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The definition of spring


Spring has finally arrived in most of the Northern Hemisphere. It's a particularly welcome change after a harsh winter in the Northeast US, although everyone enjoys the longer days and greening of the scenery. As you might expect, websites are busting out the spring vegetable recipes.

The Guardian discusses seven ways to prepare ramps (aka wild garlic). These  mustardy, garlicky alliums are only available for a few weeks every year and are widely regarded as markers of the change in seasons. Peas factor heavily in Bon Appetit's 11 dishes that feature spring vegetables, appearing in seven of the recipes. Meanwhile at Serious Eats they're preparing 20 asparagus recipes to celebrate spring. Rhubarb recipes are also popping up all over.

While reading these articles I pondered which foods I most associated with the spring season. The above vegetables could certainly be regarded as harbingers, but what says "spring is here" most to me is the emergence of the violets in my garden. The dainty purple and white blossoms stand proudly in defiance of late frosts. I use the peppery flowers to adorn salads, cakes, and other desserts. They might not make up the bulk of any meal, but their arrival in the salad bowl lets me know I survived another winter.

What food says "spring has arrived" to you?

April 2015 cookbook roundup

Every month Jane and Fiona wade through hundreds of cookbooks, selecting and reviewing all the best new releases for the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand cookbooks. The only thing left for you to do is to add them to your Bookshelf. 


cookbook collageFood52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore: Every week, Kristen features one recipe that will change the way you think about food--what she calles "genius recipes" in her James Beard Award-nominated column on Food52. She has compiled 100 of these essential recipes--nearly half of which have never been featured in the column. Kristen also discusses the book in our Q&A and you can catch on tour by viewing our World Calendar of Cookbook Events. Also, don't forget to enter our contest for your chance to win a copy of Genius Recipes!

Classic Recipes for Modern People by Max & Eli Sussman: The hipster chef brothers look to rework the classics in this, their fourth cookbook. Those classics can be French, childhood favorites, TV dinners - any kind of traditional recipe that needs to be modernized to be relevant to the way people eat today. Look out for an upcoming promotion for this book.

Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood: Maureen has a gorgeous blog with the same name as this, her first cookbook. She weaves the story of her Lebanese-American upbringing amongst the recipes of her extended family. Look for an upcoming promotion for this book.

Baking With Less Sugar by Joanne Chang: Acclaimed baker and author of two previous baking books - Flour and Flour, Too - Joanne Chang now creates baking recipes for those trying to cut down on processed sugar. She incorporates natural sweeteners like maple syrup in reworked recipes from her previous books plus all-new recipes too. Read about the challenges she faced in this task in the EYB author interview, and enter our contest for your chance to win a copy of the book. Check out the calendar of events to see if Joanne's book tour is headed in your direction.

cookbook collageA Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry: Diana Henry's collection of recipes from around the globe will make sure you never have a boring chicken dish again. Her collection of international recipes will give you new ideas for quick meals, weekend grilling and entertaining. The UK edition was published in March. You can read about Diana's inspiration for A Bird in the Hand, see where she's going on her book tour, and enter our contest for your chance to win one of five copies of the book.

Simply Ancient Grains by Maria Speck: Maria's first book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, introduced many cooks to grains such as farro, spelt and teff.  Now this new collection of recipes, shows how cooking with grains every day can be quick and easy.  Read an excerpt from the book to learn more about Maria's cooking ethos, and discover where her book tour is headed. Plus, you can enter our contest for your chance to win a copy.

Cookie Love by Mindy Segal: A self-professd "cookie nerd," Mindy takes cookie baking seriously. Her edgy recipes elevate the cookie to new heights by using unusual ingredients like goat butter, bacon fat, and Bourbon Barrel Aged smoked sugar, among other tricks. Mindy is a James Beard Award-winning chef and the owner of the popular Chicago restaurant, HotChocolate. Mindy shared a recipe from the book in addition to answering our questions in our author interview. Find out where she is headed to promote the book and enter our contest for your chance to win a copy!

Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule: The second book from the popular blogger (5 Second Rule is indexed on EYB) is all about yogurt - how it is made commercially, how to make it yourself and how to cook with it and drink it, with recipes from all around the world.  Cheryl has also started a website called Team Yogurt, featured in an EYB blog post. This cookbook is yet another giveaway to a lucky EYB Member, so watch for contest details soon!

cookbook collageNonna's House: Cooking and Reminiscing with the Italian Grandmothers of Enoteca Maria by Jody Scaravella: Enoteca Maria is a unique restaurant on Staten Island where all the cooking is done by ten nonnas - Italian grandmothers.  Here they share their family recipes, handed down for generations, which reflect their regional traditions.

Stylish Cakes by Charlotte Neuville: What would you imagine cakes would look like if they were made by a top fashion executive turned pastry chef? Probably like the cakes in this book. Take a look at her blog The Fashion Chef for more flights of fancy.

More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless: Rick Bayless transformed America's understanding of Mexican cuisine with his Mexican Everyday, which Epicurious ranks in its top 10 cookbooks of all time. Now, ten years later, Rick returns with an all-new collection of uniquely flavorful recipes, each one the product of his evolution as a chef and champion of local, seasonal ingredients. Watch for an upcoming promotion for this book, and in the meantime check out the EYB World Calendar of Cookbook Events to find tour dates for the book.

A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield: Having previously focused on meat in her popular first cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig, April Bloomfield now turns her considerable talents to vegetables.  The book will be published in the UK in May. See where April is headed on her book tour.

cookbook collageEmpanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America by Sandra A. Gutierrez: Found from New York to Los Angeles, from Mexico to Brazil and into the Latin Caribbean, empanadas are the most widely eaten hand-held pies in the world. Empanadas offers a collection of the most delicious recipes and essential tips on creating the perfect mini pie for any occasion. A promotion for this book will be posted very soon - also check out Sandra's book tour dates.

Home: Recipes to Cook for Family and Friends by Bryan Voltaggio: Top Chef Masters finalist and restaurant chef Bryan Voltaggio's tribute to the American comfort food he enjoyed growing up. Voltaggio loves to cook for a crowd and a special occasion, and he has included his menus for the gatherings with family and friends that mean the most to him. Read more about the book on the EYB blog.

Milk Bar Life by Christine Tosi: The chef at Momofuku Milk Bar and author of the popular cookbook with the same name, now covers savory recipes. Like the first book, the recipes contain many supermarket foods and have whacky titles.

Steeped: Recipes Infused With Tea by Annelies Zijderveld: Tea isn't just for drinking.  From morning eats to evening sweets, Steeped infuses your day with the flavors and fragrances of tea. Romance your oat porridge with rooibos, jazz up your Brussels sprouts with jasmine, charge your horchata with masala chai! Read our Q&A with Annelies and enter our contest for your chance to win a copy of the book. Don't forget to check the calendar of events for tour dates, too.

cookbook collageTruly Madly Pizza by Suzanne Lenzer: Beginning with the "Mother Crust" recipe, Lenzer argues that pizza dough is a tabula rasa for whatever healthy fresh ingredients you have on hand. Her dough is prepared ahead and frozen so home-made pizza for dinner can be a quick and healthy option.

BBQ Bistro by Judith Fertig and Karen Adler: France isn't the first country that comes to mind when you think of BBQ, but the BBQ Queens have come up with plenty of grilled bistro recipes with a French accent.

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay: Whereas this BBQ book is firmly planted in the American South, where the smoked meat served at the Austin, Texas restaurant inspires devotees to wait in line for hours. Now Franklin shares his secrets so those of us not in the south (or prepared to wait in line) can try to recreate what many fans say is the best barbecue in the world.

Three Many Cooks by Pam Anderson, Maggy Keet and Sharon Damelio: Acclaimed cookbook author Pam has been writing a blog (indexed on EYB) for many years with her two daughters, Maggy and Sharon.  Now they compile their favorite recipes plus stories about their lives and insights into the relationships of mothers and daughters. Look for an upcoming promotion for this cookbook.

cookbook collageCharlie Palmer's American Fare by Charlie Palmer: Charlie Palmer has been one of America's top chefs since the 80s and here he shares his favorite recipes from both the restaurants and his home cooking.

The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket by Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson: With the dreadful winter finally receding in the US northeast, it's fun to imagine we may one day soon be eating outside - it's close, so close! This book will help you plan, equip and cook for your excursions.

Made in America by Colby & Megan Garrelts: An American collection of heirloom recipes from a chef's point of view designed for home cooking. Award-winning chefs Colby and Megan Garrelts present 50 handcrafted recipes passed down through generations and celebrated around American tables.

Benu by Corey Lee: Benu is one of San Francisco's most celebrated restaurants and is headed up by Korean born, American raised chef, Corey Lee.  Using a classic Benu tasting menu as its narrative spine, Lee takes the reader through over 50 recipes using each one to share anecdotes on food, cooking and his inspiration.

cookbook collageLow & Slow 2 by Gary Wiviott and Colleen Rush: And another sign that winter is over in the northern hemisphere is the slew of new BBQ books hitting the shelves.  This second book from the co-founder of the Windy City Barbecue Classic, and is the pitmaster at a Chicago barbecue restaurant focuses on slow smoking and curing at low temperatures to achieve barbecue perfection.

Big Gay Ice Cream by Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff: Throughout their years living in New York City, Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff had always focused on their respective careers - until they got themselves a Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. That led to four ice cream stores and now they share the recipes that have made them so popular. Check out their book tour dates.

Twenty Dinners by Ithai Schori and Christ Taylor: A photographer (who happens to be an ex-restaurant cook) and an indie rock star (who happens to be an avid home cook) show you how to slow down your life by cooking beautiful, straightforward, but sophisticated, food for - and with - friends.

The Sweetapolita Bake Book by Rosie Alyea: The first cookbook from the popular blogger covers baking and decorating of all kinds of sweet things, for adults and kids. The 75 recipes stand out with interactive designs that let everyone in on the fun of decorating. 

cookbook collageA Taste of Cowboy by Kent Rollins: TV chef and cowboy Kent Rollins introduces us to the cowboy way of life and eating - stories, photos and recipes.

Salsas and Moles by Deborah Schneider: The right salsa or mole can lift an ordinary dinner into something extraordinary. Here some of Mexico's best sauces and sides are adapted for American cooks.

Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break: An illustrated lifestyle cookbook on the Swedish tradition of fika--a twice-daily coffee break--including recipes for traditional baked goods, information and anecdotes about Swedish coffee culture, and the roots and modern incarnations of this cherishedcustom.

The Great Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook by Eric Akis: Recipes for getting a speedy dinner on the table, using either a store-bought roasted chicken or one made at home. As well as recipes for the bird itself, there are sides, salads and breads to serve alongside plus recipes for using up leftovers.


Well Fed Flat BrokeWell Fed Flat Broke by Emily White: Emily Wight has been writing a popular blog for the last 6 years and this is her first cookbook.  She offers recipes and advice on how to prepare imaginative and nutritious meals without breaking the bank.  Seven SpoonsPerfect for students, families, and anyone on a budget.

Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady: Another popular Canadian blogger publishes her first cookbook, named for the blog.  Tara's writing and photography has appeared in many publications and been nominated for numerous awards.  The book is also published in the USA. Check out the calendar of events for book tour information.



cookbook collageChina Town Kitchen: From Noodles to Nuoc Cham by Lizzie Mabbott: If you have ever stood in an Asian grocery store and been completely overwhelmed by the indecipherable ingredients on offer, then this is the book for you.  Food blogger Lizzie (of the popular blog Hollow Legs) not only tells you what the ingredients are but has recipes for using them. This book will also be published in the USA in July.

Hog: Proper Pork Recipes from the Snout to the Squeak by Richard H. Turner: Richard H. Turner knows his meat. He's a chef and owner at Pitt Cue (famed London barbecue restaurant) and also one half of the independent butcher and supplier of the best-quality British rare breed meat money can buy, Turner & George, plus he's the man who established NYC's Meatopia festival in the UK, Spain and beyond.  So who better to write this love letter to all things pig?

My Simple Italian by Theo Randall: Theo is one of the top chefs in London but here he shares dishes that are easy to make at home, the recipes he makes and eats when he isn't working.  He includes recipes for when you have a bit more time such as making your own pizza and bread.

Vegetarian Cooking of India by Mridula Baljekar:  Vegetarian cooking is enjoyed all over the country of India and Mridula takes to every region with recipes for local specialties.  Curries, pilaus, dhals, snacks, breads and more.

cookbook collageThe River Cottage Australia Cookbook by Paul West: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has sowed the seed for a brand new River Cottage - in Australia! A beautiful old dairy farm is now the home of River Cottage Australia, and 'new Hugh' Paul West. Featuring recipes from the first three series of River Cottage Australia, this is the cookbook that will reveal the delicious dishes which Paul has been creating on the farm.

Nature's Larder by Daniel de la Falaise: A book that focuses on seasonal, freshly picked vegetables though is not vegetarian. Daniel de la Falaise wants the innate qualities of the vegetables to shine through so his recipes interfere as little as possible. Check out his book tour dates.

Anatolia: Adventures in Turkish Cooking by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale: Anatolia is a richly illustrated, entertaining and informative exploration of the regional cooking culture of Turkey. Turkish-born chef Somer Sivrioglu and co-author David Dale re-imagine the traditions of Turkish cooking, presenting recipes ranging from the grand banquets of the Ottoman empire to the spicy snacks of Istanbul's street stalls. This book was published in Australia in February. Look out for an upcoming promotion for this book.

A Lot on Her Plate by Rosie Birkett: The first cookbook from established food writer, stylist and blogger Rosie Birkett.  She uses seasonal, fresh produce and simple, store-cupboard ingredients in innovative ways to encourage home cooks to widen their repertoires.

cookbook collageGino's Veg Italia! by Gino d'Acampo: The 10th cookbook from restaurateur, TV chef and personality Gino D'Acampo focuses on Italian vegetarian recipes.  This is his first meat-free book and like his more recent cookbooks, focuses on Italian recipes that don't pile on the pounds.

The Larousse Book of Bread by Éric Keyser: More than 80 home baking recipes for breads and pastries from one of France's most trusted authorities. The recipes cover the basic techniques through to more complex pastries. This book is also published in Australia and the USA.

Scoock: The Complete Cookery Guide by Anne-Sophie Pic: Renowned French chef Anne-Sophie Pic (the only woman in France with three Michelin stars) brings out a collection of over 100 recipes allowing us to discover the wonders of extraordinary French cooking in the comfort of our own homes. 


IRELANDIrish Bread Baking for Today

Irish Bread Baking for Today by Valerie O'Connor: Discover how to make classic Irish loaves such as soda bread, boxty, potato breads, Guinness bread and much more.Delicious Recipes

Delicious: Recipes From My Gluten-free Bakery by Denise O'Callaghan: When Denise's father was diagnosed with coeliac disease, she and mother rolled up their sleeves and recreated all his favorite food in gluten-free versions.  Having done all the research, Denise realised that there was a market for gluten-free products and in 2007 the Delicious Gluten Free Bakery was established in Cork. She now shares all the recipes and lessons she learned about baking gluten-free.



cookbook collageGood Food, Good Life : 130 Simple Recipes You'll Love to Make and Eat by Curtis Stone: Internationally known Aussie chef shares 130 of his favourite dishes. Released in the US last month, the Australian version is now available.

Margaret and Me Recipes for Life from My Grandma's Kitchen by Kate Gibbs: When your grandmother is Margaret Fulton and taught you how to cook, it's not surprising Kate Gibbs choose the food world as her career. She chronicles her own journey as well as revealing some of the highs and lows from the life of her grandmother. Includes 50 recipes including classics as well as Kate's modern take on family favourites.

Margaret Fulton's Baking Classics by Margaret Fulton: And from the lady herself a collection of her baking classics. Each recipe includes an introduction from Margaret, recalling the people, events and travel that have influenced her cooking.

Lucy's Bakes: Cakes, Breads, Cookies and More from the Queen of Shortcuts by Lucy Cufflin: When you just want something quick - such as two-minute blueberry muffins, the "queen of kitchen shortcuts" shares her many secrets on how to whip up at a treat.

cookbook collage

Family Favourites: Delicious Classics from the Family Table by Sally Wise: With six children to cook for and a cookbook author, Sally is the master of rustling up nutritious and fuss-free food. This latest book focuses on the recipes she uses every day - which even the fussiest of children will love!

Delicious Bake by Valli Little, Delicious Sizzle by Valli Little, Delicious Simple by Valli Little: These small-format books have been curated from Valli's cookbooks by the team at ABC delicious. Each book contains 60 essential recipes with stunning photographs to accompany the recipes. Bake features sweet and savoury treats; Simple provides recipes for easy everyday cooking; and Sizzle features recipes suited for the barbecue, grill and frying pan. These little books are like potato chips - you can't have just one.



Cooking With Kale by Rena Patten: cookbook collageWith a successful book on quinoa, Rena's latest book gives us 70 new recipes using kale, the latest nutritional powerhouse. The easy recipes show you how, by cooking it properly, you'll get to enjoy the maximum nutrition and flavour

My Italian Kitchen by Laura Cassai: At 19 Laura was the youngest finalist in Masterchef Aus. Her first cookbook is the culmination of her culinary experience so far. The 75 recipes, which reflect her Italian heritage are classic and modern Italian dishes

Sharing Puglia: Delicious, Simple Food from Undiscovered Italy by Luca Lorusso and Vivienne Polak: If you've dreamed of going to this region of Italy, Sharing Puglia will help transport you there. Featuring 80 authentic Pugliese recipes with stunning photography of the sun-kissed Puglia region.

The latest from Australian Women's Weekly:
Shared Plates: Sharing good times and good food with friends and family 
What Can I Cook Tonight? 
Love to Bake



cookbook collageLa Boca Loca: Collected Recipes from the Taqueria by Lucas Putnam and Marianne Elliot: The owners of this popular Wellington restaurant have put together a collection of the most popular dishes from their menu, along with some less well-known favourites of their own and popular cocktails. With a detailed pantry guide and an introduction to the basic techniques of Mexican cooking.

My Underground Kitchen: More Than 80 Mouthwatering Recipes for Home Cooks by Jess Daniell: With a thriving business, Jess' Underground Kitchen, preparing home-cooked meals for Aucklanders. Jess is now sharing her most loved recipes in her first cookbook. With Paleo and gluten free variations, and all easily achievable, Jess's food is fresh, healthy, flavour-packed and easy to prepare.

For the Love of...: Cooked in New Zealand by Karena Bird and Kasey Bird: Latest Masterchef winners, the delightful Bird sisters, chose to publish their own book rather than take up the winner's prize of a publishing deal with one of the majors. They share their family favourites, and recipes they've created themselves as well as stories about their lives.

Cook:30: Create Delicious Wholefood Plant-Based Meals from Scratch in Just 30 Minutes by Jeremy Dixon: Based on Jeremy's Cook:30 TV show, the book is divided into 26 chapters - or episodes. Each has 4-5 recipes, with timing charts, multi-tasking tips and over 500 photos. If you want to cook quick, healthy meals - a great place to start.

Make your "like" go farther

Thousands of EYB Members have liked us on Facebook (thank you!). But even if you clicked "Like," you might not be seeing all of our fabulous giveaways, online recipes from new cookbooks (so you can "try before you buy"), author interviews, or interesting culinary news.

To be certain you aren't missing any of these great things, navigate to the EYB Facebook page and click "Get notifications" under the "Like" menu as illustrated below. We promise not to clutter your Facebook newsfeed; we generally only have one or two posts per day, highlighting the items that our Members care about most.

Facebook screen shot

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

At Eat Your Books we want to bring you the best recipes - our dedicated team searches out and finds online recipes excerpted from newly indexed cookbooks and magazines. New recipes from the best blogs are indexed daily and members index their favorite online recipes using the Bookmarklet all the time.

Below you'll find this week's recommendations from the EYB team.

Remember you can add any of these online recipes to your EYB Bookshelf - it's a great way to expand your personal recipe collection.

Happy cooking and baking everyone!

From blogs & magazines:

Sea salt-caramel éclairs from the April issue of indexed Cooking Light Magazine

From UK books:

10 recipes from Tea & Cake with Lisa Faulkner

From AUS/NZ books:

6 recipes from Phillippa's Home Baking by Phillippa Grogan & Richard Cornish,
indexed by an EYB member


James Beard award winners announced

JBF 2015

Yesterday the James Beard Foundation announced the winners of its book, broadcast, and journalism awards. Sean Brock's Heritage continued its winning streak, taking honors in the American Cooking category. The hotly contested Baking and Dessert category, which featured three top authors, ended with Alice Medrich on top with Flavor Flours.

Our friends over at indexed blog The Kitchn took home the top prize in the General Cooking division with The Kitchn Cookbook. Again this year a relatively lesser-known book, Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition by David Sterling, was named Cookbook of the Year, and it also topped the International category. 

This year's inductee into the Cookbook Hall of Fame was Barbara Kafka, the author of IACP and James Beard award-winning books Roasting and Microwave Gourmet. Ms. Kafka is a former food editor of Vogue and a frequent contributor to The New York Times. In 2007, the James Beard Foundation also honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

View the complete list of 2015 JBF nominees and winners.

How to care for your vintage cookbooks


We've talked about collecting secondhand, vintage, and hand-me-down cookbooks before. But once we have acquired the precious tomes, how do we protect them and keep them in the best possible condition? Indexed blog The Kitchn provides advice from the experts.

The Kitchn asked respected booksellers Celia Sack (of Omnivore Books in San Francisco) and Bonnie Slotnick (of Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in New York City) about how to care for vintage cookbooks. Sack says that the first thing you should do is to remove any notes, newspaper clippings, or other bits of paper in the book. While we may find these notes charming or sentimental, she notes that they can eventually leave dark spots on the pages. If you want to keep the notes or clippings, put them into an archival plastic sleeve.

If you're using the cookbook, you should remove the dust jacket before doing so to prevent damage to the jacket. (But always keep the dust jacket as it can add tremendous value to the book.) Slotnick recommends using a piece of plexiglass or glass to cover the book when in use to prevent any drips or spills onto the book's pages. (This is excellent advice for non-vintage books as well.)

As for storing the cookbooks, both women agree that while we may want to show off the books in the kitchen, that's probably the worst place to store them. You want to keep books away from light, heat, and moisture, all of which are found in the kitchen. Sack recommends keeping the books on a bookcase away from direct sunlight. There should be adequate spacing for the books so they can be removed without much tugging or wiggling.

If you are going to photocopy pages from the book, try to do it just once, says Slotnick. Repeated exposure to the light of a photocopier can degrade the pages. You might even try photographing them, sans flash, with a cell phone or tablet, and then printing out the saved image.

Read the full article at The Kitchn for more tips on how to handle and store your favorite vintage books so you can enjoy them for years to come.

Diana Henry on the book she "was always going to write"

Diana HenryDiana Henry's award-winning cookbooks never fail to delight EYB Members. She has just released another book, A Bird in the Hand, which will no doubt please her many fans. (Enter our contest for your chance to win one of five copies of the book, US only. Diana is supporting the book with a tour; find details on our World Cookbook Calendar of Events.)

In her online journal, Diana explains how she knew she would one day write a cookbook about chicken. What follows is an excerpt from her journal (see below for a link to the full article.)



My books never come about because I think 'I want to write something else now, what will it be?' I don't sit and try to come up with ideas. Usually they've been percolating for quite a few years, or they may even have been there from before I started to write about food at all (as was the case with my first book, Crazy Water Pickled Lemons). My newest book, A Bird in the Hand, was always going to be written, it was just a question of when. My grandfather was a farmer, primarily of dairy and poultry, and we were brought up to think that the chicken was important as well as being good to eat. From an early age we were taught to pick every morsel of meat off the bones - right down to those juicy little 'oysters' on the underside - to appreciate the crispy, salty skin of a roast and to understand how economical chicken could be. A roast chicken provided at least three meals in our house: the original dish; one made with the leftovers; then my mum's chicken soup. Throwing out the carcass was absolutely unthinkable. The smell of simmering stock, and the parsley stalks and celery that went into it, often filled our kitchen and hallway.

Chicken Maryland, a big chunk of golden-skinned bird served with fried bananas and bacon, was what my siblings and I ordered when we went out to supper as kids. Sitting on modish chairs with scratchy seats, our feet barely touching the ground, we tackled plates of this in the local 'grill room' (such things existed in the 1970s). As teenagers, picnics weren't based on sandwiches, but on a whole cold roast chicken whose meat we would tear apart and stuff into soft white rolls. Chicken curry (the old-fashioned British kind made with curry paste, raisins and the remains of the roast) was the exotic accompaniment to Sunday night telly. When I was taken to supper by a boy I really fancied - only to have him tell me that he was really interested in my best friend - I was eating chicken (and that was one of the few times I didn't finish my plate of it). And the first meal I ever cooked for my partner, at his request, was a braise of chicken, leeks and apples (that recipe is in the new book).

At the end of a filming day with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (I was a TV producer before I was a food writer), we were finishing dinner when Hugh looked at the remains of the chicken on my plate. It was hard to tell from the clean little bones what I had eaten, but Hugh knew. 'What did you do to that chicken?' he asked, laughing. 'I stripped it to its bones,' I said, a little proudly, 'Just as I was taught.'

Read the full article on Diana Henry's website.

Cookbook giveaway - A Bird in the Hand

A Bird in the HandAward-winning author Diana Henry's latest cookbook, A Bird in the Hand, features chicken recipes for every eating and entertaining occasion imaginable, whether you need a quick supper on the table after work, something for a lazy summer barbecue, or a feast to nourish family and friends. Diana explains how important chicken was to her family in an excerpt from her journal. She's supporting A Bird in the Hand with a book tour that you can find on our World Cookbook Calendar of Events.

We're delighted to offer five copies of the book to our Members (contest limited to US addresses only). One of the entry options is to answer the following question on the blog post:

What is your family's favorite chicken dish?

Please note that you must enter the comment after signing into Rafflecopter or your entry won't be counted. The contest ends May 21, 2015.


All hail king garlic

Roasted garlic

Most cooks today wouldn't want to be caught without garlic in their pantry. But for decades, the "stinking rose" was persona non grata, at least in much of the UK. The Guardian looks at the changes that restored garlic's place among the pantheon of flavorings in British kitchens.

For a time in the Victorian era when French food was seen as the height of sophistication, garlic was popular. But after the Second World War, it fell out of favour, which food historian Ivan Day attributes to garlic being "seen as 'foreign muck' by the generation of men and women living off bully beef and reconstituted egg." Says Day, "they got a taste for simplicity." 

There is nary a mention of garlic in most British cookbooks of the 1950s, and it wasn't until a decade later that hints of it starting showing up in restaurants. Garlic's climb to back to the top of the culinary ladder was a long slog through the 1970s and 80s, when Natasha Edwards' family started a garlic farm on the Isle of Wight.  "We started the farm when garlic wasn't that popular," she recalls. "None of my friends knew what it was and those who did thought it was foreign and gave you bad breath."

Garlic's come a long way since then. Fergus Henderson notes while people used to complain about smelling like garlic, "now, the musk of garlic on the breath is the musk of a good lunch."

Photo of Roasted garlic from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon


Me and my cookbooks - Dianne Ross

Dianne Ross

We're pleased to present 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.



Dianne Ross has a cookbook collection that many EYB me­­mbers will envy: nearly 1,000 cookbooks gathered over 50 years, 744 of which are on her EYB Bookshelf. Most of the cookbooks are kept in her home in southern Ontario, but some of the collection has migrated to her vacation cottage. In her home kitchen, an entire wall covered with bookshelves from floor to ceiling houses the most frequently used cookbooks. Dianne and her husband were both English teachers, so it comes as no surprise that their home and cottage contain a multitude of bookshelves, with cookbooks comprising only part of their extensive library.

Dianne recalls her first cookbook, a Canadian tome titled Fare Exchange, published in the 1960s. Fare Exchange was based on the Canadian melting pot, featuring recipes from Canadian cooks that highlighted recipes from their family's heritage, including Ukrainian, Polish, and Italian cuisines among others.

That book, like most cookbooks of the era, didn't have any photographs. Dianne credits Martha Stewart for popularizing photographs in cookbooks, especially her early book on entertaining that featured rich, stunning photos. While describing her early days of cooking, Dianne recalls that in those days "one did not walk into a grocery store and buy fresh herbs." She relied on her ever-growing cookbook collection to learn about herbs and spices and grew the herbs that she couldn't get from the store.

When Dianne really started getting serious about cooking, she turned first to Julia Child's cookbooks for instruction. She learned about different cuisines from authors like Fuchsia Dunlop, Nina Simonds, Madhur Jaffrey, Paula Wolfert, Lee Bailey, Julie Sahni, and Nathalie Dupree. Dianne recalls with wry amusement that her husband often complained that he never got the same dish twice.

Dianne has read her most of her cookbooks cover to cover, highlighting the recipe in the index when she made a dish that she and her family liked, and penciling in any changes she made to a recipe. Like most EYB Members, Dianne utilizes the EYB search engine to find recipes for specific ingredients or types of cuisine from her large collection.

Unlike most Members, however, Dianne uses a audio screen reader to allow her to perform searches and retrieve the results. That's because seven years ago, a medical condition caused her to completely lose her sight overnight. Although it was a tremendous obstacle, being blind hasn't dampened Dianne's enthusiasm for cooking or collecting cookbooks, although it has changed how the cooking is done in her household.

During most of her 54-year marriage, Dianne did all of the cooking, but when she lost her sight, the cooking duties fell to her husband Alan. Like most experienced cooks, Dianne had developed her own sense of taste and had learned many tricks and shortcuts through years of experience, all of which she relayed to her husband when he began cooking. Alan would read the recipe to her, and she would tell him how it needed to be tweaked, or why he should use a different technique than the one described in the recipe. Under Dianne's tutelage, Alan has learned "to taste a recipe in his head," and has transformed from appreciative diner to competent cook. While he may do the cooking, Dianne retains the title of "Executive Chef," planning all of the meals.

Dianne still collects cookbooks even though she can no longer see the sumptuous photographs. She relies on Alan to describe the photos, and she forms a mental image through his description. Recent cookbooks that Dianne has enjoyed include Heritage by Sean Brock and Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. When she gets a new cookbook, Dianne uses Eat Your Books to scan through it without having to rely on someone reading it to her. The screen reader she uses, called JAWS (Job Access With Speech), provides speech output for popular computer applications. Dianne uses the arrow keys to navigate through the page. Dianne loves that she can use Eat Your Books to plan meals and get ingredient lists to compile a shopping list for her husband.

Although she's still using her cookbooks on a daily basis, Dianne has long-term plans for her collection. She is currently teaching her grandson (age 20) and granddaughter (age 25) how to cook, and she hopes that one day they will cherish the cookbooks as much as she does. In the meantime, Dianne and Alan continue to expand the collection, learning new recipes and updating older ones with the skills acquired over 50 years of cooking.

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