I’m often drawn to specific cookbooks for their particular aesthetic and/or design. Whether it’s the stunning photography, the design of the interior or just the way the author creates his recipes in a unique individual way, cookbooks nowadays are more than just a collection of recipes. This collection of cookbooks typifies exactly what I love in contemporary cookbooks from the gorgeous aesthetic of Sweet Paul in his book Eat & Make to the luscious photos in The Flavour Principle to the infographic style of Michael Ruhlman’s Egg.
Stick around to the end of this post as well for a chance to win a copy of Josey Baker Bread, a beautiful cookbook from an individual who’s enthusiasm for baking bread shines through and is positively infectious.[This giveawy is closed and over!]
A few months ago there was an explosion of articles about the “ridiculous” $4 toast that was being sold here in San Francisco. People wrote about how elitist is was, and how it was the perfect example of the absurdity of living in San Francisco. Completely blown out of proportion, the man behind the toast is none other than the down-to-earth Josey Baker. His book Josey Baker Bread is probably the antithesis of elitism, full of down-to-earth personality and easy step-by-step recipe with specific details about what sort of equipment is needed for baking the beautiful bread that he sells. For anyone who has been intimidated by making bread or want try their hand at baking artisan bread, this book makes it all seem doable. From the photos of what the bread looks like when it’s underbaked, overbaked and baked just right, to the casual writing that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with a pal, this cookbook is geared toward the beginner bread baker though more experience bread bakers would also get some pretty nifty tips, technique pointers and excellent recipes.
I’ve always had a bit of a crush on the Sweet Paul magazine every since a friend of mine showed it to me. The simple but elegant recipes! The easy but impressive crafts! And those drop dead gorgeous photos! It’s the sort of magazine that makes everyone’s life a just a little more fun when you read it. Paul Lowe, the man behind the darling site Sweet Paul and his new book Eat & Make is exactly what you imagine it to be, with easy recipes that actually sound great (Finnish rye bread; breakfast pizza with pancetta, eggs & potatoes; roasted plum bellinis). His kitchen crafts actually look pretty doable (and I say that as someone who is NOT a crafty person) and not in the least bit ridiculous (you know what I’m talking about, oh unattainably difficult to make Pinterest craft boards). Though I’m probably more likely to get in the kitchen and make his orange and hazelnut cake than his no-sew apron made from a kitchen towel (though the no-sew part is pretty appealing).
You know you’re in for fun when you see a colorful book cover with a giant neon pink circle in the middle and the title Meringue Girls knocked out in graphic white type. I’ve never really given meringues serious thought in terms of their versatility as a confection. But Meringue Girls (Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman) made me rethink that with basic tips on how to make meringue, ideas on various flavors and some awesome recipes that use meringue like summery eton mess, pretzel and chocolate marshmallow meringue tart and lemon meringue cake. With their enthusiasm and spunky attitude (yeah, I just used the word spunky), this is the fun and festive sort of book that will have you whipping up a sweet and sticky storm in your kitchen.
Taking the single subject cookbook a step further, Michael Ruhlman’s Egg is an example of how one ingredient can be explored in numerous ways. From basic information about the sort of egg you are buying and what all those various labels mean, to how to cook the egg by itself, to the multitude of recipe that need the egg as an integral part (quiche, eggnog, mayonnaise) this cookbook covers all the basics and more so. Don’t be mistaken that this cookbook is all about the basics though. With recipes for egg ravioli with chevre, brown butter and thyme, poached duck egg on duck confit hash and a spectacular looking lemon cream cake filled with jam and frozen berry pieces, Egg is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about one of the most versatile and powerful common ingredients in the kitchen.
When I’m in the kitchen, I’m always trying to figure out a way to punch up the flavor of dishes so when The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol came out I was excited to see what it was all about. Organized about eleven distinctive tastes like bitter, tart, umami, the book has over thirty menus with various recipes that match each other flavor. With a wide range of approachable contemporary recipes like fennel and turnip soup, mushroom ragu with polenta, lamb from Puglia as well as suggestions about wine pairings, this cookbook is the sort of sophisticated resource for creating memorable meals inspired by global cuisine and the spices from all over the world. With notes interspersed about herbs, spices as well as tips on cooking techniques, The Flavour Principle is a bound to be one of those go-to cookbooks in my library for inspiration and recipes.
Chronicle Books has generously offered to give away a copy of Josey Baker Bread to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite loaf of bread is. Are you a white sandwich bread sort of person or do you crave crusty baguette? For me it’s my local bakery Tartine’s Sesame Loaf, crusty and flavorful. But now that I have Josey Baker Bread I might have to start making my own artisan bread more often now.[This giveaway is closed and over! Thanks for entering!] The fine print – PLEASE READ
By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
▪ NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
▪ VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
▪ You must be over the age of 18.
▪ This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
▪ The contest starts as of today, and will run until Wednesday August 27, 2014, 9am PST.
▪ The retail value of Josey Baker Bread is about $27.50.
▪ The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
▪ The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
▪ If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award everything to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type in your correct email address if you want the membership and respond within a week to me when I contact you or I’ll give everything to someone else.
▪ The prize is being delivered directly from Chronicle Books. If they have not delivered the prize to you within three weeks of me notifying you of winning, please reach out to me again and I will do follow up to make sure everything is OK. Please keep in mind we are all human and things happen. I will do everything within my power to make sure the prize is delivered in a timely manner.
Special thanks to Chronicle Books, Harper Collins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Little Brown for review copies of the books in this post. Though they provided the books complimentary, I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions above are my own.
This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through the links above (with no added cost to you). If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the book yourself and purchase it that way.