The Just 20 Weekly Booklist contains 20 recommendations on a topic or genre for patrons of all ages. The list, curated by Lisa & Beth, is designed to proceed in level from older audiences to younger.
"Those of us who bake through challenges as well as celebrations know the comfort of the craft. "We know that when everything is spinning wildly, we can count on butter, flour, sugar and eggs. We can transform them. We can make something satisfying, and we can share it. For so many of us, baking is a respite and often a refuge." - Dorie Greenspan
It was so difficult to limit this list to 20 titles - the world of cooking and baking is so vast and wonderful . . . . and learning is not just limited to books. If you have books, podcasts, videos, or websites that you have found inspiring or instructive we hope you will share them with us.
Some other resources we have found for reading, viewing, enjoying, and learning:
Note: Items denoted with an * are a part of NPL's collection. All others can be ordered via Inrteribrary Loan. In some cases these titles are also available on GMLC Overdrive or Libby, our downloadable ebook and audiobook service.
Mark Bittman was a food journalist and the lead magazine food writer at the New York Times, where he started writing in 1984 and stayed for 30 years! This title is just one in the How to Cook Everything series - including The Basics, Vegetarian, How to Grill Everything, How to Bake Everything, and the Best Recipes in the World. These are fantastic starter (and beyond) books that use simple techniques, fresh ingredients, and basic kitchen equipment and which provide many ideas for variations. So much more than recipes - the blueprints!
Dorie Greenspan has written recipes for the most eminent chefs in the world: Pierre Hermé, Daniel Boulud, and arguably the greatest of them all, Julia Child. The generous helpings of background information, abundant stories, and hundreds of professional hints set "Baking" apart as a one-of-a-kind cookbook. Also included is "A Dessertmaker’s Glossary" with more than 100 entries, from why using one’s fingers is often best, to how to buy the finest butter, to how the bundt pan got its name.
“I bake because it connects my soul to my hands, and my heart to my mouth.” —Martin Philip
We couldn't do an NPL booklist about cooking and baking without including the fine bakers at King Arthur and we couldn't not include an entry on the new national pastime - bread baking. "Breaking Bread" is not just a how-to-do book. It is a moving meditation on craft and love, and an intimate portrait of baking and our communion with food—complete with seventy-five original recipes and illustrated with dozens of photographs and original hand-drawn illustrations.
Master these four elements, master the kitchen.
In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything, Samin Nosrat supplies a lighthearted approach to kitchen science and demystifies the four elements of good cooking, with simplicity, knowledge and beautiful drawings. This book is approachable and inspiring and lays a strong foundation for cooking adventures. Also check out her series on Netflix by the same name and her fantastic podcast at https://homecooking.show.
The science of cooking taken one step further. As an instructor at one of the world's top culinary schools, James Briscione thought he knew how to mix and match ingredients. Then he met IBMWatson. Working with the supercomputer to turn big data into delicious recipes, Briscione realized that he (like most chefs) knew next to nothing about why different foods taste good together. That epiphany launched him on a quest to understand the molecular basis of flavor - and it led, in time, to The Flavor Matrix.
Hopefully, we all have memories of our grandmother's kitchen and the sustenance found there. These 60 vibrant and intimate profiles and photographs pay homage to grandmothers and their cooking everywhere. This collection features a global palate: included are hand-stuffed empanadas from Argentina, twice-fried pork and vegetables from China, slow-roasted ratatouille from France, and a decadent toffee trifle from the United States. In Her Kitchen is a loving portrait of these woman and the ways they return that affection - no matter where in the world you sit down for dinner.
Food can, and should, be beautiful - especially dessert! Creative freedom in the kitchen trumps tradition in this collection of more than 50 recipes that range from “blank canvases” such as sugar cookies and gingerbread, to visually pleasing concoctions like Chihuly–inspired Candy Nesting Bowls, Free-form Lollipops, and Origami Cookies. Check out Heather Baird's website and blog too at www.sprinklebakes.com
This collection of intimate, illustrated essays by some of America's most well-regarded literary writers explores how comfort food can help us cope with our darker times. Each entry includes a recipe.
Where would the world be without the creative chefs who continue to push the boundaries? In this memoir, Kwame Onwuachi traces his culinary coming-of-age in both the Bronx and Nigeria, discussing his eclectic training in acclaimed restaurants while sharing insights into the racial barriers that have challenged his career.
On the eve of her ninth birthday, Rose Edelstein bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the slice. To her horror, she finds that her cheerful mother tastes of despair. Soon, she’s privy to the secret knowledge that most families keep hidden. This beautiful book mingles magical elements seamlessly with ordinary life to create an extraordinary novel.
Teen cuisine is all about finding independence in the kitchen. Sam’s book offers a chance to experiment with recipes and discover simple ways to make the food you like to eat. Filled with pages of photographs and big easy-to-read fonts, this would be a chance to get inspired and maybe take a turn at making a meal each week.
Inspired by the author’s own love of cooking and watching the Food Network, this book features a character with these same devotion. Emoni is a teenage mother who struggles trying to navigate her senior year. In addition to worrying about what comes after graduation, she’s faced with figuring out how to balance her passions. Can she be a good mother and have the opportunity to become the chef she’s always dreamed of being? For those readers who loved The Poet X, Acevedo’s prose will keep you wanting more.
Pages and pages of photographs showing different parts of the world and what foods are eaten where. Each family is shown with with a week’s worth of groceries, featuring familiar and maybe surprising food choices. There are also facts and figures about each country, to provide a more in-depth comparison. This is a fascinating look at one of the aspects we all share but showing us all the ways it can be different all over the globe. This book for kids was adapted from Hungry Planet, which the photographers created after they published the amazing book, Material World. All three books are an invitation to look and learn about the world around us.
Heard the phrase - can’t have just one? The books in this series are like that, finishing one makes you want to reach for another. Fortunately this four-in-one volume is perfect for a long, lazy afternoon in a hammock, (maybe with snacks nearby). Each story features a different girl and her particular culinary confection. Fans of The Babysitters Club might enjoy reading these books and could possibly be inspired to create their own cupcake club.
Gladys Gatsby (the best name in the history of all character names!) has been cooking since she was quite a young, but an unfortunate incident with a blowtorch ended with her being tossed out of the kitchen. Now she absolutely has to figure out how to get back to her beloved pastime. A story about a girl who is passionately in love with food and recipe creation and the lengths that she will go to to be able to do the thing that she loves most in the world. Utterly charming and delightful, but be warned - certain sections may make you very hungry.
Mr. Putter decides that it today is a good day to make some soup, especially since he has all the right ingredients. But then his stove, Bessie, stops working, and the only thing he can do is call on his dear neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry. Sometimes the best thing about making a meal is the way it can bring people together. If you haven't discovered this early reader series by Cynthia Rylant yet - you're in for a real treat. And be sure to check out Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake.
Done in the style of a cooking show, this picturebook features a boy and his younger sister as they make food in front of the “camera.” Their featured recipe is raspberry-marshmallow-peanut butter waffles with barbecued banana bacon which is reason enough to tune in; the dialogue and banter between the siblings with their creative play make this a fun read-aloud. Hint: be sure to practice your best pirate voice as you might need it here.
A perfect counting book that takes you up to ten, not once, but twice. A family shops for a meal and preps dinner before sitting down to enjoy their feast. All the children help in different ways, with everyone coming together at the end. The illustrations are created from handcut paper and the simple story is one to read again and again.
With songs to sing, Chef Monty’s rules for baking and a recipe featured on the back cover - this book is sure to be loved by budding bakers. The story is fun, informative and maybe even inspirational. The best part is the lesson learned: sometimes your pie is so good, you have need to eat dessert before dinner. (And peach pie is the tastiest pie!) Melissa Sweet’s illustrations are as charming as her name.
A mother/daughter baking book that mimics the phases of the moon as Little Star nibbles at her sweet treat each night. But can you blame her - it’s just too hard to resist it. A gentle bedtime story that introduces new confections and celebrations amidst a dark, night sky background.