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Cookbook Awards (Part II)
Jun 28th, 2006

The heat has broken for the time being and I've headed back into the kitchen. I've got a couple recipes I'm excited to share with you - a Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet and my take on mushroom tapenade - but first I need to finish up my Cookbook Awards. In Cookbook Awards Part I I covered the books I'd take with me to a desert island and which I deem most beautiful.

Moving on we've got:

Glad to Own but Barely Use:
This one is tough, because as I mentioned over half of my cookbooks have yet to be cooked from, so I could fill this category up to overflowing and beyond. How to choose, I guess I'll highlight a few that I've cooked from once and liked but for one reason or another have yet to make it back.

The Occidental Tourist: Asian inspired recipes from the chef at the Boston based restaurant Salamander. The recipes are chef-y in that they are usually a twist on a traditional recipe, but ingredient lists aren't too terribly long or intimidating. I made Yang Chow Fried Rice a year and a half ago and haven't cracked the book since. I think probably because the recipes are just a little too involved to qualify as weeknight cooking at my house (although others who don't arrive home with what seems like only minutes to get the kids fed, bathed, storied, and into bed may disagree) but for some reason I never think Asian when I have more time on the weekends. Time to fix that.

New World Kitchen: Latin American and Caribbean Cuisine: Substitute Latin American for Asian and what I said for The Occidental Tourist stands for this cookbook as well. I made Almojabanas, (Cheese Corn Rolls) which I messed up a bit but were still good, but I haven't made anything since.

Julia Child & Company: My final entry in this category is a little different than the other two. I'm glad to own this book because it's the only Julia Child cookbook I have, and as a former loyal reader of the Julie/Julia Project I have to own at least one. But when I was deep in the throes of a self-imposed challenge to cook at least one recipe out of each of my cookbooks (I only made it through eleven books before giving up and in that time my collection increased by at least eleven new books leaving me feeling completely defeated) I tackled Julia Child & Company - and could not find a single recipe that looked appealing enough to be worth the investment of time, energy, and butterfat. Some day I may take up that gauntlet once more, but even if I don't I'm still glad I own the book.


Best for a Specific Purpose:
I have a lot of single topic cookbooks (Garlic, Flavored Oils, Scones, Pizza, etc.) but I've yet to try most of them. Here are the ones I do use.

Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe: So who needs a 320 page book all about breakfast, healthy vegetarian breakfast at that? Me, that's who! Flipping through this book with its beautiful cover art inspires me to deviate from my repetitive breakfast routine (two slices of Ezekial raisin bread, toasted, with Adam's peanut butter - crunchy not creamy) or even better, to eat nothing brut breakfast foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I posted a good Pancake Mix recipe from this book a ways back.

Great Taste - Low Fat Chicken: Okay, so it's by Time Life Books, there are no editorial or customer reviews of it on Amazon, and who knows where I came by it, but when I know that I've got to cook chicken again for dinner and just can't face another round of any of my usual recipes, I know I can flip through this book and find a recipe that will taste good and be quick to prepare whith ingredients I have on hand. This Caribbean Chicken Salad is one example.

Baking By Flavor: Definitely the best dessert cookbook I've come across. I featured her Spiced & Glazed Chocolate Chip Cake here and talked a bit about what makes the book good which include precise, detailed directions and ideas about how to add layers of flavor to different dessert items.

Alright, I promised a few new categories of my own invention, and I'm still planning on including those, but probably not until next week. Tomorrow, back to the recipes! In the meantime I'd love to hear your selections for best cookbooks - don't be shy about using the comments, all the cool kids are doing it.


Comments

My Glad to Own but Barely Use favorite cookbook is one that I don't use often because of our switch to low-carb cooking. But occasionally I still use Pillsbury's Bake Off Breads Cook Book (1968) when I want to create something special for folks who can scarf down carbs with impunity.

As I open this book, I'm overcome with nostalgia for my bread baking days. I can smell the bread baking. I think of you and your brother waitng for the bread to come out of the oven and cool enough so that you could eat the still warm slices dripping with butter or honey. Some favorites were Scandinavian Rye Bread, Up-To-Date Bread, Honey-Wheat Bread, Dark Orange Raisin Bread, Dilly Casserole Bread, and Can-Pan Fruit Bread, which I cooked in one-pound coffee cans and gave to friends for Christmas. I even have a note on the Can-Pan page that says that it cost $1.73 to make this recipe in 1973. Why did I make that note? I have no idea. You were a baby, and your dad was teaching school. Maybe I was concerned about the cost. Those were the days when a loaf of store bread cost 25 cents, so $1.73 was significant.

The pages are covered with grease and batter spots. Some pages are almost unreadable because of water damage. But I love this cookbook beyond all others because it speaks to me of my past.



-posted by Mom on Jun 29th, 2006
Is that Honey Wheat Bread the basic whole wheat bread you used to bake? I would love to have that recipe, as I also have nostalgic feelings about those bread-baking years.

-posted by kymm on Jun 29th, 2006
No, the Honey Wheat Bread isn't 100 percent whole wheat. It's about half whole wheat and half white. I think my basic whole wheat recipe was from Adelle Davis's Let's Cook It Right (1970). As I'm sure you remember, it makes a pretty hefty loaf. You can look over all my bread recipes when you're here for the Fourth of July. I have tons of them.

-posted by Mom on Jun 29th, 2006
© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com