Lifestyle blogs are the ‘thing’ right now.  Young House Love, Perfectly Imperfect, Smitten Kitchen, and Pioneer Woman are all written by bloggers who are getting famous simply for letting readers into their homes  (I like to think of them as still life reality stars.)  The best bloggers combine a sharp wit, unique voice, beautiful photos, a glimpse at the personal, and easy to follow how-tos.  Many of these bloggers have published books that you can check out from the Davenport Public Library, so stop by and check them out!

Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik
Apartment Therapy Presents by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan
The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte
Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson
The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman
The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

fried walleyeWith its corn by the acre, beef on the hoof, Quaker Oats, and Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, the Midwest eats pretty well and feeds the nation on the side. But there’s more to the Midwestern kitchen and palate than the farm food and sizable portions the region is best known for beyond its borders. It is to these heartland specialties, from the heartwarming to the downright weird, that Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie invites the reader.

The volume brings to the table an illustrious gathering of thirty Midwestern writers with something to say about the gustatory pleasures and peculiarities of the region. In a meditation on comfort food, Elizabeth Berg recalls her aunt’s meatloaf. Stuart Dybek takes us on a school field trip to a slaughtering house, while Peter Sagal grapples with the ethics of paté. Parsing Cincinnati five-way chili, Robert Olmstead digresses into questions of Aztec culture. Harry Mark Petrakis reflects on owning a South Side Chicago lunchroom, while Bonnie Jo Campbell nurses a sweet tooth through a fudge recipe in the Joy of Cooking and Lorna Landvik nibbles her way through the Minnesota State Fair.

These are just a sampling of what makes Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie – with its generous helpings of laughter, culinary confession, and information – an irresistible literary feast. (description from publisher)

german kitchenChristopher and Catherine Knuth take you into Oma’s German kitchen, sharing traditional comfort food to warm your heart. These authentic recipes, including meatloaf, rouladen, sauerkraut and seafood, bring the diverse tastes of Germany to your table.

Complete with clear instructions as well as full-color food and location photography, The German Kitchen is more than just a fantastic German recipe book. It is almost as though you are being taken by the hand on a cooking tour of Germany, where you would learn the recipes and techniques needed to cook culinary specialties such as goulash soup, beef rouladen, pork chops with mustard sauce, and spicy, herb-infused seafood native to the riverside outskirts of Hamburg.

Learn how to cook traditional German recipes without having to leave the comfort of your own kitchen. With enough seafood, vegetable, meat, dressing and dessert recipes inside, transform your kitchen into a truly German kitchen. (description from publisher)

new midwestern table“The Midwest is rising,” writes Minnesota native Amy Thielen – and her engaging, keenly American debut cookbook, with 200 recipes that herald a revival in heartland cuisine, is delicious proof. Amy Thielen grew up in rural northern Minnesota, waiting in lines for potluck buffets amid loops of smoked sausages from her uncle’s meat market and in the company of women who could put up jelly without a recipe. She spent years cooking in some of New York City’s best restaurants, but it took moving home in 2008 for her to rediscover the wealth and diversity of the Midwestern table, and to witness its reinvention. The New Midwestern Table reveals all that she’s come to love – and learn – about the foods of her native Midwest, through updated classic recipes and numerous encounters with spirited home cooks and some of the region’s most passionate food producers.

With 150 color photographs capturing these fresh-from-the-land dishes and the striking beauty of the terrain, this cookbook will cause any home cook to fall in love with the captivating flavors of the American heartland. (description from publisher)

great balls of cheeseRemember the nut-covered, pink-colored cheese balls served at grandma’s house for the holidays? Well, these are not your grandma’s cheese balls. Find out just how different and inventive they can be in Great Balls of Cheese.

Updated for contemporary tastes, Michelle Buffardi’s cheese balls come in both savory and sweet flavors, like cheddar, blue cheese, and Buffalo wing sauce, or Bing cherry, rum, and pecan. And cheese balls are just part of the story. Many of the recipes are in adorable shapes for all kinds of occasions, such as an Easter egg, Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ornament, or a football for a Super Bowl party. Other designs are just plain fun, like the Nacho Cat, a Wise and Cheesy Owl, or one that looks like a pizza fresh from the oven. There is so much interest in bringing old-fashioned foods back into style, and this is no exception.

Perfect for food lovers with crafty flair or anyone who loves to entertain, this book, with more than fifty inventive recipes and designs, is sure to be turned to again and again. (description from publisher)

soul foodSoul Food is an insightful and eclectic history,  where Adrian Miller delves into the influences, ingredients, and innovations that make up the soul food tradition.

Focusing each chapter on the culinary and social history of one dish – such as fried chicken, chitlins, yams, greens, and “red drinks” – Miller uncovers how it got on the soul food plate and what it means for African American culture and identity. Miller argues that the story is more complex and surprising than commonly thought. Four centuries in the making, and fusing European, Native American, and West African cuisines, soul food – in all its fried, pork-infused, and sugary glory – is but one aspect of African American culinary heritage. Miller discusses how soul food has become incorporated into American culture and explores its connections to identity politics, bad health raps, and healthier alternatives.

This refreshing look at one of America’s most celebrated, mythologized, and maligned cuisines is enriched by spirited sidebars, photographs, and 22 recipes. (description by publisher)

flying brownieWhether it is a family member that lives across the country, or a loved one away on business, attending college, or stationed abroad in the military, everyone loves to get a treat in the mail that says “thinking of you.” It would be even more meaningful if that treat could be homemade, or is a number of different snacks, sweets, and tastes of home to make someone living far away feel closer.

Shirley Fan’s The Flying Brownie is the first and only book devoted to making, packing, and adding creative, homemade touches for food gifts that can be shipped a long distance. It features 100 recipes for baked goods and other snacks and treats, each with precise storage instructions and storage times. The book also offers plenty of guidance in navigating the various rules and restrictions of postal services, customs, and even secure military installations.

Separate chapters are devoted to brownies and bars, cookies, candies and confections, breads and quick breads, extra-light items for inexpensive shipping, savory foods, and mixes to be assembled upon delivery. From a veteran of the Food Network Kitchens and a registered dietitian, this is a reliable and inspiring guide that is sure to bring those families and friends who live apart closer together through the very same thing that unites them when they live together: good food. (description from publisher)

 

moosewoodMoosewood Restaurant Favorites is a delicious collection of classic recipes in brand new versions, from the beloved restaurant. Founded in 1973, the Moosewood Restaurant revolutionized vegetarian cooking by introducing delicious soups, satisfying sandwiches, warming casseroles, zesty entrees, spiffy salads, and divine desserts.

Moosewood Restaurant Favorites contains 250 of their most requested recipes completely updated and revised to reflect the way they’re cooked now – increasingly vegan and gluten-free, benefitting from fresh herbs, new varieties of vegetables, and the wholesome goodness of newly-rediscovered grains. This mouthwatering cookbook includes favorites like: Red Lentil Soup with Ginger and Cilantro, Sweet-Potato and Black Bean Burrito, The Classic Moosewood Tofu Burger, Caramelized Onion Pie, Peruvian Quinoa Salad, Confetti Kale Slaw, Vegan Chocolate Cake, Moosewood Restaurant Brownies, and Apple Spice Cake with Sesame Seeds.

Including a guide to natural-cooking techniques, Moosewood Restaurant Favorites is the next classic book on their much-loved cookbook shelf. (description from publisher)

relishLucy Knisley is an illustrator who loves food.  Raised by foodies before they would have been called foodies, Knisley writes and draws about her life through the lens of the meals that she ate.  Foie Gras, Kraft Mac and Cheese, apricot jam filled croissants, sushi, fresh tamales, and cherry tomatoes right off the vine all bring back significant memories in Knisley’s life and pepper Relish: My Life in the Kitchen with funny stories and delicious recollections.

I had read Knisley’s previous foray into food themed graphic novel memoirs French Milk, about her trip to Paris with her mother following her graduation from college, and I wasn’t particularly impressed.  But after reading positive reviews of Relish, I decided to give Knisley another chance.  I am so glad that I did.  She seems to have found her voice (and a better editor) for this book, and has included delightful illustrated recipes at the end of each chapter.  It left me wishing that she would write a full graphic novel cookbook.  Each of these recipes calls back to a specific memory in Knisley’s life, from childhood to the present, shaping the person she has become.  Knisley’s passion is infectious, and this would be a great read for anyone with a lost young adult in their life.

four season farmBarbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman are America’s foremost organic gardeners and authorities. Barbara is the author of The Garden Primer, and Eliot wrote the bible for organic gardening, The New Organic Grower. Today they are the face of the locavore movement, working through their extraordinary Four Season Farm in Maine. And now they’ve written the book on how to grow what you eat, and cook what you grow.

The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook is two books in one. It’s a complete four-season cookbook with 120 recipes from Barbara, a master cook as well as master gardener, who shows how to maximize the fruits – and vegetables – of your labors, from Stuffed Squash Blossom Fritters to Red Thai Curry with Fall Vegetables to Hazelnut Torte with Summer Berries. And it’s a step-by-step garden guide that works no matter how big or small your plot, with easy-to-follow instructions and plans for different gardens. It covers size of the garden, nourishing the soil, planning ahead, and the importance of rotating crops. And, at the core, individual instructions on the crops, from the hardy and healthful cabbage family to fourteen essential culinary herbs.

Eating doesn’t get any more local than your own backyard. (description from publisher)