12 June 2021

Weekend Cooking: 9 New Food and Cooking Books

Food and cooking books spring 2021Hello, my friends. Hope that all has been well with you. I'm still cooking and reviewing, but needed a little break.

In today's post, I want to share with you a bunch of food-related books I have on my list to examine more closely. I haven't fully read or cooked from any of them yet, so the following thoughts are gleaned from a combination of skimming through the text, marking dishes I'd like to try, reading bits here and there, and (in some cases) actually trying a recipe. I'll let you know what I think--either here or on GoodReads--after I take the time to read and explore each title.

Thank you to the publishers for providing the review copies. My reactions are purely my own.

Recommended Cookbooks for Spring 2021

What's the Difference? by Brette Warshaw (Harper Wave, June): This handy kitchen reference helps cooks distinguish between similar ingredients, like ale vs. lager, prawns vs. shrimp, and all the different styles of barbecue and types of flour. The information is presented in a straightforward manner and is divided into logical sections, making it easy to find what you're looking for. While it's certainly convenient to have a book that gathers all these kinds of data in one place, my guess is that most readers would simply use Google or the equivalent to figure out the difference, for example, between creme fraiche and sour cream.

At the Chinese Table by Carolyn Phillips (Norton, June 15): This memoir details Phillips's transformation from a food-loving language student in Taipei to eldest daughter-in-law of a traditional Chinese family. She talks about her discovery of the full range of Chinese cuisine, her courtship and marriage to a Chinese scholar, and how she eventually was accepted by her husband's family. Here she shares her almost 50-year love affair with China and its foods, ending each chapter with at least two recipes. Throughout are charming black-and-white drawings.

We Are What We Eat by Alice Waters (Penguin Press, June 1): In her latest book, Waters stays true to her ideals, outlining her philosophy on sustainability, the need to use local products, and the importance of home cooking or slow cooking. She talks about the pressure of advertising and economic issues as well as the effects the fast-food and convenience food industries have on farmers, on the planet, and on our health.

New Cookbooks for Spring 2021

One-Beer Grilling by Mike Lang (Castle Point Books, May): The point of this cookbook is to provide grilling recipes that can be made "before you finish your first cold one." The cookbook is full of easy and very tasty-sounding recipes for sides, meats, sandwiches, appetizers, and even pizza. Almost every recipe is accompanied by a full-page color photo of the finished dish. I like the variety of dishes and the idea of quick grilling, which is perfect for busy families, weeknight dinners, and casual entertaining.

The Maine Farm Table Cookbook by Kate Shaffer (Countryman Press, June): We love Maine, so I was excited to see this cookbook pop up on my list. Here Shaffer introduces us to a wide variety of Maine producers, farmers, and fishermen, located throughout the state. We meet the people, we see gorgeous photos, and learn about Maine's food culture. The recipes are often family dishes provided by the local growers and producers. While the recipes feature local foods, they can be reproduced in any out-of-state kitchen.

What's Good? by Peter Hoffman (Abrams, June): This chef's memoir is one I plan to read a chapter at a time. Hoffman intertwines his journey from childhood to well-known chef with his discovery of specific flavors (maple syrup, garlic, stone fruits, for example), with inside information about the restaurant world, visits to farmers markets, seasonal foodie delights, travel, and the farm to table movement. This is just my kind of foodie memoir, and I'm looking forward to trying out the recipes scattered throughout. In fact, I've already tried one of the cocktails, which is made with a maple syrup simple syrup. Yum.

Books for Foodies, Spring 2021

Cheese, Wine, and Bread by Katie Quinn
(William Morrow, April): Though Quinn's new book does include a few recipes, its not really a cookbook. Instead this book is a deep dive into three specific types of food and three countries. In England we learn about all things cheese: how it's make, different types, melt factors, and the people and places that make cheese so delicious. Italy is all about the wine, from harvest to bottle to table. Again, we travel throughout the country and discover all its vast diversity. Finally we head to France to learn about bread, bread starters, baking bread, different kinds of bread, and the boulangeries we want to visit. Beautifully illustrated with drawings, graphics, and photographs.

Technically Food by Larissa Zimberoff (Abrams, June): This expose, written by an investigative journalist, takes a hard look at high-tech foods: those better-than-beef burgers, non-dairy cheeses, and molds and fungi. Zimberoff asks--and answers--the questions many of us have: Are these "foods" safe and nutritious? Are they really environmentally and ethically sound? Is the high-tech food industry just a way for Silicon Valley to make money or is it the answer to food shortages around the world? This book may change the way you shop and read labels.

Cook for Your Gut Health by Alicia A. Romano (America's Test Kitchen, April): I picked up this cookbook for a couple of reasons. First, it's from ATK, and second, it includes recipes specifically for people on gluten free, diary free, and/or low FODMAP diets. Though I don't have any of those restrictions, several of my friends and family do have to watch their diet. I wanted a reliable source of flavorful recipes so I don't have to worry about inviting those people to eat at my table. Not every recipe will fit all three diets, but ATK clearly labels their dishes so you can find exactly the right foods to cook. I've already made several recipes from the book and loved each one. I still need to read the information at the beginning of the book, which goes through gut health, discusses ingredients, and offers tips and suggestions. If you are on a special diet, you might want to buy or borrow this cookbook.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


gluten Free A_Z Blog 6/12/21, 9:05 AM  

It was fun reading all of your cookbook reviews, but We Are What We Eat looks like a book I want to read. Thanks as always for your insightful reviews.

rhapsodyinbooks 6/12/21, 9:39 AM  

Cheese Wine and Bread looks perfect for us. That combo happens to be one of our favorite meals, and we love finding out the background. Thanks for all the summaries!

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 6/12/21, 10:47 AM  

What's the Difference and Peter Hoffman's book interest me, thanks for the reviews!

Jackie McGuinness 6/12/21, 11:21 AM  

I put Difference and Gut Health on my library wish list. Sadly I couldn't find Chinese Table or What's Good at the library.
I did place a hold for Chinese Table in hard copy.

Tina 6/12/21, 12:31 PM  

First I will copy/paste my answer to you about the Blackstone:

BFR - Doug has wanted one for a long time. He said the seasoning process takes several hours but you can do it in a day. He spent one day doing this while we are in the state park.
First you wash it down with hot soapy water. This is the last time you'll ever wash it.
Seasoning: Rub oil on it, bring to high heat and keep it there until the oil quits smoking. Then turn it off, let it cool down and repeat three more times. Then it's seasoned! It's just a matter of cleaning and oiling when you use it.

It was only $175 at Walmart for the 22 inch model, it's called Adventure ready and came with a hood, adapter hose for 20 ib. tank and a stand. We are very happy with it and everything you have cooked on this griddle has been excellent. Eggs slide around easily and no sticking. The French toast was phenomenal!

Mae Travels 6/12/21, 12:33 PM  

Alice Waters has written some really good books, and I'm looking forward to this one -- just published.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 6/12/21, 12:35 PM  

You can't go wrong with Alice Waters and I am happy to see you highlight a new Katie Quinn cookbook. I very much enjoyed What Katie Ate so I will be looking for this new book.

Deb in Hawaii 6/12/21, 1:05 PM  

Great recap! Several of these look interesting to me, especially the Alice Waters (always) and the Technically Food one too. ;-)

Nancy Andres at Colors 4 Health 6/12/21, 5:48 PM  

Love to read cookbooks for new ideas and I sure have my pick with your informative post. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

R's Rue 6/15/21, 12:48 PM  

I’m about to order some cookbooks. Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed this post.

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