Update: Read Leah's second cookbook roundup.
Summer is the time of the year that I set aside special time to read. Summer is about relaxing—and reading books is one of my favorite ways to chill out and immerse myself in another little world for short while.
Why only during the summer? I have a little problem called “I don’t know how to put a book down once I start.” One day, someone will come up with a shorter term for this problem. During the winter, kids must go to school, homework must get done, and if I get lost in a book, I’ll end up reading for hours and hours. Now summer is different. No buses, no rush. I can stay up reading all day and all night.
One of my favorite types of books to read are cookbooks—I feel as if I’m delving into the world of the chef. Recipes, introductions, and even the acknowledgement page tell you so much about the writer. One other reason I love reading cookbooks is that I can put it down much faster—and I feel it’s productive.
Next time you’re heading out to the beach, you may consider taking one of these cookbooks along.
Some of my summer picks:
Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
This is our peacekeeper in the house. When the arguments start on why we eat certain Jewish foods, Gil Marks comes to the rescue. It’s a large and heavy book and definitely not something I can take to the beach. So much information is packed into the encyclopedia that it’s definitely worth the purchase. Cultural observations, funny anecdotes, and loads of recipes fill the pages. While the Google has replaced my need to pick up a regular encyclopedia, the information in this book isn’t found anywhere. Buy it on Amazon for the best price.
The New Food Processor Bible: 3Oth Anniversary Edition
Norene Gilletz is one of my favorite food people. In general when you get together with food writers, it’s always interesting and fun. When I heard that Norene’s Food Processor Bible was being reprinted, I had to get a copy in my hands.
I think the term “Bible” is perfectly apropos for use in the title. The book literally has everything you’ve ever wanted to know about using a food processor. It’s completely updated with new recipes, tips, and ideas, variations to recipes, and the nutrition value of every single recipe!
If you don’t like using a processor, the book is still a wonderful cookbook to own with over 600 recipes. By the way—the book has 45 five star consumer reviews on Amazon. So I’m not the only one that thinks it’s worth while buy. While it’s a thick book, my copy is soft cover so it’s really easy to hold and read while laying on a couch or bed. (I did tell you that cookbook where meant for reading while relaxing!) The only downside is that the book includes no photos. However, I imagine if there where photos the book would be way too large and heavy to enjoy.
On a Stick
This isn’t a kosher cookbook but it’s too fun to skip. Matt Amendariz is a food photographer and blogger. With over 80 ways to serve food on a stick, it’s the perfect hors d’oeuvres cookbook. Every single recipes has its own photograph. Not only photos—but photos that will make you hungry. If you appreciate novelty items or love fun and quirky recipes, this cookbook is for you. It might also make you want to pick up a camera and learn to shoot food.
We’ve featured recipes from Efrat Libfroind’s Kosher Elegance, but it’s worth adding the book to our list of summer cookbook. It’s a large coffee table-style cookbook with beautiful photos on each page. This cookbook is for all kind of cooks. For those that artistic and love to spend time in the kitchen creating masterpieces—there are plenty of desserts to choose from. But—there are loads of incredible recipes such as main dishes and salads that are quick to prepare too. If you’re into the presentation of food, this is a complete guide with wonderful presentation ideas. Efrat has sprinkled in many tips and techniques in-between to help make you a better cook.
Plate to Pixels
This isn’t a cookbook per say, but still one of my favorite summer books that I’ve picked up. Helen Darjelin is pastry chef turned food photographer and blogger that created the ultimate guide to food photography. The photos are beautiful and as you read the book, you feel as if you are in her studio or kitchen, photographing food with her. If you enjoy shooting food and would like to get better at it, there isn’t a better book in the market.
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