New Providence Memorial Library's Online Reading Group discussion

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message 1: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Although I am currently engrossed in 2 books, that's not at all what I want to talk about this month. I admit that the holiday season is starting to grip me. No, not the season of shopping. I'm talking about the season of cooking and eating! I do not understand why anybody would want to rush over Thanksgiving just to get to the Mall. But that's a topic for another place.

Here, I'd like to discuss a very important topic. What is your favorite cookbook or favorite cookbook author? Who do you keep going back to year after year? For me, it's Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties. I really like her philosophy of assembling a meal and preparing dishes that are good without being showy or fancy. The aim is to have fun at your own party. Which I have done successfully for years w/ her help!

The recipes are important but so is the mix of food, the ideas about how to present things and inpspiration behind themes. Food is only one part of the event. I've also had luck with How Easy Is That? Some things have become favorites, roast chicken, green cabbage, brussels sprouts and lemon cake recipes come to mind.

I have to admit that for Thanksgiving, tho, I am a bit more restless and try for variety so I get food ideas from all over. The turkey and gravy, tho are always the same source - Rick Rogers Thanksgiving. I took a course w/ him years ago before I had my first holiday b/c I was so nervous about it. And I have never yet made a bad turkey. So, if it's not broke....

How about you all? In this season of cooking and eating, do you all have favorite cook books to use, to inspire or just to drool over?


message 2: by Rosanne (new)

Rosanne | 67 comments I am very grateful that my friends all bring food to my parties and I only have to come up with a main dish and maybe a side that I particularly want. That being said, I am going to check out Barefoot Contessa Parties as I have a hard time coordinating dishes for even big family dinners.
I am a big user of the internet for recipes. I also still use The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (Old Fashioned Beef Stew and reference for vegetables of all kinds) and have favorites in The Silver Palate Cookbook (Chili for a Crowd and Chicken Marbella are particular favorites).
I am waiting for the arrival of Mark Bittman's latest - How To Cook Everything Fast - that I recently ordered. And picked up The Grain Brain Cookbook by David Perlmutter, MD from the library. Looks interesting but haven't tried any of the recipes yet.


message 3: by Karen (new)

Karen Thornton (karenstaffordthornton) | 65 comments I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond . Her pumpkin pancakes are great, and her maple cinnamon rolls have become our Christmas morning staple.

For baking, the Baked cookbooks are amazing. Baked New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis Baked Explorations Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis . They have a bakery in Brooklyn that is worth driving to on a Sunday morning. Matt Lewis also wrote Chocolate Bar Chocolate Bar by Matt Lewis that doesn't have a bad recipe in it.

For some new twists on Italian, try Barbara Lynch Stir Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition by Barbara Lynch . She has several restaurants in Boston, and her recipes are great.


message 4: by Carol (last edited Nov 06, 2014 08:00AM) (new)

Carol Hance (bijou324) | 11 comments Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays|17..."

Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays|17..."

I like the Cook's Illustrated Cookbook for the way they tweak the recipes and tell you what brands are best to use. Not sure they have the most scrumptious recipes but they are well tested.


message 5: by K (new)

K | 33 comments Karen - I saw your post and then caught up with some of my older emails - seems they've got a book signing for Baked NYC at Short Hills Williams-Sonoma this Saturday, Nov 8th - 2pm.


message 6: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta | 156 comments my husband and i have used Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking" so often since we got married, it's literally falling apart. lots of ingredients, sometimes lots of steps, but not complicated. all delicious.

i picked up a wonderful little cookbook "Easy Vegetarian" from barnes & noble, and LOVE it. beautiful accompanying pictures of everything from apps to one-dish meals to dessert. great for pot-luck parties as well as home

"Pasta Cookbook" by Judi Olstein- easy and tasty pasta sauces

"The Cookie Book" that i have had since i was in grade school. 12 recipes, one classic recipe for each month of the year. my daughters and i had fun with it when they were in grade school !

i own but haven't tried yet "Hot Stuff" by Emma Summer. we love hot food with a kick; you guys have motivated me to find something from here to try soon :-)


message 7: by Helene (new)

Helene Langezaal | 31 comments I have quite a lot of cookbooks and have a hard time picking a favorite. I do have a favorite website though. It is: eatyourbooks.com it is a search engine for cookbooks. Started by two sisters on either side of the world, Australia and the US later the UK, who indexed their cookbooks to have easy access to all their recipes. They now update it with indexes from many more books than their own and also include some blog recipes and major magazines. Now when I am stuck with zucchini and chicken and no clue what to do with it, I go to the online library that I build using the cookbooks I have fill in my two ingredients and find out what will be for dinner. Some experiments are better than others, but since I bought every book with a reason, it usually appeals to me.


message 8: by K (new)

K | 33 comments Helene - thanks for the website recommendation. Wow! I've been trying to figure out what to do about my cookbook collection (2 full IKEA Billy bookcases) and this may be the answer, rather than tossing out what I think I might not use.


message 9: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Rosanne wrote: "I am very grateful that my friends all bring food to my parties and I only have to come up with a main dish and maybe a side that I particularly want. That being said, I am going to check out Baref..."

I am fortunate to have lots of cooks among family and friends. For Thanksgiving, they usually handle all the pie-making and wine selection. Coordination of so many dishes is always a challenge but I'll admit that the big warming tray my sister gave me last Christmas has helped a lot...things stay warm out of the oven w/o drying out.


message 10: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays|17..."

I'm familiar w/ Pioneer Woman...she's always talking about wonderful stuff at the gym while I'm slaving on the treadmill. What's that advice, don't go to the gym hungry? Not familiar w/ Matt Lewis or Barbara Lynch but we may have to round out our already bulging cookbook collection w/ these two..Thanks for the suggestions!


message 11: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year ..."

Yes...it is interesting to read these for technique tips and I am always amazed at the exhaustive research. I like to stick to the magazine, it limits the research..


message 12: by Carol (new)

Carol Hance (bijou324) | 11 comments New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year ..."

New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year ..."

New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year ..."

New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year ..."

New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year ..."

You go to the same gym as the Pioneer Woman? ;-)


message 13: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Sangeeta wrote: "my husband and i have used Madhur Jaffrey's "Indian Cooking" so often since we got married, it's literally falling apart. lots of ingredients, sometimes lots of steps, but not complicated. all de..."

We've talked about how I like Indian food but can't even fathom how to reproduce it so I should try a classic like Indian Cooking one of these days.

On the cookie front, we have a cookbook entitled Cookies, cookies, cookies which is really that. And the book flips from one side where you make them to the other side where your kids can make them. It's a cute idea and the recipes I've tried are very good.


message 14: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Helene wrote: "I have quite a lot of cookbooks and have a hard time picking a favorite. I do have a favorite website though. It is: eatyourbooks.com it is a search engine for cookbooks. Started by two sisters on ..."

What a great tip..thanks!


message 15: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Yes, through the magic of television, I do...she's always on TV when I arrive for my walk.


message 16: by Helene (new)

Helene Langezaal | 31 comments New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook [bookcover:The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year ..."
I went to a cooking demonstration last night, using recipes from Ina's latest book: "make it ahead" at the Williams-Sonoma in Short Hills. You get the book with the class (and the dinner) and I cannot wait to make other recipes. As the title suggests, you can prepare part of the dish ahead: Ideal for Thanksgiving!


message 17: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Helene wrote: "New Providence wrote: "Karen wrote: "I love Ina Garten. All of her books have something great in them. I also love the Pioneer Woman cookbooks. She does have a holiday cookbook Nigella Kitchen Recipes from the Heart of the Home by Nigella Lawson

A couple of years ago, I ran through some recipes from Nigella Kitchen w/ success, the most memorable being peanut butter hummus which uses peanut butter instead of tahini. It went well w/ the other holiday fare as it has a more nutty taste rather than the garlicky hummus.



message 18: by Karen (new)

Karen Thornton (karenstaffordthornton) | 65 comments Nigella has a great lemon risotto recipe!


message 19: by Karen (new)

Karen Thornton (karenstaffordthornton) | 65 comments Nigella has a great lemon risotto recipe!


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