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Food Matters: From Eric Asimov to Rachael Ray, BookPeople’s stellar food line-up

Addie Broyles
Smitten Kitchen blogger Deb Perelman has recently released her first book, which includes a recipe for plum poppy seed muffins.

BookPeople has a stellar food line-up in the coming weeks, including back-to-back appearances Thursday and Friday with New York Times wine columnist Eric Asimov and Smitten Kitchen blogger Deb Perelman.

First up is Asimov, whose newest book, “How to Love Wine” (William Morrow & Company, $24.99), is one of the most honest pieces of writing on wine I’ve read. At 7 p.m. Thursday he’ll talk about some of the topics he covers in the book: why Americans drink more wine than they ever have but still feel a sense of guilt about not knowing more about it, how living in Austin as a graduate student at the University of Texas helped shaped his own personal wine journey and why, in this world filled with every imaginable wine guide, encyclopedia and how-to book, he chose to write a book on the subject in the first place.

At 7 p.m. Friday, blogger Deb Perelman will be talking about her much-anticipated debut cookbook, “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.” Perelman isn’t just another food blogger who happened to score a book deal; the New Yorker — who cooks and photographs all the recipes in the book in her 42-square-foot kitchen — quit her job to blog full time way back in 2008 and is on an extensive book tour through the end of the year. For the book, she created an almost entirely new set of recipes, including these plum poppy seed muffins, that all reflect the down-to-earth persona that has drawn so many readers to her blog over the years.

The food schedule picks up again on Dec. 10, when Tyler Florence will host a book signing and talk for his newest cookbook, “Fresh” (Clarkson Potter, $35), at an event that starts at 7 p.m. At 6 p.m. Dec. 13, I’ll host a Q&A with Rachael Ray, whose latest book, “My Year in Meals” (Atria, $29.99), is a day (well, 365 of them) in the life of the tireless — and Austin-loving — TV host and author.

The following day, Friday, Dec. 14, Dai Due chef/co-owner Jesse Griffiths will speak about his hunting cookbook memoir “Afield” at 7 p.m., followed by a book signing sponsored by Edible Austin. To have a book signed at any of these events, you must buy the book at BookPeople, and some of the events require a wristband for the signing. For details and more information, go to or call 472-5050.


Locally roasted beans raise money for wildflower center

This beautiful fall weather is for enjoying outside, and when you’re down at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, check out the gift store, where you’ll find Bluebonnet Blend Coffee from Texas Coffee Traders ($12.95 for 12 oz., $14.95. for 16 oz., $3.95 for a 2 1/2-oz. sample pack). The certified organic, shade-grown, fair trade coffee from Costa Rica is roasted with a hint of vanilla nut, and a portion of proceeds benefit research and education programs at the Southwest Austin center. Also available online at


10 flour blends to help you make muffins, pizzas and more

A year ago, a trio of young entrepreneur bakers took over Bona Dea, which had been a bread delivery service, to turn it into a gluten-free flour company. They now sell 10 flour blends — bun, two kinds of bread, cookie, scone, muffin, pancake, pizza and two all-purpose — online, with some of the mixes available at Whole Foods Markets on North Lamar and Gateway, Fresh Plus on West Lynn, Thom’s Market, In.gredients and the Wet Whistle. Restaurants and bakeries such as Hopdoddy, Happy Vegan and Hearthstone Bakery use their products in some of their gluten-free items.

US Foods recently signed on to carry their gluten-free bun mix, which means you’re likely to see gluten-free hamburgers pop up on menus across the city in the near future. The flours cost $20 to $27.50 for the 5-pound bags, $5.95 to $6.95 for the single batch mixes. For more information or to purchase, go to, where you’ll also find recipes, including one for persimmon spiced scones.

Plum Poppy Seed Muffins