Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cookbook Love: What I'm Reading

My cookbook collection has expanded considerably this summer and the content has gotten much, much richer. I use to be a collector of coffee table cookbooks - pretty to flip through, but not so practical for the home cook- but nowadays, I'm all about practicality and application.

Yes, gorgeous photos are still appreciated, but writing, style, fresh ideas and personality all take precedence as well.

That said, here are some recent acquisitions that I can't put down, clutter my night stand and counter tops, and are already getting a tad splatted...

250 Home Preserving Favorites by Yvonne Tremblay.

If there is a Canadian queen of jam, it's probably Yvonne. She's pretty much the quintessential Prairie girl who grew up making jam & jelly alongside her mother and grandmother. Fortunately for us, she shares her favorite recipes in this new cookbook that is jam-packed (terrible, pun, I know) with inspiration.

250 Home Preserving Favorites begins with a thorough primer on preserving (Thank. You. Yvonne.) covering everything from The Fundamentals of making jam to Choosing and Preparing Fruit & Vegetables. The entire section is crammed with tips, obviously learned from years of experience and is worth the price of the book alone.

Then, the recipes!
Yvonne already won me over with her Micro-Mini Jams, explored and tested over at Simple Bites. The book also contains a bevy of both single and mixed fruit jams, conserves, marmalades, fruit butters (we love those!) and chutneys.

Oh, there's also a few mincemeat recipes. You'll recall I made mincemeat for the first time last Christmas. Well, I'll be giving these new recipes a go come November.

Ideal for the fledgling or veteran jammer, I recommend 250 Home Preserving Favorites for anyone who loves preserving food in jars.

Lighthearted at Home by Anne Lindsay

Yet another Canadian girl! Culinary icon, Anne Lindsay is probably familiar to many of you and in this new cookbook she gives us over 500 --um, wow!-- recipes with a 'lighter' side to them.

Basically, I've adopted this cookbook as my new 'Joy of Cooking'. Anne pack so much into this hefty hardcover book, with recipes from appetizers to desserts and everything in between. The hard part? I want to try everything!

Recipes are easy to read and follow, the photos are splendid, and the tips on healthy eating an added bonus.

I particularly love the creative menu planning ideas, as I entertain often.

Lighthearted at Home is an extremely well-rounded, feel-good cookbook. It's one you want to buy and slip into your kids' suitcase when they leave for college. I can't wait to try the other, oh, 490-some recipes, that are calling to me!

The Berry Bible by Janie Hibler.

Who doesn't love berries? OK, my kids don't, but that is besides the point. I'm loving my advanced copy of The Berry Bible and its 175 recipes for berries of all kinds.
These are gorgeous and original recipes; just the section on poultry paired with all sort of succulent berry sauces and glazes is enough to get the tummy really, really rumbling.

Oh, and did I mention that the first half of the book is an A-Z encyclopedia on berries worldwide? Yep. There's no question this is Janie Hibler's area of expertise.

Just one quibble about the Berry Bible: no photos. Yeah.
Now, I read cookbooks the same way others read novels, I'll devour them, photos or no photos, but this could be an issue for those of you who are more visual.

However, my advice? Get in line for a copy of The Berry Bible.

Poor Girl Gourmet by Amy McCoy

I've already waxed eloquent over my love of Amy's cookbook, but in no way has it gotten shuffled to the bottom of the pile or pushed aside as new books arrive.

It stays on my counter with my other favorites (pictured at the top of the post) and is getting plenty of use. In fact, I'm packing a jar of her Tangy Barbecue Sauce for our upcoming camping trip to the Maine coast.

Sure, go ahead and leave a comment: What cookbook is getting the most use this summer in your kitchen?


Jennifer Jo said...

At present, A Taste of India by Madhur Jaffrey.

And as it's summer, The Perfect Scoop by Lebovitz, of course.

Kara said...

Love this! I'm a big reader of cookbooks (often marking things for Chris to make or for us to make together)

I keep looking at the Poor Girl Gourmet book ... and looking ... and looking ... I think your testimony might be the final push to purchase :-)

Best wishes! Happy vacationing! Enjoy Maine :-)

Melissa said...

I cracked open an older book of mine. Caprial's Bistro Cuisine. After revisiting it, I've decided I really like NW cuisine. Made a killer summer corn & asparagus risotto from it!

Kimberly said...

Currently on my counter: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, Crescent Dragonwagon's Passionate Vegetarian, The Food Substitutions Bible, Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures.

PS - Not sure what part of Maine you'll be visiting but if I can be helpful in anyway just send along an e-mail (

Katie said...

I think I need some Canadian cookbooks! Currently on my counter is Pioneer Woman's and American Classics by Cooks Illustrated. The Berry Bible sounded wonderful until you said "no photos". I do so much better with photos. My next purchase will be Lighthearted At Home.

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