Cooking

We don't often think of cookbooks as reading material, but these five books go beyond recipes to explain the history behind the foods we eat or the science underlying everyday food preparation.  Delicious illustrations as well!

Also available in: e-book

Cakes in America aren't just about sugar, flour, and frosting. They have a deep, rich history that developed as our country grew. Cakes, more so than other desserts, are synonymous with celebration and coming together for happy times. They're an icon of American culture, reflecting heritage, region, season, occasion, and era. And they always have been, throughout history. In American Cake , Anne Byrn, creator of the New York Times bestselling series The Cake Mix Doctor, takes you on a journey through America's past to present with more than 125 authentic recipes for our best-loved and beautiful cakes and frostings. Tracing cakes chronologically from the dark, moist gingerbread of New England to the elegant pound cake, the hardscrabble Appalachian stack cake, war cakes, deep-South caramel, Hawaiian Chantilly, and the modern California cakes of orange and olive oil, Byrn shares recipes, stories, and a behind-the-sceneslook into what cakes we were baking back in time. From the well-known Angel Food, Red Velvet, Pineapple Upside-Down, Gooey Butter, and Brownie to the lesser-known Burnt Leather, Wacky Cake, Lazy Daisy, and Cold Oven Pound Cake, this is a cookbook for the cook, the traveler, or anyone who loves a good story. And all recipes have been adapted to the modern kitchen.

Master 50 simple concepts to ensure success in the kitchen. Unlock a lifetime of successful cooking with this groundbreaking new volume from the editors of Cook's Illustrated, the magazine that put food science on the map. Organized around 50 core principles our test cooks use to develop foolproof recipes, The Science of Good Cooking is a radical new approach to teaching the fundamentals of the kitchen. Fifty unique experiments from the test kitchen bring the science to life, and more than 400 landmark Cook's Illustrated recipes (such as Old-Fashioned Burgers, Classic Mashed Potatoes, andPerfect Chocolate Chip Cookies) illustrate each of the basic principles at work. These experiments range from simple to playful to innovative - showing you why you should fold (versus stir) batter for chewy brownies, why you whip egg whites with sugar, and why the simple addition of salt can make meat juicy. A lifetime of experience isn't the prerequisite for becoming a good cook; knowledge is. Think of this as an owner's manual for your kitchen.

"After 20 years in the test kitchen, we've discovered the best methods for approaching essential cooking techniques and a wide range of recipes. We also know what questions home cooks will have, and what problems they'll face. In this landmark project, we share everything we've learned, from simple knife skills and cookery fundamentals, such as whipping egg whites, to perfecting recipes like pepper-curated filet's mignon and layer cakes"--Amazon.com.

What's a good cozy mystery without humor and recipes?

Kernel of truth by Kristi Abbott

Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson's bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she's ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her popcorn-loving poodle Sprocket to start a new business:naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordelia 'Coco' Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses. a But when Coco's niece, Alice, discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, those dreams go up in smoke. The local sheriff thinks Coco was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but Rebecca isn't so sure. As suspects start popping up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a jiffy! a Includes popcorn related recipes! 

White colander crime by Victoria Hamilton

A tourist-trade boon boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies. At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter. Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries--and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie's beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering the entire Fretter family had its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie's not convinced by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she's going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas--especially with the real killer ready to kill again. INCLUDES RECIPES!

Merry market murder by Paige Shelton

Bailey's Farmers' Market is this season's go-to holiday destination, but not all the vendors are feeling the Christmas spirit... Jam and preserve maker Becca Robins is excited about the extra business that the Ridgeway Christmas Tree Farm is bringing to the market this holiday season. But when a competing tree farmer, Reggie Stuckey, arrives with a truck full of trees, angrily barking that he has exclusive selling rights at the market, Becca finds herself pining for more goodwill toward men. After Reggie is found with a tree stake in his chest, she wonders when the Christmas tree business turned so deadly. Now Becca has to use the only clues she has to the killer's identity--mysterious ornaments that begin to show up in her stall--to hook a sinister Scrooge who will go to any lengths to drive home a point...
 

Share a Story: A Fine Dessert

We had a great time reading A Fine Dessert and making the delicious Blackberry Fool that went with it. We looked at how making this simple dessert has changed over 300 years and then tried out some of the different technologies used.

If you missed it, create your own culinary adventure at home with some of the following stories. 

 More Stories About Food (with recipes!)

Hasty pudding, Johnnycakes, and other good stuff: cooking in colonial America by Loretta Frances Ichord ; illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis

Bring me some apples and I'll make you a pie: a story about Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley

International Cooking

Barefoot in Paris: easy French food you can make at home by Ina Garten ; photographs by Quentin Bacon ; food styling by Rori Trovato ; styling by Miguel Flores-Vianna

My Paris kitchen: recipes and stories by David Lebovitz ; photography by Ed Anderson

Ciao Tuscany: recipes from the PBS series, Cucina Toscana by Damian Mandola & Johnny Carrabba ; with John Demers ; photography by Watt Matthews Casey, Jr

The food and cooking of Russia & Poland: explore the rich and varied cuisine of Eastern Europe in more than 150 classic step-by-step recipes illustrated with over 740 photographs by Elena Makhonko and Ewa Michalik

Teens cook dessert by Megan Carle

A cookbook for beginners and for all those interested in pursuing an eco-friendly lifestyle, includes one hundred favorite recipes and tips for eating on a budget in a healthy and environmentally friendly way.

Presents a cookbook with more than one hundred and fifty recipes inspired by Suzanne Collins "The Hunger Games" trilogy, including French bread from the Mellark Family bakery, Katniss's favorite lamb stew with dried plums, Rue's roasted parsnips, Gale's bone-pickin' big game soup, Capitol-grade dark chocolate cake, and more.

New Cookbooks/ Holiday Cooking

Vegetarian/ Vegan Cooking

Vegan holiday cooking from Candle Cafe: celebratory menus and recipes from New York's premier plant-based restaurants by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, & Jorge Pineda ; photography by Jim Franco ; forewords by Alicia Silverstone and Laura and Woody Harrelson

Vegan holiday kitchen: more than 200 delicious, festive recipes for special occasions by Nava Atlas ; photographs by Susan Voisin

How to cook everything vegetarian: simple recipes for great food by Mark Bittman ; Illustrations by Alan Witschonke


For those who cannot cook well or do not enjoy it

What We're Reading: June 2013

We're not just reading, we're watching DVDs, listening to audio books and music.

Hustle. The complete season one [videodisc]: the con is on

The school of essential ingredients [sound recording] by Erica Bauermeister

The blue room [sound recording] by Madeleine Peyroux

The autistic brain: thinking across the spectrum by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek

Fatherhood: and other stories by Thomas H. Cook

Battle of the Cupcakes

On Saturday, July 28 at 11:00 AM, test your baking skills in our Battle of the Cupcakes. Bring three delicious cupcakes for our panel of judges to evaluate on both taste and presentation.

Your cupcakes should be from the same recipe so our three judges are all tasting the same thing. Prizes will be awarded for the winners in the following three age categories:

  • Tweens (Ages 11-12)
  • Teens (Ages 13-18)
  • Adults (above age 18)

[cupcakes with a reading list by shimelle is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

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