Non-fiction

Favorite Cookbooks for Gift Giving

 

Book Cover - Baking

I am happy to say that I know quite a few really good cooks and bakers. They use fresh ingredients, cook/bake from scratch and (deservedly so) take pride in the results. These gals and guys know their way around a saucepan and have discovered go-to cookbooks to use as reliable references when checking on a new technique or when working with an unfamiliar food. Sometimes, they use the cookbooks to expand their repertoire of tasty entrees and/or desserts.

 

The Nightstand Book Reviews subscribers were invited to contribute their choices for favorite cookbooks (suitable for holiday gift-giving). Take a look at the list and their comments.

 

Pat Bee uses:

The New Doubleday Cookbook! My husband found this cookbook years ago and it is a great one! Lots of information regarding cooking – not just recipes.

My other favorite is Baking by Dorie Greenspan. Haven’t had a failure with any of the recipes and the final product is delicious, especially the biscotti. (Note from Patti: I’ve had the biscotti. Yummy!)

 

Rony G Cambell suggests:

My son found a cookbook The Country Farmhouse Cookbook by Sarah Banbery. I’ve never come across a cookbook with so much love, detail and absolutely outstanding recipes, all with brilliant photography to accompany them.

It covers everything from growing, to final preparation. Soups, snacks, egg & cheese dishes, fish & shellfish – the list goes on until the final Homemade Drinks & Sweets.

It gets used at least once a week in our house.

 

Toni DeLuca praises:

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.  It made a famous world-wide list for top cookbooks.  It includes recipes as well as stories of Paris. 

Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Fast. There are over 900 pages but it really is a helpful book.  He is very health conscious and gives clear directions. He writes for the NYTimes and is on PBS.

From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart:

Meatless: Vegetarian recipes.  Not complicated and even meat eaters would enjoy the recipes.  I made several of the recipes – Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Gratin & Roasted Tomato Tabbouleh are two. 

One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals From Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot and More. 

 

Edith Maxwell has contributed to:

Cozy Food: 128 Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes! Nancy Lynn Jarvis compiled this. It includes many delicious recipes from many well-known (and some not so well-known) mystery authors. I have recipes in there for Baba Ganoush, and Tomato-Bean Salad with Eggs. 

Check out www.edithmaxwell.com for links/info about Edith’s books, featuring amateur sleuths that are also talented cooks.

 

Liz Mugavero loves:

Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr and Chad Samo. Kris is a wellness advocate who has been living with cancer for eleven years and has improved her health and lifestyle with her food choices. The recipes in this book are vegan and many have gluten free options. All are plant based. It's definitely my go-to cookbook!

Check out www.lizmugavero.com for links/info about Liz’s fun, pet friendly murder mysteries that include recipes for pet treats.

 

Brian Stewart suggests:

For curry fans (like me) you can’t look past Atul Kochhar’s Atul’s Curries of the World. Tried many of them, and all are fantastic (top favourite is the prawn and mango one!!)

 

Lynn C. Willis recommends:

My favorite cookbook is my Hershey's Recipes. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! It's only 30 pages but every page is filled with some kind of goodie made with Hershey chocolate. Chocolate Raspberry Dessert is nearly truly zen-worthy. I found this book in the dollar bin at Target and consider it the best dollar I've ever spent. (Note from Patti: Hershey now has multiple titles for chocolate recipe cookbooks. The link takes you to one of the many.)

My second favorite cookbook is The Chandler Family Recipes – a book my cousin put together a few years ago and distributed at our family reunion. She spent years gathering the recipes of our grandmothers, mothers, great aunts, aunts and fellow cousins and compiled them in spiral-bound books she photocopied herself. I gave one to my own daughter and one to my daughter-in-law as something to pass on to their own daughters. (Note from Patti: You can’t purchase the Chandler collection of recipes, but isn’t it a great idea for a future gift?)

Check out www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for info/links to Lynn’s award-winning mysteries.

 

I have some of the above titles on my shelf, but have asked Santa to bring me the ones I’m missing.  J

Happy shopping everyone!

 

P.S. If you are subscriber to Nightstand Book Reviews and would like to add a cookbook title to the list, please email me with your suggestion. 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

 

Book Cover - Unbroken

Resilient: Attribute of someone who can "bounce back" after shock or injury, whether of the physical or psychological kind.

 

Before Louis Zamperini, the subject of Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” became an Olympic runner, he had been a juvenile delinquent, getting into so much trouble that some thought he might not survive his teenaged years. He was restless, reckless and unimpressed by boundaries or rules, outsmarting his targets at every turn. His parents tried, but were unable to rein him in. He was unbowed by physical or verbal threats. Then in high school, his brother helped save Zamperini from himself by persuading the principal to let him race. Over the next year, training consisted of being hit with a stick, running over hills and trails, and running until he dropped. Eventually, running was all he wanted to do.

 

As he matured, he became one of the best distance runners in the world, but WW2 broke out and Zamperini’s future changed. He joined the Army Air Corps, and then was shot down in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Despite the ordeal of drifting over 1000 miles in open seas for 47 days with no provisions and surrounded by sharks, he and another airman survived, only to be captured by the Japanese once they reached land in the Marshall Islands. His non-stop harrowing experience at the hands of torturers who never heard of the Geneva Convention would have broken a different man, but Zamperini had an incredible inner strength that brought him through. Resilience.

 

This non-fiction account of his courage and endurance in the face of inconceivable challenges has been on the NYT bestseller list for over 165 weeks. In “Unbroken,” Hillenbrand’s descriptions are gritty, raw and oh, so real. I smelled the decaying bodies. I was in the water when the enemy aircraft shot at the raft. I was terrified when Watanabe (a guard who singled him out) came close and demonstrated the worst form of man’s inhumanity to man.

 

We civilians would hope that this kind of mistreatment does not occur if our loved ones in the military are wounded or captured by the enemy. We also hope that they will return to us mentally and emotionally unscarred by whatever traumas they have experienced, but we know this is not always the case. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a very real possibility for people serving at the front lines and while nobody gave it a name in WW2, Zamperini must have been a clear example. That Zamperini was capable of forgiveness years later is remarkable in itself, but his action of forgiveness moved even his former enemies.

 

Hillenbrand has shown once again that truth is sometimes more riveting than fiction – remember her engrossing retelling of the story of “Seabiscuit?”

 

Zamperini died July 2, 2014 at the age of 97. His son, Luke, gives talks about his father’s inspirational life and Zamperini’s legacy will also live on in an upcoming movie.

 

Please visit www.laurahillenbrandbooks.com for more information about future plans for “Unbroken.”

 

 

Please follow and like us:

“The Southern Living Garden Book”

 

Book Cover - Southern Living Garden Book

 

Many of you have seen photos of a variety of flowers and shrubs in my garden. “The Southern Living Garden Book” is my go-to gardening reference whenever I want to expand the beds and need to research compatible plants and shrubs.

 

My hectic travel schedule defeated any year-round gardening plan I had while living in perpetually drought-stricken north Texas.  The intense heat required me to partner with neighbors or landscapers so that thirsty plants could be nurtured during the many 100+ degree weeks I was away. Eventually, I downsized the gardening attempts to a few pots on the patio.

 

Interestingly enough, the most successful arrangement involved two enthusiastic neighborhood children – eight and ten year old boys. I can only imagine the wild water fights on my patio while the flowers were getting their daily drinks, but my plants never looked better than during that summer.

 

But, now that I’m in North Carolina and my traveling days are severely reduced, I am ready for more extensive gardening adventures once more and my savvy cousin-in-law (a Master Gardener) recognized a need. “The Southern Living Garden Book,” contains over 7,000 plant listings, more than 1,000 color photos, additional color illustrations and new plant hardiness maps.

 

An important part of any gardening book is a “What-can-I-grow-in-my-garden-with-its-special-needs?” chapter. The category is tackled nicely in the section referred to as the ‘Plant Selection Guide.’  There are thirty-four plant lists (with photos) that help with areas such as hedges, screens or borders and other specialty spots. There are pages devoted to showy perennials, attractive plants for birds, and a wealth of other information – all keyed for climate hardiness, sun and water needs.

 

If you are not fortunate enough to live within driving distance of a nursery, a list of mail-order garden suppliers is included in the resource directory contained near the end of the book.

 

“The Southern Living Garden Book” is a substantial coffee table size, meant to be studied and used as a planning guide. Great investment of less than $30. if you have a gardening vision in mind; a beautiful and practical addition to my shelves.

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Scroll to Top