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Books to tickle all your culinary fancies

A couple of months ago, I happened to sit within peripheral view of a TV that was playing the newest season of “Master Chef”, the home cooking competition with Gordon Ramsay. I had never seen the show before, and, honestly, never really planned on watching it, but after 15 minutes I found myself involuntarily hooked…and also interested in experimenting more in the kitchen myself! Whether you aspire to be yelled at by Ramsay on national TV, or just want to master a few meals that your family will actually eat, we have some books here at the library to help you out.

When it comes to home cooking, few are more qualified to write about it than Alex Guarnaschelli; her mother, Maria, was a prolific cookbook publisher and editor for five decades, so it’s safe to say she learned from the best. We have several of her books currently available, including “Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook”, “Cook with Me”, and “The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart”. The latter features THE most delicious looking plate of spaghetti on the front cover, so I’d personally start right there.

It seems that almost every celebrity chef has published a cookbook specifically on home cooking, but with their own personal twists. There’s Bobby Flay’s “Bobby at Home”, Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home”, and Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa at home”…and though none of these win any awards for creative titles, they’re all chock full of fantastic recipes and photographs. I’m pretty confident you’ll find a similar title for any well-known chef that you admire, whether it be Martha Stewart, our pal Gordon Ramsay, or The OG herself Julia Child.

If you have little ones at home, you can include them it the cooking process as well! Picky eaters may be more likely to try (and even enjoy) food they helped prepare, and it’s a good way to keep them out of trouble for a few minutes, assuming you have the patience for it. “MasterChef Jr Cookbook” and “MasterChef Jr Bakes” are two books we have in the collection with recipes, tips, and tricks to help inspire your young home cooks, and we have plenty that feature recipes that appeal to little palettes, like “ChopChop: The Kids' Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Family” by Sally Sampson.

I hope you find some inspiration in these titles, or at least a few new go-to recipes for your weekly dinner rotation. If you’re in the mood to talk cookbooks and recipes, consider joining our monthly “Cookbook Club”, which is currently meeting via Zoom! The club focuses on a different cookbook each month, and shares recipes they’ve prepared from the book. Our next meeting is February 16th at 6pm!


By Cassie Skobrak, Reference Librarian