In the Stacks: A variety of cookbooks at the library

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2006

The library has received so many new delicious-sounding cookbooks that I've made that this week's focus!

"Vegetable Love," by Barbara Kafka. Every so often we are faced with vegetables that fall outside our normal repertoire. Here's one solution: this handy cookbook is divided into vegetable origins (New World, Mediterranean, European, Arabian, Asian, and African) and subdivided by vegetable. Some veggies I'm happy to have found recipes for here include Jerusalem artichokes, celery root, and braising greens.

"Café Flora Cookbook," by Catherine Geier and Carol Brown. The Café Flora is a renowned Seattle restaurant offering vegetarian and vegan dishes for discriminating and adventurous diners. This cookbook is jam-packed with sophisticated recipes adapted from many cultures, including Roasted Yam Enchiladas, Autumn Stroganoff, and their signature French Dip Sandwich. Not all these are meant to be quick and easy; instead, they are healthy, modern, and so delicious that no vegetarian or vegan need worry about entertaining an omnivore (in fact, wary diners may not even realize they are going meatless).

"Perfect Recipes for Having People Over," by Pam Anderson. Not only dinners, but breakfasts are here in this upbeat and cheerful cookbook. Whether you're having a formal dinner, a spring brunch, or a Super Bowl lunch, there's a little something for just about every occasion, with sidebars detailing when to offer each recipe, what to accompany it with, shortcuts and variations, and how far ahead it can be made. Instead of offering a wide variety of recipes, Anderson concentrates here on those which she's found foolproof, forgiving, and delicious.

"I'm Just Here For More Food," by Alton Brown. Brown's TV show "Good Eats" is a great blend of science and food, and in this, his baking book, the tradition of fun-filled scientific recipe revelations continues. Grouping the recipes by mixing method, as he does, leads to some surprising connections: biscuits and pie crusts for example, are used differently, but the method and goal for each is very similar. Likewise ginger cookies and chocolate pound cake... and there's even a recipe for homemade pop-tarts in that section. You'll enjoy learning about the reasons behind the recipes, but I bet you'll enjoy the results even more.

"The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking With Fragrance and Flavor," by Jerry Traunfeld. Bring your herb harvest into the kitchen and put your fresh picks to work flavoring chickpeas for appetizers and pears for dessert. With tips on growing herbs (including sorrel, lemon verbena, and rose geraniums, as well as the more common bay leaf, oregano, and sage, to name a few) side by side with mouthwateringly photographed recipes, this is a hard book to pass up.

"Mexican Everyday," by Rick Bayless. Another author with a cooking show, Bayless specializes in Mexican cookery, placing an emphasis on meals which are delicious, nutritionally complete, and can be quickly and easily prepared on a weeknight. From his opening chapter on pantry basics through the final dessert (Mexican shortbread cookies), this is a beautiful and well-organized book with options for ingredient substitutions as well as method changes to suit your taste and your kitchen.

"Ciao Italia Pronto!" by Mary Ann Esposito. Also specializing in quick weeknight cooking, this book, based on Esposito's show "Ciao Italia," aims for a prep time of 30 minutes or less for tasty Italian chicken, vegetables, sauces, and more. Some are familiar, like lasagna, others may not be, like vermicelli pie. Not many photos, but nice, clear instructions and short personal anecdotes accompany these delicious-sounding recipes.


Join us at the Downtown Library tonight at 7 pm for "Storybox" - storytelling by local folks for the whole family.

Placing a hold on our material is easy: call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249, or, if you have internet access, your library card, and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our website ( and looking at our catalog or at the In the Stacks column on our site. The columns are hyperlinked to the catalog: simply click on the title you want, and you will be ready to place a hold.

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