If you hadn’t guessed, I’m obsessed. Cookbooks, food magazines, they crowd my bookshelf and litter my floors. I use my local Corvallis library A LOT and deeply appreciate them. Occasionally I have some late fees (oops! too many recipes, too little time) but I gladly pay any late fees and count it as a bi-monthly donation to one of my favorite city institutions.
I’m always looking on the “new books” shelf, as well as at Amazon and my bookstore to see what new, what’s coming out, and what stands the test of time (and my own kitchen). Here’s my strategy: I look online first. It’s easy and I can find a specific book or sub-genre quickly. Then, I look to see if my local library has it. If they do, I check it out and see if there is enough good stuff in there to consider purchasing it. I try to ALWAYS look through a book before I buy it. Two reasons: 1. I have an obscene amount of cookbooks. If I want to let one take up space in my home, it has to be good. 2. I don’t like spending money for things that aren’t that great, or a book I won’t actually use. Take this one, for example. It’s gorgeous. But maybe not so practical. I enjoyed looking at it and promptly returned it to the library. Now this one, on the other hand, I bought because almost every page had a post it note on it when I returned it to the library. But I would never have known that if I had only seen it on Amazon. Use your library! They are free and full of little gems.
So what do I do if my library doesn’t have it? I look for reviews from other food bloggers, or stare at the photos on Amazon for so long that I give in, depending on the book and the price. There is this book, Sprouted Kitchen, which I may not have known was so awesome until one of my favorite bloggers, Joy The Baker said so. Except for this amazing salad, I haven’t cooked anything from Sara and Hugh, but I fully intend too– especially now that I can’t have eggs!
So here’s what I’m currently reading for 2013 (most photos from Amazon):
***keep in mind, this is for a cookbook library that is well stocked. If you want ideas for the basics, see my post: Cookbook Basics***
Make the bread buy the butter by Jennifer Reese and Dr. Cocktail by Alex Ott
These were on my Amazon wish list and my brother and his girlfriend (thanks John and Nessa!) got them for me.
(an image from Dr. Cocktail– the book has some lovely photography)
Bakin without the Eggs by Rosemarie Emro and Kevin Emro
(Thanks Dan and Sam!) What could be more thoughtful? I’m ready to tear into this one. I can see this being my go-to to help me learn the basics of egg-free baking (and a great jumping off point to modify the other recipes I see out there.)
This is A Cookbook by Max and Eli Sussman (aka to me and my pal Layla, the Two Attractive Men)
The adorable illustrations. The beer relief from making “f-bomb inducing” bacon (I love the honesty here). The gorgeous looking food. You had me at breakfast.
The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger
I picked this up at Browser’s bookstore in Corvallis for 10 bucks! It looks like something that will be a great reference and trusted source. Fig walnut scones? Whole wheat basil bread? This looks like an inspiration filled book as well as a trusted go-to. I’ll let you know more as I try things on the Apartment Baker blog!
Currently Coveting and planning to buy:
Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
From the woman who has brought me Babka, I am really excited to get this one and see what else is in store. Her blog always looks so good. Especially with all my drool on it.
The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte (Author), Hugh Forte (Photographer)
See above. Also the photos on their beautiful blog are inspiring and simple and so bright. That’s the challenge with being a food blogger in Oregon (especially in the dead of winter)-the light tends to be more moody then bright and clean. But, hey, the food is still delicious.
Roots by Diane Morgan
You know you are in Portland when you pick up this book in an Anthropologie and an 8 year old tells you this is a “good book, my mom cooks from it all the time” with all the wisdom of cookbook editor. Kid, the future is wide open for you. And yes, I believe you.
My Bread and My Pizza both by Jim Lahey.
What a guy! This bread is amazing. His method is easy and simple and produces amazing results (I’ve never been disappointed, and I’m a tough critic when it comes to bread, or pizza for that matter.) I’ve been baking from my library’s copy of both of these books for the last 3 years. It’s time to put a ring on it.
The Homemade Pantry byAlana Chernila
I’m blown away! Two years ago it was Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, then last year I added Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It (both by Karen Solomon) and this is a nice book in the same vein of those. The bread recipes I tried so far from The Homemade Pantry are the cure to any funk that may be hanging over you in these post-holiday weeks. And even though I’m not a mom, I still experience those people in my life who absolutely must be FED NOW! It really helps to have a great homemade snack around.
Gifts from the Kitchen: 100 Irresistible Homemade Presents for Every Occasion by Annie Rigg
Honeycomb! Marinated Goat Cheese! Pesto! Christmas treat boxes, may you never be boring! Also, the rest of the year needs some love too. Here, Annie gives simple and modern ideas for food to share with loved ones through the year. This is the best book in this section at the library. Sorry to say, the other books offering ideas for homemade food gifts looked like they came from the 80′s and offered nothing too inspiring.
Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson
Here’s another one I heard about through Joy The Baker. Heidi offers simple, delicious and healthy food as well as a sweet and knowledgeable voice about food. The yogurt biscuits totally rocked my world, as well as the rye soda bread and dill butter.
Martha’s American Food by Martha Stewart
What can I say? I have so many of Martha’s books I almost didn’t want to like it this much. But after my second time checking it out and post-it noting it up… I had to admit that I loved it and simply must own it. The cornmeal muffins melted my resolve.
Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish
This one is on hold at the library. I am currently 2 in the que! I love the hold process at the Corvallis Library. I can shop for new books and they are there waiting for me in a day or two, unless it’s a highly popular book. But it’s kinda fun watching you go from number 11 to number 2.
Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan
This book is wonderful! It’s at the Corvallis Library and I just used it to make pickled brussel spouts (quick pickle version) for Christmas boxes, and last summer I used it to make Vanilla Strawberry Jam. Inspired canning recipes. Last year I added Put ‘em up by Sherri Brooks Vinton after reading it, of course, from the library. I love it! My apple and pear chips came from this book and I love the way it’s organized by food. Another canning book I added last year was the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. For new preservers, this book is the be all, end all. I was nervous about my first batch of pickles, and reading through the very specific steps put all my fears at ease.
Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor by Peter Reinhart
I can’t wait to try the bread with spent brewing grains! Perfect timing– my sweetheart just took up home brewing again.
Well, that’s quite a list, isn’t it? I hope I showed you some new books you hadn’t seen yet. Happy 2013 everyone, and get cooking!