God bless Susan Schadt. As the progeny of a long line of sportsmen, to the level of religiosity, quite literally, Schadt makes Christmas (and birthday and Father's Day) shopping a breeze. The former Arts Memphis head is the visionary behind the acclaimed Wild Abundance cookbook and photo journal First Shooting Light, which documents Mid-South hunting lodges.
My Christmas-shopping woes are relieved yet again this year as Schadt, through her 2015 imprint Susan Schadt Press, has released another quality production, titled Reel Masters: Chefs Casting About with Timing and Grace.
Reel Masters adopts the cookbook model again, this time exploring favorites of award-winning chefs from the South, while also sharing their stories and secrets, all centered around fishing.
"There are eight award-winning and celebrated chefs taking us to their favorite gems and secret spots, where we shot photos of them," Schadt says.
Chefs include Kelly English, John Currence, John Besh, Donald Link, Walter Bundy, Chris Hastings, Jeremiah Bacon, and Kevin Willmann.
Lisa Buser rose to the task as photographer for this book, the eye behind Wild Abundance, A Million Wings (which explores duck hunting across the Mississippi flyway), and Memphis: Sweet, Spicy & a Little Greasy (pretty self-explanatory).
Most of the text is from the chefs — meditating on why fishing is important to them, why it is important for conservation, and why it is important to the culinary world — accompanied by recipes.
"They talk about growing up fishing, fishing with their parents or grandparents, and why it's important to them," Schadt says.
There are also fishing tips from the chefs as well as other fishing guides.
Proceeds from each Schadt book has supported either Arts Memphis or Ducks Unlimited. A percentage of profits from Reel Masters will go to support a charity of each chef's choosing.
Schadt's next signing event will take place on Tuesday, December 6th at Besh's new event space, Pigeon & Prince, at 129 Camp in New Orleans. Each chef will be in attendance and will share a dish along with New York Times outdoors columnist Peter Kaminsky, who wrote the foreword for the book.
For more information, visit susanschadtpress.com.
On the other side of that coin, I also come from a family of women who love to compare and contrast their special recipes. Enter Joy Bateman. Bateman (a senior account executive for Flyer parent company CMI), is the visionary behind The Art of Dining cookbook series. She has produced The Art of Dining in Memphis 1 and 2, The Art of Dining in New Orleans 1 and 2, and similar books for Amelia Island, Nashville, and Knoxville.
Happy Holidays to me and the women in my family. Bateman just released her third installment of the Art of Dining in Memphis, featuring recipes from 53 area restaurants.
"It's not just a cookbook. It's also a restaurant guide that gives you places and ideas of some of the best food and restaurants in that city," Bateman says.
She first got the idea while standing outside a small bookstore in New York, where she noticed a cookbook highlighting various New York eateries, illustrated by the author.
Bateman, who comes from a long line of artists and who is a celebrant of good food, thought she'd give it a try herself.
Between publications, she always keeps her eyes and ears, and tastebuds, peeled for what to include in her next publication.
"There are more restaurants than I could possibly include in the book," Bateman says. "I have to end it somewhere, or I would still be writing it."
Bateman will have two signings this week: Thursday, December 1st at Booksellers at Laurelwood at 6 p.m, including Champagne and door prizes, with music by Rick Camp; and Friday, December 2nd at the Woman's Exchange of Memphis, 88 Racine.
Her books can also be found at RSVP Stationers, More Than Words Gifts, Ménage Fine Stationery & Gifts, as well as online at joysartofdining.com.