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Archive for Books

BOOK: How To Repair Food

Our favorite new gem of a kitchen aid.


When was the last time you oversalted the soup? Overcooked the cauliflower? Need a spice while cooking but out you don’t have it?

A welcome new book, How To Repair Food (Third Edition) by Tanya Zeryck, John Bear and Marina Bear, is your go-to source for how to fix whatever food or drink is “overcooked, undercooked, stale, burned, lumpy, salty, bland, too spicy, mushy, too dry, too wet, flat, tough, too thick, too thin, wilted, collapsed, curdled or stuck together.”

The information is alphabetically organized by food—just flip the pages until you get to your food problem, and you’ll find the fix. There are valuable appendices with food storage information, stain removal tips, utensil and appliance problem fixes and much more.

This is one terrific little book—highly recommended for your own kitchen and a valuable gift for anyone who cooks. Not only is it your aid for problems; it’s a delightful read from beginning to end that can teach you how not to create the problem in the first place.

  • Buy the book. A great holiday gift, it’s only $11.24 on
  • Comments

    BOOKS: Best-Selling Cookbooks

    America’s best-selling cookbook: it doesn’t
    look mouth-watering, but that hasn’t
    hindered sales.


    The world’s oldest surviving cookbook is De Re Coquinaria, “On Cookery,” attributed to a first-century Roman epicurian named Marcus Gavius Apicius.

    And it’s still in print—in the original Latin! The English translation is out of print and pricey, but the Kindle edition is just 99¢.

    But what has guided America’s home cooks? Here are the three best-selling American cookbooks of all time:

  • Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook: first published in 1930, 40 million copies
  • Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: first published in 1955, 27 million copies
  • The Joy Of Cooking: first published 1936, 18 million copies
  • Of course, the cookbooks have been updated over the years—pizza, tacos and wraps weren’t on the menu in 1930, for example. A number of the older versions are still in print as well.

    Our mother relied on Fanny Farmer and Julia Child. How about yours?


    TIP OF THE DAY: Choose Sourdough As Your White Bread

    You’ve no doubt heard over and over again that you should switch empty-carb white bread for whole grain breads.

    We love the complex flavor of whole grain breads—wheat, oat, rye, spelt and multigrain combinations.

    But what if you just can’t give up your white bread?

    According to Pick It Kick It: Simple Choices, Huge Results, sourdough is the champion of white breads.

    Like other white breads, sourdough bread is made with processed white flour, stripped of nutrients. But it contains beneficial lactic acid.

    The starter contains bacteria, lactobacilli, that create lactic acid. In turn, the lactic acid creates the slightly acidic signature flavor of sourdough.


    Crusty sourdough loaves. Photo courtesy

    And now the good news: The lactic acid breaks down the sugar content produced when the carbs break down, producing a lower-glycemic bread.

    For a double hit, there are also sourdough breads made with whole wheat flour.

  • Check out all the different types of bread in our Bread Glossary.
  • Order some sourdough and whole grain bagels from French Meadow Bakery, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

  • Comments

    BOOK: The Divvies Bakery Cookbook

    More than 12 million Americans have food allergies, and more than 30 million are lactose intolerant.

    The bakery Divvies—the name evokes divvying up the goodies—was founded when Lori Sandler learned that her young son had several allergies. She wanted to make baked goods and candy that the entire family and friends would enjoy.

    Divvies bakery was born, turning out sweets made without peanuts, tree nuts, eggs or milk (they are not wheat-free). Despite the absence of these key baking ingredients, the treats are delicious. They were a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    The fame of Divvies has grown, and now there’s The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious! (A quote from THE NIBBLE’s review is on the book jacket.)

    The book is divided into occasions for serving baked goods: At home, at school, on the road and parties.


    The Divvies Cookbook has more than 130
    pages of allergy-free recipes.

    There are plenty of tips and information, including an extensive list of ingredients that can be used for allergy-free cooking in general.

    So, jump into Divvies’ blondies, brownies, carrot cake with “cream cheese” frosting, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, cinnamon buns, layer cake, muffins and fun specialties such as wafflewiches. Everyone will beat a path to your kitchen door.


    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Gift Certificates From Blurb Photo Books

    Looking for a great personalized gift idea? Look no further than Blurb Photo Books, this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize. Two winners will be given $40 to spend on the website that allows customers to create their own personalized books.

    Using hundreds of professionally-designed layouts (or their own, unique layouts) each winner could create a family cookbook filled with recipes and the memories they call to mind, a memory book full of family photographs and stories or other treasured memento.

  • THE PRIZE: Two winners will each receive a $40 gift certificate to spend on to create a cookbook, travel album or anything else they would like to cherish in bound-book form. Retail value: $40.00 each.
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Best Reads Section and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, August 9th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • To learn more about Blurb, visit

    Create your own customized book. Photo courtesy Blurb.


    BOOK: Everything Tastes Better With Bacon

    Every bacon lover needs a copy of
    Everything Tastes Better With Bacon.


    When we first heard about this book, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it: “70 Fabulous Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day,” promises the cover of the bacon cookbook, “Everything Tastes Better With Bacon.”

    Any bacon lover would gladly eat every recipe in the book—and some of us might try to eat the gorgeous photographs.

    Author Sara Perry focuses half the book on finer variations of the tried-and-true: bacon and lentil soup, corn and clam chowder with bacon, the BLT, green beans with pepper bacon and lemon zest, mashed potatoes with bacon, spinach and Fontina cheese (unless you’d prefer the warm potato salad with bacon and arugula). Spinach salad, a popular bed for bacon, gets updated with a curry vinaigrette.

    Ms. Perry reminds us that bacon can be part of almost any dish. Breakfast biscuits are studded with bacon, figs with goat cheese are enhanced with bacon, a risotto is made with pepper bacon and marsala, polenta is topped with a bacon, corn and tomato ragout.

    Surprises include a maple sundae with hazelnut-bacon candy crunch and bloody marys with beet-and-bacon bites instead of traditional munchies. How about an apple pie with a bacon crust? We can’t wait until the temperature drops a dozen degrees so we can light up the oven and bake one.

    The book starts with a bacon primer: bacon types, storage, cooking tips. Any bacon lover would go hog-wild for this little cookbook. Even if you’ve made many a bacon quiche or frittata, Ms. Perry reminds you that the joy of bacon can be yours in any meal.

  • Buy the book. For $12.89 on Amazon, it makes a great gift (add some artisan bacon for even more thanks).
  • Check out bacon and the other cuts of pork in our Pork Cuts Glossary.
  • Win a bacon buffet dinner prepared by Sara Perry? We can only dream. Instead, we’ll start with the first chapter of recipes and sally forth—a much more exciting prospect than working our way through Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.

  • Comments

    BOOK: The Competent Cook

    The Competent Cook: Essential Tools, Techniques, and Recipes for the Modern At-Home Cook by culinary instructor Lauren Braun Costello, is a delight.

    Even experienced home cooks are not necessarily well-trained cooks. Many people have been doing it “the hard way” since they first picked up the wrong knife—and held it incorrectly.

    Are you an experienced cook? Can you articulate the difference between baked chicken and roast chicken? Do you know why you should trade in that American-style rolling pin (with handles) for a French style (no handles)?

    There are many “ahas” that will enlighten those who enjoy cooking. It’s easy to end up with better knife skills after reading the book.

    Are you a fledgling cook? This book is as good as taking cooking classes—and better than some of the classes we’ve taken, because there’s more detail.


    We are now an even more competent cook!
    Photo courtesy

    We only wish that the 250-page book contained more instruction from Ms. Braun Costello and fewer recipes: The “teaching” ends on page 95. While we understand the desire to provide the basic recipes (from Caesar salad to apple pie) that enable one to practice the techniques, there are more than enough recipe books on the shelf and fewer books about technique. The recipe section could have been improved with mini-course prefaces; for example, how to work with pastry dough (without proper instruction, most people overwork it, toughening the dough).

    Some recipes do contain valuable tips. For example: When making a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato, insert the tomato slice between two cheese slices. This both helps to keep the bread from taking in moisture from the tomato, and helps the cheese melt more evenly since the slices are closer to the heat source.

    We never thought of that! But now, thanks to Ms. Braun Costello, we’ll be making a better grilled cheese sandwich.

    Buy a copy for your favorite graduate or anyone would enjoy learning some new tricks.


    BOOK: What To Eat: A Real World Guide To Making Smart Choices

    What To Eat is informative and fun reading.


    The book Eat This, Not That (now available in a new 2010 edition) is a very helpful guide to making healthier and lower-calorie food choices—and losing weight in the process. The author is David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine.

    Now, the experts on healthy eating from Cooking Light magazine have published an equally important guide, What To Eat: A Real World Guide To Making Smart Choices.

    While Eat This, Not That focused on restaurant choices, What To Eat is the “complete grocery shopping companion.” But it’s much more than a guide to consult while walking down the aisles of the supermarket. It’s an enjoyable education about the foods we eat every day.

    Yes, it points out the healthiest choices and warns you against the others. In the process, you learn interesting facts about your favorite foods. Think of it as “fun food facts”—a delightful read as well as an instructive one.

    Sure, you’ll learn where to find the hidden sugar and salt and how to avoid them and which produce has the most pesticides (consider buying the organic versions).

    But if you’re buying nuts—for snacking or for recipes—did you know that each of the choices provides a different benefit? Walnuts have the highest level of omega-3s, pecans have the most antioxidants, peanuts have the most protein and cashews and almonds have 4-5 times the amount of vitamin E as other nuts.

    With 1,000 tips enlivened by more than 650 color photos and illustrations, this is a peach of a book for anyone who wants to learn more about food—from kids to parents to people who want to eat better and people who need to eat better.

    Buy several copies—they make great gifts. You can find Cooking Light What To Eat at bookstores and at Amazon.


    FATHER’S DAY: A Bottle (Or Wedge) & A Book

    Speaking of cheese (as we did in our prior post), if Dad is a cheese lover, there’s a book about “life on the wedge” written by a cheesemonger—someone who pursued his passion to work in cheese.

    Dad might enjoy it along with a pound of something special, or a gift certificate to the local cheese store.

    If Dad prefers Scotch, he most assuredly would like a copy of Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide To Single Malt Scotch…perhaps with a bottle of his favorite Single Malt.

    Bourbon aficionados will want a copy of The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook, with tempting ideas for appetizers, soups, salads, side dishes and main courses in addition to the more frequently found cocktail and dessert recipes.

    See our Father’s Day book ideas for more choices.


    Cheesemonger: A Life On The Wedge will appeal
    to cheese-loving dads.


    BOOK: Vampire Cooking

    You can find films and books titled “Love At First Bite.” This version is “The Complete Vampire Lover’s Cookbook” with “More Than 300 Suckulent Recipes.”

    Essentially, this is a basic cookbook that mines the current vampire craze by titling recipes with vampire themes: Embrace The Darkness Frittata, Frightful Filet Mignon Caesar Salad, Suffering Suck-O-Tash, and so forth.

    There are also “Tasty Tidbits” about vampires, such as:

    Curiously, some legends make mention that a stake is only to be hammered into the vampire’s chest in one blow, for if it’s struck twice, the revenant can reanimate and return to its vampiric state. So remember that, when you’re faced with killing a vampire.

    A revenant, by the way, is a person who returns after a lengthy absence, or one who returns as a spirit after death—a ghost, for example. (Are the undead “spirits?”)


    A cookbook for those obsessed with all
    things vampire.

    While this is not a cookbook for experienced cooks, it could be an entry level volume for young fans of The Southern Vampire Mysteries, True Blood, Twilight, The Vampire Chronicles, The Vampire Diaries and other fangsome literature and films.

    If you’d like to teach someone to cook, or encourage him or her prepare feasts for their friends, a gift of “Love At First Bite” could be in order.

    The reason other people might be interested is the list of some 100 cocktails at the end of the book that will keep you going for many Halloweens to come: Black Death, Devil’s Blood, Howl At The Moon and Satan’s Whiskers, to name a few.

    You can buy it on Amazon for less than $10.00.


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