Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved cookbooks and the stories they tell along the way to Finding The Perfect Recipe. My grandmother and mother always had great selections of books to choose from, especially the many editions of Irma Rombauer’s classic, “The Joy of Cooking.” I loved cracking open the sauce-stained books and finding my great-grandmother’s handwriting amongst the recipes.
Though we don’t encourage nanas to write in the margins of our books, Patagonia Library has a great selection of cookbooks that cover cuisines from all over the world. Not all of these books are new to the library, but here are three examples that I have found enjoyable to cook through and which would be perfect for getting cozy with this winter season.
“Plat du Jour: French Dinners Made Easy” by Susan Herrmann Loomis makes French cuisine attainable. The recipes are fairly straightforward and most of the ingredients are readily available, at least seasonally. The boeuf bourguignon is one of the tastiest and richest things I’ve ever made. The flavors are very concentrated as the beef and Burgundy wine stew together to perfect tenderness; this dish is perfect for chilly winter weather.
“Mamushka: A Cookbook” by Olia Hercules has become a favorite in my household, so much so that I purchased my own copy after checking it out (and letting it go overdue) many times over. Prior to this book, I’d never eaten Ukrainian or Eastern European food, but everything I’ve attempted to make has been a hit: Ukrainian biscotti, zucchini and potato stew, and especially the frumentaty, or Moldovan lazy flatbreads, that are so easy to make. They’re fried dough filled with scallions, feta cheese, and dill. I love to cook up a plate and snack on them throughout the day, but they’re best eaten right out of the pan with a dollop of sour cream and a pinch of flaky sea salt.
“Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” by Ina Garten has saved me. I highly recommend the Caesar salad dressing, roasted shishito peppers with easy hollandaise, as well as the baked rigatoni with lamb ragu. The next recipe I plan to try out of the book is the baked fish chowder, which is chock-full of cod, Yukon gold potatoes, yellow onion, and sprinkled with saffron threads.
The library has nearly 200 cooking titles to choose from, so if these cookbooks don’t capture your fancy, there’s bound to be one in our collection that will! Stop by the library today to find the perfect cookbook, whether you just want to drool over the photos or a book that will get you into the kitchen.