Tag Archives: cookbooks

Literary Dinners

I love The Guardian, as might be evidenced by the frequent citations that pop up here in the Free For All.  They are darned fine journalists who not only seek out the truth, but who work together with other papers to produce the best stories possible, and who don’t put their stories behind a pay wall, allowing all of us to access quality information for free (although you do have the option to contribute to them, if you feel so moved).  I also love The Guardian because they maintain a pretty impressive sense of humor and whimsy that is difficult to maintain given the state of the world today (check out their TV reviews.  They are amazing.).  This can be evidence by their series from “The Little Library Cafe“, produced by Kate Young, which features recipes from famous (and some not-so-famous-yet) novels.

Via The Guardian: Novel recipes: cream puffs from The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield

I love this feature because it brings the world of fiction into tangible form, helping us feel the texture and the savor the tastes that language can only imitate.  Who wouldn’t want to snack on robber steak with Jonathan Harker (I mean, I don’t eat steak, but in theory?)?

And savoring this series of pieces got me thinking about food in fiction…and all those dishes that we can probably never actually get to taste.  Like what, you might ask?  Well, let’s see….

3-Course Gum from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

There was a pause. Then suddenly, Violet Beauregarde, the silly gum-chewing girl, let out a yell of excitement. ‘By gum, it’s gum!’ she shrieked. ‘It’s a stick of chewing-gum!’

‘Right you are!’ cried Mr Wonka, slapping Violet hard on the back. ‘It’s a stick of gum! It’s a stick of the most amazing and fabulous and sensational gum in the world!’

This piece of gum I’ve just made happens to be tomato soup, roast beef, and blueberry pie, but you can have almost anything you want!’

I could think of a few dishes I would rather sample than the one provided in Roald Dahl’s description, but nevertheless, I can only imagine how much it would save on dishes, cutlery, and washing-up time if you could just hand out gum at a party.  Though it would probably also cut down a bit on conversation, as well…
…But then again, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to serve it until Mr. Willy Wonka managed to work all the unpleasant side-effects out…

The cakes in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words `EAT ME’ were beautifully marked in currants. `Well, I’ll eat it,’ said Alice, `and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!’

She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, `Which way? Which way?’, holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was growing, and she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same size: to be sure, this generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.

Just a tip: never consume foods or drinks with imperative statements on them like “eat me” or “drink me” in real life.  But what always appealed to me about the food in Lewis Carroll’s classic was how he turned Victorian etiquette and rules about proper dining on their head (and shook them a few times, for good measure).  The subversive nature of this story is really embodied in the food and drink, especially the tea party, so there is no doubt any foods brought out of these pages would, at the very least, result in a memorable dinner party!

A Pan-Gallactic Gargle Blaster from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

  • Take the juice from one bottle of Ol’ Janx Spirit.

  • Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V — Oh, that Santraginean seawater! Oh, those Santraginean fish!

  • Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).

  • Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it, in memory of all those happy hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia.

  • Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle, sweet and mystic.

  • Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the drink.

  • Sprinkle Zamphuor.

  • Add an olive.

  • Drink… but… very carefully…

One of the great things about Douglas Adam’s novels is the way he makes our own cultural practice, the things we absolutely take for granted, like food and eating, and make them seem alien.  Read his passage about a tea-making machine in space, if you don’t believe me.  But this drink is perhaps the best example.  On the surface, it’s the recipe for any mixed drink on earth–but there is so much subtext, so many tiny stories mixed up in this recipe, that you just know it’s nothing that can be experienced without a trip into the further reaches of the galaxy….



…So there we have it, dear patrons.  What will you be serving at your fictional dinner party?

Five Book Friday!

From the Jefferson County Public Library

Guess what?  It’s still February.

And, to add insult to injury, the Valentine’s Day Candy is gone.

However, the Cadbury Eggs have arrived, and many a Library Blog Keeper runs on Cadbury Eggs, so things aren’t all that bad, I suppose…

But for those of you looking for a reason to celebrate this month, here are some obscure, but fun (and often delicious) holidays to observe in the coming weeks:

February 21: National Sticky Bun Day
No one knows who originally created this swirly treat, but they first arrived in this country along with German immigrants, who called the treat schnecken.  

February 22: National Cook A Sweet Potato Day
I’m not making this up.  The sweet potato is loaded with Vitamins A, C, and B-6 (which is good for your brain), as well as magnesium, and is the state vegetable of North Carolina.

February 26: National Tell A Fairy Tale Day
How cool is this day?!  I have a feeling that Lady Pole and I will have great fun celebrating, and here are some ideas for your celebration, courtesy of Grammarly.

February 28: National Chocolate Souffle Day
Here are some ideas for your celebration of this day.  We here at the Library are willing to taste-test your creation–as an act of public service.  Obviously.


Did you also know that February is Library Lovers Month, too?
You can show your support for this holiday by visiting your local library–and maybe even checking out some books!  Here are some ideas to get you started, chosen from the books that have appeared on our shelves this week:


3690159The Quality of SilenceIn this beautifully imagined and viscerally real novel, Rosamund Lupton tells the story of astrophysicist Yasmin, who arrives in the remote wilds of Alaska, along with her deaf daughter, Ruby, to be told that her husband Matt is dead.  Yasmin refuses to accept this information on blind-faith, however, and sets off into a growing storm, and into the unforgiving wilderness with Ruby to find answers…but it isn’t long before Yasmin beings to realize that someone else in out in the storm with them…and that turning back could cost them both their lives.  Lupton’s story-telling skills are very well known, and it is that talent that makes this book something more than a thriller.  As The Guardian observes, “The Quality of Silence is an elegant and icily unique thriller: you won’t read anything like it this year. I’ll bet it leaves you (like me) longing for a trip to Alaska, even if you don’t plan on swiping a truck once you’re there.”

3660905The Ex-Patriates: Janet Y.K. Lee earned a legion of fans with her novel The Piano Teacher, so the arrival of this new work is sure to bring joy to many hearts.  Here, Lee tells the intertwined stories of three American women living within the small ex-pat community in Hong Kong.  Each has a life before them, but secrets, doubts, and fears behind them, which Lee describes with poignant insight.  But it is how these women’s lives collide, and the results of their meeting that will change each of their paths forever…for better or for worse.  This is a book that manages to be both a cultural commentary and a personal journey, and Lee’s ability to navigate the different perspectives within her work is earning rave reviews.  The Christian Science Monitor hails “At turns illuminating, entertaining, cringe-inducing, piercing . . . With meticulous details and nuanced observations, Lee creates an exquisite novel of everyday lives in extraordinary circumstances. . . . How Lee’s triumvirate reacts, copes, and ventures forth (or not) proves to be a stupendous feat of magnetic, transporting storytelling. . . . Mark my words: The Expatriates will appear repeatedly on year-end award nominations and all the ‘best of’ compilations.”

3703972Lovecraft Country: “Lovecraft Country” has become a literary term that describes the somewhat bleak, mysterious New England landscapes that Lovecraft described so well in his stories, but Matt Ruff uses this term as a way to get under the skin of some of the darker, much less savory aspects of Lovecraft’s character….Frankly put, Lovecraft was a horrific racist–even by the standards of his own time he was considered rather repugnant (even by his friends), and it’s created a great deal of tension amongst many readers.  Ruff bashes through that tension with a book about a young African-American army veteran named Atticus Turner, who travels to “Lovecraft Country” in a search for his missing father along with his uncle George, the author of The Safe Negro Travel Guide–a real book that was intended to offer traveling African Americans help in navigating Jim Crow America.  Along the way, they encounter monsters aplenty, of both the mythical and all too human variety in a timely and very brave work that Booklist calls “Nonstop adventure that includes time-shifting, shape-shifting, and Lovecraft-like horrors … Ruff…vividly portrays racism as a horror worse than anything conceived by Lovecraft in this provocative, chimerical novel.”

3700424The Immortals: The multi-talented Jordanna Max Brodsky has launched a new urban fantasy series set in Manhattan, and featuring all the Gods of Olympus–though they currently wear the faces of ordinary New Yorkers.  But when the solitary young Selene DiSilva discovers a murdered woman washed ashore and wreathed in laurel, a rage she has held in check for centuries begins to rise, as does the memory of a promise she made when her name was Artemis…This book, and Brodsky’s inventive story-telling, is winning a good deal of attention, with Publisher’s Weekly giving it a star review and cheering, that it “Plays with more modern mythology, employing New York’s own secret places and storied history to great effect. This intelligent, provocative fantasy breathes exciting new life into old, familiar tales.”


3677997Citrus: If there is anything that tastes like summer and sunshine, it is citrus.  There is, perhaps, nothing better for the winter doldrums than making the food in this book…and then sharing it with your local Library Staff.



Until next week, Beloved Patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!


Today’s post, Beloved Patrons, is brought to you courtesy of jetlag, that delightful side-effect of hurtling the human body through multiple time zones at hundreds of miles per hour.  Though that description does make returning home sound something like time-travel, which sounds like fun, the actual result is that one knows neither if they are coming or going.  What I do know for sure is that there are new books on our shelves, and a long weekend coming up in which to enjoy them, and it is marvelous to be home and see all of you, and all of the lovely books once again.

Just a reminder that the library will be closed over the Labor Day Weekend, so come in on Friday to pick up your books, and we will see you again on Tuesday, September 8.  The Free-For-All will still be up and running, as ever, though, because we have no idea what time it is, and can’t stop talking about books.

3641140All Together Now: Gil Hornby’s second novel is a surprisingly fun, quirky little book about a group of lost souls who take part in a local chorus, and dare to fulfill their dreams of a region championship.  Though the premise sounds a little fluffy, this book is disarmingly honest, reveling in its characters faults and foibles, making their interactions, and their singing, something that sticks with you.  RT Book Reviews loved this one, calling it “a funny underdog tale that is transporting and yet honest. Best of all, this unique and surprisingly meaningful tale unfolds alongside a soundtrack that is sure to leave readers with a song in their hearts.”

3651672Walking With Abel: Journalist Anna Badkhen built her career on her willingness to travel to the most remote, extreme places on the globe, and in this book, she documents her time with a family of nomadic herders in the Mali grasslands, known as Fulani cowboys.  For the armchair explorer, this book is full of stunning descriptions of the African wilderness, from the Sahara to the Indian Ocean.  For those who savor the human connections that such adventures bring, Badkhen’s experiences within the family that has adopted her are completely fascinating, and their bond surprisingly touching.  The Christian Science Monitor raved, “By the time readers put the book down, they will have done something remarkable: visited a mostly inhospitable but eminently seductive locale alongside a storyteller able to render the strange and different both familiar and engrossing.”

3623461Rose Water And Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes From My Lebanese KitchenFor those who prefer their adventures to be of the culinary variety, we also have Maureen Abood’s delightful new release, featuring the sumptuous flavors of her childhood.  Along with these delicious, and surprisingly easy, recipes are stories and anecdotes about growing up in a Lebanese-American family, and the journey that Abood herself took to become the award-winning chef she is today.

3654427The Drafter: Fans who are aching for a new fix after the conclusion of Kim Harrison’s epic Hallows series will rejoice at the launch of her new series featuring renegade Peri Reed.  The year is 2030, and Peri is a Drafter, a skilled operative able to manipulate time, but cursed to forget every change that she has ever made.  But when she finds her name on a list of corrupted employees, Peri realizes that she, and her history, are being targeted by those in power–but to what ends?  The New York Times had a sensational review of this Jason-Bourne-esque thriller, calling Harrison’s writing “a smoldering combination of Alice Waters and Ozzy Osbourne.”

3644700The Automated AristocratsMark Hodder’s Burton and Swineburne novels are some of the most-well known and genre-defining steampunk novels out there today, and this sixth book brings this stupendous series to a rollicking close.  Sir Richard Francis Burton (a real historical figure, whom Hodder has fictionalized in wonderful fashion) returns from the future with knowledge of all the technological marvels yet to come, but when one of his colleagues turns traitor, Burton and his sidekick Algernon Charles Swinburne (another historic figure reinvented for this series) are forced to watch the Empire topple around them.  Now, leaders of a surviving group of revolutionaries, Burton and Swinburne must find a way to overthrow their automated overlords…at any cost.  For those looking for a wildly inventive, imagination-bending series, start with The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, the first in this series, and enjoy Burton and Swinburne’s adventures right through to the end!


Five Book Friday!

Happy Friday!  It’s been quite a week a the library, as new books coming rolling onto our shelves, and you, our beloved patrons, have come in looking for books to take to the beach, to the lake, to the mountains, and to the air conditioned living room.  However you chose to get through the heat is fine by us.  Here, for your weekend reading pleasure, are a selection of five books that are ready and waiting to join you on your adventures!

3641799The Flicker Men: Ted Kosmatka’s sci-fi thriller has been getting some rave reviews, like Publisher’s Weekly, who said “Kosmatka effectively harnesses his impressive imagination in the service of a mind-blowing plot in this outstanding SF thriller”.  My favorite review has come from author Hugh Howey, who said, “If Stephen Hawking and Stephen King wrote a novel together, you’d get The Flicker Men. Brilliant, disturbing, and beautifully told.”  When washed-out quantum physicist Eric Argus discovers a fundamental secret about the nature of humanity, he stirs up a controversy that engulfs the whole world–and exposes him to dangers he never could have imagined.

3634718The World On A Plate: A delicious blend of travel and food, Mina Holland’s book takes readers on a trip through forty different cultures and the food the eat, offering historic anecdotes, culinary advice, and her own personal revelations about why we eat the things we do. Do you know what separates North African spices from Indian?  Or why kimchi is so popular in Korea?  You will after reading this book that the Daily Mail calls a “heady mix of history, anecdotes and recipes for beginners to confident cooks alike.”

3634138Love in the Time of Scandal: Caroline Linden is a sensational storyteller, offering fans of historic romances a pitch-perfect blend of humor, sizzle, and original plots that will keep the pages flying.  In this third book in her Scandalous series, she introduces readers to Penelope Weston, who is forced to marry her former friend, Benedict Lennox, after a scandal threatens both their reputations.  Penelope can’t forget that Benedict once tried to court her sister, and Benedict is convinced that Penelope will never be the quiet, demure wife he thought he wanted…so how will they cope when the one person they never wanted turns into the only person truly need?

3630873No One Like You: Kate Angell’s newest release combines a stunning beachside setting and a charming romance that makes for the perfect beach read.  Pro-baseball player Rylan Cates needs all the help he can get as he prepares for spring training, especially in caring for his four rambunctious dogs.  Beth Avery is still looking for a place to belong, and even if she isn’t sure of Rylan, his dogs take a shine to her, ensuring that they will be spending a good deal of time in very close quarters….RT Book Reviews declares that “best feature here is the hero’s enormous Great Dane, whose huge personality and matchmaking antics make this romance a fun, lighthearted romp.”

3630379Home: Recipes to Cook With Family and Friends: I have to admit, as someone whose culinary talent doesn’t extend too far beyond critiquing the Food Network loudly, I judge cookbooks by their pictures, and by the friendliness of the author’s voice.  This book scores high in both categories; the images of the food are stunning (waffles…I need those waffles….), and Bryan Voltaggio’s love of food and feeding others shines through in his introductions and in these fairly simple recipes.  Enjoy, and feel free to share any tasty results from these recipes!

Saturdays @ the South: Go Fourth and Grill

4th of julymoney saving tipsIndependence Day means many things to many people. Clearly, there is the patriotism celebrating the birth of our nation that comes with this holiday. For some people it means the spectacular fireworks displays or the opportunity to get away for a long weekend. There are many more possibilities, but for me and my family, the 4th of July meant one thing: grilling.

I have the fondest memories about our 4th of July barbecues: the sun, the conversations, the running into the house with the food when it downpoured. (There was always at least a 60% chance that we would be rained on; it never stopped us.) Each year was met with anticipation. It was a chance to get the “good rolls” from the bakery in the next town, an excuse for my mom and grandmother to unearth the pizzelle makers to make dessert and an opportunity to have steak (if it was on sale and my grandfather liked the way the meat looked). My grandfather would helm the grill while I hovered by him. I watched as he turned the meat and waited for him to slip little tastes to me and our dog who was hovering just as eagerly on the other side of him. He taught me grill safety, how to clean it and as I got old enough, how to grill the food as well.

Despite all of these food-associated memories, these celebrations weren’t really about the food. This was partly because it was good, quality time spent with family and friends and party because the food just wasn’t that great. In my eyes, my grandfather was a god among men; he just wasn’t one that was handy on the grill. Every year, we treated ourselves to charred sausages (it was only until much, much later after I had taken over the grilling to let him relax at these shindigs that we learned to parboil the sausages to prevent the outer coating of char), tough, well-done steak and dry burgers. Our backyard barbecues were great, but they were definitely not about the food. As I got older, the roles shifted and my grandfather stood by and chatted with me while I did the grilling and slipped him and the dog a few tastes. But I also learned to make the food tastier. I taught myself to marinate and grill chicken, the aforementioned parboiling sausages trick and how to grill for vegetarians. The barbecues weren’t any less about the company, but they did become somewhat more about the food.

Part of how I learned to improve my grilling skills was through cookbooks and we have a bunch of books here at the South Branch that I can only wish had been available to me when I started grilling. To say that the world of grilling has changed for the better would be a gross understatement. People are paying more attention to meat, and even more attention to the non-meat entities that can become immensely tasty when hit with a bit of flame. One of the best ways that grilling books have improved is that they focus on the whole meal, not necessarily just what’s hitting the grill. They accompany main dishes with off-grill items that can compliment the flavor of the meat (or meat alternatives in some cases). Here are a few of my new favorites that are on our shelves right now:

Fresh Grilling: 200 Delicious good-for-you seasonal recipes3541913

This Better Homes and Garden tome is packed with mouth-watering illustrations for nearly every recipe, an introduction to grills, fuel options and an at-a-glance grilled vegetable guide that blew my mind. (Can you really put strawberries or fennel on the grill? Yes, yes indeed.) It’s not comprehensive, but that’s just makes it wonderfully manageable. This book has great, non-traditional ideas in addition to the expected fare, so you’re likely to find a new favorite recipe here.

The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook

3521785What this book lacks in photos and illustrations it more than makes up for in content. There are hundreds of recipes here that cover the usual, the unusual and the downright surprising from all around the world. Each section is broken down by meat type, plus sections on starters, veggies, marinades and rubs, and desserts. Brief essays with enticing titles like “Happy Birthday, Hamburger!” and “A Dessert that Dances on the Grill” start off each section and there are some great “Looking Back” recipes pulled from the NYT archives. Don’t let this one intimidate you. There’s a lot there, but it’s there to pick and choose as you please.

The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes

3522463Chris Schlesinger and John Willougby, both Massachusetts residents, have created a relaxed, no-nonsense attitude to grilling in this book that can be very appealing for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time or just wants good, grilled food with minimal effort. The book’s sections cover different meats plus vegetables (“Vegetables love the grill, too”) and drinks (because everyone needs a delicious wash-down after a good, grilled meal). Each section starts off with a “Super-Basic” recipe that pares grilling down to the utter essentials (usually the meat, oil, salt and pepper and that’s it) and they tell you how to cook it without killing it. If you get more comfortable, you can always try out some of the amazing flavors they have featured here in recipes that are only slightly more complicated than their basics.

Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book

3577550I’m not going to lie; local institution America’s Test Kitchen and their accompanying magazine Cook’s Illustrated have always intimidated me a bit. There is an underlying sense expecting perfection because once you’ve controlled all the elements and gotten the best ingredients, how can you not achieve greatness? My messy kitchen experiments rarely follow their expectations but there’s no denying their recipes are tried-and-true. This book doesn’t focus solely on grilling, but it does focus solely on meat. (Vegetarians will want to steer clear of this one.) The recipes include many classic restaurant dishes like Chicken Saltimbocca and Porl Lo Mein. Plus with recipe titles like “perfect poach chicken” and Cook’s Illustrated signature illustrations, it’s hard not to be tempted.

Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue

3561145I haven’t talked much about traditional barbecue because it is really a tradition of its own and aside from a slow-cooker pulled pork, isn’t really in my cooking repertoire. But I couldn’t have a grilling blog entry without at least addressing the sauce-covered elephant in the room. If you want a solid introduction to classic barbecue and smoke techniques, this book is a great place to start. Not only will Cheryl and Bill Jamison give you a solid introduction to using smoke both outdoors and indoors, but they’ve compiled a collection of great, accessible recipes with tantalizing photos. With a laid-back tone, this revised James Beard Award-winner may just make you want to spend this weekend building a smoker in your backyard.

Till next Saturday, dear patrons, have a happy, safe Independence Day, however you celebrate.

Wednesdays @ the West: Cookbook Round-Up

If you happen to wander into the West Branch on select Thursday evenings, you may notice some delectable smells that are not coming from our books (waxing eloquently on the smell of books is an entirely different post).  These smells have likely been transported from the kitchens of the talented cooks who take part in our monthly Cookbook Club.

Each month the Cookbook Club explores a different cookbook. Members make a dish and bring it to share at the meetings.  We end up with so many recipes that just a taste of each is enough.  Then we discuss our thoughts on the book in general and each recipe specifically.  And of course, we enjoy all that great food.

fasteasyfreshFor two months recently, the Cookbook Club explored The Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild.  This 700+ page treasure had far too many delectable options to try in just one month.  Over the course of two months, we tried a couple of nice soups to start any meal with; the French lentil soup was a particular favorite, but the creamy bean soup with fresh herbs and spinach also got a seal of approval.  For main courses, we sampled meatballs with parsley and Parmesan, Indian curried shrimp and orange and ginger chicken.  All of these were declared successes, although there was a consensus that the shrimp needed more curry.   Lest you think we neglected the sweeter side of things, we also enjoyed the results of the recipes for pumpkin-raisin bars and coconut rice pudding.  Overall, the Cookbook Club declares Fast Easy and Fresh to be worthy of even the most experienced cook’s time.

everythingfastFor May, club members turned their attention to How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman.  Another heavy volume, Bittman’s book comes in at an impressive 1,000+ pages.  In addition to recipes, he includes tips for speeding up the cooking process in general and a handy list of ingredient substitutions.  After each recipe, he also offers suggestions for variations and side dishes that would go well with each dish.  Although there was a general consensus that Everything Fast isn’t quite the rich resource that Fast Easy and Fresh is, cookbook club members still thoroughly enjoyed sampling Bittman’s takes on eggplant Parmesan, carrot salad with raisins and apricot-cinnamon couscous.  The couscous was the generally agreed upon favorite of the evening.  All cooks were in agreement that Bittman’s recipes are indeed a score for those who may be short on time, but not willing to skimp on taste.

pioneerwomancooksFor June, our cookbookers will turn their appetites to The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from my Frontier by Ree Drummond.  Created by a city-loving, blog-writing woman who never expected to end up as a rancher’s wife, Drummond’s image-rich cookbook promises to be chalk full of yummy comfort food.

The West Branch Cookbook Club will continue to meet throughout the summer.  If you’d like to join us on the last Thursday evening of the month, we’d be happy to have you.  In the meantime, between meetings or if you can’t make it, pop by to check out some of the West’s newest additions to our cookbook collection.

veganitalianChloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli.  While my 90 year old Italian Nonnie would say that Vegan Italian is an oxymoron, those who have tried Chloe’s take on antipasti, zuppa, pasta and dolci may respectfully disagree.

honeyandoatsDesserts with nutritional value?  Sign me up!  Jennifer Katzinger’s Honey and Oats offers healthier twists on breads, cakes, pies, cookies and more by substituting  natural sweeteners for sugar and whole grains for white flour.


pollanfamilyIf you’ve read any of  Michael Pollan’s classics on how we should be eating, you’ll know his food rules: “eat [real] food, mostly plants, not too much.”  But what does that look like in practice?  In The Pollan Family Table, Corky and Lori Pollan share their favorite real food recipes.  The resulting cookbook has fast become an award winner.

What are your go-to cookbooks?  Share your favorites with us and we may just use them for a future Cookbook Club selection or feature them in a Cookbook Round-Up.