Tag: Cookbooks

Cookbooks for Grill Jockeys, Pit Bosses and Other Flame Tamers

by in Books, July 9th, 2013

Cookbooks for Grill Jockeys, Pit Bosses and Other Flame TamersYou can smell it in the air: millions of long-dormant grills being lit in observance of the rites of warm weather, bright sunshine and long days. ‘Tis the season when our nation smells of wood smoke. ‘Tis summer: the happiest time of year, as far as I’m concerned.

This time of year is also the most delicious. I am 100-percent convinced that nothing served in any restaurant ever tastes as good as food that you, yourself, cook outdoors with friends on a sunny day. Nothing. No competition. This is not to say that everything that comes off a grill is perfect. The experience, however, is perfect, replete, enough.

For this month’s cookbook recommendations, I’ve rounded up four books that approach live-fire cooking from a variety of angles — from grilling to barbecue to smoking and everything in between. Some of these, like the Jamisons’ Smoke & Spice, are long-established classics; others, like Adam Perry Lang’s Charred & Scruffed, are relative newcomers well on their way to achieving similar status. All are full of valuable instruction and fantastic recipes. So whether you’re a novice grill jockey or a seasoned backyard pit boss, the following four Food Network Library favorites will have you all fired up this summer.

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Picture Cook: A Different Approach to Home Cooking

by in Books, June 3rd, 2013

Picture CookThere’s no right or wrong way to learn how to cook. Some people are more logical and some are more visual. For the latter group, traditional cookbooks can be a bit intimidating, which is exactly where Katie Shelly drew her inspiration for her upcoming cookbook, Picture Cook.

Katie doesn’t credit herself with particular culinary intuition or talent. She learned to cook through experimenting and focuses on making “food that is tasty and does the job.” Composed of 50 recipe “blueprints,” her book covers snacktime to dinnertime with illustrated ingredients and steps. Her hope is that home cooks will find the drawings straightforward and easy to improvise.

Do you dive into a recipe right away or watch Ina or Alton make it first? If you’re a person who learns by seeing, perhaps recipe drawings are just the inspiration you need in the kitchen. Let us know what you think — what works for you?

To learn more about Picture Cook, head over to NPR’s food blog, The Salt.

Cookbooks for the Graduating Class and Other Kitchen Freshman

by in Books, May 30th, 2013

Cookbooks for the Graduating Class and BeginnersCookbooks are not the first place one turns to for humor. Funny cookbooks do exist: Peg Bracken’s classic The I Hate to Cook Book (1960) is one; Amy Sedaris’ more recent — and terrific — I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (2006) is another. But most cookbooks assume people can’t handle too much humor with their how-to. Fair enough.

Cookbooks for rank beginners, however, make up a well-established subgenre that plays by its own set of rules. Rule #1: Keep ‘em laughing. Cookbooks for novices specialize in a very specific form of comic hyperbole, playing up the presumed ignorance of their target reader (usually a recent graduate or a bachelor) who is posited as either starving or idiotic, or both a hapless sloven who has just barely mastered the arts of chewing and swallowing. These books are easy to recognize by their titles: The Bachelor’s Guide to Ward Off Starvation, Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen, and my personal favorite, Your Shirt Is Not an Oven Mitt! (All three, I’m proud to say, have a home in the Food Network Library.)

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Catch Guy on the Road: Book Tour Dates

by in Books, Events, May 12th, 2013

Guy Fieri's Funky Finds in FlavortownDuring the month of May, Guy Fieri’s schedule will be filled with book signings in New Jersey and New York for the third installment of the Triple D book series, The Funky Finds in Flavortown: America’s Classic Joints and Killer Comfort Food. Check out his book tour schedule below to see if he’ll be near you.

While you’re there, have Guy sign a copy of The Funky Finds in Flavortown.

Click here to get the info

Quatro for Cinco — Cookbooks

by in Books, Holidays, April 27th, 2013

Cinco de Mayo Cookbook RecommendationsA quick history lesson: Cinco de Mayo was born on the fifth day of the fifth month of the year 1862, when General Ignacio Zaragoza, with the support of local civilians and Zacapoaxtla Indians, led 2,000 poorly equipped Mexican soldiers to victory over 6,000 French cavalry and infantrymen at the Battle of Puebla. Though Zaragoza’s success was short-lived — the following year, French forces swept through Puebla en route to Mexico City, where they managed to overthrow the still-young Mexican Republic — his victory lives on in Mexico, where Cinco de Mayo is a minor national holiday, primarily observed in Puebla and Mexico City. And also more obscurely but perhaps more passionately, in the United States, where in recent decades Cinco de Mayo has morphed into a major festival of Chicano culture.

It’s with this latter, domestic incarnation in mind that, for this month’s cookbook recommendations, I have plucked some choice morsels detailing the remarkable contributions of Mexican-Americans to regional cooking in the United States. So, just in time for Cinco de Mayo, here is a virtual tour of Mexican-influenced border cooking — from Tex-Mex to Cal-Mex, with a stop along the way in Santa Fe, N.M. — in four cookbooks that beautifully sketch the cultural wellsprings from which these regional cuisines were born.

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Enter for a Chance to Win a Mother’s Day-Inspired Collection of Cookbooks

by in Contests, Holidays, April 22nd, 2013

Mother's Day Cookbook GiveawayIf you’re starting to think of the perfect Mother’s Day gift for the mom in your life, FN Dish is about to make it easier for one lucky reader. The editors have collected several cookbooks from superstar moms and Food Network chefs, and Food Network has bundled them together for a giveaway. Whether you keep them for yourself or gift them, this is the ultimate literary treat.

We’re giving away a collection of cookbooks from Food Network chefs, featuring:

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Old-School Comfort Food
Melissa d’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners
Marcela Valladolid’s Mexican Made Easy
Gina Neely’s The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook
Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Read official rules before entering

Catch Alex on the Road: Book Tour Dates

by in Books, Events, April 8th, 2013

Old-School Comfort Food by Alex GuarnaschelliDuring the months of April and May, Alex Guarnaschelli’s schedule will be filled with book signings across the country for her first book, Old-School Comfort Food. Check out her book tour schedule below to see if she’ll be in a city near you.

While you’re there, have Alex sign a copy of Old-School Comfort Food:

Monday, April 8: New York City
Event: 4:30-7:30 p.m., Kraft Kulinary Event at Columbia University

Wednesday, April 10: Bridgewater, N.J.
Event: 2:30-4:30 p.m., Costco (signing)

Click here for Alex’s entire book tour schedule

Enter for a Chance to Win Alex Guarnaschelli’s Autographed Cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food

by in Contests, Food Network Chef, April 4th, 2013

Alex Guarnaschelli's Old-School Comfort Food

Whether Alex Guarnaschelli is cooking at restaurants Butter or The Darby, dishing out top-notch critiques as a judge on Chopped, racing around Kitchen Stadium as the newest Iron Chef or cooking up a storm with her daughter at home, fans of hers know that Alex does comfort food best.

Alex grew up in a home surrounded by a love of cooking, where souffles and cheeseburgers were equally revered. The daughter of a respected cookbook editor and a Chinese cooking enthusiast, Alex developed a passion for food at a young age, sealing her professional fate. In her premiere cookbook, Old-School Comfort Foodshe shares her journey from waist-high taste tester to trained chef, along with the 100 recipes for how she learned to cook — and the way she still loves to eat.

Want to get Alex’s secrets to great home cooking? You can pre-order a copy of Old-School Comfort Food here, or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us which one of Alex’s recipes is your favorite and why in the comments (you must include the URL — find Alex’s list of recipes here). We’re giving away an autographed copy of the book to five lucky, randomly selected commenters.

Read official rules before entering

Cookbooks for Good Eggs

by in Books, Holidays, March 18th, 2013

Cookbooks for Good EggsIs it possible to ascribe narcissism to a foodstuff? Do ingredients have egos? Is there vanity in a vegetable? The curious world of single-subject cookbooks suggests “yes!” Broccoli, did you really need an entire book? Hemp, wouldn’t a magazine feature have sufficed? Foods on sticks, where is your modesty?

Eggs are another story. There is no egotism in an egg book, not when you consider the crucial role eggs play in nearly every aspect of cooking, from breakfast to dinner, sweet to savory. Yes, eggs deserve a book — books! And books they’ve gotten. One online source lists 405 cookbooks on the subject.

At the Food Network Library, we keep a mere half dozen, but each is so wonderful in its own way that we just had to share. Here are four favorites from past and (recent) present: the best, the most-charming and the most-beautiful egg books from Food Network’s shelves.

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Cookbooks for Cold Months

by in Books, February 18th, 2013

Cookbooks for Cold MonthsI’m the librarian of the Food Network’s library. I am looking for winter, but struggling. I see Mindy Heiferling’s A Taste of Spring, Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking and Rick Rodgers’ Autumn Gatherings. Nowhere do I find winter.

This seems odd. Without the luxury of hibernation, I find that we’re forced into the kitchen during winter — if only in search of warmth or light. Our kitchens slow down to the pace of a simmer, larders get rooty, meats get more stew worthy. Winter may be low season in the farm cycle, but it is high season for cooking. Winter’s true harvest is to be found in the kitchen.

Cookbooks may pretend to have an aversion to winter, but don’t believe them. To find winter, look for it in bowls. Because bowl foods, literally and spiritually, physically and metaphysically, radiate warmth. Cold hands like a warm bowl. And the soups, stews, braises and other slow-cooking one-pot dishes that belong to bowls are the foods that truly deserve the name “comfort food” (everything else is the comfort of nostalgia).

Get my four favorite books dedicated to bowl foods