Many of you are avid readers, like me, you are probably interested in what other people have on their bookshelves. While I was looking for a book the other day, the thought hit me that you might be interested in seeing what books I have gracing the shelves in my home. This will be a series, every now and then I’ll feature a few of the books on my shelf and tell you about them, where I got them, if I love them, etc.
In part two, we’ll be looking at a section of my cookbooks. I love to cook, so naturally I have quite a collection of books pertaining to that topic. My cookbooks vary quite widely, here are a few from a small section of my bookshelf. This time around, each and every book was purchased after I had borrowed the copy from my local library. Not only was I inspired by the recipes I found in each of these books, I also appreciated all the other information contained within; also, being a photographer, I was especially inspired by the images in these books.
Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish is one of the most recent additions to my bookshelf. Mr Chiots actually purchased this book for me last fall. As many of you know, Mr Chiots enjoys hunting and would like to start hunting fowl and other game now that we live in a more rural area. All of the recipes in the book look amazing, I haven’t tried any of the venison ones yet, but I will very, very soon. I’m all ready for Mr Chiots to bring home some delicious freshly caught fish or a bird or two as well.
Way back when I started transitioning to making more food from scratch and learning the art of making things by hand, I purchased Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli. I find this book to be very inspirational, not only does he cover topics like making your own pasta, he goes deeper than most cookbooks by discusses making pasta from alternative starches like chestnut flour. This is definitely a book for the hardcore made from scratch by hand cook. This book has it all, from preparing and grinding chestnuts to making the best polenta, there’s definitely an emphasis on the Italian/european artisanal cuisine. When we finally raise a pig here at Chiot’s Run, I’ll be following his directions to make my own proscuitto and fermented sausages. If you’re into serious DIY cooking or know someone that is, this is the book for you!
I’ve talked about Healing Spices many times before, both here and on our podcast. This is more of an herbal/spice reference guide with recipes. There’s a recipe for every spice, which teaches you how to best incorporate them into your diet. Every recipe I’ve tried has been fantastic. The Hungarian Goulash is particularly good, the addition of caraway to balance out the paprika was enlightening for me. If you’re trying to learn more about the health benefits of adding more herbs and spices to your diet, I highly recommend this book. It can be read little by little in small sections, perfect for enjoying with your afternoon coffee or tea!
Mr Chiots and I don’t eat a lot of sweets, at least we try not to. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but Mr Chiots sure does. Whenver he’s craving something sweet, I often make a fruit based dessert from Rustic Fruit Desserts. So far, every recipe I’ve tried from this book has been spot on. We are particularly fond of the pandowdy. I’ll tell you a little secret though, I generally cut the sugar in half when I make any of these recipes and usually swap maple syrup for whatever sweetener is included. If you are looking for sweets a book that focuses on fruit desserts this is a great buy. It’s even organized by season if you’re like me and prefer to eat seasonally.
Part gardening book, part cookbook, Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch perfectly describes how I feel about my vegetable garden and my cooking. The reason I started my own little garden was to supply the best possible vegetables for my plate. Now I love the cultivation of vegetables as much as I love preparing and eating them. This book is the perfect bedtime reading for any gardener/cook. You’ll fall asleep dreaming about all the wonderful things you can grow in your garden and all the fabulous ways to prepare them for your table. It’s hefty too, large enough to keep you busy reading for months! I definitely have his fruit book Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard on my wishlist!
The River Cottage Preserves Handbook is one of my favorite preserving books. The recipes are so unique, you’ll find how to make sloe gin, roasted tomato passata (which is one of my favorites from this book), spiced brandy plums, and so many unique things that you won’t see in most American preserving books. If you enjoy preserving and want something out of the ordinary, give this book a look. No doubt you’ll be trying to figure out how to add quince trees to your garden, you’ll be searching for chestnuts to use, and you’ll no doubt be making roasted tomato passata each and every year!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at what’s on my bookshelf. Stay tuned for more books in my library.
What are some of the books that inspire you in the kitchen?
In My Library – part 1
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