Cookbooks with a Story

I love the Food Network. I adore the Cooking Channel. I enjoy the Thursday food section featuring Foodie with Family and The Amish Cook in our local newspaper. Like many of you, I’m an avid recipe collector. I’m not always successful in the kitchen, but planning meals can be quite the adventure – especially in my head!

Cookbooks. I have a respectable, if small, collection. My favorites are those that offer an engaging narrative alongside their accessible recipes. Tell me a story. That’s how I’m hooked. A cup of hot tea and the promise of a hearty Hunter’s Minestrone – “thick and soul warming” – will carry me through the snowiest, blowiest winter afternoon.

Pick up one of these two books and settle in for a leisurely stroll through comfort food stories…

Tyler’s Ultimate – Tyler believes “the ultimate meal brings together good food, good friends, and good times.” What I like about his recipes is their accessible – yet sophisticated – approach. Tyler Florence is able to marry complexity and depth of flavor with ease of preparation so that we can all  find some level of success in the kitchen. Best of all, he has clearly authored his books himself. Reading  the introduction to each recipe brings to mind his easy, friendly dialogue as he walked us through Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Spicy Crab Salad on The Food Network’s How to Boil Water. His voice rings true throughout this most trusted cookbook.

Warm Bread and Honey Cake is  a global collection of recipes for breads and cakes, cookies, and pastries, which the author pulled together with inspiration from the world over. Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra has combined first-rate recipes with fascinating historical anecdotes and stunning photographs.  A snug quilt, the ever-present cup of tea, and a few relaxed hours will leave me dreaming of the warm aromatics of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, all wrapped in sweet yeast doughs and fruit based cakes.

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