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eBCCLS is so Cheesy!: Check out these ebooks and learn all about enjoying and making cheese!

21 Aug

My family and I are all huge cheese fans. Whether you are already enjoy eating or making cheese or are just curious about trying out new cheeses beyond the plastic wrapped day-glow orange “American” then check out some of these cheesy ebooks.

A Year in Cheese: A Seasonal Cheese Cookbook 
by Alex Guarneri and Leo Guarneri
Year in Cheese
Recently my husband and I were shopping for cheese and noticed his favorite cheese: Red Hawk by Cow Girl Creamery was listed as a seasonal cheese. I often think of fruits and veggies as seasonal, but hadn’t till that moment thought of cheeses as a seasonal food. In A Year in Cheese, Guarneri looks at the optimal times to eat different types of cheeses. Things like the seasonal diet of the animal being milked and optimal maturing times both are components on determining the best times for cheeses. Summer is all about fresh cheeses like ricotta and mozzarella. Soon we will be coming on the peak time for autumn cheeses when they recommended medium-hard cheeses. Included are a variety of delicious seasonal dishes including fig and ricotta tart, cheddar rarebit with cauliflower, and baked camembert with rosemary.

Say Cheese: A Kid’s Guide to Cheese Making
by Ricki Carroll and Sarah Carroll
Say Cheese
My son loves cheeses; his favorites are Midnight Moon and mozzarella. Recently we bought a kit to make our own mozzarella, but felt a bit intimidated since we’ve enjoyed eating cheese, but never tried making it ourselves. Say Cheese makes cheese making look fun and easy. Though cheese making is something best done with some adult assistants for younger children, all ages will enjoy the fun fact the book contains such as that eating cheese helps to neutralize acids that cause cavities and helps create a protective film on teeth. Besides recipes for cheeses like feta and ricotta it also contains kid friendly recipes like quesadillas and mac and cheese.

Homemade Cheese: Recipes for 50 Cheeses from Artisan Cheesmakers
by Janet Hurst
Homemade Cheese
For those ready to move on to more complicated cheese, Janet Hurst’s Homemade Cheese has recipes for everything from Cheddar to Brie and Blue Cheese. She discusses a variety of topics including molds, aging cheeses and rennet- an ingredient used in the cheesemaking process. I also found interesting her descriptions of the cheesmakers she encountered some of whom provided recipes for the book.

Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge
by Gordon Edgar
Hurst’s book gives insight into those making cheese, but if you are curious about the life of the cheesemonger who sells you cheese then check out Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge. Gordon Edgar, the cheese buyer for Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco, was not a typically trained culinary expert, but started out as a punk rock activist. The memoir details his quirky experience working in San Francisco as well as his passion for fromage. Although the book is not intended to be a guide book, it does give overviews at the end of chapters of some of the cheeses that Edgar’s discusses.

Composing the Cheese Plate: Recipes, Pairings, & Platings for the Inventive Cheese Course
by Brian Keyser and Leigh Friend
Cheese Plate
One of my favorite things to share for entertaining are cheese plates. We like to bring cheese with us when we go to conventions and we know we might have friends hanging out in our room after panels (a step up from chips and dip). Whether homemade or bought from a store, cheese plates provide a variety of taste to choose from, are elegant without seeming too fussy and allow your guests the fun of trying something new. Brian Keyser and Leigh Friend step readers through the process in Composing the Cheese Plate with information on topics including the different categories of cheeses, recommendations about lactose intolerance and eating cheese during pregnancy, and suggestions for accompaniments, presentation, how to wrap cheeses, and more. Included are all sorts of accompaniments for your cheese plate such as herbes de provence caramel corn, brown sugar fudge, and rosemary pine nuts that can also be used in a variety of dishes.

Other ebooks available from eBCCLS include Vegan Cheese: Simple, Delicious Plant-Based Recipes by Jules Aron, The Book of Cheese: The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You’ll Love by Liz Thorpe, Sheridan’s Guide to Cheese: A Guide to High-Quality Artisan Farmhouse Cheeses by Kevin Sheridan and For the Love of Cheese: Recipes and Wisdom from the Cheese Boutique by Afrim Pristine. You can even read The Cheese Trap: How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy by Neal D Barnard which won’t stop me from enjoying cheese, but is a reminder that all things are best in moderation.

Besides eBCCLS, Hoboken residents can also check out ebooks from eLibraryNJ and Hoopla!  Plus you can borrow magazines from RBdigital including foodie favorites like Bon Appetite, Cook’s Illustrated and Food Network Magazine.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Changing One’s Life One Recipe at a Time: The Call of the Farm, All or Nothing, and My Life From Scratch

22 Apr

Smells and tastes associated with foods are often evocative of certain significant times in our lives.  I still feel like I can smell and taste the fragrant chicken and corn on the cob my parents made on their grill the day I got engaged.  But sometimes food isn’t just part of a moment in one’s life, it can be the catalyst for change.  In all three of these memoirs food was a motivation for the authors to find themselves and to transform their lives whether it was through cooking, baking, or even growing crops.

The Call of the Farm: An Unexpected Year of Getting Dirty, Home Cooking, and Finding Myself: A Love Story, with Recipes, by Rochelle Bilow.

I grew up in rural Central Jersey before moving further north and closer to the city.  Although I had classmates who lived on dairy and pig farms, I still had only a vague idea of all that went into farming so I understand the curiosity Rochelle Bilow had about farm life.  Bilow’s father grew up on a dairy farm, but she herself only had minor experiences with rural living when visiting her uncle and cousins who now run the place.  In her years after graduating school and getting a culinary degree she struggled to get by with freelancing jobs as a food writer.  An assignment from a local paper brought her to a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in Central New York.  She was intrigued by what she saw at the farm with both the emphasis on sustainable local food and the camaraderie amongst the farmers (one in particular catches her eye).  She starts volunteering and then gets hired part time and moves onto the farm where she learns not only about how to plant a variety of crops and care for livestock, but also about herself.  Although throughout The Call of the Farm, one senses this love story may not have a happy ending, there are many sweet, funny, and touching moments.  The Call of the Farm is divided into seasons with recipes that take advantage of fresh produce.  Check out her book at the Hoboken Public Library today or you can also read more of Bilow’s writing in the magazine Bon Appetit, which the Hoboken Library subscribes too.

Although urban Hoboken seems removed from farm life we are only an hour or two away from some great New Jersey and New York farms with amazing local produce.  I love cheese, so my two favorite local farms to visit are Valley Shepherd in Long Valley for their fabulous sheep’s milk cheeses and Bobolink Dairy in Milford who has tasty cow’s milk cheeses and wood-fired breads including their amazing bread with garlic roasted in duck fat.

All or Nothing: One Chef’s Appetite for the Extreme, by Jesse Schenker.


Jesse Schenker is well known for his New York restaurant Recette as well as his recently opened The Gander.  He won his battle on the cult TV show Iron Chef America, but even more impressive in All or Nothing is the battle he won against drug addiction.  From an early age Schenker was obsessed with food (a peanut butter and jelly French toast he created as a kid is now in a more refined form a PB&J “Pain Perdue” on his brunch menu at Recette).  But unfortunately his restlessness and nervous energy led him to self-medicate as a teen with a variety of drugs.  His parents, while loving, were in denial about his behavior and he gradually spiraled further and further into addiction.  I found some of All or Nothing almost painful to read with its vivid, unflinching descriptions of his life as a junkie which eventually lead him to jail time.  Rehab while in prison leads him on the path to recovery, but it is cooking that gives him a new drive, leading him to a successful job at one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants and then on to a successful pop up and then a place of his own.  In less than ten years he went from living on the street to being a successful, award winning chef.  I thought it was interesting to see how some of his skills hustling to get by on the street helped him with dealing with the trials of the restaurant industry.  No recipes are included, but each chapter in All or Nothing is based on a different cooking technique, with its definition, that correlates to its contents such as “coddled” for his childhood.  I found the way Schenker rebuilt his life was inspirational and his descriptions of food mouthwatering (I was left wanting to make reservations to check out Recette in person).  You can borrow the print book from BCCLS libraries or the eBook from eLibraryNJ.

My Life from Scratch: A Sweet Journey of Starting Over, One Cake at a Time
Originally published under the title: Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman’s Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker, by Gesine Bullock-Prado.


Image via Amazon

Gesine Bullock-Prado is probably most famous for being the sister of popular actress Sandra Bullock, but she has plenty to be proud of in her own right.  She graduated from law school and for years she put her legal knowledge to use by reviewing contracts and helping to run her sister’s production company.  At some point though she got tired of Hollywood’s façade and moved to Vermont where she started her own bakery specializing in macaroons and a variety of mouthwatering pastries and other dessert treats.  The original title to Bullock-Prado’s memoir pokes fun at the fact that in image conscious Hollywood, loving to bake seemed more taboo than an eating disorder.  Each chapter looks at a different portion of her day, from opening to closing the store, which triggers memories from her past.  Some of my favorite parts of My Life from Scratch were when she described funny stories from her childhood with her opera singer health food obsessed mom.  She also captures insider looks at both less than glitzy Hollywood and quirky Vermont that few visitors get to fully see.  Bullock-Prado depicts herself as a bit misanthropic, but her warm feelings for her regular customers and her family shine through.

Gesine Gourmet and Confectionary closed in 2008, but throughout My Life from Scratch are recipes for sweet treats including Starry, Starry Nights decadent sounding chocolate cookies that you can bake at home.  Besides Confections of a Closet Master Baker, Hoboken library card holders can also borrow her cookbooks Bake It Like You Mean It and Pie it Forward from BCCLS libraries.  Those who prefer eBooks can borrow My Life From Scratch, Pie it Forward, and Sugar Baby from eLibraryNJ.  Plus you can check out her blog G Bakes! for more culinary inspiration.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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