This has been a busy fall for folks in the local food business with books coming out, births, graduations, and prizes. Plenty of good news and blessings to count. Close to home, two longtime Chronicle Cuisines contributors have new books in stores this month, while another produced her first child. Thanksgiving weekend, Rachel Feit and husband Paul Wintle welcomed Ulysses Hudson Wintle into the world at Seton Hospital. Young Master Wintle weighed in at seven pounds, eight ounces and is 20 inches long. We're glad to have him in the Cuisines family... Last year, Rebecca Chastenet de Géry was hired by Chronicle Books of San Francisco to collaborate with twin Bay Area caterers Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford on a cookbook. The new book, Skewer It!: 50 Recipes for Stylish Entertaining (Chronicle Books, $21.95, paper), is just out, and Rebecca is in negotiations to work on the twins' next book... Meanwhile, our resident raging Cajun, Pableaux Johnson, was chosen by Lonely Planet Productions to write the New Orleans edition of their growing World Food line of guidebooks. World Food New Orleans: Creole, Cajun & Soul for People Who Live to Eat, Drink and Travel (Lonely Planet, $13.99, paper) is the essential guide to the culture of food and drink in New Orleans and South Louisiana. Look for excerpts from and reviews of both new books in next week's Cuisines section... This summer's terrible drought and blistering temperatures were not kind to area farmers, but for the second year in a row, Boggy Creek farmer Carol Ann Sayle used the downtime in August and September to write and self-publish a book. Talk about making hay while the sun shines! Last year it was a cookbook, and this year Sayle adapted some of the hilarious and heartwarming stories about farm life from the not-to-be-missed "Friend of the Farm" e-mails (firstname.lastname@example.org), and added some of her own charming illustrations. The result is Stories From the Hen House (self-published, $8.95, paper), a genuinely delightful collection of vignettes that capture hen house life from pecking order to poop. Both books are for sale at the weekly farmstand (3414 Lyons Road, 926-4650)... Third-generation Austin restaurateur James Lee Brockman recently completed his course of study at New York's French Culinary Institute plus externships in some top NYC restaurants and returns to Austin this week. No word yet on where he'll be working, but we know he'll be hosting a dinner for the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Project Transitions fundraiser in February... Austin's favorite chef/food scientist, Dr. Foo Swasdee, is no stranger to awards at the annual Fancy Food Shows. This year, she wowed the crowd with a new import product, Gemsugar, herbal crystal sugars made by a slow process of the natural crystallization of pure cane sugar and herbal extracts. The resulting sugar crystals are subtly flavored and colored jewels that can be used to flavor hot or cold drinks or as decorations on desserts. Swasdee imports Gemsugar from her native Thailand and has added it to her stellar line of Satay sauces and condiments. Gemsugar is available at both Central Markets and Satay restaurant (3202 Anderson, 467-6731)... Sweetish Hill artisan bread baker Chris Mace-McLatchie recently competed in the Western regional baguette and specialty breads competition at the San Francisco Baking Institute and placed second. Regional winners become members of the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA, which will compete for the prestigious Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (the World Cup of baking) held in Paris in April 2002.
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