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Who Needs a Box of Chocolates for Valentine’s Day: Sample These Library Books Instead

13 Feb

If you or your loved ones are chocoholics, then we have three sweet recommendations to check out this Valentine’s Day!

The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes
by Maricel E. Presilla.
Maricel Presilla has two Latin American Restaurants in Hoboken.  She did a chocolate presentation here at the library when her book on chocolate first came out and it is definitely worth checking out if you have not already.  The New Taste of Chocolate looks at everything from the early chocolate rituals of the Aztecs to the new discoveries and innovations surrounding many people’s favorite treat.  You’ll want to try out of some of the recipes with your sweet this Valentine’s Day.

The Sweet Story of Hot Chocolate!
by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Rob McClurkan

Of course Valentine’s Day isn’t just for adults.  It is fun to help my son get his Valentine’s ready for his class at school.  I remember how excited I was was each year as a kid to pick out the special card that was meant for all of my BFFs in my class.  My son enjoyed this look at the history of hot chocolate that covers the history of winter’s perfect beverage including facts like chocolate being part of the rations for Revolutionary soldiers. The Sweet Story of Hot Chocolate! is best shared with a cup of warm cocoa with a sprinkling of marshmallows.  On Valentine’s Day the library is holding cookie decorating for kids; click here to learn more.  For healthy foodie fun for kids you also can check out our Cooks & Books Program.

The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg with Ann Krueger Spivack and Susie Heller
If – like me – you have enjoyed Scharffen Berger chocolates, then you will want to check out this cookbook, the first from the duo behind the gourmet treats. The Essence of Chocolate includes sweet desserts like White Velvet Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache, but also savory dishes like vegetarian chili and a cocoa rub (perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner). The book has three sections “Intensely Chocolate”, “Essentially Chocolate” and “A Hint of Chocolate”.  You will also learn useful tips and get a behind the scenes look at how chocolate is created.

If you are looking for some chocolatey fiction check out our previous blog post where I discuss a trio of novels where chocolate helps magic and romance happen.  You can also get some Valentine’s Day song recommendations from us!

Have a favorite book about chocolate or one with great Valentine’s Day recipes?  Share it with us in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

New Recipes for the New Year: COOK90, New Pizza, Flavors of Africa, and The Secret Ingredient

9 Jan

Are you stuck in a cooking rut or looking to start cooking for yourself for the first time this year? I’ve selected some books that we’ve just gotten in at the Hoboken Public Library that I’m planning to borrow in the future that you might enjoy as well.  Check out these books in the New Year and get to cook some new tasty recipes!

COOK90: The 30-Day Plan for Faster, Healthier, Happier Meals
by David Tamarkin and the editors of Epicurious
photographs by Chelsea Kyle
If your life is similar to mine as a working mom whose partner also works full time it can be a struggle to create healthy meals each days and too easy to fall back on takeout which can bring with it increased calories, fat, and sodium. COOK90 put together by the popular online recipe cite, Epicurious, seems like a great choice for anyone who has made a New Year’s resolution to cook more since it encourages users to challenge themselves to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 30 days.  I’m not sure if my husband and I will quite meet the challenge for every day, but the book seems a good way to meet our personal goal of cutting down significantly on takeout during the week.  There are over 100 recipes in the book along with strategies to help with getting you cooking more.  Dishes like cocoa oats with yogurt, honey, and hazelnuts sound like a tasty way to put the takeout menu away.

New Pizza: A Whole New Era for the World’s Favorite Food
by Stefano Manfredi
new pizza
Speaking of take out, our most frequent choice is pizza, my son’s favorite and most requested food.  My husband’s family growing up had the tradition of watching a cheesy movie every Friday along with an extra cheese pizza with pepperoni, something we often enjoy on the weekends with our son.  As much as I enjoy the delicious pizza that the tri-state area’s pizzerias are famous for; I know making my own is a healthier option.  Stefano Manfredi in his book, New Pizza, uses whole wheat flour and fresh ingredients to give his pizza a healthier twist by looking back at the way it was historically made.  Manfredi is a leading expert on Italian food who grew up in Lombardy so I’m hoping that using his recipes and techniques we can create our own tasty slice of Italy from scratch.  New Pizza will be of interest to those interested in the history of pizza as well as making it.

Flavors of Africa: Discover Authentic Family Recipes from All Over the Continent
by Evi Aki
flavors of africa
I’m a huge fan of Ethiopian cuisine and some of our favorite dishes to make are ones prepared in a traditional Moroccan tagine we got several Christmases ago, but I’m less familiar with the food elsewhere in Africa so Evi Aki’s Flavors of Africa is on my list of cookbooks to check out.  Aki grew up with traditional Nigerian dishes but she also includes recipes from all over the continent.  I find this book extra appealing with its connection to family recipes that Aki collected from her own family and friends.  With African American History Month coming up in February this seems like a great choice to checkout no matter what your background and celebrate a group of immigrants to the US who have a delicious heritage to share.

The Secret Ingredient: Recipes for Success in Business and Life
by Gigi Butler
secret ingredient
You might have heard of Gigi Butler from Gigi’s Cupcakes.  In The Secret Ingredient Butler shares not only a delicious recipe for cupcakes or other desserts in each chapter, but also discusses her journey to overseeing a successful business which started in Nashville and then became a franchise destination.  I always enjoy memoir/cook book hybrids since it gives you a sense of where the recipes come from and how they were created which makes them seem even sweeter to me.  Whether baking is a favorite hobby of yours like it is for my son and I or you are looking for an inspirational book to start off the New Year this might be a good pick for you to check out.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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