Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn’t mean we can stop cooking! The sumptuous foods, drinks and parties are the reason why fitness and self-help books are popular in January. To help you with your holiday planning, I’ve culled a few colorful cookbooks new to the shelves this fall at the Champaign Public Library.
To go along with the release of the “Downton Abbey” movie, Emily Ansara Baines has written “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.” As someone who was fascinated watching Daisy and Mrs. Patmore in the kitchen, I enjoyed browsing through this interesting collection. As any good regal British cookbook, it is divided by courses. Part 1 of the book is the recipes for the Crawley family, and Part 2 includes recipes for hearty simpler meals for the staff. Two of my favorites in this resource are Mrs. Patmore’s Perfect Pork Roast, which I do intend on fixing, and the Raspberry Meringue Pie, which sounds delightful.
Trained at Le Cordon Bleu in France, David Burtka is more than just Neil Patrick Harris’ husband and celebrity favorite. In his first standalone cookbook, “Life Is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration,” the reader is immersed in lots of ideas for almost any festivity. Divided by seasons, the book includes 16 different party themes. Since I am not a top chef, I get frustrated by cookbooks that include recipes with ingredients that I don’t have on hand. This is not the case in this fun book. The title says it all; these are all definitely “doable.” Each set of instructions includes the prep time, bake time and difficulty rating. One of the parts I was drawn to this week were the recipes for the day after Thanksgiving leftovers! This was a fun and exciting collection.
If you’re going for something with a more international bent, try “Made With Love: 100 of the World’s Best Chefs, Cooks & Food Artisans & the Food They Make for the People They Love.” Although they state that the contributors span the globe, I found that almost all of them were from England, New Zealand and Australia. Oddly, the contents are listed alphabetically by the chef’s last name. Measurements are in the metric system, but there are handy conversion tables in the back of the book. Each recipe notes if it is gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian. The recipes are certainly interesting and look delicious, but I haven’t tried any of them yet. Regardless, it’s another great resource for serious cooks.
Back to the festivities! “The Southern Living Party Cookbook” by Elizabeth Heiskell is a delightful resource that would make a great gift, as well. The contents are organized by occasion, with the beginning of the book listing some rules of basic etiquette. I think this is something of which everyone needs to be reminded a time or two! The recipes include time involved in prep and cooking, and include number of servings in each batch. Each page boasts bright, attractive photographs. Either for yourself or someone you know, this one is a keeper.
Lastly is the “Bigger Bolder Baking: A Fearless Approach to Baking Anytime, Anywhere” by Gemma Stafford. This one was particularly clever in its organization, as it’s separated by the utensils necessary to make the treat. For example, the first section is titled “Wooden Spoon and Bowl” and includes recipes for cookies, biscuits and cobblers. The third section is “Rolling Pin” and includes tarts and pies. There’s also “Mixer” and includes favorites such as pudding, torte, mousse and ice cream. It was fun to browse through and see which baked goods were assigned to which chapter. The book ends with recipes for “bold basics” such as ganache, curd and caramel sauce, and a very helpful section on the differences between the various butters, chocolates, creams and flours. It was part glossary, part helpful hints. This one would also make a great gift for the baker in your life.
This is just a small selection of the new cookbooks, as it seems we have new ones coming in weekly! Come on in, check these out from the New Materials Collection on the first floor, then head upstairs to the 641s to see the broad spectrum of other cookbooks we have. Happy Cooking!