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I am a huge fan of cookbooks; my home collection fills 3 big bookcases, full of Asian compendiums, baking volumes, lots of Junior League cookbooks, and tons from California restaurants. See DeAnn O.’s previous blog post Bay Area and Beyond: Restaurant Cookbooks.
But I purely love seeing Wowbrary’s new selection of cookbooks coming into the San Mateo County Library system – it’s my Saturday morning treat. This free subscription is quite nice for knowing upcoming books.
Among the stunning pictorial style layouts are two from Greg and Lucy Malouf. Saha: A Chef’s Journey Through Lebanon and Syria has photographs so stunning you’d like to lick the page. I particularly appreciate the recipes indexed by ingredients like “bulgar” or “fennel.” The text is a travelogue for people perhaps not likely to get to the Australian chef/author’s homeland of Lebanon.
Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey particularly resonated with me, as my family had just enjoyed many of the dishes described in a Redwood City restaurant called New Kapadokia. Again, the coffee table-sized book with its gorgeous photographs means it might be somewhat unwieldy to use for actual cooking, but maybe you’re a less messy cook than I.
Another Vibrant Book
The bright red cloth cover beckons one to partake of Canal House Cooks Every Day. Here the two women authors cook with more familiar ingredients, although the emphasis on fresh produce means inclusion of recipes for Stinging Nettle Soup or Rolled Flank Steak with Pesto.
Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants takes you behind the scenes at 25 international restaurants. In addition to recipes, the reader is treated to interviews with the chefs of The Slanted Door in San Francisco or Dill in Reykjavik, Iceland.
My major requirement for an outstanding cookbook is how many recipes appeal to my lifestyle. Oddly enough, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier is packed with colorful step-by-step photographs of how to prepare simple food for a family.
End With Sweets, of Course
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook has scores of appealing recipes, and great little sidebars with tips for the baker.
Karen Y’s dirty little secret is that she still photocopies recipes, puts them in plastic sleeves, and arranges them in binders. Who knows when you’ll find a “keeper,” like Kona Inn Banana Bread on p. 85 of A Private Collection, Volume One from the Junior League of Palo Alto?