Oh friends. We’re living through unimaginable times, aren’t we. Like most of the rest of the world, I’ve been doing my part by staying home, keeping my distance from my neighbors, and cooking.
I’ve been finding a great deal of comfort and solace in paging through cookbooks. I’m reading far too much virus coverage and I can’t focus on novels. Cookbooks offer me the opportunity to take momentary respite and unlike fiction, are meeting me where I am.
I’ve had this stack of books sitting on my coffee table for four months. They are the ones that I think of as being adjacent to my canning practice. While not dedicated to putting food into jars, they all compliment a homemade pantry and are worthy of being on your shelf.
Our local, independent book stores need us now more than ever. If one of these books speak to you, please consider buying from Powell’s, Book Larder, Omnivore Books, Read It and Eat, Now Serving, Kitchen Arts and Letters, or your local that’s still offering shipping or contactless pick-up.
Dirty Food by Julie van Rosendaal – The title of this book is a playful response to the clean food movement and it celebrates all things messy, drippy, and crumbly. The flaky biscuits are amazing with jam. [Julie self-published this book and so it’s best to buy it directly from her.]
Hangover Helper by Lauren Shockey – Who knew how many traditional hangover remedies involve pickles? Also, the warming garlic soup is a pantry friendly dish that is great for these times (I’m making it for lunch later this week). [Powells | IndieBound]
Growing Berries and Fruit Trees by Tara Austen Weaver – The bulk of this book is dedicated to teaching people how to grow fruit in the Pacific Northwest. However, I think that even if you live outside that region, there’s space for this book in your library. The final third of the volume contains a thoughtful collection of recipes (the Everyday Oatmeal Fruit Muffins alone are worth the price of admission). [Powells | IndieBound]
The Food in Jars Kitchen by Marisa McClellan – This is my book (and it turns one on Thursday!). It’s all about making the most of your pantry (homemade or store bought), a topic which seems to be weirdly prescient in light of current events. [Powells | IndieBound]
Family Foraging by David Hamilton – This is such a great book to help teach kids about wild edibles. If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids occupied during this time of isolation and you have a little outdoor space near you, this one could help keep them occupied. [Powells | IndieBound]
Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends – This is an entire book devoted to fire cider (a concoction of apple cider vinegar, horseradish, onion, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, and honey), flavored vinegars, and healthful, healing liquids. It’s great. [Powells | IndieBound]
Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll – This is a fully updated edition of a beloved cheese making guide. If you’re dealing with the pandemic by making food, perhaps you should take up a cheese making hobby. [Powells | IndieBound]
When Pies Fly by Cathy Barrow – This book embraces anything wrapped in pastry or dough (including a whole chapter dedicated to the knish). In a time when many of us have time on our hands and are in need of comfort food, we should all be cooking from these pages. [Powells | IndieBound]
The Joys of Baking by Samantha Seneviratne – This is a memoir disguised as a cookbook. Whenever I need a break from the reality currently swirling around me, I pick up this book. The recipes are also spectacular. [Powells | IndieBound]
Lavash by Kate Leahy, John Lee, and Ara Zada – This book is a snapshot of Armenian cooking that uses that culture’s bread (that’s the lavash) as it’s centering point. The authors spent a lot of time in the country, gathering the recipes and experiences that fill its pages. It’s a remarkably wonderful book. Whether or not you get a copy, you should also listen to Kate and Ara talk about their experience writing it on the Book Larder podcast. [Powells | IndieBound]
Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri – This cookbook comes out of Margot Bakery in London. It’s a bit of a stretch volume for me, but there’s a nice chapter of jams and spreads in the back that keep it on my shelf. And for those of you who are currently diving deep into sourdough, it would be a good buy. [IndieBound]
Miso Tempeh Natto by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey – I feel like this is a book I could spend a lifetime exploring and I’d still only scratch the surface of what it has to offer. I can’t wait to dive in. [Powells | IndieBound]
Midwest Made by Shauna Sever – I have never lived in the midwest and it’s not a place where any of my people are from. And yet, I still everything to love in this thoughtful, delectable, downright beautiful book. I think I could be happy baking from these pages for the rest of my days. [Powells | IndieBound]
Heirloom by Sarah Owens – This book a wild, creative ride through preserving, fermentation, naturally leavened baking, and the recipes that use and love the products of those processes. Sarah is a genius and I wish my mind worked like hers does. [Powells | IndieBound]
Thank you for the suggestion. I have been looking for a cheese making book to figure out what I’m doing beyond the occasional mozzarella.