216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Food, glorious food

by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian

Cookbooks are the most popular kind of nonfiction in libraries today.  I love to look through cookbooks with photos even if I never cook anything from them.  Food can be so beautiful!  Our library has a wide range of new cookbooks, from barbecue to Thai to meat to vegetarian.  You can search our catalog under the subject “cookbooks” for newer books or “cookery” for older things; the Library of Congress term changed not long ago.   You can also browse our library’s large cookbook collection in the 641 section.
Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction seems a good choice for the 4th of July.  This cookbook is a tie-in with the Food Network show of the same name.  Bobby delves into true barbecuing, which is slow and involves smoke, but he includes some grilling recipes in this book as well.  He also shares recipes for drinks and side dishes to serve with your barbecued food for a backyard get-together.  On Amazon, the customer reviews say it’s a practical cookbook that uses ingredients most people would have on hand. 

The Meat Hook Meat Book is written by Tom Mylan, the co-owner of the Meat Hook artisanal meat market in Brooklyn.  Mylan gives instructions on how to cut up whole birds (chickens, turkeys, etc.) as well as sides of beef and whole pigs.  He covers the topics of blending ground meat for burgers and making sausage, and he includes some recipes as well.  The professional reviews of this book are good, but the ordinary people on Amazon say that the recipes are odd. Apparently both the recipes and the language tend to be very salty.  Maybe that’s not unusual for butchers in New York City.

Simple Thai Food is a book I discovered on a list of bestselling cookbooks in the Midwest this spring.  The author Leela Punyaratabandhu is originally from Bangkok, and she has an award-winning Thai cooking blog.  Her recipes are said to be authentic rather than typical of Thai restaurants in the U.S., but don’t worry: pad Thai, spring rolls, curry, and satay are included.  The author simplifies traditional cooking methods and lets American cooks know which ingredients can be substituted with foods easier to find at the grocery store.  I may try this cookbook out myself since I enjoy Thai food but a peanut allergy in my family makes Thai restaurants too risky to bring the whole gang along. 

Food writer Mark Bittman says that you can lose weight and dramatically improve your health by eating vegan all day and eating animal products only at supper.  His new book, The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night aims to give people the specifics to make “vegan before 6” a manageable lifestyle. 

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden  features seasonal recipes for vegetables.  The Beekman 1802 farm in New York is the basis for a TV show, a website, and a few books.  This trendy, vintage country-style cookbook for omnivores includes gorgeous photographs.

Speaking of vegetables, our library has added some new cookbooks with kale recipes in them to help you participate in this year’s One Vegetable One Community program.  We have Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables, The Book of Kale: The Easy-to-Grow Superfood, and Wild About Greens.  You’re likely to find more kale recipes in other vegetable cookbooks, as well.  

Stop in to find beautiful cookbooks that will give you the recipes you need to make any kind of food you like.  The possibilities are endless.