Cookbook Report

posted on: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just last month NPR had a short piece called App-etizing: Cookbooks and Recipes go Mobile, which acknowledges the use of technology for getting recipes but also states, surprisingly, that good ol' fashioned cookbooks are alive and well. Lately I've been using my ipod touch in the kitchen, mostly to read your food blogs and make your recipes. My life has been made easier with my ipod touch, no doubt, but the more access I have to recipes online the more I crave cookbooks.

I have cookbooks on my nightstand, the living room bookcase, in the kids' room, in my tiny kitchen between the fridge and the sink, on my desk next to my computer, just not in the bathroom. Nope, not yet.

I devour cookbooks. I browse them for pretty pictures, for food styling, for tips -- they are my main source of cooking inspiration. Sunday nights, when the kids are asleep and I'm getting ready for the week I lay my cookbooks on my bed, spread them out like a down comforter and wrap myself in page after page of recipes I've seen a million times before. Then I make a weekly menu, and then I cook, and  write.

One of the greatest things that happened as a result of blogging is that my e-mail address somehow got on the "free cookbook" list and I've been so lucky to get a plethora of cookbooks to review, hug, and cherish. I might have mentioned a couple of these before but today I'm in the zone and I want to do a run through of some of the cookbooks I've received. 
by Shannon Payette Seip, Kelly Parthen, with Carisa Dixon

Bean Appetit is a reflection of the nation's leading healthy kids' cafe Bean Sprouts, a place I hope to visit one day. This is a wonderful book with recipes and much more. It's a resource for parents and caregivers to create fun food for kids. There's a whole section on how to throw a cooking-themed birthday party which I'm pouring over as I plan Enzo's 5 year birthday bash.

by Jeannette L. Bessinger

This is the kind of book you want to give someone who is an already seasoned home cook. I say this because there are no visuals to really guide you through the process of cooking. It's not a light read either, not something you can quickly browse for information. It's more of a book to read when your baby is taking a nap and you have 2 hours on your hands to learn about all the different ways to make, process, and store baby food.

I'm biased to talk about this book because Adam Pearson, my favorite food stylist, did all the cookie styling for it. Just because of that I already adored this book even before I had my own copy. Now that I  get to look at it whenever I want, I've used it several times, and not just for food styling inspiration. It's a wonderful resource book, a text book of sorts for cookie making. The recipes are thorough and well written and the first 50 pages of this book is all about preparing you to bake the perfect batch of cookies.  The fact that anyone could write so much about the techniques behind baking cookies makes me smile.


Those up there are called peanut butter clouds. I know, they look amazing.  If you want over 300 pages of cookie recipes paired with the most beautiful pictures your eyes will ever feast on, I think this book is for you. One day when I have a coffee table in the center of my living room, and babies who won't destroy books, I'll have a copy of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy right there decorating my house. In the meantime my babies will be in the kitchen with me making peanut butter clouds, flaky whole wheat walnut cookies, and all the different variations of chocolate chip cookies, while getting my beautiful cookbook stained from their fingers dipped in cookie batter.  


Before I tell you about the book I have to ask a quick question first, is Yvan Lemoine the best kept secret ever?  I saw this book for sale at urban outfitters where a bunch of teenage girls were jumping up and down pointing at the picture of Yvan on the back of the book. After they walked away I naturally went to see what all the fuss was about. Yvan was all the fuss! Hot cook who likes to party every-single-day-of-the-year-with food ... sigh. March second is my birthday, don't you forget. I'll be expecting a Banana Cream Pie hopefully hand delivered by Yvan ... or even better yet handmade by my own in resident hot chef :)  Tell me your birthday and I'll tell you what national food holiday it is and maybe I can convince Yvan to drop by your house for a Birthday surprise.


This is the ultimate dude cookbook. Bob did some glorious guy travel in his Toaster-mobile and lives to tell the story in this book, along with personal reflections on how he learned to cook on a budget and some crazy recipes to boot. Think fatty, fun, frugal recipes --cauliflower popcorn, coconut shrimp lollypops, maple bacon-crunch ice cream, yeah that kind of food. With the weather exceptionally warm we're planning a BBQ this weekend and I'm thinking of testing out Blumer's beer can chicken. Have you ever made anything like it?

by Norma Miller

I would recommend this book for someone who already knows how to cook. The recipes are practical,  no doubt, but a little hard to follow if you've never cooked before. Cute illustrations but no pictures, which is fine if you don't need visuals to guide you. I've seen Christian look through this book a couple times. He's all about less dishes and practical meals.


This book is the lighter version of Best Food for your Baby and Toddler. Both books are written by the same authors. The big difference is that this one has more pictures, more visuals to illustrate what they are talking about. After reading this you'll purge all the candy in your home, I guarantee. It's a good consciousness raising book where you'll find resources to make smarter, better informed, decisions about what you feed your kids.

by Becky Sue Epstein

The first version of this book came out in 1986, so maybe some of you already own it. Last year the most recent edition came out, and I really recommend getting it. If you're going to have one book in your kitchen, have this one. It's a little paperback full of useful information. I've used it many times already as I found myself needing to figure out substitutions for certain ingredients. It is an easy book to use, totally practical, and very inexpensive.


I'm not a fast cook. Any recipe that promises cutting down my time is good but I'm not delusional either. 15 minutes is more like 30 minutes my time, but I'm o.k with that if the recipes are good. I do like the recipes in this book, mostly because it reminds me to use a healthier and quicker alternative when I'm in a bind. For example, instead of making a quiche which takes a good hour from start to finish I've made their frittata instead.


This is the best homemade baby food cookbook I have ever used. Can I leave it at that and move on to the next? Seriously though, this book is packed with terrific and quick recipes that are impossible to mess up. Each recipe provides alternative methods (microwave, stovetop, oven) along with a full description of the nutritional value of each dish and seriously amazing pictures (bonus!). I love this book. I started recommending this book to all new parents and think it's the perfect babyshower gift.


Here is another book that would make an excellent baby shower present. Unfortunately, I got this book after weaning baby Maria due to an yeast infection I didn't know how to get rid of when she was 10 months old. It broke my heart. I wish I had read this book during that whole drama. Breastfeeding Enzo was such a breeze I never thought it would be different with my second child and it was, big time. So now I like to lend this book to friends who are pregnant. I can't look at it too much or else I get baby hungry staring at all the cute pictures of newborn babies. I'm saving this for when I get pregnant with baby number 3 and need to brush up on breastfeeding techniques. 

by Jackie Zorovich & Kristina Sacci 

You already know I have a love affair with my zoku right? For those of your who don't know, zoku is the most brilliant kitchen gadget ever invented. It's a quick pop maker, where your popsicles are ready in less than 10 minutes. It's genius and I high recommend getting one. I also highly recommend getting this cookbook with beautiful recipes like the  caramelized banana coconut pop, the strawberry shortpop, and the nutty chocolate pretzel pop, to name a few.

Dear you,
do you have any new cookbooks in your home that you've been loving lately?
Do share. My love for cookbooks is a true mother's love, always room for one more. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails