I bought three new cookbooks. I'm really excited about all of them. I'll tell you about them in a minute. But first, to continue to honor my New Year resolutions -- these are the six things that went into our donation barrels to make up for bringing those three items into my house:
Four pairs of shoes that are in good shape. They just hurt my feet or they are styles I'll never wear.
Two digital cameras that both work but with limitations that are no longer acceptable.
Now, to the cookbooks!
The first one came into the store shortly before Christmas. I'm a sucker for anything published by DK. I love their Eyewitness and their Rough Guide books. I love their, reference books and kids educational books. They have a well developed formula that combines layout style, formatting, and over-the-top use of color photography to present any subject they choose in a fresh and friendly way.
So, when The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes From Around the World showed up on our new cookbook table, I was immediately sold. It's a huge book. Over 500 pages in an oversized coffeetable format. It could be a doorstop.
At a price point of $35.00 this is the perfect bridal or house warming gift. It's very approachable for the inexperinced cook, but isn't so basic that a skilled home cook would be insulted.
A few weeks ago, a woman came into the store looking for cookbooks on traditional African cooking. She wanted to do a culinary tour of various countries and regions of Africa. She was also interested to see in recipe form how much different her own African American cooking was from its "old country" roots. The problem was, with cooking in Africa passing from generation to generation without written recipes or cookbooks, choices were slim. After some searching, we found "70 Traditional African Recipes" by Rosamund Grant and published by British company, Southwater. Rosamund Grant is quite well know in London, if not so well know here in the US.
At a give-away price of $9.99, this thin, but colorful cookbook is only 94 pages and staple bound. But it is packed with beautiful pictures, cooking history, and product and ingredient information. It may be only 70 recipes, but they are all presented to tantalize. The countries respresented: Morocco, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, & Mozambique.
Some of the tempting recipes: Yam Balls, Akkras (a fritter made with black-eyed peas), Lamb Tagine with Coriander & Spices, Duck with Sherry and Pumpkin, Cameroon Coconut Rice, Kenyan Mung Bean Stew, & Banana Mandazi.
A new cookbook author was recently booked for a signing in my store. She'll be coming through St. Louis in the spring on her book tour.
I almost didn't buy Scratch That: Seasonal Menus & Perfect Pairings, by Connie Fairbanks. Mainly because I knew she'd be here in a few months and I thought I'd just wait for her visit. But then I started flipping through the book. At $35.00 and just under 200 pages in soft cover, it is a bit pricey. But, I have to say, I do love her concept of easy but elegant seasonal menus with pairing recommendations.
She divides the book into spring/summer & fall/winter. Then she offers complete menus for a variety of occasions in each season.providing the recipes for each complete menu.
For example in the Spring & Summer category you will find "First Barbeque on the Deck". The menu includes:
Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Curdites and Toasted Pita Bread paired with Aromatic White Wine (Viognier or Riesling)
Chilled Cantaloupe Soup paired with Prosecco
Cedar-Plank Salmon, Grilled Asparagus, & Grilled Sweet Potatoes paired with Pinot Noir
Mom's Rhubarb-Meringue Cream Pie paired with Coffee
In the Fall & Winter category you will find "A Night in Barcelona". The menu includes:
Roasted Red Peppers with Manchego Cheese and Serrano Ham
Spicy Mussels & Crusty Country Bread paired with Cava
Pork Tenderloin with White Beans and Spinach paird with Rioja
Fresh Fruit with Chocolate Sauce followed by Espresso
I think Connie's book signing is going to be one I'm going to enjoy -- a lot!