

Saints, Sinners and Goalposts: A History of All Saints East St Kilda by Colin Holden.  Hardcover book with pictorial boards published by Australian Scholarly Publishing 2008, 313 pages with black and white photographs and a few colour and sepia photographs. 

For a number of years now I have eagerly bought and fortunately sold many local histories.  These histories are often, but not always, of smaller groups within larger communities, some examples being surf life saving clubs or religious groups… a few of  which I’ve written about previously.  Recently I’ve become a little more selective as some of these histories have inexplicably become not as popular as they once were.  It’s either that, or my selection isn’t what it once was and the decline in sales is not so much due to the market, but due to the marketer (that’s me).

This lovely history of All Saints East St Kilda is a real eye catcher… which is probably why it caught my eye.  What is striking about it is the dust jacket, which on first appearance is a generic all purpose design meant for any book. It consists of a patterned crucifix and crown, which doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out has some sort of religious significance and therefore leads this bookseller to believe that it’s not generic and is a design feature (… I could be wrong). There is no writing but it is slightly transparent, allowing some of the larger text on the cover to be visible.  This lends a sort of mystery to the book which is what attracted my eye to it in the first place.  The cover looks great as well and it’s not often that I mention how beautiful the layout of a book is, but this one does deserve a mention.  It looks great.  The people of All Saints East St Kilda should be proud of their book. 

Despite my appreciation for this books art and design, I do believe it’s going to be a sitter.  One of those books that I will have for a while.  This is purely down to the subject matter.  The fact that it is of a Melbourne inner city church, means it has a little more history than an outer suburban church, and this is a definite plus.  The church thing is where my faith stalls a little, but I’m happy to be wrong.  (Maybe I’ll mention this one to the Bishop and see what he thinks.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bookseller vs Book Dealer

So what’s the difference between a bookseller and a book dealer?  This is more of a tricky question than one would imagine it should be.  Last weekend I was put into a position where I freely admitted to be being a book dealer.  I am a book dealer, someone who deals in books.  I don’t care who I sell too and as much as I enjoy selling wonderfully bound vintage volumes on obscure topics, I’m also happy to sell the latest Wilbur Smith to someone who wasn’t even aware that there was a new one.  There are lots of books in between these two bookends and I’d happily sell em all if I could.  If another book dealer wants to buy a book from me, go ahead, I’m happy to oblige as I do have a mortgage and some of those bills on my fridge sit there a bit longer than I’d like.  In a perfect world I would sell only those books that I love and really believe in… and then slowly starve.

After admitting to being a "book dealer", there began a tirade about low life “book dealers” by a “bookseller” here in Clunes.  I later admitted to also seeing myself as a bookseller.  It was at this point that I realised that I didn’t really know what the difference was.  I went home and seriously thought about this issue for a little bit longer than I probably should have.  What sort of stinking mess have I put my foot into?  Thankfully the internet, which is not just about cat photos (don’t look so surprised), was able to help, not so much with information, but with a lack of information, on a difference between the two.  The few bits that I did find were quite enlightening.

“When one uses the words “book dealer” to someone who is not in the business, what is often pictured is a poorly lit and cramped bookstore in the poorer side of town, with shelves sagging from the weight of too many dusty but beautifully hand carved leather wrapped collectibles. In the corner of the store is an over stuffed chair, with a goose neck lamp looking over the shoulder of the dealer, who sits and puffs on his pipe while reading. This well educated and well read, slightly grumpy (but in an oddly kind way) old timer is more at home with his books, and the store cat, than with customers. He knows that the customer really does not understand his books, and he hesitates to sell them - preferring to adopt them to a good home. He is as independent as his cat (maybe that's why he likes the store cat - they share a secret). When he does finally sell a book, it is for lots of money, and he takes great care in preparing the book for it's long and dangerous journey to its new home. Wrapping it in plain paper and tying a string lovingly around the package before passing it over the cluttered counter to the eager and very happy customer. His strong sense of independence does not allow him to ACT like he really needs the sale - even if he does.”  from IOBA Standard  

That sort of doesn’t really describe me… but you could say I lean slightly in that direction, even though I don’t have a cat and I don’t smoke a pipe.  OK… the more I think about it, it’s not really me.

There’s an interesting forum discussion at,
that deals directly with this question.  One “voice”, possibly one of the very few voices on the www tackling the topic,  suggested that,

“I think of book dealers as those who have a high knowledge of the book world, have huge resources at their disposal, contacts, years of experience, and tend to work at the high end market. They have a great love of books. Book sellers, may have the same qualities, but not usually. They are out for the all mighty dollar. They look at books as nothing more than a commodity- roll em in, shove em out. They're after volume sales and in many cases, price is not a consideration.”

… neither of which is really me and both of which I would like to do more of.

Another interesting reference that came up in my on line search was an article about well known book person, Larry McMurty in the The New York Times entitled “Secondhand Book Wrangler; A Pulitzer Prize Winner Is Also a Profitable Bookseller”.  Well that’s a fairly direct headline.  He’s a bookseller.  His opening lines in the interview were:
 ''I'm Larry McMurtry,'' he said by way of introduction. ''I'm a book dealer in Archer City.''

 Now that’s enough to confuse even this confused book… whatever I am.

The overall impression I got during my on line quest for an answer to this question of the ages, was that there is no difference.  A lack of any solid definition or difference between the two and a lack of further information on the topic, has lead me to this conclusion.  I asked a well known fellow book seller/dealer for an opinion on this matter… he always has an opinion.
I wrote:
“Had a heated discussion last night here in Clunes and without giving too much away, what is the difference between a "bookseller" and "book dealer"?  I look forward to your response.”
He wrote:
“None whatever.  You are obviously associating with idiots and/or wankers. No good can come of this. I suggest you stop talking to these people and spend your time listing books.”

Harsh but sage words from a master.

Finally, I found this definition of a bookseller:
“a dealer in books; a merchant who sells books” 
They also had a definition of a bookdealer:
“a dealer in books; a merchant who sells books” 

Yes, I deal in books and yes I sell books.  I sell books on a regular basis.  I sell all sorts of books to all sorts of people.  I love selling books.  My business card refers to me as a bookseller, but book dealer would also be appropriate.

I’ve written this blog entry partly as a reply to my “accuser”.  If he or anyone reading this would like to comment or direct me to further information, please do not hesitate.  A lengthy reply in the same spirit as this blog entry would also be great.  I will happily post it… with your references.