Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For the Love of Cookbooks!

I love cookbooks.  I have at least 40, not to mention the millions of cooking magazines I have lying around the house.  I don't subscribe to any cooking magazines because...well...I can't decide on one!  I also spend a lot of time searching for recipes on the internet.  From Polish Kolacz Weselny to Authentic Miso Soup, it's all there.  But, for some odd reason, I still can't stop buying cookbooks.  Maybe it's the pictures?  I love to have an idea of what my final product is actually supposed to look like.  Maybe it's how they're compiled by category (Baking, Chocolate, Italian)?  Or maybe it's how the chef intertwines their life story into the recipes they're sharing with me.  Food has a lot to do with memories, so when you use a recipe that has a history, it somehow tends to feel very special.  Whatever the reason, though, I love cookbooks.  So I just wanted to share a few of my personal favorites.

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table   [HOMEMADE LIFE] [Hardcover] A Homemade Life - by Molly Wizenberg
I received this book as a gift from a dear friend and fellow kitchen-dweller (SHOUT OUT: Jen!).  We love to cook together.  The day Julie & Julia came out on DVD, we started the oven and cooked up Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon and "Julie's" Tomato Bruschetta (this is the actual recipe from the movie), and then sat down to watch the movie together.
Anyway, back to A Homemade Life.  This reviewer summed it up best I think:

"In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother's pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won't be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots."

This was the first cookbook to ever make me laugh and cry when I read it.  Highly recommended.  By the way, before she had a book she had a blog.  Find it here.

My French Kitchen: A Book of 120 Treasured RecipesMy French Kitchen - by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde  
Author of Chocolat.  Enough said?
Not only is it filled with delicious and authentic French recipes, the pictures are fabulous.  Think little-blond-boy-on-a-bicycle-carrying-French-bread and beautiful cottage gardens.  This was also a gift, from that same fabulous friend.  The day I got it, I couldn't put it down.  It has the best French Onion Soup recipe I've ever tried.  It also has an amazing Winter Sausage and Bean Soup recipe.

Lastly (for now), my new favorite:
Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family RecipesFalling Cloudberries - by Tessa Kiros
I love the family tree at the beginning of the book.  It explains where her influences come from (her parents are from Cyprus and Finland). She also lived in South Africa as a child, and later married an Italian.  So you can just imagine the stories and the recipes.  Authentic and Amaaazing.  Before I decided to go on strike with meat, my favorite recipe was Leg of Lamb with Oregano and Lemon.  Yummmmmm... Great for entertaining.

Please share your favorite cookbook with me!


  1. I want to buy them all now after your great reviews! I thought of you as I made butternut squash gratin (vegatarian) last friday. It had pesto in it, go figure!

  2. I feel like we are the very definition of a bromance but chicks...way more than gf's but somehow there is no word for this...kitchmance does not roll off the tongue and may conjure up knomes and pink flamingos so...sista'mance!!! We need to make Molly's white chocolate mousse thingy and wear legwarmers while inhaling it! And I made Viene's Hot Cocoa this weekend while we watched Chocolat--bravisimo! (you can use a dash cayenne pepper)

  3. Love the blog, Em. Esp. the beautiful photos, book reviews, and your writing style is quite charming. You picked a darling design for the blog too--vintage & kitchy. I think you will enjoy the new endeavor of being a vegetarian. The year I got married, I became a vegetarian and it lasted for almost an entire year. I had more energy and lost weight and had nicer skin (of course having youthful vigor and the thrill of being in love didn't hurt.) I felt awesome. I wasn't a vegan, so I had dairy and cheese. Now that I am cooking for three boys, it would be a challenge to be completely vegetarian, but in general I don't eat very much meat. It is more of a condiment for me. That being the case, I really enjoy adding to my collection of meat free dishes and will happily follow you along the sans meat journey (with an Asian twist.)

    And if there is any way to include kimchee in a recipe, you will be my hero. I love that stuff.

    And for the record, I am happy that chocolate is a meat-free food.


  4. Kimchi? You got it! I love that one of my sister-in-laws is Korean. I've got a homemade jar of the stuff in my fridge right now! She also gave me a good kimchee jjigae (kimchi stew) recipe...I'll have to go dig it up...

    Jen - sista'mance it is! Let's make the mousse, and the stuff she ate in Paris!

    Marcie - recipe please :)