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Staff Picks: Books

A Feast for the Eyes

I can't speak to quality or accuracy of the recipes contained in the following books, but the photos in these cookbooks, all published in 2016, will certainly leave your stomach growling!

Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus

Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan

Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan

Bowl: Vegetarian Recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One-Dish Meals

The Love and Lemons Cookbook: An Apple-to-Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking

Koreatown: A Cookbook

Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share

The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen

Marbled, Swirled, and Layered: 150 Recipes and Variations for Artful Bars, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and More

Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life

Dorie's Cookies

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas
*Not exactly a cookbook, but consider it your digestif to this visual meal.


Somethingtofoodabout is a testament to what you can do when you reach the upper echelons of pop cultural cool. By all accounts, Questlove (drummer, producer, musical director, NYT bestselling author and culinary bon vivant) has reached the highest heights of hipness and now is basically tenured in the university of cool and can seemingly do whatever he pleases. Thankfully, Questlove’s celebrity was earned the old-fashioned way, through hard work and talent, as opposed to the "Kardashian" way, and he continuously makes interesting creative choices, including this new book. Instead of creating a celebrity cookbook or turning himself into yet another made-for-tv food impresario, Questlove gives us a book about the creative aspect of high-level cooking, filled with interesting photographs and rich conversations with chefs at the white-hot center of the food world. The book is artistic, unexpected, and casually but totally unapologetically cool. Check it out.



I like weird books and I cannot lie! If you like them too, checkout HOT DOG TASTE TEST by illustrator Lisa Hanawalt. The book is ostensibly about foodie culture and such, but Hanawalt’s charming watercolor illustrations, wacky animal obsessions, and just plain weird and wonderful sense of humor make this so much more.

Christmas Joys: Decorating, Crafts & Recipes

Procrastination or planning ahead? I would love to say that I am already planning for next December’s holiday season but since those of you who know me are already laughing – let’s just say that I am enjoying looking through the book, Christmas Joys: Decorating, Crafts & Recipes by Country Living.

This book is divided into sections: Very Merry Decorating; Wonderful Gifts to Make; Recipes for Celebrations.

My favorite section is the decorating portion. Most of the homes are of course country in style and the decorations carry through on that theme. Natural greenery, pinecones, ribbons, candles and trinkets from the past add to the simple yet “just right” looks for the season. Decorating includes every room of your home plus outdoor spaces. There is something for everyone and you can do as much or a little as you like and works for your home.

Included with the gift section is how to wrap your gifts, an added plus. Recipes look amazing and not too complicated to make. The photographs are the draw to this book. Even if you don’t read the text, you’d be able to have a Country Living Christmas Joy. I love this book and plan to look at it more than once, especially since I have a least a few months before the holiday rush begins again!


Awesome desserts with 5 ingredients or less!

 Oh dear, dear, dear. I shouldn’t have opened this one! Lazy cake cookies & more by Jennifer Palmer (McCartney) is a fantastic little find! All desserts in this book are 2-5 ingredients and all nice basic things that you’ll either already have at home or can easily pick up. Plus, they all sound amazing…Oreo cheesecake cookies, Chocolate toffee cookie bars, Chocolate hazelnut pie…Beautiful color pictures showcase each tasty treat. A great book for someone who wants to make people-pleasing desserts without all the fuss.


The American Plate

Here I am again, the library's non-cook, writing about a cookbook. But, this one is so much more than a book of recipes. As the subtitle indicates, it's 'a culinary history in 100 bites.' Not only are recipes included, but also background information on the ingredients and on the way the people who prepared and ate these foods lived. Bite 59 is celery, and Kalamazoo is mentioned for its role in the early production of that commodity. Bite 41 is entitled 'Lincoln's Favorite Cake' and has the recipe for 'Mary Todd Lincoln's White Almond Cake,' which is to be served with cherry ice cream. Now doesn't that sound tasty for a warm August day? Not only does this 2014 book cover historic foods that I wouldn't even consider eating, like eel (even though my ancestors did eat it), but more recent developments such as TV dinners and microwave popcorn. It's obvious that an incredible amount of research went into this book, and it's good for reading straight through or casual browsing.