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[Recently Read] A Battle of the Cookbooks

I love to cook. It’s more than just a necessity – cooking to me is meditation, a time to zen out and relax, and more than anything, a time to play! Especially when trying out a new recipe. Whether a new take on an old classic, or a new recipe entirely, the best way to make the most of your meals is by a little research. If I’m not cooking (or reading), I’m most likely watching the Food Channel or perusing a cookbook. There’s always more to learn – it’s amazing how even the smallest tips make a huge impact on your final dish. Here are a few I’ve read lately:

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Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

Ina Garten is one of my favorites, and even though I rarely cook one of her recipes, her cookbooks are a wealth of knowledge. A huge trend in the cooking world lately is a focus on home cooking, revealing the recipes some of the most famed chefs like to make for their families, and Ina Garten is no exception. In Cooking for Jeffrey, Garten shares some of Jeffrey’s favorite meals along with a more intimate look at their relationship – they have the most adorable meet-cute! As a woman, this book is especially important. Cooking is often viewed as a wifely duty, but in Cooking for Jeffrey, Garten is able to escape the usual trope by focusing on her love for others. Garten cooks for her family not because it’s her domestic role, but because it’s her passion, and why not share that with the person she loves most? I particularly loved her recipes for “16 bean” pasta e fagioli and dark rum southsides (what’s a cookbook without a cocktail recipe?).

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Cooking with Mary Berry by Mary Berry

Over the holidays, I got obsessively hooked on The Great American Baking Show, judged by longtime food writer and TV presenter Mary Berry. So when I noticed a new cookbook on my library’s listing by Mary Berry – I knew I had to read it! If you consider yourself a novice, or intermediate, this is the book for you. Complete with full-color photographs and step-by-step how-tos from egg basics to different techniques for cooking meat, her book makes it easy to learn and put your new skills into practice with classic recipes such as beef pot roast and chicken cacciatore. But what would a cookbook by Mary Berry be without a section on deserts!? I, for one, can’t wait to try out her recipe for poached pears with blackberry sauce. Yum!

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Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge by Trine Hahnemann and Columbus Leth

Hygge is all the rage these days. More than just a word or a simple feeling, hygge is a way of life, bringing relaxation to the forefront of your days in something so small as lighting a few candles or reading the newspaper… or cooking a traditional dish you’ve eaten all your life. Similar to the art of hygge, Scandinavian Comfort Food is more than a study on traditional Scandinavian recipes. It’s a collection of the writers’ favorite recipes, dishes that have been passed from generation to generation, emoting a feeling of family and comfort. Reading the book is an experience of hygge in itself. The writers’ love for their family easily slips from the page like a warm hug, and even though I saved only a handful of their recipes, it was truly enriching to learn about the Scandinavian culture.

What cookbooks have you read lately?

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