Books for Cooks

Last Updated on May 29, 2016 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

I’d like to share more content with you that’s not strictly recipes.  What do you think? Because I have so much to say!  On cookbooks, for example.  I keep meaning to share with you the ones that I enjoy.

And I really should share, because I’m a cookbook hoarder.  With most other physical possessions, I try to keep things pretty minimal (living in 2-bedroom apartment with 4 humans and a large dog necessitates it). I have a loose “if a new thing comes in then another must go out” policy that keeps my wardrobe and home decor under control.  But when it comes to books with yummy recipes and beautiful pictures, I just can’t reign myself in.  I have not one, but two bookshelves (one floor-to-ceiling) dedicated to my problem. Help me.

Here are a few good ones that I’ve come by lately.

The Love and Lemons Cookbook: An Apple-to-Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking – written by Jeanine Donofrio, photographed by Jack Mathews. (I’m specifically mentioning both names because the photography in the book is so beautiful and so special that Jack deserves his own shout out.)  They are the duo behind  Love & Lemons blog, one I’ve been enjoying for years.

The book serves as a guide to spontaneous cooking, with an insightful approach to working with what you already have on hand – great for people who are better at impulse buying at the farmer’s market than at meal planning. The 26 chapters full of bright, inspired, flavourful recipes that lend themselves easily to adaptation and free-styling. It’s a beautiful vegetarian book.  Great work, Jeanine and Jack!

Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen – by Katie Chin.  Katie’s mom immigrated from China to the US and started a Chinese restaurant – which turned into 45 Chinese restaurants. This book is a collection of their family recipes, some from the restaurant, and some from Katie’s own catering business. It contains lots of the favourites (like Kung Pao and General Tso’s Chicken, Dan Dan Noodles, Vegetable Lo Mein, Dumplings and Egg Rolls), and some I hadn’t heard of – like Sesame Scallops, which sound incredible.

I live in Vancouver, a beautiful, very multi-cultural city with some of the best Chinese food on earth, and well-stocked international foods stores on every corner. Even so, I’ve have some level of intimidation when it comes to cooking Chinese dishes at home, because I’m unfamiliar with many of the ingredients.  I’d recommend this book if solely on the fantastic introduction section with descriptions and photos of every ingredient and product that I’ve been unsure about.

Honey & Co. – by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer.  This book has been around for a year, and I only discovered it recently, but man do I love it.  I’m a sucker for Middle Eastern food, and this one is a gem.  I’ve got about 30 post-it flags fluttering from its pages, calling out to me when I’m lacking inspiration.  Also, it’s just a joy to read – filled with witty anecdotes and dry British humour. For example, in discussing the virtues of different varieties of capsicum, they note, “If you, like us, have strong feelings about different peppers, congratulate yourself on having a very fortunate life.” Say that out loud with a British accent.

The couple runs a highly successful restaurant in London by the same name, and I can see why people flock there.  Lamb meatballs with peas, mint & yogurt? Yes please.  Prawns in orange, tomato & cardamom? You don’t have to ask me twice. Short ribs with dates, date molasses and potatoes? I’ll be right there.

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