cookbook4.jpgIf you’re like most people, you’re interested in food. We have a lot of great cookbooks at the library, but we can’t keep them all. In order to make room for new selections like the ones above, we have been weeding our shelves. If you drop by the library this week or next, you might find a few great books on our sale table. But don’t wait…they won’t be around forever! (They’re only 25 cents, so people are grabbing them up by the armload!)

Happy cooking!

Vegetables, Schmegetables!

I’m not a fan of vegetables. I blame this on my mother who, bless, mostly fed us green things that came in a can or were previously frozen. Her preparation methods included throwing them into a huge pot of boiling water, or…wait, that was pretty much it. No wonder my aversion to the green stuff carried over into adulthood.

I must say that my husband has done wonders to turn my hatred of produce into something closer to toleration. I’ll probably never love vegetables, but I’ll eat them when they’re steamed, broiled, sauteed or roasted. It turns out, the way you make them really changes how they taste.

Lately, I’ve been trying to add more veggies to my diet for a variety of reasons. But sometimes, when I’m in the grocery store, I see vegetables I either don’t recognize or I have no idea what to do with the ones that seem vaguely familiar.  I’d like to expand my repertoire (I’m sure my husband wishes for that, too), so I’m going to take out a bunch of magazines and cookbooks to find some inspiration. We have plenty of great items at the library to look through.  Maybe someday I’ll even be able to claim that I “love” veggies. Cross your fingers.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in knowing more about in-season vegetables, I came across a great website that has everything clearly laid out. And Then We Saved not only shows you what to buy right now, but to understand that by buying in season, you’ll save money!


Now, if I could have someone come to my house to make everything for me!

Eat Your Book!

With all the controversy around ghost writers  and cookbook authors, this is timely.  How about a cookbook you can eat!

Photo by Korefe

Gerstenberg Publishing House has come up with an edible cookbook. Each page is a sheet of pasta, embossed with the idea that using the book will make a delicious lasagna.  Since this is in German, people are saying it doesn’t actually include the instructions on how to make it, but the idea is fun. (The goodness really is baked right in!)

It’s really quite pretty, each page designed with art in mind (and hopefully, food), and you can see the entire group of photos right here.  Would you buy this book for yourself, or someone else?

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

For all of our Canadian followers and patrons of the library, Thanksgiving weekend is just around the corner.  Don’t forget that we have plenty of magazines with great ideas for decorating your table, new recipes and fun crafts for the kids while the adults sit and chat over pumpkin pie.  If you’d like to try something new at your dinner, there are so many wonderful cookbooks available….desserts, gluten-free recipes, vegetarian, pot-luck ideas and more!

If you drop in now, you’ll have time to prepare your shopping list and get everything ready for next weekend.   I made these little pilgrim hats and bonnets for one of our display windows, but you could make life-sized versions to hand out to the kids before dinner. Fun!

Gobble gobble!

Will it look like the picture?

A lot of people enjoy reading cookbooks.  Yes, I’m one of them.  I read them from cover to cover and if I never make a recipe from a pretty new cookbook, it’s okay.  I just enjoy going through the recipes and looking at the pictures. But sadly, not all cookbooks have pictures. However, I came across a wonderful website that incorporates both drawing and cooking, if you can believe it.  It’s called They Draw & Cook.

The brother and sister illustration team of Nick Padavick and Salli Swindell have done countless magazine layouts, but the idea to illustrate food came out of Padavick’s love for cooking and Swindell’s chance drawing of one of his recipes. They realized how fun it was to draw food and put together this great website. 

You can search by random recipe, or choose something based on ingredients.  Each recipe is creatively illustrated and makes you want to give it a shot. You can submit recipe ideas yourself, or just follow their blog to see the things they’re working on.  This is a fun site that you’ll want to return to over and over.

What’s that flavour?

This past weekend, with all the snow falling, it felt like a great time to make some comfort food.  I happened across a recipe in a Martha Stewart magazine for Beef Bourguignon Soup and I dashed to the store and bought the ingredients.  While the soup was tasty (after several additions to bring in some more flavour), it wasn’t what I had expected.  Would I make it again?  Probably not, although it was the perfect type of meal for the weekend, it got me thinking about another book that I read about  recently, The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit.

What is this book exactly?  It’s not a cookbook, but rather a book that explores flavour pairings.  Segnit realized one day that she always relied on recipes while she was cooking and was never adventurous enough to come up with new ideas (and didn’t really know how). We’ve all seen chefs on TV whipping up fantastic creations with items that we’d never think to pair together, and it often makes me wonder how they know.  Do they learn this is cooking school?  Is it just instinct?  Or is there some scientific formula that makes for great pairings.  Seems that it is a little of everything.

When I first read an article on this book, a seasoned chef reviewed the work and praised its simple ideas.  He raved about how this could transform everyday cooks into world-class chefs if they gave it a chance, and claimed that he would have breezed through his Cordon Bleu cooking school classes if he had known even half of these pairings.  so what exactly does Segnit do here that is so new?  She takes 99 basic flavours (strawberry, coffee etc) and researched just what would pair with them best.  Sometimes, the pairings are traditional ( bacon and egg) but more often, she explores the nontraditional pairings like mango & avocado.

This isn’t a cookbook in the traditional sense, although there are recipes intertwined throughout the pages (many complaints about this being confusing, but she doesn’t market this as a cookbook). It’s a reference book, done in the non-traditional fashion with plenty of anecdotes and history about her choices.  It might be a great book for someone who likes to cook, but be warned that it isn’t for someone without some cooking knowledge.

If you’d like to read more about the book, you can stop here.

There are plenty of links to articles about this book and reviews, so surf around if you are interested in finding out more.  I’m going to order myself a copy, I think.  If it revolutionizes my cooking, I’ll be sure to gift this book to several of my foodie friends.

Cookbooks…do you like them?

I read a lot of cookbooks.  Yes, from cover to cover, for the most part.  There is nothing like a shiny new cookbook filled with beautiful glossy pictures of the food you can create with the recipes inside. To me, it’s almost like Christmas going through the pages.  What will I find?  Will I discover a new recipe that I just can’t live without?  The possibilities are wonderful!

So, when I came across a blog entry today from the Allen County Public Library in Indiana, I was fascinated!  A book club for cookbook lovers! The group meets and discusses one new cookbook a month and the results are posted on their blog right here. They talk about what they liked and disliked about the cookbook, the photographs and even how the author writes.  They also sampled a couple of recipes from the author’s blog (although I’m sure they were also found in the cookbook). This is a nice change from regular book clubs, who probably don’t do much more than a bowl of chips for their refreshments (okay, I’ll probably get a few arguments here, but you get the point.)  This form of book club also offers a variation on a cooking club where members meet and bring (or make) several recipes and discuss what they liked or disliked.

If you’d just like a few new cookbooks to look at, we’re always putting out new ones on our shelves (cookbooks are some of the most popular books in the library!). Some of the more recent ones that I’ve looked at and enjoyed, either for the recipes or the pictures or both, are:

Araxi : Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant by chef James Walt

This cookbook is a new Canadian offering and has wonderful pictures and exotic recipes (although I think many of them could be made at home). The pictures here are clean and well presented, making the food enticing!  You can also see more of this cookbook here or visit the Araxi website here.

Ghoulish Goodies by Sharon Bowers

Here’s a fabulous idea cookbook for that one special night! I’d purchased this book for the library quite some time ago, but I made myself wait until just recently to catalog it so I’d be in the mood. I’m working on Halloween Craft Night ideas, so this was perfect to take home and devour!  The recipes are simple and extremely creative and there are lots of ideas for your Halloween party or just dinner on that night.  The fun thing about this is the section at the back which gives you a few ideas about what to do with recipes once Halloween is over (fall themes etc.).  They also have a great website with many of their recipes posted.  I especially like the idea of candy corn pizza (not really candy corn) but they have a few really great ideas!

And finally:

Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum

I have been thinking about Christmas baking, merely thinking about it, but I took this cookbook home for a little inspiration and I think I’ll take a few recipes from the book and try them this year.  Most of the recipes in here are very standard, so you can’t go wrong but there will be something for anyone who is looking for a new idea. Traditional is always best at Christmas, or so my husband tells me. Beranbaum has a super website filled with recipes, videos and lots of great ideas!

Have you read any great cookbooks lately?