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)
For every dinner service, there is a staff meal, family-style celebrations prepared by chefs for their crew. The meals are never on the menu, but are designed to show appreciation, provide energy for the evening, and more importantly, please even the pickiest palate. Off the Menu brings you behind-the-scenes profiles of the country’s top restaurants, and explore the tradition of the staff meal.
Each night, sous chefs, line cooks, waiters, busboys, dishwashers, and managers all gather to eat, socialize, and plan before opening for business. Ranging from small plates to multi-course extravaganzas, from an inspired use of leftovers or entirely new offerings, the concept is simple: a well-fed staff is a happy one. Guggiana has taken the most remarkable, soulful, and mouthwatering of these dishes and translated them for the home cook. You will find more than 80 recipes from 50 of the nation’s top restaurants. Each entry includes profiles of the restaurants, behind-the-scenes trips to the kitchens, and dining out tips, restaurant tricks, and cooking techniques from the cream of the culinary crop.
Pull back the curtain on the staff meal, and find new, exciting ways to feed your family from the best in the business.
In this exquisite and very personal book, Martha Stewart welcomes you into her world, where she entertains in the beautiful style that she has made so famous. Whether a simple blueberry breakfast on a Sunday morning in Maine or a more lavish holiday dinner at Bedford, each of the gatherings is equally memorable, for what Martha cherishes above all is spending time and sharing delicious food with her family and friends.
Featuring elegant and casual affairs held throughout the year and a diverse collection of enticing recipes, Martha’s Entertaining shows us—in the broadest and most lovely fashion—what it really means to entertain and host today. From an afternoon Easter egg hunt for children to a festive Halloween dinner held inside her horse stable to a spring garden fête amid the most glorious beds of peonies, Martha’s parties offer a glimpse inside her beautiful homes.
All of the events feature menus and delicious yet approachable recipes: Tomato and Gruyère Toasts, Mini Crab Cakes with Tarragon Tartar Sauce, Tiny Tuna Burgers, Braised Short Ribs, Roast Turkey Breast with Sage Butter, Rhubarb Crumbles, Blueberry Jam Tartlets, and Chocolate Honey Ice Cream with Butterscotch Sauce, plus some of Martha’s favorite drinks, including Pomegranate Cosmopolitans and Honeydew Mojitos.
Set among Martha’s dining rooms, kitchens, gardens, and patios, this is her most intimate book yet, a new classic for hosts and home cooks of every generation. (description from publisher)
This beautiful book, The Viennese Kitchen by Monica Meehan, based on an original notebook and recipe journal of a 1900s baroness, takes readers on a journey through fin de siecle Viennese high society.
With over 100 original recipes, all of which have been tested and brought up to date for the modern cook, it is not only a wonderful collection of recipes but also a fascinating look at the life of a Viennese family. Filled with anecdotes and personal stories to bring the recipes to life, this book is a charming insight into a bygone era. The classic recipes cover a variety of dishes both savory and sweet, with a strong emphasis on the desserts and pastries for which Vienna is famed. Enchanting photographs of Vienna grace the book, capturing the architecture, cafe culture, and beauty of this elegant city.
A unique combination of old-fashioned chutzpah (becoming your own boss) and cutting edge technology (using twitter to tell your customers where you are), food trucks are all the rage. Significantly cheaper to open than a traditional brick-and-mortar restuarant, food trucks open the door to a better life for newly arrived immigrants (bringing authentic recipes from home) to a creative outlet and financial independence for wannbe-chefs and foodies. Plus, yum!
Food Trucks by Heather Shouse tours the country exploring the funky world of street food, from Hawaii to Los Angeles (ground zero for taco trucks) to Miami to New York City. You’d think (at least I did) that food trucks would be most prevelant on the coasts and in the southern, warmer states, but there are plenty of trucks worth seeking out in the Midwest (Madison, WI especially), the North and the Northwest. Interestingly, Chicago is considered a food truck backwater - city regulations prohibiting cooking in the truck means the food has to be prepared offsite, although it looks like that will be changed soon.
Not quite a cookbook (although there are more than 40 recipes) and not quite a travel guide (although you’re going to want to hunt down some of these gems), Food Trucks is a fun look at a piece of Americana that is alive and kicking. Plus, again, yum!
Summer is here at last and that means the Farmers’ Markets and your backyard garden are filled with the bounty of the season. Take advantage of the harvest with some help from the following books:
Cooking in the Moment by Andrea Reusing – Interspersed with short essays and gorgeous photographs of Reusing’s farm and kitchen, this friendly cookbook celebrates simple food cooked with love through the seasons.
Cooking from the Farmers’ Market from William-Sonoma – As you would expect from Williams-Sonoma, this cookbook is beautiful and stylish and offers multiple recipes for each fruit and vegetable featured. Recipes are sophisticated but not out-of-reach.
Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers and Artisans by Darry Estrine – Here’s a slightly different approach – following the growers and creators using the best ingredients. The emphasis is on family favorites and local delicacies across America.
Seasonal Recipes from the Garden by P Allen Smith – Low-key and approachable, this cookbook makes you feel like you’re exchanging recipes with a good friend. The recipes are favorites of P Allen Smith and his family and celebrate the backyard bounty of the garden.
The Art of Preserving from Williams-Sonoma – Keep some of that summer goodness for the cold days of winter. Not only does this book show you how to make delectable jams and jellys and salsas and relishes, it gives you multiple ways to use them in tasty dishes.
Here is almost 70 years of history one cookie at a time. The editors of Gourmet magazine (which recently ceased publication) went through their vast files of cookie recipes and chose one “best” cookie for each year, 1941-2009. The result is The Gourmet Cookie Book, a treasure trove not just of recipes, but as a reflection of our history.
Presented year by year, it is remarkably easy – and fun – to watch how recipes and baking have changed over the years. Early recipes are much more casual than what you may be used to now with instructions like “bake in a moderate oven until done” or “add flour until stiff”, indicating that they assumed that the reader was an experienced cook; more recent recipes give precise measurements and directions.
The style of recipes has also changed – early on, they are written in an almost conversational style, in paragraph form very different from the now standard list of ingredients followed by mixing instructions. Each recipe is presented as it originally appeared in the magazine but never fear – added notes take the guesswork out of anything that might be unclear.
It’s also interesting to track the trends and interests of the country through the years. The 40s reflect the lean years of wartime shortages and food rationing – cookies are simple and plain, using few ingredients. Recipes became more daring in the 60s with many international flavors, the 80s were the decade of chocolate and the 90s see the introduction of espresso as a regular ingredient. The look of cookies changes through time too, from simple shapes to colorful and complex. Yet they all hold one thing in common – they’ve all stood the test of time and they all taste great.
Though there are several food-related adult mysteries to blog about (my favorite is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by C. Alan Bradley, which Ann blogged about earlier) I’m choosing instead to highlight a delightful childrens book with a food theme — Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.
Polacco has written (and also beautifully illustrated) many fine stories for the younger set, and some of those, such as Pink and Say, have some pretty weighty underlying themes. But Thunder Cake is just a fun, family story which not only “teaches” about rain and thunderstorms, but also about how to put a cake together. By ignoring the thunder and keeping busy gathering ingredients, Grandma effectively dispels her granddaughter’s fear of thunderstorms. At the end of the story, you’ll find the recipe, which includes a surprise ingredient — tomatoes! I used this book back when I was a school library-media specialist and I’m looking forward to the time when I can use it again when my own granddaughter is old enough to want to make cakes herself.