I have this little fetish. It possibly drives Ben crazy, yet I don’t ask him. Books. However, it’s not just any books…Cookbooks. I love them! No, I mean I REALLY love them. If you want to win me over, than just give me a cookbook, or a food magazine. There are so many things I love about them, it’s endless. There are too many funny components when it comes to my food magazine & cookbook fetish. It’s what Ben calls, “a graze reader.” You know when you’re on vacation or it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and you find yourself grazing on food? Well, take that and apply it to reading for me.
Ben is a veteran (whereas I’m a novice) when it comes to reading. Seriously, he is known for reading four books at a time; yet, he would still manage to read all four while I sluggishly finish my one. Even though I like to read, I think I like the idea of reading more than I actually do it. I start off really strong and peter out by chapter four, which is why it’s not uncommon for me to be reading a book for a six months or more. If it’s a fiction than I can only read a couple a year; because, I have a fixation sort of personality, where I attach myself to the characters and get way involved (Sidenote: it was so bad that instead of enjoying the beautiful view on the shores of Kauai, I was bawling my eyes out reading ‘Return of the King.’).
So this is why I prefer cookbooks or books about food. They’re relatively simple to read, straight to the point, interesting and educating. They’re my penny candy (quick satisfaction rather than save the money to buy a $10 dollar toy)! The other part of this fetish is I can check out multiple cookbooks from the library. In fact, I have about five at my house while I type this. I think the part that probably makes Ben think I’m a little nuts is that I check WAY too many out and can’t really tackle all of them. Or if we’re going in the car to drive a longer distance, say–Seattle, than I will most likely bring two to three books with me. It’s my way of having options, or a back up plan. You know, just in case!
I love books about food, even if I’ve never made my own bechamel sauce, at least I know what it is right. Plus, I don’t have to add the extra calories to my hips. It satisfies a craving at times and I love that. If I can encourage you in any way to explore in the kitchen to make a meal for your family, friends, neighbor or your dog than I urge you to take advantage of the library to see what recipes are awaiting their destiny. Here are some great cookbooks that have inspired me lately. What are yours?
Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson is also the author of 101c00kbooks.com Her book is a very fresh, innovative, & a healthful approach to cooking. She takes advantage of more unique whole grains, which are typically found in the bulk section of a granola loving, earth friendly sort of grocery store. She implores her reader to rethink the use of refined sugars and oils to trade in for more healthy, eco-steward & people loving ingredients. For instance, if we look at the sugar industry alone, we see how they rape the land by cultivation processes and water runoffs. I’m not saying that I’ve completely gone this way as I love to bake, but I’m constantly rethinking and reconsidering how I can be a steward of what God has given me; as well as, try to feed my body (& my families’) sustaining foods.
Now just because I recommended a healthy cookbook, doesn’t mean I have thrown out all my baking cookbooks, because I believe that would be the closest thing to blasphemy in my kitchen. So I will leave you with a baking book to try out.
The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri. I have this on my Amazon wishlist, because I was so impressed with it when I checked it out from the library. I was only able to bake one or two things from the book and they turned out really well. There were specific things I liked about this book. One I trust the author. He has credibility in the culinary world when it comes to baking. Two, he has a story for each of his recipes. I think as a cook or chef it’s so important to have stories with your food and not just say with that snooty voice, “Here you have a seared pork medallion with a port reduction…blah blah blah.” If there’s no story than people cannot connect with your food, but more importantly, they cannot connect with you. He speaks of a crumb bun he had in his childhood and how he had never gotten that taste out of his mouth. He would eat various crumb buns throughout his life hoping for redemption lost, but they all fell short. It wasn’t until he had one much later in life to find that missing ingredient shine through, “almond paste”(sigh). Lastly, he has adapted some classic recipes to make them less labor intensive (croissants for example). Check it out!
**Here are a couple rules I follow in buying a cookbook (if I didn’t follow these rules I would impulsively buy too many and end of driving around on a Saturday returning all of them). First, I always see if the library has it. If they do, I check it out and try a couple items from the book. Second, I read reviews to see if the book received a high overall rating. I also take into consideration the negative reviews to see how substantial they are and if they add anything new. For instance, if the book received a 4.5 out of 5 stars and there have been tons of reviews (meaning 100+), then I don’t take the negative reviews into consideration as much. However, if there are only 20 or less reviews I lean on the negative reviews a little more.