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July 2014 cookbook roundup

Every month Susie Chang reviews new cookbook releases and notes trends in the United States. And she may also occasionally throw in a review of a "not-quite cookbook."  And for our non-U.S. members, Jane and Fiona provide similar reviews for new Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand releases.


Oddly enough, the outdoorsy, spontaneous month of July brings a surprising lack of grill books - could that market finally be tapped out?  Instead, there's lots of street food, DIY backyard and healthy books, and family-friendly books.  And by far the most exciting street-food title - as far as I'm concerned - is the Banh Mi Handbook, by veteran author Andrea Nguyen, who promises to make the daunting Queen of Sandwiches accessible to all. 

Perfect Preserves


Perfect Preserves: 100 Delicious Ways to Preserve Fruit and Vegetables by Thane Prince:  This summer's canning & preserving books seem to have been taken over by pickles, but here's one in the traditional popular format.






Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing, and Living Well by Carly de Castro, Heidi Gores and Hayden Slater: The trend has moved over from juicer books to juice books.




Banh Mi Handbook
The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches
by Andrea Nguyen: From my perspective at least, July's most anticipated publication.  Nguyen's recipes are generally scrupulously tested and her instructions clear, so sandwich nirvana may be just around the corner for home cooks. Learn about the history of banh mi from author Andrea Nguyen and enter our contest for a chance to win one of three copies of the cookbook.



Ice Creamery Cookbook


The Ice Creamery Cookbook: Modern Frozen Treats & Sweet Embellishments by Shelly Kaldunski:  Ice cream books are an embarrassment of riches these days.  This one got recipes for all the go-withs, too - cones, edible bowls, toppings, sauces...


Wrapped Crepes


Wrapped Crepes, Wraps, and Rolls from Around the World by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra and Keiko Oikawa:  It's definitely hard to resist something wrapped in something else - recipes for the portable and the exotic.




Meat and Potatoes cookbook

Meat and Potatoes: Simple Recipes that Sizzle and Sear
by Rahm Fama and Beth Dooley: Stepping up to the great void where the July grill books should be, Fama cooks up a whole lot of protein in nothing more complicated than a cast-iron skillet.




Making Soda at Home

Making Soda at Home: Mastering the Craft of Carbonation
by Jeremy Butler:  There's an abundance of good soda books out there, but this is the first one I've seen that doesn't involve an outlay for equipment. 




Everyday Kitchen for Kids

Everyday Kitchen for Kids
by Jennifer Low:  Very much focused on safety - no knives, electrics, or stovetop cooking.  It'll be interesting to see what that leaves.





Gluten-free Family Favorites

Gluten-Free Family Favorites: The 75 Go-To Recipes You Need to Feed Kids and Adults All Day, Every Day
by Peter Bronski and Kelli Bronski:  One-stop shopping for the special-diet family.





Better from Scratch

Better From Scratch (Williams-Sonoma)  by Ivy Manning: A primer on making condiments and other everyday food products that most of us purchase instead of making. Read our interview with author Ivy Manning and enter our contest for your chance to win one of three copies of the book!




Green City Market cookbook


The Green City Market Cookbook: The first collection of recipes from the celebrity chefs, local farmers, loyal customers, and longtime vendors that make up Chicago's Green City Market community.




The Vibrant Table


The Vibrant Table by Anya Kassof: Over 100 recipes from the author's "always vegetarian, mostly vegan, gluten-free, and sometimes raw" kitchen.




Salad Samurai cookbook


Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero: The author of several vegan cookbooks turns to entreé salads, with ideas for meatless, dairy-less seasonal main dish salads based on whole-food ingredients. 





And...just for reading:Brunch

Brunch: A History by Farha Ternikar: Brunch joins Breakfast, Lunch, Barbecue, and The Picnic in this charming food history series.  I bet you can guess what's next.






150 Essential salads

150 Essential Salads by Canadian Living Magazine:  Salads for every occasion from Canada's top women's magazine.







Burgers by Paul Gayler: Paul Gayler, Executive Chef at The Lanesborough Hotel in London believes that a well-made burger can transcend the sum of its parts to become truly sublime. In this small book he presents his favourite 25 burger recipes and covers all bases - meat, poultry, fish and seafood and vegetarian.



Hummus Bros. cookbook

Hummus Bros. Levantine Kitchen: Delicious, Healthy Recipes Inspired by the Ancient Mediterranean: Hummus is such a versatile food and a true staple of the eastern Mediterranean, where every restaurant wants to be known as makers of the best hummus in town. The Hummus Bros claims to offer the best hummus in London town and now bring it to the world via their first book. They include recipes that go well with hummus.



Rachel Khoo's sweet and savoury

Rachel Khoo's Sweet and Savoury Pâtés: Rachel and her tiny kitchen became famous through her TV series and cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen She now shows you how to make a variety of spreads to serve as a snack or a main course. From a nutty pate, fruit curd and lots of clever ideas for chocolate and caramel, this unique collection of recipes provide the homemade, healthy alternative to all of your favourite spreads.


Good Eating

Good Eating: Suggestions for wartime dishes: A selection of dishes from Daily Telegraph readers trying to cope with meagre rations during wartime. The facsimile edition includes recipes for the perfect omelette made with dried egg, mock cream, mock fish pie (made with Jerusalem artichokes!) and seven ways to stuff potatoes.




Home Baking

Home Baking by Jo Wheatley: Jo Wheatley, winner of the Great British Bake Off 2011, shares a new collection of the hearty food she brought her three hungry boys up on, the fool proof recipes handed down to her by her Nan, and the treats she delights her extended family and friends with.




Great British Bake Off


Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister: And another book from the GBBO factory. Recipes are contributed by Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry and there are the best recipes from the Series 5 contestants.




Simple Cakes

Simple Cakes by Mary Berry: The British queen of baking demonstrates that cake-making need not be complicated (unless you are a contestant on the Great British Bake Off). Step-by-step illustrations and simple instructions ensure impressive results every time.




Scottish Food Bible



The Scottish Food Bible by Claire Macdonald: A celebration of the best ingredients from Scotland - from oatmeal, dairy produce, meat and fish, fruit and vegetables and even whisky.





Spice: Layers of Flavor


Spice: Layers of Flavour by Dhruv Baker: Dhruv Baker is the winner of the BBC's MASTERCHEF 2010 and has a rich cultural background which has helped shape how he cooks and the spices he uses in his dishes.





Salad love

Salad Love: How to Create a Lunchtime Salad Every Weekday, in 20 Minutes or Less:  David Bez, a designer by profession, made his workmates jealous with the well balanced, carefully crafted salad he prepared for his lunch in no time every day. Now he shares his winning formula for creating salads by layering a base, vegetables or fruit, fresh herbs, protein toppings and dressings, which creates a perfect salad every time.



Australia and New Zealand

BreadBread: Global Baker by Dean Brettschneider: With 25 years as a professional baker, Dean shares his expert knowledge of how to make exceptional breads with step by step instructions on artisan breadmaking techniques. From the basics through to more complex creations, plus information on essential ingredients and equipment, make this a wonderfully usable book. Bagels, baguettes, sourdough and stollen are all included as well as a fascinating history of breadmaking.



Gery Mehigan Favourites

Gary Mehigan's Favourites: Over 100 Recipes to Cook at Home by Gary Mehigan: Masterchef Australia co-judge Gary Mehigan lives and breathes food. This book is the result of Gary's ongoing food obsession: a collection of his favourite recipes garnered from thirty years in the industry. Gary also gives mini-masterclasses covering some of his favourite foods, such as bread, chillies and tomatoes.



Miguel's TapasMiguel's Tapas by Miguel Maestre: Television personality Miguel's energy and passion for his native cuisine, brings together the best traditional Spanish recipes as well as contemporary creations that can be made quickly to feed a gathering for authentic tapas for all times of the day.



Japanese cookbook

Japanese: Modern & Traditional Cuisine by Hideo Dekura: In his latest book, part of the Silk Series, Hideo takes us through the seasons of Japan and the history of Japanese cuisine. He shares the basic tools and ingredients you will need as well as introducing tableware and knives. With over 60 recipes including a large vegetable section this book covers all the basic recipes for cooking Japanese food at home.




Best of StonesoupThe Best of Stonesoup: 25 Favourite Recipes: Healthy Meals Made Easy by Jules Clancy: Jules' weekly blog, Stonesoup, about fresh, healthy and delicious food is indexed on Eat Your Books. This free ebook compiles 25 recipes from Stonesoup, including soups, salads, veggie meals, carnivore meals, and sweet treats. You can download it by clicking on the Buy Book link on EYB.


Latest from Australian Women's Weekly:

Best Ever Collection

The Best-Ever Collection by Australian Women's Weekly:  Over the last 80 years, The Australian Women's Weekly has published countless recipes in the magazine. This latest collection is a selection of their favourite dishes that have been collected and cherished by three generations from all over the world.


Dinner with friends - potluck or theme?

My favorite way to see my friends is to get together for dinner.  I love going to other people's beautiful, clean houses and bringing dessert or drinks or sides.  I love having people to our messy, chaotic house and plying them with good things to eat and drink.  And I love summer, because that's when we have time to do a bit of both.

Some of my friends are planners.  They'll make a big amazing protein like a corned beef or something that's been smoked for hours and then put out requests for the perfect sides to go with it. Usually everybody's happy to comply, whether it means trying a new recipe or just picking something up at the store.

On the other end of the spectrum, I have another friend who has a yearly potluck - she invites the whole community and whatever happens, happens.  Sometimes there are multiple pasta salads or carbs or a whole lot of beer - you never know, but everyone has a great time anyway.

When people come to my house, it's somewhere in between.  My dinners are usually somewhat thematic because I'm probably testing something from that week's cookbook, so I might be making all-Southern or all-slow cooker or all-vegetarian.  But my dinners are also potluck-y, because you never know what will happen.  I've rarely tried the recipes before, so things could be great...or I could be in for an eleventh-hour salvage operation, or we might have to order pizza.  (That - the pizza - hasn't happened yet, but I always warn people that it could.) I'm lucky enough to have friends who are adventurous enough to go with that, and good enough cooks that they come with something great (and more reliable than whatever I'm serving) in hand.

What's your preference, planned or spontaneous?  And do you have a tried-and-true potluck dish?

31 ways to enjoy your morning cuppa

Iced Vietnamese Coffee

Coffee is enjoyed (some might say required) by millions of people every day. It's interesting to see how different cultures have put their distinctive mark on this stimulating beverage. Food Republic shared an appealing infographic that lists 31 different coffee drinks from around the world. While the last such photo depiction published here stirred a bit of controversy, this graphic doesn't make any bold claims. Instead, it shows one or two popular coffee drinks from various countries or regions.

Many places seem to have a sweet tooth for coffee drinks, like Germany with its Eiskaffee that includes ice cream and chocolate chips. Many Asian countries are shown using sweetened condensed milk in coffee drinks, while the Italians are thought to prefer their java unsweetened, with milk generally only in the morning coffee and not later.

An interesting sidenote about infographics like these is that they rarely seem to be created by a food website or company. This particular graphic was made (or commissioned) by a discount airfare website. While these fluff pieces can be entertaining, we probably shouldn't rely on them for accuracy - there are at least two country names misspelled on the graphic, which does not inspire confidence in the remainder of the information. (To be fair, this infographic does list sources for the information, while many others do not.) But even if it isn't completely accurate, many of the drinks look like they are worth a try.

What do you think of these infographics? Do you use them for inspiration or reference or has graphic fatigue set in for you?

Photo of Iced Vietnamese coffee from Bon Appétit Magazine and the EYB Library

Underappreciated summer vegetables

Roasted okra chips

Summertime brings a plethora of vegetables. Many people eagerly await the first corn, tomatoes, and melons of the season. But as this articles explains, there are other great vegetables that get overlooked in the shadows of these more popular foods. Break out of your routine and try some of these delicious vegetables, starting with kohlrabi. Sometimes thought of as "the alien in the CSA box," kohlrabi is "a versatile, nutrient-dense veggie. Naturally fat-free, it's loaded with fiber, potassium and immune-boosting vitamin C. Crisp and juicy, it's a member of the brassica family (such as cabbage and cauliflower) and actually has a similar flavor if eaten raw."

Another underappreciated vegetable is okra, which has a reputation for being slimy. However, if prepared properly, okra can be a delight. It's great sauteed with other summer vegetables, and wonderful if you "roast it, whole, with oil, salt, pepper and seasonings like smoked paprika. Browned and slightly crisp, you can eat it as is or add it to a salad or side dish."

Kohlrabi and apple saladMustard greens, eggplant (aubergines), and cabbage round out the list of overlooked vegetables. Which of these (or which other underappreciated veg) is your favorite?

Photos of roasted okra chips and kohlrabi and apple salad from the EYB Library

B-List cocktails make a comeback

East India
Many factors have spurred the renaissance of classic cocktails over the last few years. Recipes have gone viral on social media, hipsters have brought back fashions including cocktails, and distilleries have brushed the dust off old recipes and reissued classic spirits (and other distilleries have reimagined them). Most bartenders can now make a proper Manhattan and martini, but those cocktails only scratch the surface of the classic cocktail genre. Now mixologists are digging deeper to find other lost gems, reports the online magazine Punch.

So what is a "B-list" cocktail? Drinks like "the Martinez, the likely precursor to the Martini, before maraschino and orange bitters were subtracted from the formula. Or the Aviation, which brought chalky purple crème de violette, a violet-flavored liqueur, back to bar stocks." Other cocktails like the Last Word or Vieux Carré would also fit the bill.

And why are these drinks finding their way back into the spotlight? Part of it is like a badge of honor for bartenders to know these authentic and historic drinks. And in a chicken-and-egg-style situation, the folks on the other side of the bar rail are demanding these formerly obscure classics. "Some consumers have adopted cocktail-spotting as a full-time hobby, seeking out the newest and best watering holes with the same fervor restaurant junkies pursue new openings."

Once rediscovered, these B-list drinks can be elevated to A-list status. Noted cocktail expert Jeffrey Morgenthaler (author of the recently published Bar Book) notes that when he started in this business, "a perfect example of a second-tier cocktail would be a Negroni. Now my mom knows what a Negroni is."

The article notes three up-and-coming classic cocktails: De La Louisiane, Bamboo, and El Presidente, the last being "a combination of rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao and grenadine-which is said to date back to 1920s Cuba." Do you fancy any lesser-known classic cocktails? 

Photo of an East India cocktail by Darcie Boschee

Why it's better from scratch

Ivy ManningIvy Manning is a Portland, Oregon-based food and travel writer, food stylist, and cookbook author. Her work has been featured in magazines such as Cooking Light, Sunset Magazine, Fine Cooking, and Bon Appétit. Although her home base is in Oregon, Manning travels the globe studying the cuisines of diverse countries including Thailand, Italy, France, and Mexico. The author of last year's book on homemade crackers is back with a new book featuring recipes that you may be able to use on those crackers. Better from Scratch (Williams-Sonoma) includes dozens of do-it-yourself recipes inspired by everyday food products that most of us purchase instead of making. The cookbook also includes advice on storing foods and tips on making food gifts, trendy sodas and cocktails, and completely homemade snack platters. (You can enter our contest for your chance to win one of three copies of the book.) We asked Ivy about the inspiration for the book and which recipes are her favorites:

How did you come up with the idea for this book?  What was the light bulb moment?

I started making crackers while working in catering and was amazed at how easy and delicious they were. Later, I wrote a book called Crackers and Dips. Since then, I've been looking at how to make everything from scratch, especially things that we would never thing of. It's great fun to reverse-engineer packaged foods, take out all the junk, and make them better just by doing it yourself.

What is the "from scratch" recipe that you think will surprise readers?  The one that they might never have considered making themselves?

Bacon! It's takes a few minutes to put together, and then a few weeks of curing, and smoking on a gas grill is so easy! And the results? Let's just say I have a lot of new friends that "drop by" whenever I mention I'm making bacon.

Better from ScratchWere there any products that you tried making from scratch and decided it just wasn't worth the effort?

Miso. I love the stuff, but messing with koji (the mold used to ferment the soybeans), stirring, and storing the stuff for months in the fridge proved a little too technical. Plus, there's an artisan miso maker in my city, so I'm set.

And any that you tried and decided the store-bought product really couldn't be improved on?

That depends on your subjective taste. I love the chipotle ketchup and classic ketchup recipes in my book, but my friend's little kids wanted the sweeter, saltier stuff in the squeeze bottle because that's all they've ever known. I blame it on "happy meals."

What are the top three reasons that you think make homemade products better than store-bought?

First, homemade just tastes better! The ingredients are fresher and better quality because when you're making small batch from scratch foods you're not worried about your bottom line and shareholders. Second, you don't need to use scary preservatives, anti-caking agents, and food coloring when make homemade foods. If you're at all concerned about what you're putting into your body (and you should be), it's better to control as many of your own food sources as possible. Third, it's fun! Homemade Cracker Jacks, good quality chocolate Ande's candies, scratch sriracha, Better From Scratch is full of fun little projects that are perfect for folks who love to putter around in the kitchen. That said, I was shocked at how easy it is to make so many of these things. Time and again I said, "Why haven't I made this before? It's not hard and it's so much better!"

What is your current favorite homemade food/drink to give as gifts?

It's berry season, so I've been making homemade nutella and bringing it with pints of ripe berries to dinner parties as a hostess gift. The homemade margarita mix has been a big hit at barbecues.

The cocktail trend is huge right now and it is very expensive to stock a bar with all the cordials and liqueurs you might need.  What homemade bar items do you use?

I make my own tonic syrup and it makes all the difference in my gin and tonics. I also make my own limoncello and clementinecello and serve it chilled as a digestif. Oh, and my spiced cranberry-pomegranate syrup makes the best cosmos in the world.

This is your fourth cookbook.  What do you have coming up next?

I just finished up another book for Williams-Sonoma called Weeknight Vegetarian that comes out in January. It's a book on how to make really satisfying meals quickly on meatless Monday, or any other day of the week, for that matter. 

Cookbook giveaway - Better from Scratch

Better from Scratch cookbook

Better from Scratch (Williams-Sonoma) is chock full of recipes for everyday food items that many of us purchase, like ketchup and bacon. You can read author Ivy Manning's views on why it's better to make these items from scratch in our author interview. In addition to the recipes, the book includes tips on food storage and how to make delicious DIY gifts.

We're delighted to offer three copies of Better from Scratch to EYB members. Enter soon - the contest ends on August 15, 2014.

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

Did you know adding online recipes to your EYB Bookshelf is a really great way to build your personal recipe collection? You can now do this even if you have a free membership!

Try it out now and see how easy it is. Browse the recipes below, choose one that appeals, click on the link, and add it to your Bookshelf. (Make sure that you are signed in first.)

All the recipes we feature in these weekly round-ups have online links so you can add any of them to your Bookshelf. Happy cooking & baking everyone!

From magazines & blogs:

Bulgur & Lentil Salad by Andy Harris from the June issue of indexed Jamie Magazine

Homemade "Magic Shell" from Good Housekeeping, added with the Bookmarklet

4 blueberry recipes from the July/August issue of indexed Vegetarian Times Magazine

From UK books:

29 recipes from Tessa Kiros: The Recipe Collection

Malt Loaf from Simply Good Bread by Peter Sidwell, indexed by an EYB member


And don't forget to enter our contest for a chance to win a free LIFETIME membership!
(Ends July 31st)


Me and my cookbooks - Diana Henry

We are back with another installment of the "Me and my cookbooks" series. Many EYB members have told us they enjoy meeting members and special guests through this feature. We'd love to introduce more people, so if you'd like to be featured, just email us at info@eatyourbooks.com.

Today we highlight author and cookbook collector Diana Henry. Diana is no stranger to EYB Members; her cookbooks can be found on hundreds of member Bookshelves. The EYB Member Forum also features a topic on cooking with Diana Henry recipes, so after exploring the 131 recipes by Diana Henry available online or while awaiting delivery of the new cookbook that this article may inspire you to buy, you can wade into that discussion.

Diana's latest book, A Change of Appetite, was published earlier this year in the U.K. and is now available in the U.S. In addition to her well-regarded cookbooks, Diana has been The Sunday Telegraph's food writer since the early 2000s and also contributes to various magazines. What follows are excerpts from a touching article that Diana posted on her website about her love of food writing and cookbooks.

Diana Henry's cookbooks

About seven years ago I got divorced. Of course the reasons given as the causes of a divorce are never the real ones. 'He never puts the lid on the toothpaste' isn't really about the toothpaste, or the lid, or even general untidiness. So cookbooks didn't exactly cause my divorce, but books - and in particular cookbooks - were a contributing factor simply because they are so important to me.
At one point my ex husband and I stood on the landing of our home, the shelves of which housed about 4000 books, most of them cookbooks. 'Really you have to get rid of some of them. There's just too many,' he said. I was amazed that somebody could ask me to do this. It was almost as if he'd said 'Get rid of your past.' Because to me these weren't just books. They were loved and used, but they were also, in a way, a map of my life. They reminded me of particular phases and they also chronicled the previous 30 years through food styles and food photography. There were, admittedly, a few that I rarely opened, such as Anton Mosimann's Cuisine  à la Carte, his hymn to nouvelle cuisine. But as soon as I look at those pictures, food graphically arranged on hexagonal plates, I am back in the London I arrived in during the mid 80s. There's a book called The China Moon Cookbook by Barbara Tropp that I don't use much any more. But that reminds me of all the Asian/Californian dishes I cooked in my early 30s. There was no way any of these books were going anywhere. It would have been like throwing out chunks of my life.

I was given my first cookbook when I was about 6. It was the My Learn to Cook Book by Ursula Sedgwick, published by Hamlyn. I'd hate to lose this because the illustrations give me the same frisson of excitement now as they did then.

It looks fun, it's colourful, but what I loved most were the illustrations for the instructions. I could see exactly what I had to do, and how my dishes were supposed to turn out. The tomatoes with eggs baked inside them seemed to me a genius idea, and the picture of the finished dish made me hungry. It was one of the first savoury meals I ever made.....

Cookbook coverThe most profound book-buying experience, though (and it was something that really did affect the course of my life) was in north London in the autumn of 1986. I had moved to London to do post graduate studies in journalism. Moving there overwhelmed me. There wasn't a food ingredient that I couldn't find and there was a restaurant, somewhere in the city, for practically every cuisine you could think of. One day after college I was mooching around the bookshop near my flat and found a book called A New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. I had never heard of her, but the food sounded good. And the writing in it took me to the Middle East, a place - since coming to London with the Edgware Road and all the Middle Eastern groceries near my flat - that didn't feel so far away.

On a shelf nearby there was a book by a woman I had heard a little about - Alice Waters. Her book, The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, was actually marked down in price, but when I flicked through it I knew I would give almost anything to take it home with me.

It is difficult to explain now how very different Alice's approach was to anything that had gone before. It was so simple. It showed a Mediterranean spirit applied to American ingredients. The menus went like this:

Goat's cheese with baked garlic and sourdough
Chargrilled pork with roast peppers and griddled leeks
Plum sherbet

There were other menus - some more elaborate, some celebrating the garlic harvest, or the new season's lamb. But all of them were about simplicity and purity and just valuing good food. The book and its menus actually sent a shiver down my spine. Nobody was cooking like this - we were in the middle of nouvelle cuisine - and it seemed so fresh. These two books - Roden's and Water's - are very different but they had a huge impact on me. I loved Claudia because her writing was so personal, because she put food into a cultural and historical context, because she painted vivid pictures and made me want to travel. I loved Alice, because her outlook was so fresh. It's a common chant nowadays, but 'simple and seasonal' was a new mantra when Alice started to voice it. I had no intention of being a food writer then but these books were constant companions both in my kitchen and on my bedside table. Claudia Roden has the power to transport any reader, as well as make them hungry.

Continue reading on Diana's website.

Cookbook store profile - The Cook Book Stall

It's time for another installment in the EYB series highlighting independent cookbook stores. Discover (or get reacquainted with) a store near your home - or plan a new target destination when you travel.

To keep this feature vital, we're asking our members to help us. We already know of many great stores, (you can view the full list here), but we'd love to learn about more - especially those treasured by our members. So please share the names of independent cookbook stores that you know, love, admire, or are just plain crazy about. Add a comment to this posting, or email us at info@eatyourbooks.com with the name, address, and owner (if you know it). We'll do the rest.

The Cook Book Stall

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to the Reading Terminal Market, a vibrant and historic public food market located in the heart of the city. Tucked away between food and tableware vendors you will find The Cook Book Stall, an independent cookbook store specializing in interesting and unique titles not readily seen in the chain stores. This gorgeous shop, a feature of the market for over 30 years, has been highlighted in Saveur magazine as one of the ten best places in the world to buy a cookbook. Owner Jill Ross answered questions posed by EYB about the store. 

Two cookbook stores have closed down in the last year - The Cookbook Store in Toronto and Salt and Pepper Books in Maryland. How does The Cook Book Stall stay competitive in the current trading environment, where online stores offer low prices and free home delivery? 

I am sad that two bookstores closed; it is a tough business. I have an awesome location in the Reading Terminal Market. It is a historical landmark and a destination for tourists. We are close to the convention center and that helps. I also have an online shop that I promote in the store and I offer a discount from there. I have a great sign in my store that says "find it here, buy it here, keep us here" and most people like it and it makes them think. I also allow no cell phone pictures, either of the bar code or the cover of the book. That kind of pisses people off, but I explain to them the reason and they are usually cool about not taking the picture.

Why do the customers in your store prefer to come to The Cook Book Stall rather than stores such as Barnes & Noble or online shopping?

I think that people like to shop here because I try and make it very inviting. I also hear people say that they like it because they have never been in a cookbook-only shop. I always have interesting titles out and try to find cute things to catch their eyes. I think that people like the attention that I can give them and the time I put in trying to find the perfect book.

Do you specialize in any particular areas of cookbooks? 

I don't specialize in any specific type of cookbooks; I try to have titles that you wouldn't find walking into a Barnes and Noble. I have a nice section for making food for pets and a great selection of kids' cooking books.

Do you import many books from overseas?

I don't import any books, but I do carry a magazine from Sweden called Fool, which is amazing!

What currently are the big sellers at The Cook Book Stall?

The big sellers right now are fermentation and preserving books. My local books are always a big seller for me too.

Are many of your customers professional chefs? What are the books that they are buying now? 

I have a lot of chefs that shop here, usually on Mondays; their selections can range from butchering to tapas. They all love the Phaidon books and other chefs' books. Fool magazine is a big hit.

What type of books do you like to cook from yourself? Do you have a favorite cookbook of all time?

They are all my favorites! I could never pick just one. My go to book when I am stumped is Heidi Swansons' Super Natural Cooking.

What events to you have at the store in the next couple of months? 

I have a couple of events coming up, I have a signing/demo with Priya Krishna author of Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks, that will be on 18 September. I am also planning on a waffle demo in August, to coincide with a new book coming out called Will it Waffle. I want to have some fun with that.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!