Father’s Day is just around the corner, so what do you get the book-loving man in your life? History buff, foodies, or thrill-seekers – we’ve collaborated with Hachette Australia and Hardie Grant Books to bring you some savvy choices for the dad(s) in your life this weekend.
We combed their titles for books that are informative, entertaining and beautifully produced — so here are our top picks for blokes.
A Book About Cheese: How to Choose It, Serve It and Eat It
Hardie Grant Books
There’s nothing like a specialty subject well told, so if you thought a book about cheese was, well, too specific, then think again.
Milk. Made, a handsomely-bound volume filled with beautiful photographs of mouth-watering dishes, is fascinatingly informative as writer Nick Haddow and photographer Alan Benson crisscross the world visiting cheese makers and experts.
This excellently laid out book is as much about recipes — it has more than 70 recipes for dishes including croque monsieur, onion soup with grilled cheese croutons, beetroot and feta tart, sour cream scones, classic fondue and more — as it is about the history of cheese and cheese making.
Milk. Made tells how to make, store and serve cheese making it a must-have for both the cheese lover and the home cook.
Our Greatest Explorer
By Robert Macmillan
Journalist Robert Macklin is the author of 27 books, among them four on the SAS and Australia’s Special Forces including the best-selling SAS Sniper. Now he looks back at Hamilton Hume, the Australian-born explorer whose profound understanding of Aboriginal people helped him in his journey across the Blue Mountains.
Macklin’s account of Hume explains how his achievements in creating a land route from Sydney to Port Phillip have been played down in deference to the English-born soldiers, sailors and surveyors who have long dominated stories of exploration in our colonial history.
Hamilton Hume reveals the story of the brave Australian who, Macklin says, had an almost “mystical” relationship with the Australian bush. This saw him lead settlers from the cramped and sometimes shocking conditions of Sydney Town to the fertile country beyond the mountains that would eventually become the food bowl and provide wealth to the new nation. A fascinating read about one of our often-unsung heroes.
Salads and other classics from a little deli that grew
Linda Malcolm/Paul Jones
Hardie Grant Books
Another great-looking book that is more than a mere cookbook. Part social history, part recipe book by Linda Malcolm and Paul Jones, founders of the buzzy cafe Alimentari, it is the story of the little Fitzroy deli that sprang up in the late 1990s in Brunswick Street and now has a bustling branch in Smith Street, Collingwood.
What makes this book different to many other cookbooks by restaurateurs is that it does away with the marketing spin. Instead it uses direct and unpretentious language to tell a great story of building a business and building relationships.
“Alimentari” is Italian for “good food and camaraderie” and Malcolm and her now husband, chef Paul Jones, share recipes and beautiful pictures of their approach to food.
Imagine Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking crossed with the Arthur Street Kitchen and you get an idea of Alimentari’s Mediterranean-meets-Middle-Eastern cooking. The beautifully photographed and organised book has easy-to-follow recipes from the cafe for breakfasts, dinners, sandwiches, wraps, desserts, cakes and, of course, the incredible salads for which it’s famous. The ideal book for the fuss-free home cook.
75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia
By Michael Veitch
Actor and comic Michael Veitch brings a historian’s research skills but a storyteller’s panache to little-known episodes of Australia’s history. In his sixth book he tells the big World War II story of Australia’s 75 Squadron in New Guinea when its barely trained pilots fought the Japanese in the skies for 44 days.
In March and April 1942, RAAF 75 Squadron defended Port Moresby for 44 days when Australia truly stood alone against the Japanese.
The young recruits in their Kittyhawk fighters had an unlikely leader, a tubby, balding, 35-year-old Queenslander with poor eyesight named John Jackson. He was also fearless and charismatic. Against all odds the squadron succeeded though many were injured or died in the long battle.
In an interview with Daily Review, Michel Veitch said the might, skill and superior equipment of the Japanese found an unlikely and formidable opponent in the 75 Squadron and Jackson who, he says, was “a magnet for the young men he led who thought they had no chance against the tiny and nimble Japanese Zero aircraft”.
Hack in a Flak Jacket
Wars, riots and revolutions – dispatches from a foreign correspondent
By Peter Stefanovic
Karl’s little brother Peter Stefanovic has been a foreign correspondent for Channel 9 news and 60 Minutes for almost a decade. Sure, he’s had to cover big events that require no bullet-proof vests, Michael Jackson’s death among them, but he’s also worked in the war zones of Europe, the US, Africa and the Middle East.
In that time he has witnessed death, destruction and heartbreak but, with characteristic candour, tells stories of covering events ranging from the funerals of world leaders and icons to war zones and natural disasters. In 2014 Peter was nominated for a Walkley Award for his coverage of the war in Gaza.
The fast-paced stories in Hack in Flak Jacket reveal what it’s like to work to a deadline when alone with a news crew in some of the most inhospitable corners of the globe.
The Lost Chapters of Australia’s Beginnings
Hardie Grant Books
Archaeologist and “history nerd” Nick Brodie has long been fascinated by Australia’s history and not just its British colonial beginnings from 1788. He goes back to look at the other explorers who visited the great Southern land and the Indigenous Australians who had lived and prospered here for thousands of years before them.
Brodie’s accessible writing is not about voyages of “discovery” to Australia but about the big picture of the rise and fall of empires, the shifts in global economies and their impact on Australia. By looking at Portuguese, Dutch, Malay, French, and British interactions with Australia from the late Middle Ages to 1788 his book 1787 tells of the stories of first encounters between Indigenous Australians and foreigners.
This is a fascinating story that engagingly details the stories and encounters in our history — long before the British were bound for Botany Bay.