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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

Three Great Book Choices You Can Check Out from Home: Blue Plate Special, Space Opera, and Mittens

19 Sep

Yesterday I posted about Read an eBook Day.  Today I thought I recommend two books I’ve enjoyed and one recommendation from my son who is also an ebook fan.  A great feature of eBooks is that they are perfect to borrow on rainy days or when you are feeling under the weather and don’t want to or can’t leave the house to stop in at the library in person.  Share with us in the comments if you checked out an ebook or digital audiobook recently and want to recommend it to our readers!

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites

by Kate Christensen
I decided to read Blue Plate Special when I was craving something to read late at night before bed and did a quick search on eBCCLS; this seemed like a great choice since I had enjoyed Christensen’s novel, The Last Cruise, and am a fan of Foodie Memoirs. I enjoyed Christensen’s writing, but her life had a lot of trauma, complications, and was dominated by bad relationships – including an abusive father that made this a bit of dark read. I can see how the complexity of her own life has led her to be able to create such rich and nuanced characters in her fiction. Recipes are included in each section of her autobiography which was broken into the different places she has lived which include everywhere from California, New York, Iowa, and Paris. She mentions several times about journaling and I felt that she had kept logs of her life because of how detailed reflected events were recounted.  Christensen is one of three sisters and I felt her sibling’s lives sounded as interesting as her own with one, an aspiring ballerina and the youngest one, who winds up temporarily becoming part of a religious cult on the other side of the world.  Blue Plate Special ends with Christensen’s move to New England something she chronicles in How to Cook a Moose that I will pick up when the memoir mood strikes me again.

If you want even more foodie memoirs/fiction check out some of our previous posts. Three of the authors I wrote about previously you may recognize now from Food Network shows including Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Baked in Vermont, Molly Yeh’s Girl Meets Farm, and Jessica Tom as a contestant on the Next Food Network Star. You can borrow Jessica’s Tom’s novel Food Whore from eBCCLS and Gesine Bullock-Prado’s memoir My Life from Scratch from eLibraryNJ.

Space Opera
by Catherynne M. Valente
read by Heath Miller
Space Opera
If you are thinking you don’t have time to read an ebook, consider listening to one instead.  They are a relaxing way to commute to work (you might even wish that there was more traffic so you could get through one more chapter) or pass the time while doing some of your daily chores (I love listening to them while I’m folding laundry).  You can listen to Catherynne M. Valente’s latest novel Space Opera as a digital audiobook read by Heath Miller from Hoopla. I have written several times previously about Catherynne M. Valente, including her works Radiance and her Fairyland series, which I am fans of.  Valente’s worlds and characters are always highly original and quirky and those of Space Opera are no exception. Space Opera is set after a brutal intergalactic war tore civilizations apart; now in order to keep order, species must prove their worth not with military might but by competing in a singing competition like one you’ve never imagined.  This year humanity’s only hope is two thirds of a washed up glam rock band.  If you love Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy than you will enjoy Space Opera!

by Lola M. Schaefer
Pictures by Susan Kathleen Hartung
This pick comes from my son, Tommy, who just started first grade this month.  One of the great things you can borrow for kids from Hoopla is Read-Along ebooks. Think of them as an ebook/audiobook hybrid for emergent readers. It lets children hear books read and allows them to read along.  You can either have the pages automatically turn or turn them yourself. You can even pick how fast the pages are read. Over the summer we tried to read at least one book a day together and we’ve been transitioning from me reading to him to him often reading to me, with me giving assistance when he gets stuck on a word. The Read-Along ebooks provide a fun way for beginning readers to feel more confident about learning to read themselves.  First my son has them read the book and then he tries to read the books himself.  He loves cats and recently got a new kitten of his own so was enamored with the story of Mittens who must adjust to moving into a new home.  Since he was starting a new school this year it provided a good opportunity to discuss concerns about being in a new space himself; books can be a great way to get kids to open up about things. Besides the Mittens series, you can also borrow books in the Tommy approved Biscuit series by Alyssa Satin Capucilli if you have puppy dog fans in your house.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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