Around the time I got married, my interest in cooking began to evolve into a hankering-- an undeniable urge to delve deeper into the craft. And as my curiosity grew, so too did my collection of cookbooks. My first books were mostly by the television hosts and chefs I watched on the weekends for dinner ideas. Graduating from those familiar faces, I began to brave the more esoteric. With more than 100 books in my collection, here are several that have inspired me this month.
My Own Cook Book by Gladys Taber
I hit the jackpot with this find. There is a wonderful used book store and champagne bar in Asheville called the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. On a cold evening before dinner, my husband and I stopped in for a drink. We strolled the aisles, glasses in hand, and then I saw this book. There are a lot of seafood recipes and casseroles but what makes this book amazing are the stories and adages Ms. Taber includes with each recipe. Shepherd's Pie- "The problem of leftover roasts is perennial. This recipe is very kind to the budget if you have one, and is what Mama used to call rib-sticking."
Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
I have followed Chrissy on social media for a long time. I enjoy her no apologies approach to all things including how she cooks. Her recently released cookbook is not exception. The pages are filled with small plates, hearty entrees, and a dose of unusual (think tuna noodle casserole topped with jalapeño chips). Her cooking is not low calorie, and that is what I like most about this book...it is how my husband wants me to cook 100% of the time.
Hot Sour Salty Sweet, A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia by Jeffrey Alforo and Naomi Duguid
This book was a gift from my Aunt Nancy, I had asked her for a chicken recipe that my cousin Brennan had been raving about. Not 2 days later did this book show up on my doorstep. Asian cuisine is not something I experiment with much, although I love the flavors. The pictures in this book are stunning and have inspired me to cook quite a few dishes. My favorites are the Rice Paper Roll-Ups with Shrimp and Herbs, Som Tam with Yard-Long Beans, and of course the Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce.
Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
I purchased this book years ago because a friend cooked me the Hungarian Mushroom Soup. This soup is filling, warming, and one of the best soups I have ever had. At the time I did not know about the Moosewood Restaurant or that it was mostly vegetarian. This book has fantastic salads, a great list of from-scratch salad dressings, filling meatless entrees, and best of all-the soups.
Ottolenghi The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
I had been eyeing this book for quite a while. My mindreader cousin Katie came for a visit and brought Ottolenghi as a house warming gift. The photographs are what drew me into this book. The recipes are a little complicated but the results are impressive, dare I say masterpieces? These recipes incorporate traditions from around the world and challenge me to use ingredients that I usually don't.