• Cookbooks

    I love to flip through cookbooks! I like to read through the ingredients and see a picture of the delicious end result. I love it even more if the cookbook is more than just recipes, if it has a narrative to go along with the recipes; I get sucked in and often read the entire book. 

    A few months ago, we were evaluating the cookbook area of the library and I savored spending time looking at these books. Over the few months we were working on this project I began making a list of the cookbooks that I felt were extremely well done. They had gorgeous pictures and intriguing stories behind the recipes. I even encouraged a few of my co-workers to tell me about the cookbooks they saw as standouts. Today I’m sharing just a few of the most beautiful cookbooks in our collection. 

    By Imen McDonnell

    From gorgeous pictures of the rolling hills of Ireland to recipes for Farmhouse Milk Bread, Maple Roasted Parsnips, and Irish wedding cake, this book has it all. Interspersed between the recipes are snippets from Imen’s life and the story of how this American city girl found her way to a working Irish farm. I love that the recipes give the ingredients in both the US and metric measurements. Scullery notes found at the end of many recipes give additional information for the home cook.


    3.20 Breakfast for DinnerBREAKFAST FOR DINNER
    By Lindsay Landis

    I love breakfast for dinner so this book was an instant hit for me! It includes many traditional breakfast recipes like Eggs Benedict but adds a twist to make the recipe a bit more filling for dinner time. Now you can have Steak and Eggs Benedict at the end of a long day. In addition to main dishes, this cookbook includes sides, starters, desserts and drinks. Using breakfast ingredients to make your dinner has never tasted better. 


    3.20 MamushkaMAMUSHKA 
    By Olia Hercules

    This book features recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe with stunning photographs. I loved the first paragraph from the introduction, “Mamushka…is not actually real word. My brother Sasha and I watched The Addams Family film for the first time in 1996 (everything came about five years late in post-Soviet Ukraine.) And at some point during the movie, a bunch of American actors suddenly spoke a made-up Eastern European language and danced the mamushka—“the dance of brotherly love” taught to the family by their Cossack cousins. Our whole family found this part of the film irresistibly hilarious and since then my brother and I renamed our mum Mamushka.” With this friendly beginning, I was hooked on taking a closer look at this cookbook. 


    3.20 Cooking with Mary BerryCOOKING WITH MARY BERRY
    By Mary Berry

    As a fan of The Great British Baking Show and DK books this book caught my attention. Mary Berry shares “simple recipes—great for families and friends” and in classic DK style this cookbook shows cooking techniques step by step. I particularly like that there are variations and notes to the cook throughout the book with tips and tricks. 


    By Asha Gomez

    This cover is stunning, as are the end papers! Asha calls her style of cuisine “two souths cooking” with the flavors and dishes being rooted in her home country of India and her current home in Atlanta, Georgia. Each recipe has a story explaining the importance of the featured recipe to. There are many drool-worthy pictures and recipes featured, including the Banana Beignets. Yum! 


    By David Joachim

    Get ready to explore the culinary world! From East Asia to Europe to North and Central America there are delicious foods in each and every country and region. The author challenges home cooks to taste the world in their own kitchen. I like how each chapter starts with a taste of the region being presented sharing the prominent spices and flavors, followed by photo heavy recipes. Each recipe clearly states the hands-on time and total time needed which can be helpful when planning to make the dish. 


    By Julia Rothman

    While this book isn’t a cookbook (it doesn’t have any recipes in the traditional sense at least), I thought it still deserved a place on this list. The books above all have photographs highlighting the food mentioned. This book on the other hand, is filled with hand drawn and colored illustrations. Rothman gives a brief history of food before illustrating fruits, vegetable, meats, spices, street foods, and desserts that can be found the world over. I found this book to be completely captivating!

  • st patricks

    Erin go Bragh!

    It’s time to celebrate Irish immigration to the United States with St. Patrick’s Day! This holiday is held on March 17th of every year, and honors the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. Irish immigrants to the US first celebrated this holiday as a way to remember their homeland. Only later did it become a hit back in Ireland. Today, it is a national Irish holiday celebrated by parades, going to Catholic mass, drinking, and eating. Sound like fun? Here are some ways you can celebrate this holiday with a traditional Irish flair.

    What to Eat

    3.14 My Irish TableMY IRISH TABLE
    By Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorm

    You cannot party without food, and this book is just what you need in order to get an authentically Irish taste of St. Patrick’s Day. This volume is a treasure trove of beautiful color photos and authentic Irish recipes. Each recipe has a little anecdote to go with it so you can feel like you are learning about Irish culture along the way. I suggest trying some traditional potato dishes, or even the Irish Stew if you are feeling ambitious. Don’t forget brown bread or soda bread to round out the meal! 


    What to Drink

    3.14 BeerBEER
    By DK Eyewitness Companions

    The Irish are famous for their beer, and the internationally popular Guinness craft has even become an icon of Irish culture. There are many other Irish beers to choose from. If you want to learn more about Irish beers, as well as many other varieties from across the globe, this Eyewitness book is a great little resource.   


    3.14 Homemade Root BeerHOMEMADE ROOT BEER, SODA, & POP
    By Stephen Edward Cresswell

    While beer is traditional, it is not for everyone. If you do not drink alcohol, you could a pint of the next best thing—root beer! Of course there are lots of commercial options out there for this delectable soda pop, but why not impress your St. Patrick’s Day party guests with some homemade stuff?  


    Irish Jams

    We love Irish music so much that we have a dedicated section of CDs for it (INTL IRELAND). Head over to the music CDs and look in the section labeled “International – Ireland.” You’ll find lots to choose from, including The High Kings, Celtic Woman, and the Young Dubliners. If Celtic music isn’t quite your jam, check out The Dropkick Murphys or even U2.   

    Irish History

    Why not read up on the Emerald Isle and learn a little bit about Irish culture or history? THE STORY OF IRELAND is a fantastic history of Ireland and the Irish people. On the other hand, since St. Patrick’s Day became popular due to Irish immigration to the US, how about reading THE IRISH AMERICANS?

    Whatever you choose, we here at the library hope you have a wonderful holiday celebration!

  • Cooking 

    I used to think I loved baking, but that I wasn’t that into cooking. A gorgeously decorated cake piled high with fresh buttercream, or a pie with the most perfect flaky crust—those were the bakes I dreamt of making. I didn’t think cooking was awful—I just didn’t crave it the way I did baking. Every single episode of The Great British Baking Show has made me cry, and not just because it’s the most wholesome competition show ever. I’m just really invested in how a bake turns out.

    But a girl can’t survive on baking alone. Cooking is a necessity. And after a few years of doing it grudgingly, I decided I needed to get excited about making dinner. So, I put Chrissy Teigen’s first cookbook on my wedding registry, and someone bought it for me. I wanted it because, based on her social media persona, I thought it might make cooking a little more fun. I made a few recipes, I realized I wasn’t dreading making dinner anymore. Then I made a few more. After a few months of this, I was expanding into other cookbooks. I was actually getting really excited to make dinner and try out a new recipe.

    I think it was a combination of using celebrity cookbooks, realizing a cookbook is just another book but about food, and that there are some tricks to cooking that make it more fun, that helped me find a new love in cooking. And now, I don’t even need to hear a celebrity endorsement to want a cookbook! Here are just some of the celebrity cookbooks that used their famous faces to make me love cooking.  

    By Chrissy Teigen

    The one that started it all. Teigen is funny and relatable, despite her fame. And these recipes are seriously good. I’ve liked every one I’ve tried, which is a pretty good track record. And if you don’t trust my opinions, trust the fact that it’s got 4.7 stars on Amazon. Recipes to try: the cheesy jalapeño bacon cornbread is the perfect side for any chili recipe, and the sweet potato gnocchi is life-changing.  


    11.16 Antoni in the KitchenANTONI IN THE KITCHEN
    By Antoni Porowski

    This might be the only cookbook I’ve ever preordered. As soon as I learned Antoni was publishing a cookbook, I hit purchase. On TV, he’s got such a laid-back approach to food, making it accessible and fun for people who’ve never cooked for themselves. Eating shouldn’t be stressful, even if you’re making something new and complex. Food should be enjoyed, and it should be enjoyed with those you love. Recipe to try: there’s a pasta recipe with lemon, fennel, and sausage in here that made my husband propose to me again.  


    By Joanna Gaines

    Let’s be realistic. We all sort of wish we were Joanna Gaines. The woman has made a career out of having great taste and working hard, and I think that’s something we can all aspire to. Her cookbook is filled with really well-done basics, and some fun recipes with more complexity. But all of them are sure to fill your belly and make you happy. Recipes to try: her biscuits are perfectly buttery and delicious, and her white cheddar bisque is like eating fondue but in soup form.  


    11.16 Cravings Hungry for MoreCRAVINGS. HUNGRY FOR MORE
    By Chrissy Teigen

    She’s back! With another incredible cookbook, Chrissy Teigen has really made her mark on the world of food. I can’t choose a favorite between her two cookbooks, because both are filled with all kinds of interesting and delicious foods. Recipe to try: The blueberry pancakes in this book have cream cheese bombs in them, which make them well worth waking up early for. 


    Bonus tip: If you prep every single possible ingredient before starting the actual cooking process, your feelings about cooking might change. Except when making pasta. Start the pasta cooking first, always. But seriously, put all your spices into little bowls, chop the herbs, measure out the broths and stocks. It makes everything go smoothly, and you’ll feel like you have your own cooking show.

  • cooking the books 01

    I promise that I cook my family more than meatloaf. Really, I do. In the small handful of recipes I’ve shared with you here from library cookbooks, it seems like meatloaf is really over-represented. I solemnly swear that the next recipe I share will not be meatloaf. 

    Right now, I am very pregnant. I’m the kind of pregnant where just standing up for more than 5 minutes makes me tired and winded. The kind of pregnant where people passing me in the hallway look at my belly and then give me sympathetic looks. With only a few weeks until my baby is due, you can bet that the meals that I’m cooking for my family are getting few and far between and are starting to consist of things I can mostly prepare sitting down. 

    That’s why the concept of a “dump meal” appealed to me; something simple that didn’t require constant tending and simmering and checking on things. Something I could mix, pop in the oven, and then leave alone while I took a short nap on the couch. 

    I chose this recipe because I already had most of the things on hand. I would put it in the solidly “okay” category. I probably needed to amp up the seasoning a little bit; I put in 2 lbs of ground beef instead of 1 ½ and though I tried to compensate by adding a little bit more of everything, I still wished for a little more flavor. 

    The plus side? These took approximately 5 minutes to mix, 3 minutes to put in the muffin tins, and 15 minutes to bake. They made enough that we’ll be eating leftovers for a few days, which means I don’t have to cook again, and at this point in my pregnancy that’s the kind of mealtime math I like. 

    12.21.17 Dump DinnersEasy Pizza-style Mini Meatloaf Cups
    from Dump Dinners
    by Julia Grady



    1 egg, beaten
    ½ cup pizza sauce plus extra for topping
    ¼ cup bread crumbs, Italian-seasoned
    1 teaspoon basil
    1 teaspoon oregano
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1 ½ pounds ground beef
    1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat muffin tins with cooking spray.
    2. In a bowl, mix together egg, pizza sauce, bread crumbs, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add ground beef and mix well.
    3. Divide mixture evenly into muffin tins. Press down in center of beef mixture to make indent in center. Fill center with shredded cheese.
    4. Bake for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Serve topped with additional sauce and cheese. 

    Makes 12 servings.

  • cooking the books 01


    In previous Cooking the Books posts, I’ve tackled all the big issues: no time. No ingredients. No self-control. No fat.  No motivation. The anticipation of no motivation. No beef. And just to continue that tradition of hard-hitting journalism that you’ve come to expect from this periodic series reviewing library cookbooks, I decided to tackle a subject I’ve never tackled before: 


    “Cute” is not a word I expect to use to describe a cookbook, but it’s what I found while browsing the children’s cookbook section for recipes I could have my son help me make. I decided on COOK ME A RHYME by Bryan Kozlowski, and I was not disappointed. 

    Each recipe in this cookbook is based on a nursery rhyme, even down to the steps in the recipe. For example, in the recipe for Sing a Song of Sixpence (Blackberry Sandwich Pies), you slice a banana into six round pieces as you “sing a song of sixpence”, and then roll out a slice of bread for the “pocketful of rye.” Or when making “Cockle Shell Pasta Salad,” you line the “pretty maids” (snap peas) up in a row around the bowl before chilling. I’m going to try to replicate this as I post the recipe, but just know it’s really adorable in the book. This book has full-color illustrations and easy-to-follow directions and its recipes would be perfect for a Mother Goose-themed party. It would also be great to use with a beginning reader, especially if they’re at all familiar with some of these rhymes. 

    We have a 6-month-old baby at our house, so we play a lot of “Pat-a-Cake Pat-a-Cake” every day. I decided to recruit my older son to help me make "Mark It With a “B” Breakfast Cake", hoping that the familiar rhyme would prove delightful to him and keep him from asking to watch TV. This only sort of worked, but it was a good effort.

    This recipe was incredibly easy; unfortunately, because I let my three-year-old have some input, we made things harder on ourselves. For example, because he was pretending to be a member of the Paw Patrol at the time, my little helper insisted that we cut the puff pastry into dog bone shapes and not the 8-inch circle the recipe indicates. In the end, we had a few circles, a few doggie bones, an actual dog shape, and a heart. All of these small shapes were harder to fill than a regular circle would have been, and it was harder to know if we’d gotten the right ratio of ingredients. They were also harder to seal and baked at different rates, so we ended up with a few underdone pastries and some spilled filling. 

    That said, this recipe was easy and yummy, and a bit of underdone pastry didn’t stop us from consuming them all. 

    A final note: there is a bit of a copyediting error with this recipe. Though the recipe instructions call for sugar, it’s not mentioned in the ingredients list. I ended up just adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time until the filling tasted good, so we ended up with about six cups of sugar. I jest! It was two tablespoons. You may adjust your own sugar level depending on the sugar content of your raspberry jam and your preference for sweet flavors. 

    cook me a rhymeMark It with a “B” Breakfast Cake
    by Bryan Kozlowski



    2 (17.3 ounce) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
    4 ounces cream cheese, softened
    2 tablespoons sugar*
    2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup raspberry jam
    2 tablespoons water 


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


    1.  Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake...      

    Unfold the thawed puff pastry sheets on a cutting board and, one at a time, cut out an 8-inch circle from each sheet. Place one pastry round on a nonstick baking tray and set it aside. 


    2.  Baker's man...      

    To make the baked-in filling, mix the softened cream cheese and sugar in a bowl with a spoon or electric mixer until combined. Add 2 teaspoons of flour and mix it into the cream cheese. 


    3.  Bake me a cake, as fast as you can...      

    Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the middle of the pastry round on the baking tray. Spread the cream cheese evenly with a butter knife, leaving about a 1-inch space around the edge of the pastry. Dot the raspberry jam onto the cream cheese and spread it evenly to the edge of the cream cheese. 


    4.  Pat it...      

    Place the second pastry round over the first, covering the jam and cream cheese. Pat and press the edge of the two pastry rounds together with your fingers to make a thing, tight seal around the crust. 


    5.  And prick it...      

    Using the tip of a small knife, poke about 20 tiny holes into the top of the cake. 


    6.  And mark it with a B...      

    Stir the water and 3 tablespoons of flour in a small bowl until a thick paste forms. Scoop the paste into a small plastic bag, cut a tiny hole in one corner of the bag, and squeeze the paste to form the letter "B" on the top of the cake. 


    7.  And put it in the oven for baby and me!                  Put the cake into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 17 to 20 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the baking tray from the oven and let the cake cool for 30 minutes before sliving it "for baby and me." 


  • grilled cheese

    I recently came upon a few books with a surprising commonality: grilled cheese. Who knew that grilled cheese was the comfort food of choice? These books are of different tones and genres but all of them will leave you with a desire to experiment with different grilled cheese recipes. 

    7.24 The listTHE LIST
    By Melanie Jacobson

    Ashley Barrett has a list of things she wants to accomplish before she gets married. One thing on that list is a summer fling. What better way to a man’s heart than through his stomach? Will Ashley’s grilled cheese seal the deal? Featured grilled cheese secret: sourdough bread. 


    7.24 The Optimists Guide to Letting GoTHE OPTIMIST’S GUIDE TO LETTING GO
    By Amy E. Reichert

    When Gina’s husband passed away he left her with a mopey teenage daughter, a cranky mother, and a grilled cheese food truck. Will Gina’s optimistic attitude be enough to keep her relationships and business afloat? Featured grilled cheese secret: cream cheese 


    By Alida Nugent

    In this autobiography you’ll meet Alida. She’s a college graduate attempting (and failing) to transition to adult life. Good thing she has good friends, great parents, and a life-altering grilled cheese sandwich. Featured grilled cheese secret: grease and insatiable hunger. 


    7.24 Grilled Cheese and DragonsGRILLED CHEESE AND DRAGONS
    By Nancy Krulik

    Princess Serena doesn’t want to be a pretty little princess. She wants to be a knight. But she has to accomplish a quest before her father will let her go to knight school. Along the way she learns about teamwork, kindness, and how delicious grilled cheese can be. Featured grilled cheese secret: Eat it with a dragon! There you have it! A compilation of my recently read books that feature grilled cheese. If these books inspired you to make your own grilled cheese sandwich, then may I recommend one more read: 


    By Heidi Gibson

    This cook book contains recipes for grilled cheese, mac and cheese, soups, and more!

  • desserts 01

    Find them in the catalog: 




  • indian cookery

    I think my sudden interest in Indian cooking was triggered by reading A LONG WAY HOME by Saroo Brierley (made into the movie LION in 2016). At age five he became separated from his brother at a train station in India and ended up in Calcutta. Too young to even accurately remember the name of his home village, he was taken to an orphanage and adopted by a family in Australia. In his memoir he lovingly describes memories of the food his mother prepared on an iron griddle over the fire. Food was scarce and the family was always hungry, making the tempting smells of the food even more appetizing. Favorites were yellow lentil dal, and deep fried dough made from bhuja (chickpea flour and spices). Goat curry was a rare treat whose garlicky flavor “exploded” in his mouth.

    I can find Indian recipes online and it can be quick, but there is nothing like browsing a cookbook with beautiful illustrations and finding something new on every page.  You may not know when you start looking for a goat curry recipe that cauliflower with ginger and cumin would satisfy your craving for Indian food without having to go to the store to buy goat gizzards! But serendipitously the cookbook opens to an appetizing photo of the spicy cauliflower.

    Whether you are an omnivore, a vegan, or a vegetarian, Indian food has something delicious for you. 

    Richa Hingle




    Asha Gomez



    7.25 The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Indian CookingTHE THREE SISTERS QUICK AND EASY INDIAN COOKBOOK
    Serena, Alexa, and Priya Kaul



    Hari Nayak




    Madhur Jaffrey




    Two memoirs by famous Indian cooks give an intimate look into food and family in India.

    7.25 Love Loss and What We AteLOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT WE ATE
    Padma Lakshmi

    Padma Lakshmi is the author of several recipe books and producer of Top Chef, a reality TV show in which contestants compete in culinary challenges. Along with details of her marriage to Salman Rushdie, Lakshmi recounts how her love for food was born in India. 




    Madhur Jaffrey

    Madhur Jaffrey has written more than a dozen Indian cookbooks, the first of which was published in 1973 and introduced America to Indian cooking. 




  • chocolate


    Apparently today is International Chocolate Day. I would like to thank Milton S. Hershey (founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company) for being born today so that the National Confectioners Association had a reason to make this a holiday.

    I mean, seriously? A holiday for chocolate? As if I needed a reason to indulge today! But I suppose if it’s a holiday I’d better make the most of it, right?

    If you don’t want to crave delicious chocolate for the rest of the day, then stop reading now. If however, you need something to quench your chocolate fix, read on for some ideas.

    complete cookieTHE COMPLETE COOKIE
    by Barry Bluestein and Kevin Morrissey

    If, like me you like cookies with chocolate, made of chocolate, dipped in chocolate, filled with chocolate, topped with chocolate, etc., then you need to get your hands on this book. It’s got recipes and variations for some of my favorites (chocolate chip and peanut blossom cookies are my fav), as well as many other types. So even if there’s someone in your life that doesn’t like chocolate (gasp!), there’s something in here they will like too. 

    chocolate covered katieCHOCOLATE-COVERED KATIE
    by Katie Higgins

    Maybe you want to indulge in chocolate deliciousness but want some healthier alternatives. This book includes all kinds of healthy substitutions that you can use based on what’s already in your pantry. Looking at the Chocolate Obsession Cake alone, I can see four different options for flour (including gluten free). I’ve never subbed carrot juice for milk, but apparently it can be done?  

    chocolate true historyTHE TRUE HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE
    by Sophie D. Coe & Michael D. Coe

    Perhaps you really, for a legitimate reason, won’t be having chocolate today. If that is the case, I am truly sorry. However, if you still want to celebrate this glorious holiday, maybe reading about the history of chocolate is better suited to your situation. From Mexico and Central America nearly four millennia ago to its modern worldwide consumption, the authors trace the uses and consumption of chocolate in its many forms. 



    by Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

    I don’t feel like I need to say anything about this one. It’s a cookbook from Ghirardelli. You’re welcome. 


    chocolate never failethCHOCOLATE NEVER FAILETH
    by Annette Lyon

    I know you should never judge a book by its cover, but this one has stood out to me for a long time. It’s got a bright red spine and a delicious looking chocolate cake right on the cover. Just seeing this book makes me want chocolate. This cookbook has cakes, cookies, brownies, mousses, snacks, pastries, icings, and a lot more.

    Enjoy! I hope you’ve found something wonderful to help celebrate this glorious holiday. At the very least, you read about it and thought about chocolate, which was my plan all along. Muhahaha!

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a rather persistent craving to fill. 

  • One Pan Recipes Soup

    One pan cooking adds variety to mealtimes without adding more dishes. Our library has a huge collection of cookbooks, including a variety of cookbooks focusing on one pan—or pot—cooking. Whether you have an instant pot or an iron skillet, there’s a one pan option for everyone. Here are some new one-pot and one-pan cookbooks that are packed with ways to maximize flavors and minimize clean up. 

    By Marge Perry and David Bonom

    Using easy-to-find ingredients and new takes on comfort food dishes from around the world, HERO DINNERS provides a great introduction into one-pan cooking that is easy and satisfying. These one-pan meals focus on the strengths of sheet pans and skillets, with tips for how to minimize clean-up and get the most out of the simple ingredients. 


    by Lisa Burns

    While the instant pot has a variety of settings from sauté to pressure cooking, it can be confusing and even intimidating to use. FAMILY MEALS FROM SCRATCH focuses on delicious and kid-friendly recipes while walking through each step in a clear and concise way. From take-out favorites to dessert, there’s sure to be a recipe perfect for your home menu. 


    1.11 One Pot VegetarianONE-POT VEGETARIAN
    By Sabrina Fauda-Role

    Whether you’re a vegetarian or looking for a delicious meal for Meatless Monday, these plant-based recipes cover soups, stews, and casseroles packed with flavor and nutrition.ONE-POT VEGETARIAN focuses on one-pot stove top cooking for any palette, from mac and cheese to dahl, and includes tips for some powerful flavor combinations to make your flavors really stand out. 


    By Anne Byrn

    Skillet Love covers all the basics about cooking with a cast-iron skillet, including cast-iron care and other tips. The large collection of appetizers, mains, and desserts are made to satisfy any diet or picky eater. A lot of the recipes are southern comfort food like shrimp and grits or fried okra, but it also includes skillet classics like scalloped potatoes and steaks. You can take these recipes on the road and dress-up your camping fare, or cook these while cozy at home.

  • perfect pie

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Gathering with friends and family and eating delicious foods are two of my very favorite things. For me the best part of Thanksgiving is getting a small slice of all of the different kinds of pie!

    When I lived in Virginia, a family I knew from church had a pie party on the morning of Thanksgiving every year. They would invite neighbors and friends to come eat pie before the day’s festivities began. I loved that they had this party and looked forward to it as soon as fall began each year.

    As the holidays approach, I thought I’d share a few of the resources we have to help you make the perfect pie. If you need some help getting started, this four part Pie Making Boot Camp series from Mel’s Kitchen Café will guide you on your pastry making journey (each word links to a different part in the series). These blogposts are filled with lots of pictures to guide you step by step. In addition, here are some great pie-based cookbooks we have at the library! 

    11.20.17 Handheld PiesHANDHELD PIES 
    by Sarah Billingsley

    Features free-form, structured, and jar pies as well as a variety of crust and filling recipes. This book includes both sweet and savory pies.



    11.20.17 Pie and TartPIE & TART
    by Carolyn Weil

    A homemade pie or tart is a great way to make any meal special. Baking is easy as pie when following the recipes in this book!



    11.20.17 Pie SchoolPIE SCHOOL
    by Kate Lebo

    Now this is the kind of school I’d like to attend! The author shares 50 recipes and includes the social history of the pie.



    11.20.17 Cutie PiesCUTIE PIES
    by Dani Cone

    This book includes sweet and savory hand, petite, jar, and full-sized pies. Also pie pops. Pie on a stick? Count me in!



    11.20.17 Art of the PieART OF THE PIE
    by Kate McDermott

    Kate McDermott has taught thousands of people across the country how to make pie at her Pie Camps. This book includes more than a dozen crust recipes, half of which are gluten free.




    11.20.17 Lion House PiesLION HOUSE PIES
    by Brenda Hopkin

    In this book you’ll find more than 70 recipes with easy-to-follow directions and a DVD with baking tips and tricks!





    11.20.17 Teenys Tour of PieTEENY’S TOUR OF PIE
    by Teeny Lamothe

    I read this book a few years ago (and reviewed it last November) and I just keep thinking about it! I love that Teeny wanted to be a lady pie baker and made her dream happen. This book is part cookbook and part memoir, one of my favorite kinds of books to read.


    And in case someone beat you to the punch checking these ones out, search for the following downloadable eBooks on Overdrive to ensure that you’ll always have access to a great book about pie.

    THE MAGIC OF MINI PIES by Abigail Gehring

    THE PIE PROJECT by Phoebe Wood

    PIE by Ken Haedrich

    GLUTEN-FREE & VEGAN PIE by Jennifer Katzinger 

    Also, don’t miss our Holiday Cooking display on the 2nd floor for more delicious cooking resources!

  • Sourdough Bread

    Did you know that authentic sourdough bread can be great for diabetics, those with gluten sensitivities, and makes the nutrients in wheat more available to the body?  When I decided to start baking bread this way, I had no idea it came with a host of health benefits.  The benefit that caught my attention?  Free yeast for life!  One day at work I came across this book, The Art Of Baking With Natural Yeast, and decided to try it.  At first I really struggled getting results that resembled bread more than a brick, but after lots of research and baking I can now make a loaf worth sharing! 

    These four books are the best I have found about baking with an authentic sourdough starter and should contain all the information you need to make delicious bread as well as crackers, pancakes, pizza, muffins, and more!  (Natural yeast, sourdough starter, levain, and wild yeast are basically all terms for the same thing.)

    4.29 The Art of Baking with Natural YeastTHE ART OF BAKING WITH NATURAL YEAST
    By Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson

    This has easy to understand instructions for how to take care of your starter, which is what I like best about it.  It also discusses the health benefits, and has different kinds of recipes for the starter.  I also like that it comes from a home baker perspective, not a professional baker perspective. 


    4.29 Beyond Basics with Natural YeastBEYOND BASICS WITH NATURAL YEAST
    By Melissa Richardson

    This is more of a cookbook than an instruction book, but it has a large variety of recipes including specialty breads, crackers, pasta, waffles, muffins, and more.  It also has more info on caring for a starter. 


    4.29 Flour Water Salt YeastFLOUR WATER SALT YEAST
    By Ken Forkish

    I like this one because it gets really in depth with the bread making process and what effects different variables have at different stages, and discusses convenient baking schedules.  While the book primarily includes breads made with commercial yeast, Part 3 has five chapters about baking with levain.   


    4.29 Tartine BreadTARTINE BREAD
    By Chad Robertson

    Robertson’s book also gives an extensive look at the bread making process and different variables, and is full of instructional photographs.  Unlike Forkish’s book, this one is specifically focused on levain breads and has a broader range of recipes.  


    Some of the tips I’ve learned that have had the biggest impact on my bread are these: folding dough is a thousand times easier than kneading and is more effective for less effort; measure your ingredients by weight, not by volume; whole wheat flour needs more water than white flour, especially if you grind your own; temperature directly impacts how long it takes the dough to rise; if you over-proof your dough on the first rise it is impossible to shape; how much time has passed since you last fed/refreshed your yeast starter has a huge impact on flavor; and it’s okay if it takes a lot of trying to get that perfect loaf!