What I’m Reading

Six great cookbooks to start the new year.


I’m a reader. I can remember being an eager middle schooler who used her piggy bank money to buy books by the stack at our local mall. I turned into a graduate student who collected books on modern dance and ballet and have since established quite the cookbook collection as well.

With hundreds to get through I really wanted to start this year off with a small stack that will provide a tip or a recipe or be an impetus for a somewhat original idea. My hope was to read them weekly but here we are on January 2 and I know that is a bit ambitious so I’m giving myself a month.

28 Days of Clean Eating

In Barnes & Noble’s 28 Days of Clean Eating we are presented with menu plans, shopping lists and a bunch of hope that you can clean out your system and reboot with healthy eating. What better month than January to give this a go? The main rule is that there are no processed foods or ingredients allowed. There are breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, smoothies, dressings and even desserts. This book seems like the perfect find for me as I embark on taking my entire family along for this healthy eating journey.

Gluten-Free Slow Cooking

Written by Ellen Brown, Gluten-Free Slow Cooking is just that. Grab your slow cooker and work your way through starters, main courses, and even desserts. I’ve always been a little leery of slow cooker desserts but the Ibarra Chocolate Rice Pudding might change my mind . We have a few busy afternoons in our house so using the slow cooker is one of my goals for this upcoming winter. In this book I’m eager to try the Chao – Vietnamese Rice Chowder with Pork as well as the Caponata Fish Sauce. I LOVE that this book gives notes and tips for making things ahead and freezing.

How To Eat Better

James Wong is one of our favorite authors because his science background really provides useful information in a non-science way. One of my favorite take-aways so far from this book is the facts on the Purple Majesty potato. He tells us how to turn this potato into a healthy fiber rather than a calorie-rich carb. I love it! He also does a lot of one pot cooking, something that I also love as I’m usually on clean up at our house.

River Cottage Every Day

If you haven’t yet watched every single episode of River Cottage on some streaming network, please do. Inspiration overload and goal aspiration for sure. We love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Every Day because it follows the philosophy that fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients make for better food. We love it even more because he recognizes that this is not a universal privilege. This is simple food done well. Beet & Walnut Hummus. Fried Fish Fillets with Herbs and Lemon. Warm Leek & White Bean Salad with Mustard Dressing. Great lunch box ideas that we can’t wait to put to use.

Ottolenghi Simple

New on my bookshelf is this gorgeous book written by Yotam Ottolenghi, London based restauranteur and chef. Showcasing Mediterranean flavors in over 100 recipes, the best part of this book lies in the title- SIMPLE. S: Short on Time. I: Ingredients- 10 or less. M: Make Ahead. P: Pantry Led. L: Lazy-day Dishes. E: Easier than you think. Every single recipe is labeled by that code. I have more pages tagged than I care to admit, but I’m looking forward to Braised Eggs with Leek and Za’atar, Fried Broccoli & Kale with Garlic, Cumin and Lime and Chickpeas and Swiss Chard with Yogurt. We love the use of spices to take simple food to the next level and this book seems like it will not disappoint.

Market Math

My final book this month is Food & Wine’s Market Math. I love this book and have used it many times before because it is totally inspirational if you are being budget savvy and trying to make every thing you buy last longer and taste different even if you eat it more than once a week. Market Math focuses on 50 ingredients and finds 4 ways to use each one. If you do the math you will find that is 200 recipes. We just love the idea of discovering how many ways you can use one ingredient. Often you get things in bulk- garden zucchini comes to mind. We are always looking for great breakfast alternatives and one of our favorite finds in this book is Chickpea Sandwiches. There are also numerous side dish options such as Flash-Roasted Broccoli with Spicy Crumbs. Snacks like Fried Spiced Red Lentils. Main courses; Blackberry Glazed Pork Chops, Cacio e Pepe Pasta Pie, Adobe Meat Loaves and Yorkshire Pudding Bake with Beef & Cheddar. We also love that you can turn to Instagram to see what everyone has made if you follow #marketmath.

People often ask if buying cookbooks is worth it. Will you even cook from them? This year I’m going to attempt to get through as many as I can. I know my family will be glad to experience new flavors and especially new breakfasts. Do you have favorite cookbooks? I’d love to know what they are!