Three Cookbooks I Want on My Shelf

Before I commit to buying a cookbook, I evaluate its worthiness to take up space on my limited shelves by checking it out of the library and trying a few of the recipes.  Of course, when three cookbooks arrived at the same time, they were in competition.  Who would win the coveted shelf space?  All three were winners.  Somehow I will find space for Ina Garten’s Cooking for Jeffrey, Maria Rodale’s Scratch, and Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and get them for presents (are you listening, daughters?)

9780307464897_p0_v3_s192x300  Cooking for Jeffrey

Ina Garten’s newest in her collection – Cooking for Jeffrey – has all the mouth-watering full page pictures enticing the reader to try the recipe.  Jeffrey is a lucky guy; those dishes would taste so much better if Ina would cook for me.  With a four layer chocolate cake on the cover, this book had me before I opened it.

9781623366438_p0_v2_s118x184  Scratch

Full of simple homemade dishes many will remember from childhood days of mother’s cooking, Maria Rodale’s Scratch could become the go-to book when memory lapses.  Tips for making the perfect poached egg or homemade chicken stock may seems simple, but Rodale’s extra twist is worth noting.  A few of the recipes may be heavy on the butter and cream – savory spiced pumpkin soup – but a little butter now and then never hurt, as my favorite chef Julia Child always said.  Rodale prefaces the book noting it is not a diet book – more comfort food, when you need it.

9781583335277_p0_v4_s118x184   The Oh She Glows Cookbook 

When I checked this out of the library, the librarian told me she had bought the book herself after trying some of the recipes – a good recommendation.  Many of us are always looking to eat better, healthier, and with less meat; this vegan cookbook offers easy possibilities. As I flipped through the preface, I was encouraged to find many of the foods I have in stock yet tend to ignore -those healthy alternatives to chips and store-bought cookies.  Liddon not only has the recipes you would expect from a healthy eating cookbook, like green smoothies and veggie burgers, she also includes power snacks and desserts like almond brownies and pudding parfait. A handy reference book for getting back on the track of healthy eating, The Oh She Glows Cookbook includes one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

A timely thought for today, when the news of the world seems overwhelming. Good food may help.

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Comfort Food on the Road – Grilled Cheese

When Susan Russo, author of The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches shared her favorites with Larry  Bleiber of USA Today in 10 Great Place for a Surprising Sandwich in April, I tucked the article away, hoping I would get to one of the cities listed.  The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco near the baseball stadium topped the list, and I found myself queuing up with Giants baseball fans on a sunny, crisp Sunday afternoon recently.

Although the article touted the “piglet,” I opted for the classic “mousetrap” – a combination of sharp cheddar, creamy havarti, monterey jack, on sourdough” – with roasted tomato.  If macaroni and cheese defines your comfort food, this little eating place also offers a macaroni and cheese sandwich.  Although the outdoor seating provided a great view of the orange and black outfits on the way to the ballgame, the little park around the corner at South Park was quiet, with benches and picnic tables, and a little coffee shop on one of the side streets – perfect for having an espresso to clear the arteries.

I’m keeping the article handy; maybe I’ll get to some of the other sites listed:

  • The Meatball Shop in New York
  • Kenny and Zuke’s Deli in Portland,Oregon
  • Capriotti’s in Las Vegas
  • Homegrown in Seattle

A travel tour of sandwich shops sounds good to me.  Have you been to any of them?