We all have our weaknesses, some a bit more challenging than others. If you read my article on Cookbook and Food Magazine addictions then you’d know about my publicly admitted foibles. Apparently I still cannot show restraint as I have recently added to my growing addiction collection. I’ve come across some truly fantastic cookbooks and entertaining books recently; some are hardcover some are softcover, not that this even makes a difference but for my own increasing insanity of the ‘ever-growing library’ I’ve divided sharing my findings with you into Part Deux, hardcover and Part Trois, softcover. This is completely getting out of hand; I now have an on-going three part cookbook saga!
Let’s start with the most endearing one, Junior Leagues, In the Kitchen with Kids Everyday Recipes & Activities. As you remember from the first article I am a former ‘active’ Junior League member of the Junior League of Boca Raton who with hundreds of other women played an important role in putting together Savor the Moment, Entertaining without Reservations, which ultimately became a James Beard Award Winning Book. Most Junior League Cookbooks have the reputation of being exemplary. And they are, (I have quite the JL collection as well, maybe that is Part Quatre!) because of the time and effort and enthusiasm that is poured into each ‘project’ nothing less than ‘fabulous’ is produced. Hard to understand this? Join the Junior League and you’ll understand.
OK, soapbox! soapbox! I’m off. So with that said, it only stands to reason that I would hail “In the Kitchen with Kids, Everyday Recipes & Activities” as it truly is a great book for kids and their parents. First what makes this book so great is there are pictures on every page showing children making the recipe and what the item looks like finished. There are numbered blocks for each recipe 1-2-3, outlining the preparation steps in order for the child. This is a fantastic systematic approach in detailing how to get from beginning to end for the child cook without it being overwhelming. For every recipe there is a kitchen tools section that lists what hardware items are needed for your child to prepare the dish and most recipes offer a sidebar tip. This book makes cooking with kids fun. It is captivating and easy for both you and your child. This book is a great resource for finding quality time activities to do with children.
It’s been unseasonably cold in South Florida this winter and quite frankly nothing keeps you warm like soup; no matter where you live, no matter how cold you are. I’ve discovered the New England Soup Factory Cookbook. I’m originally from New England and know a little something about cold weather and soup. I’ve had this book now for two weeks, I’ve made five recipes and I’m here to tell you each one is better than the one before it! OK so that’s no surprise because the author is Marjorie Druker the executive chef and co-owner of the New England Soup Factory. Marjorie’s got it going on with her recipes. I’m a soup person, hot and cold. Soup fills you up. Rushed? harried? running here and there? Just take a swig of soup, you don’t even have to chew and voila! you’ve had your nutrition-on-the-go (some people take being busy to the extreme!) The photos are gorgeous, the recipes are easy to follow, the ingredients are easily obtainable in your supermarket and with each recipe Marjorie gives you a sidebar note of tips and useful information. Just a soup cookbook? Yes and every home cook should have one. I finally have mine.
In South Florida we have a vibrant Latin community so it is of no surprise that there are strong Latin culinary influences here as well. When something is different and new it comes with daunting impressions, Latin cooking and its respective ingredients are no different. There is so much more to Latin-American cuisine than chicken, beans and rice and salsa. Daisy Martinez the Food Network Star of Viva Daisy! Introduces you to a flavorful world of spices and ingredients and styles of cooking and preparing food that quite frankly opens doors you didn’t know existed. Daisy’s new book, Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night exemplifies the ease of Latin American Cooking.
Daisy has taken the mystery and apprehension out of preparing Latin Dishes. Daisy teaches you through her book that simple and wonderful is amazing and different and exotic will add a little ‘zip’ to your un-zipped life! I have this book because I am the biggest fan of Grilled Chicken Paillard, black beans and rice, I knew there was a world of Latin American tastes and flavors and styles out there I just had to find it. Daisy shows you how easy it is to make Empanadas and real Chimichurri (a parsley garlic sauce for steak), which by the way mine came out fabulous! But what is so great about this book is the introduction Daisy explains just how the book came to be. It’s always about the stories and how they are told that makes them so compelling. I’m not going to tell you about ‘the trips’ what I will tell you is to go buy the book and explore just like Daisy did, you won’t be disappointed, Morning, Noon or Night!
In my first article I wrote about Betty Crocker. Just starting out, you’ve got to have your basic Betty. Start at the beginning, learn your basics and grow from there. Well, I’ve discovered a new beginning. Didn’t think any book could truly do what Betty’s books have done for beginner cooks until I came across Your Time to Cook, a First Cookbook for Newlyweds, Couples and Lovers. You absolutely do not have to be a Newlywed, a Couple or a Lover to reap the benefits from this book. Pictures, explanations, instructions, substitutions it’s all there and then some. This book is super-fantastic! If I said move over Betty there’s a new game in town, I’d feel like I just drove the mother-ship into an iceberg and I simply cannot do that. The bookstores are plenty big enough for two real beginner cookbooks.
Now let’s entertain. Cooking is one thing and entertaining is another. Put them together and you’ve got a party! The gracious and talented Rosanna Bowles has put together a seasonal guide to creating family traditions titled Coming Home (a seasonal guide to creating family traditions). Rosanna takes you down memory lane with her book of family pictures, stories and provokes recollections of your own childhood memories. Remember May Day breakfasts? Remember when your mom made you lunch for school? What about lazy, warm summer afternoons, just laying in the grass with your friends. Rosanna gets you thinking, she helps you create atmosphere and assists you in finding your lost traditions. This is a great read book. I sat on my patio last Sunday and read it from cover to cover with a few glasses of wine. It was the perfect thing to do on Sunday and when I was done with the book, I called my Mom and talked about May Day Breakfasts and Christmas Cookies. Bravo Rosanna! you’ve done so much more than write an entertaining book, you’ve given the world a little shake up of what’s been lost.
So let my addiction continue, it’s really not such a bad thing after all.