Delicious food and inspiration, something I daily seek. I like to travel around the world to see what folks are eating. I like visit farms around the globe. I like to sit in stranger’s kitchens and see if I can experience a bit of their life by eating what they eat. Through cookbooks I can do this from my own farm kitchen and so cookbooks have always been a bit of an obsession for me.
Mind you, I never follow a recipe to its exact measure but the blueprints and guidelines for delightful food I wouldn’t have thought of is most welcome to a busy farm wife foodie who doesn’t like to prepare the same thing over and over.
“Grow Your Own, Eat Your Own” by Bob Flowerdew is a great book that I may have told you about before but I find it ever so enchanting as the photographs make the book come to life. As if I am in England learning from a master. He takes us through the gardening season, growing, harvesting, preserving, and preparing delicious foods. It is filled with brilliant ideas and a way to make potato au gratin that will change your life forever. Decadent.
“Another Amish cookbook?” my love asks as I purchase another. I have…ahem…a few. I love them for their stories. I love the local ones that are say the recipe was submitted by Mrs. Elmer So and So. I love the vague amounts in some and the tried in true in books like this one. “The Amish Cook’s Family Favorite Recipes” by Lovina Eicher is my go-to in the summer when I am rushing around. Perfect coffee cake to make and pack for the farmer’s markets, interesting recipes like chokecherry tapioca, and casseroles that make the kids want to move home.
“Love Soup” by Anna Thomas is a book I have read from cover to cover many times. Her soups are vegetarian and filled with flavor and comfort, sustenance, ease. I love this book for its endless ideas for soup along with recipes for bread and salads. Her stories along with the recipes are fun and the book is split up seasonally, which appeals to me more than ever.
I have checked out “The Tuscan Sun Cookbook” by Frances and Edward Mayes from the library enough that it really ought to be a part of my collection at some point. If I could go anywhere right now and enjoy a meal it would surely be in Tuscany. I want to experience the long outdoor wooden table with twenty friends and strangers, water glasses filled, wine glasses raised. Courses of flavorful foods that I have yet to prepare. Many things that I have never heard of cooking or tasting in my Colorado raised existence. I can hear the laughter, the long meal, the joy. I loved the Under the Tuscan Sun books by Frances Mayes so it is a pleasure stopping by their house via library book for a meal. (Note: if you saw the movie, it is not even remotely the same as the books. Do pick up the books!)
Another library find, “Fresh from the Farm” by Susie Middleton is a delightful part memoir part cookbook using seasonal produce. What to do with mustard greens, delicious ways with arugula, and much more. I am definitely enjoying borrowing this book!
If I make a menu plan and grocery shop regularly for the things we need then I am less likely to want to go out for subpar food. This book, “The Casual Vineyard Table” by the owner of one of my favorite wines and vineyards, Carolyn Wente, makes me want to hurry home and cook! I picked it up at the Wente winery when Doug and I were there visiting our friends, Lisa and Steve, in Northern California. It was one of our best trips and we so enjoyed ourselves and became even bigger wine snobs, I rather fear. Where do I start? Potato Crusted Sea Bass with Gingered Blue Lake Beans or Bay Scallops with Rhubarb Puree? Or one could always head straight to the back of the book and prepare Chocolate Chili Pecan cake with double bourbon whipped cream. Oh my.
Then there are lean times, which we are in more often than not. Not poverty stricken, starving times, thank the Lord we always have food, but no sea bass or single vineyard wine times. This book is practical, intelligent, and savvy. Using minimal ingredients, all staples, one can put together hundreds of healthy meals on the cheap. “More-With-Less” by Doris Janzen Longacre is a homesteader’s necessity!
Do share your favorite cookbook titles!