It takes courage to turn your life upside down, especially when everyone is telling you how lucky you are. But sometimes what seems right can feel deeply wrong. My Berlin Kitchen tells the story of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement to a handsome New Yorker, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin—one recipe at a time.
Luisa Weiss will seduce you with her stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, battling with white asparagus at the tail end of the season, orchestrating a three-family Thanksgiving in Berlin, and mending her broken heart with batches (and batches) of impossible German Christmas cookies. Fans of her award-winning blog The Wednesday Chef, will know the happy ending, but anyone who enjoyed Julie and Julia will laugh and cheer and cook alongside Luisa as she takes us into her heart and tells us how she gave up everything only to find love waiting where she least expected it. (description from publisher)
Deb Perelman is one of my favorite nonfiction writers. Her blog, smittenkitchen.com, is one of the most beautiful and well-cultivated on the web. She writes with good grammar, common sense, and maturity: all too rare in the world of blogging. Her photos are sumptuous; her voice is authentic and charming; her advice is encouraging but never preachy. Her recipes range from moderate ease (mixed bean salad) to incredible ambition (Moules à la Marinière) . Most importantly, her lifestyle (which is what any blogger on any topic is ultimately selling) seems attainable, realistic, homey, and good. Now, she has “arrived,” so to speak, by getting herself published in “real life,” aka, a glossy hardcover book published by Knopf.
And what a hardcover it is! I have it checked out now, but I know I’ll be returning to it too often not to make a home on my own bookshelf for it. Most of the recipes are new, which is to say they have never appeared on the website. The design is crisp, the photos delectable, the writing full of warmth. I have no reservations whatsoever about recommending this book to anyone who has a kitchen!
Thanksgiving : How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton is a definitive, timeless guide to Thanksgiving dinner – preparing it, surviving it, and pulling it off in style. From the planning of the meal to the washing of the last plate, Thanksgiving poses more – and more vexing – problems for the home cook than any other holiday. In this smartly written, beautifully illustrated, recipe-filled book, Sam Sifton delivers a message of great comfort and solace: ‘There is no need for fear. You can cook a great meal on Thanksgiving. You can have a great time.’
With simple, fool-proof recipes for classic Thanksgiving staples, as well as new takes on old standbys, this book will show you that the fourth Thursday of November does not have to be a day of kitchen stress and family drama, of dry stuffing and sad, cratered pies. You can make a better turkey than anyone has ever served you in your life, and you can serve it with gravy that is not lumpy or bland but a salty balm, rich in flavor, that transforms all it touches. Here are recipes for exciting side dishes and robust pies and festive cocktails, instructions for setting the table and setting the mood, as well as cooking techniques and menu ideas that will serve you all year long, whenever you are throwing a big party.
Written for novice and experienced cooks alike, Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well is your guide to making Thanksgiving the best holiday of the year. It is not fantasy. If you prepare, it will happen. And this book will show you how. (description from publisher)
When journalist Beth Howard’s young husband dies suddenly, she packs up the RV he left behind and hits the American highways. At every stop along the way – whether filming a documentary or handing out free slices on the streets of Los Angeles – Beth uses pie as a way to find purpose. Howard eventually returns to her Iowa roots and creates the perfect synergy between two of America’s greatest icons – pie and the American Gothic House, the little farmhouse in Eldon, Iowa immortalized in Grant Wood’s famous painting, where she now lives and runs the Pitchfork Pie Stand.
Making Piece powerfully shows how one courageous woman triumphs over tragedy. This beautifully written memoir is, ultimately, about hope. It’s about the journey of healing and recovery, of facing fears, finding meaning in life again, and moving forward with purpose and, eventually, joy. It’s about the nourishment of the heart and soul that comes from the simple act of giving to others, like baking a homemade pie and sharing it with someone whose pain is even greater than your own. And it tells of the role of fate, second chances and the strength found in community.
These cookbooks are so excellent, you may want to make a permanent place on your bookshelf for them – I know I’ve checked each one out from DPL several times. The library can be a real lifesaver for thrifty cooks like me!
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman: Drop everything and try the recipe for “Jim Lahey’s No-Work Bread” on page 833. It will blow. your. mind.
The Good Housekeeping Cookbook: Nothing but the best, most versatile, most standard, most essential recipes. I have checked this book out at least 5 times, and I’m always finding something new to try. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on their recipe for roasted red potatoes!
Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook: Although I’ve never joined Weight Watchers, I’ve always loved their cookbooks. All the recipes are flavorful despite being light, and the included nutrition facts are helpful for any weight loss goals. Recipes in this newest WW book run the gamut from the easy (Turkey Chowder: ten ingredients and 5 hours in your crock pot) to the hard (Tandoori Lamb with Almond-Apricot Couscous: unfamiliar ingredients with a big flavor payoff). Bonus: includes a large and very yummy vegetarian section.
The Sneaky Chef: how to cheat on your man (in the kitchen): Cooking healthy food for picky eaters is tough, whether they’re your kids or your spouse! This book is full of ingenious ways to hide healthy ingredients in hearty, familiar foods that anyone would love. Want to learn how to sneak cauliflower, zucchini, white beans, or yogurt into your mashed potatoes to cut down on fat and boost nutrients? How about adding spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and zucchini to chili for a hearty and decadent meal with a serious nutritive punch? Awesome.
In Herbivoracious: A Vegetarian Cookbook for People Who Love to Eat, Michael Natkin offers up 150 exciting recipes notable both for their big, bold, bright flavors and for their beautiful looks on the plate, the latter apparent in more than 80 photos that grace the book. This is sophisticated, grown-up meatless cooking, the kind you can serve to company–even when your guests are dedicated meat-eaters.
An indefatigable explorer of global cuisines, with particular interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and in East and Southeast Asia, Natkin has crafted, through years of experimenting in his kitchen, dishes that truly are revelations in taste, texture, aroma, and presentation. A third of the book is taken up with hearty main courses, ranging from a robust Caribbean Lentil-Stuffed Flatbread across the Atlantic to a comforting Sicilian Spaghetti with Pan-Roasted Cauliflower and around the Cape of Good Hope to a delectable Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans and Tofu. An abundance of soups, salads, sauces and condiments, sides, appetizers and small plates, desserts, and breakfasts round out the recipes.
Natkin, a vegetarian himself, provides lots of advice on how to craft vegetarian meals that amply deliver protein and other nutrients, and the imaginative menus he presents deliver balanced and complementary flavors, in surprising and utterly pleasing ways. The many dozens of vegan and gluten-free recipes are clearly noted, too, and an introductory chapter lays out the simple steps readers can take to outfit a globally inspired pantry of seasonings and sauces that make meatless food come alive. (description from publisher)
Katie Workman, founding editor in chief of Cookstr.com and mother of two school-age kids, offers recipes, tips, techniques, attitude, and wisdom for staying happy in the kitchen while proudly keeping it homemade—because homemade not only tastes best, but is also better (and most economical) for you.
The Mom 100 Cookbook is 20 dilemmas every mom faces, with 5 solutions for each: including terrific recipes for the vegetable-averse, the salad-rejector, for the fish-o-phobe, or the overnight vegetarian convert. “Fork-in-the-Road” variations make it easy to adjust a recipe to appeal to different eaters (i.e., the kids who want bland and the adults who don’t). “What the Kids Can Do” sidebars suggest ways for kids to help make each dish. The Mom 100 Cookbook is sure to help you keep your family fed and happy every night of the week. (description by publisher)
Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson is a charming collection of updated recipes for both classic and forgotten cakes, from a timeless yellow birthday cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, to the new holiday standard, Gingerbread Icebox Cake with Mascarpone Mousse. Make every occasion–the annual bake sale, a birthday party, or even a simple Sunday supper–a celebration with this charming collection of more than 50 remastered classics.
Each recipe in Vintage Cakes is a confectionary stroll down memory lane. After sifting through her treasure trove of cookbooks and recipe cards, master baker and author Julie Richardson selected the most inventive, surprising, and just plain delicious cakes she could find. The result is a delightful and delectable time capsule of American baking, with recipes spanning a century. Richardson guides home bakers–whether total beginners or seasoned cooks–toward picture-perfect meringues, extra-creamy frostings, and lighter-than-air chiffons.
With recipes to make Betty Crocker proud, these nostalgic and foolproof sweets rekindle our love affair with cakes. (description from publisher)
Inspired by her beloved blog, dinneralovestory.com, Jenny Rosenstrach’s story is many wonderful things: a memoir, a love story, a practical how-to guide for strengthening family bonds by making the most of dinnertime, and a compendium of palate-pleasing recipes.
Claiming that a committed family dinner every night helps strengthen the bonds of a family, Dinner: A Love Story provides recipes for easy-to-prepare family dinners including roast vegetables with polenta, spicy shrimp with yogurt, and homemade pizza. With simple strategies and common sense, Jenny figured out how to break down dinner—the food, the timing, the anxiety, from prep to cleanup—so that her family could enjoy good food, time to unwind, and simply be together.
Every meal is a real meal, one that has been cooked and eaten and enjoyed at least a half dozen times by someone in Jenny’s house. With inspiration and game plans for any home cook at any level, Dinner: A Love Story is as much for the novice who doesn’t know where to start as it is for the gourmand who doesn’t know how to start over when she finds herself feeding an intractable toddler or for the person who never thought about home-cooked meals until he or she became a parent. This book is, in fact, for anyone interested in learning how to make a meal to be shared with someone they love, and about how so many good, happy things happen when we do. (description from publisher)
Make way, cupcakes—it’s whoopie pie time! Everyone is falling in love with America’s classic sandwich treat—two soft cookies with a creamy filling. Now, baker extraordinaire Claire Ptak takes the humble whoopie pie to new heights in The Whoopie Pie Book.
Here are 60 irresistible recipes—made with fresh, seasonal ingredients—that show home bakers how to make the components for more than two dozen distinctive, flavorful whoopie pies from Classic flavors to frozen varieties to holiday-themed desserts that are sure to become favorites.
The Whoopie Pie Book will inspire and guide every time the whoopie-pie urge hits! (description from publisher)