Tag Archives: cookbooks

5 for Friday: Books I’ve Read (Mostly Cookbooks!)

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Yup, it’s that time of the week… 5 more books I’ve read/listened to lately!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (audio)
by Mark Haddon (fiction) – must listen/read

curious-incident

I don’t know if I ever shared the story of how Rob and I met, but there are two short answers – it was in a bar and because of an autistic boy. Sound strange? Well, you’ll have to ask me about it some time. In any case, this book was wonderfully written from the viewpoint of an autistic boy. I’ve had this book on my to-read list on GoodReads for a while.

One day, I received a link to a blog post in my inbox. I recognized the title, not even knowing what the book was about at that time. When the last line of her post read, ” You can purchase tickets online at the Hennepin Theatre Trust and don’t forget the rush seats available for students and teachers!” I immediately thought of my friend Jen, who not only works in education, but also was one of the people that worked with the autistic boy who brought Rob and I together (in a roundabout way).

She said, “I’d love to go. Aren’t you the one who gave me that book to read?”

“No.”

“Did you recommend I read it a long time ago?”

“No, I’d only heard about it in the last year or so.”

She was almost certain that it was me. The thing is… This book was published in 2003, the year Rob and I met.

Enough about that little background. In the end, we did go to the play with rush tickets. It was so well-done and I walked out of the theater with tears streaming down my face. It is such a heartfelt story.

I still wanted to read the book, but also found it on a list recommended books to experienced on audio. I now know why… The narrator is absolutely fantastic and I felt totally captivated during my commutes. {I confess that my mind can wander if an audiobook doesn’t have me hooked!} Of course, I knew the ending, but I still found myself crying while driving home as the story was wrapping up. I highly recommend this story – in any form – to anyone.

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Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America’s Top Restaurants
by Marissa Guggiana
 (cookbook) – skip

off-the-menu

By now, you know that I like to read cookbooks like novels. I loved the premise of the book’s title; but truth be told, after the intro, I ended up just flipping through the recipes. It’s still a great book, but from a recipe standpoint, I personally only felt compelled to make two of the recipes myself: Tuscan Kale Salad and a Cheddar Ale Soup. But I haven’t even done that.

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Commonwealth
by Ann Patchett
 (fiction) – on the fence

commonwealth

This is my first time reading any of Patchett’s books, other than her short memoir/advice on writing. {I know, where have I been all these years?!} She is now a quite famous author with over a dozen books to her name.

I had a bit of a time getting into this book at the beginning and had trouble keeping some of the cast of characters straight… but then things changed and I became engrossed! The entanglement of lives and stories was intriguing; but I felt there was no real climax. But then again, I’m not sure that one would have been appropriate… Or maybe it was that there was a climax, but it was talked about in the past tense over different points in the book, if that makes any sense. I didn’t really care for the ending because it was so gradual and not really finite. However, I don’t care for book endings in general. It is a rare case when I do!

This is a book in wich I liked in the middle, but not really the beginning or end, although both were necessary. This is also the second book I read this year that included the difficulties of aging. That stuff is always tough for me.

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300 Sensational Soups
by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds
 (cookbook) – on the fence

300-soups

We’ve really been into soup lately, but this book overwhelmed me. I started by flagging some of the recipes I wanted to try, but there were too many! I ended up deciding to thumb through the rest and put it on my wishlist over at PaperbackSwap.com to obtain my own copy.

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5 Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker Cookbook
by Stephanie O’Dea (cookbook) – worth a read 

5-ingredients

Yes, I’ve been checking out a lot of cookbooks lately! I’ve followed O’Dea’s Year of Slow Cooking Blog because I’m always looking for easy meals. I love the fact that this book makes it even easier – settling for 5 ingredients or less. What I also loved about this book, as she notes in her introduction, that she refrains from making one of those ingredients a cream-based soup. She says that there are already so many slow cooker recipes with cream-of-X soups online and in vintage cookbooks. For the most part, O’Dea sticks with real food, which is what I like to see!

It’s funny, though, most of the recipes I flagged were for me {read: chicken, black beans, etc.}, not for Rob!

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Since I’ve only read one, tell me, what’s your favorite Ann Patchett novel?

Cheers~
Carrie

I read cookbooks and menus… out loud.

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My cousin once said the following about cookbooks:

“I read them like novels.”

I love that. It got me to thinking about the way I read them. Maybe I don’t read them front cover to back cover like one would a novel; but I do read them with a bit of excitement over what could unfold if I were to prepare the recipe. In addition, I will often skip around a cookbook like a Choose Your Own Adventure story. {Remember those?!}

I adore cookbooks with their infinite options, their full-color pictures and the hope that I, too, could make something like that. {The same could be said about cooking shows. Just how many I have plugged in the DVR has yet to be determined.}

But, as this title has already revealed:

I also read them out loud.

Again, I do not read them out loud word for word nor cover to cover, but with giddiness and glee when I find something that looks or sounds tasty:

“Ooooo! Listen to this…”

Rob just shakes his head and smiles. “I swear, that’s your favorite thing to do, read cookbooks and menus.”

It’s true that I like to point out items on menus that catch my eye or that I think someone will like based on what I know about them. This is when Rob will sometimes point out that everyone else at the table can read, thank you very much. I’ve come to realize that I may just be distracting everyone from deciding on what to order. Sorry!

Still, I think my true intention is to foster conversation on what sounds good and to draw attention to certain items that may be missed. {I always feel rushed upon being given a menu. I also feel like that annoying customer when we have to ask the server to come back after checking in with us a couple of times.} Furthermore, since I’m one who has a hard time making decisions, sometimes thinking out loud or discussing options with someone can help me make a choice more easily.

I find that menu descriptions alone can often have power over what we order. And creating one with just the right adjectives that not only provokes the mouth to water, but also is concise, is a true art form. Don’t you agree?

On the other hand, I find that cookbooks are essentially themed picture books with lists – lists of ingredients and steps. I mean this in the best way possible! I get hooked by a picture, feel hopeful about the ingredients and can determine if a dish is in my future by reading the steps. {Sometimes I get excited after seeing the picture and reading the ingredients that I forget to read the steps ahead of time and find myself stuck mid-recipe. Didn’t I learn anything in elementary school? Always read the instructions before beginning any project, Carrie.}

So, you can imagine my excitement when Kat told me I won her cookbook giveaway! She had been posting Friday Food Round-Ups with pictures of dishes she prepared from this cookbook:

A book inspired by the blog

The pictures she posted of her recreations from this book were drool-worthy.

Naturally, when the book arrived, before I tore the box open, I leaned over to my husband and said,

“Ohhhh… Guess what this is?! Rob gets to hear a bedtime story tonight!”

Honestly, I refrained from reading the cookbook out loud to him… This time. I will say that while I’ve used the Choose Your Own Adventure method to thumb through and get a feel for the these incredible recipes, I’m actually reading a lot of what the author has to say about chilies and Texan cooking methods. I never knew. Truly.

You better believe that I’ll be posting what I decide to concoct here at Season It Already! Thanks again, Kat, for The Homesick Texan cookbook. While I’m not exactly a great cook yet, it’s still in the right hands.

How do you read cookbooks?

Got any favorites you’d like to share?

Cheers~
Carrie