Mama’s Italian Cookbook

From  Gina Scaglione

Title:  Mama’s Italian Cookbook

Author:  Love Food

My brother bought us this cookbook because he thought we would enjoy reading the stories that accompany the recipes. My husband’s family still lives in Italy and the book is supposedly written in Italy. Of course, my poor brother was duped. This book was not written in Italy. It is not even written by an Italian woman, as it is purported to be on the cover. In tiny little writing inside the book it says that the entire scenario was created by some guy somewhere in the US. Only in America:{

Taste of Home recipes across America : 735 of the best recipes from across the nation

From Jackie Cantwell
Author:  Taste of Home Books
Title:  Taste of Home recipes across America : 735 of the best recipes from across the nation
This is a fun cookbook to read. The recipes were submitted by readers of Taste of Home magazine. The book features glossy color photos of most, but not all of the recipes. It is divided into these sections: Northeast, Southwest, Midwest, West, and South. You’ll find recipes for soups, breads, entrees, desserts, appetizers, drinks, and side dishes. There are classics such as Yankee Pot roast, Philly cheesesteak, and Texas sheet cake. The recipes are not daunting and are suitable for the novice to the experienced cook. Most recipes have ingredients you’ll find in your pantry or at the local grocery store. There are no calorie counts or nutritional information for the recipes; some of them do seem to be high in fat. I tried the Chili Artichoke Dip which was very easy to make and was delicious. I liked the interesting food facts and histories, as well as photos of the towns and cities from which the recipes hail. They even mention food festivals.

Old-school comfort food : the way I learned to cook

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Alex Guarnaschelli
Title: Old-school comfort food : the way I learned to cook
Chef Alex details some of her personal journeys in professional kitchens and gives recipes for each section of the book. Unfortunately, one of the classes she excelled at was, “How to take a basic recipe and make it far more complicated.” The food itself sounds appealing, but the extra steps she adds make me think that by the time I cooked it, I’d be too tired to eat it. It’s a decent read, though.

It’s All Good & My Father’s Daughter

From Raymond Cantwell
Title:  It’s All Good & My Father’s Daughter
Author:  Gwyneth Paltrow
These are two cookbooks Ms. Paltrow recently wrote.  While they were more geared for experienced cooks, guys with limited kitchen skills, such as myself, could still make some of the recipes.  I tried Blythe’s Blueberry Muffins, and the Stuffed, Baked Apples.  They were surprisingly delicious.  The earlier book, My Father’s Daughter had more basic recipes, and a simpler design.  It’s All Good, brought her game up a notch with the presentation and complexity of the recipes, but also made it more difficult for the average duffer to try to make them.  She offers plenty of insight into her life, especially about her Dad, whom she lost to cancer eight years ago, and who was the impetus for her getting into nutrition.

Nine Lives

From Margaret Mezzacapo

Nine Lives, by Brandon Baltzley

The author, a chef, seems to have attended the Keith Richards Culinary School, in that both have assaulted their bodies with vast quantities of alcohol, illicit drugs, women (both with and without jealous husbands,) and any other vices you want to throw in. Baltzley details how he blew one job opportunity after another, but always sought to improve his cooking skills. At the end of the book, he gets straight. You hope for his sake that he can maintain it.

P.S. This is not for the reader who would be offended by graphic sexual detail, plus he writes as if he gets paid extra for every “F-bomb” he drops.

Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: Patricia Barey
Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats
I’ve read a few books about Julia Child recently, and this book holds its own against the competition. Compared to Bob Spitz’s Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, you get the gist of the story with a lot less pages to wade through. Entertaining and interesting. Add a star if you’re a cat lover.

Lobster Shacks, A Road-trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints

From Raymond Cantwell
Title:  Lobster Shacks, A Road-trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints
Author:  Mike Urban
This book reviews every lobster shack between Connecticut and Nova Scotia worthy of a visit.  Even those with no taste for fresh-caught lobster will enjoy the stories of the shack’s proprietors.  In the business, lobsters are known as “The other red meat,” or simply, “bugs.”  They are crustaceans.

 The further one travels North and up the Coast (or down the Coast as New Englanders would say, noting trade winds), the closer one gets to lobster perfection.  The book gets as far as the Canadian border, near Acadia National Park, and Bar Harbor.  American Presidents have dined at Bar Harbor in summertime.

 They can be boiled in a number of ways, the most preferred being with sea water.  The book includes many lobster recipes, and they look seriously delicious.

Talking with my Mouth Full

From  Kristen Przybylski 
Title:  Talking with my Mouth Full
Author:  Gail Simmons
Gail Simmons, one of the judges on the famed tv show, Top Chef, writes about her love of food. She beautifully writes about her childhood and how she always loved spending time with her family in the kitchen. She writes about college, the demands of working on Top Chef and all the difficulties and opportunities she has experienced in the culinary world. I enjoyed reading about her upbringing and all the experiences she has had doing what she loves. I especially liked when she explored why people love food and how it brings a sense of familiarity, comfort and enjoyment to a lot of people. She even has a chapter of recipes at the end of the book.

Eat To Live

From Michele Szydlo
Title: Eat To Live
Author: Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
This book was written in 2003, so I don’t know if there is updated scientific data that would refute some of the claims, but it was readable & the  vegetarian recipes are easy. I’ve actually just started to follow his meal plans & my husband is enjoying it too. I plan to continue to try some of his  recipes, or at least use them as a jumping off point. It’s definitely helping me to lose my appetite for unhealthy foods.

White truffles in winter

From Rosemarie Jerome
Author: N.M. Kelby
White truffles in winter : a novel
This literary gem needs to be shared. It is a quiet, intense portrayal of a man who loved two women but whose passion was food. This man is the great French chef Auguste Escoffier and this is his elegant “memoir in meals.” Like his magnificent culinary creations, there is a complexity to this story that evokes the spirit of the time and captures the essence of the man. His was a life of extremes: suffering and captivity during the Franco-Prussian War; wealth and splendor communing with royalty, high society, the powerful, and poverty in his declining years. The cornucopia of images and feelings bombard the senses and creates a rich realism that you could almost touch and taste. Escoffier did not want to be forgotten, this story makes you want to know more about the man who was an epicurean genius yet a sad, idealistic romantic.