If you’re anything like me, you have a bookshelf (or even multiple bookshelves!) full to bursting with books of all kinds: novels, comic books, coffee table books, and one of my loves, cookbooks! It’s been a long time since I posted anything related to food books and reading material so I wanted to share with you all some of the things I’ve been head over heels in love with as of late. I am a cookbook addict. I’m one of those people that loves them for the photography and art direction even more than the actual recipes inside. There are so many different styles of cookbooks though and while not all of them are practical, straight-forward, or even remotely useful to the average homecook, I think there is value and beauty in all of them no matter what the focus may be. Everyone has their own priorities when they go about hunting for great cookbooks and it’s all about what you gain the most insight from.
For me, cookie cookbooks are, hands down, the most practical and useful for me. I know I’ll use the recipes, I know I’ll go back to them time and time again for inspiration, for actual baking, and for resourceful things like measurement conversions. Then there are the coffee table type of cookbooks. The type that most likely have some great recipes in them, but are so pristine and beautiful you can’t bare to crack the spine much less use them in the kitchen. And then there are the ones like the one I’m posting about here.
I was in conniptions when I saw the magazine advertisement for Cook Britain by Canadian Living ($15.99, Transcontinental Media). Sure, I’m absolutely amoured by Prince William and the darling Kate Middleton (I love her to pieces), but my motivation for getting this book had far more to do with my desire to learn more about British food than just a trivial fascination with the British royalty. There’s no doubt that I love food. But I am far from a global eater. I’m a girl who’s just soaking it all in, learning day by day and when I saw the ad for the book, I knew there was no better time to get my feet wet in learning about British cuisine.
I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about British food but that I’m SO excited about this book and what I’ll learn from it. I certainly won’t turn into an expert after reading it, but it’ll give me insight and a very basic knowledge to springboard from because I can’t talk about British food on the blog until I start learning about it and I think this will be a great start. This book is wonderful because it’s a mix of everything: recipes, beautiful photos of food, and plenty of food history and information about regional British, Scottish, and Irish food including steak and kidney pudding, Irish champ, and Scottish shortbread. Along with the incredible amount of fun I had during my last visit to Sorauren Park farmers’ market back in June tasting, photographing, and learning about some British and Irish eats, this is, in my opinion, the best way to dip my toes in the water.
Annnd cookbooks can also be disguised as beautiful, adorable, colourful and amazing murder mystery novels! If you’ll recall, I am all hugs and squishes over the Hannah Swensen mysteries by Joanne Fluke and I’ve continued building my collection and reading my way through the series (newest book in the series that I don’t have and need to read? Cinnamon Roll Murder!), but my oh my has this particular genre ever exploded! There are SO MANY foodie murder mystery series out on the market and I am ecstatic about it! The two series that I’ve been spending a little more time on are Wendy Lyn Watson’s ice cream shop mysteries (A Mystery a la Mode) and Jessica Beck’s Donut Shop Mysteries. I’m missing one book from each series (the first one in the ice cream shop, I Scream, You Scream, and I believe the 4th one in the Donut Shop Mysteries, Evil Eclairs) and the latest two, Killer Crullers and Drop Dead Chocolate I just purchased last weekend! These books are so much fun (and yes, they do have recipes in them) and I could spend eternity reading these from cover to cover.
In addition to these two series, I’m eyeing a whole truckload of others including Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries, Sheila Connolly’s Orchard Mysteries (apples!), Livia Washburn’s Fresh-Baked Mysteries (Ooo, killer crab cakes and pumpkin muffin murders!), Chris Cavender’s Pizza Lovers Mysteries (mmm, pepperoni), AND – get this – a CUPCAKE BAKERY MYSTERY SERIES! I just discovered this series over the weekend and like any avid bookworm foodie, I snatched up the first one in the series: Sprinkle with Murder. The series is written by Jenn McKinlay and there are, I believe, 3 books so far.
There’s nothing like a fresh new food magazine, novel, and cookbook to cuddle up with, so if you get the chance, definitely take a look-see at some of these fab reads and feel free to share your favourites too!