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Kitchen re-thinks

I had a dinner party this weekend.  There were 10 of us (plus my teenage son), and we had a blast.  I barely cooked at all - just some dessert, a pork roast, and some grissini - because everybody brought something.  The best part was that several of us were cooking at once, and there was room.  My kitchen's on the when-husby-has-time, multi-year renovation plan, so it's not finished.  But I saw that by and large my kitchen wishes, the product of a long re-think, had come true.

Still, when books full of good kitchen ideas come out, I'm not immune to more re-thinking.  This week I saw two new books (they both happen to come from Clarkson Potter) that joggled my kitchen brain.  The first was Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand's The Kitchn Cookbook, a first cookbook from the popular blog spinoff of Apartment Therapy.  The recipes are fine, but what interested me was the front part of the book: peeking in other people's kitchens, a 30-day "constantly clean" kitchen chart - which I'll never do, but it's fun to dream about.

The second book is Eugenia Bone's The Kitchen Ecosystem, which is full of linked recipes that show you how to use every bit of an ingredient you've got way too much of. It's got intriguing charts - I do love a chart! - showing how you use some of the ingredient fresh, how you preserve some for later,and how you use up the scraps.  Again, I don't think I see myself re-thinking the way I cook from top to bottom.  But it's a resource, and sometimes even little shifts in the way you approach your kitchen prep can make big differences in the long run.

 What makes you shake up your kitchen or kitchen routine?  A thought-provoking blog post?  An almost-magical appliance?  Sheer necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention?

Me & My Cookbooks - Yotam Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi - Plenty More

It would be an understatment to say that Yotam Ottolenghi is a popular cookbook author. His vegetarian cookbook Plenty  graces more EYB member Bookshelves than any other single book in the EYB Library. And there is great excitement amongst EYB members at his newest book Plenty More, published this month in the UK and Australia and in October in the USA. The combinations of flavor, texture, and color in his recipes inspire countless home cooks. But have you ever wondered which cookbooks inspire him? Now you can find out via an interview with Ottolenghi on The Happy Foodie website.

You might be curious to know which cookbook started Ottolenghi on his culinary journey. He says it was The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden, and reminisces that this "was the book that got me out of the library and into the kitchen (and made me realise that you could stay somewhere in between the two for ever)." When asked which cookbook has really changed the way he cooks, he provided a response to which many EYB members can relate: it changes all the time. "Paula Wolfert's The Food Of Morocco made me want to either move to North Africa or, more practically, focus on learning much more about North African cuisine; Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day made me want to live a sepia-tinged life shopping, cooking and eating in San Francisco." Ottolenghi's current inspirations include Morito by Sam & Sam Clark, The Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij, and Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.

Find out more details about Ottolenghi's favorites, including which authors he turns to for technique, which of his father's cookbooks he would like to inherit, and whether he scribbles in the margins of his books, at The Happy Foodie. There you can also enjoy recipes from Plenty More, including Meringue roulade with rose petals and fresh raspberries. And don't forget to visit the cookbook events calendar to view the dates and locations for the Plenty More book tour.

Cookbook store profile - Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks

Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks

In the late 1990s, Barbara-Jo McIntosh envisioned an epicurean's delight, where food lovers and cooks of all abilities would find inspiration. She opened Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1997. 

Author of the bestselling Tin Fish Gourmet, Barbara-Jo served on the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards cookbook selection committee for six years.  In 2003, Vancouver Magazine honoured her with a lifetime achievement award for her many contributions to the local culinary scene.

Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks welcomes you to browse the shelves and enjoy the warm and inviting atmosphere. The shop has a full kitchen which is used to demonstrate recipes from new and notable cookbooks. Cooking classes are conducted right in the shop, and guest chefs and cookbook authors often stop by to share their culinary expertise. We recently caught up to Barbara-jo and asked her what makes her shop successful:

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

Our customers enjoy supporting us, understanding that saving a few dollars does not necessarily translate into a happy experience. We focus on giving our customers what they are looking for, either a streamlined experience with expert recommendations, or time to enjoy the ambience of the shop, making their own discoveries.

Why do the customers in your store prefer to come to Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks rather than big general bookstores or online shopping?

We love them and they feel the love when they walk through the door.  We are truly a part of the local community.

Do you specialize in any particular areas of cookbooks?

Our library is dedicated to the culinary arts.  You find everything you want to know about recipes from around the globe, allergies, specific diets, how to raise chickens, keep bees, butcher a pig, grow vegetables, make and drink wine, and preserve the harvest.

We have the events at your store listed on our new cookbook events calendar.  What different types of events do you do?

We feature many types of activities including book signings, demonstration events, dinner events around the books with traveling authors and local chefs, reading club, and technique classes.

What currently are the big sellers at Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks?

All of Yotam Ottolenghi's books, Change of Appetite by Diana Henry, and The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon.

Do you import many books from overseas?

Yes; some examples include Quay by Peter Gilmore, Charcuterie by Jane Grigson, Essential Cuisine by Michel Bras, Early issues of Art Culinaire (found in Europe), Tripe by Stéphane Reynaud, and Green Pickled Peaches by Chui Lee Luk.

Canadian cookbooks are generally not so well known outside the country.  Which books would you like EYB members to take a look at?

The Sobo Cookbook by Lisa Ahier and Andrew Morrison, Tin Fish Gourmet, The Boreal Feast - A Culinary Journey Through the North, and Desserts from my Kitchen by Lesley Stowe.

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

Our professional chef customers are interested in Sat Bains, Seaweed Kitchen, Nature's Table, Coi, and The Flavor Bible.

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

Unusual techniques and ideas inspire me.  My favourite book of all time?  La Cuisine by Raymond Oliver because my mom gave it to me when I left home.

Complete Diana Henry recipe index

Diana Henry

Attention Diana Henry fans - we're excited to announce that we've just completed indexing all of her recipes, 2,851 in total! This includes all of Diana's cookbooks from Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons to A Change of Appetite, every recipe in her Sunday Telegraph columns, every magazine recipe, and recipes found on her website. The Sunday Telegraph recipes are indexed as a blog that can be added to your Bookshelf. (Please note that the Sunday Telegraph only allows you to view 20 articles a month for free. To get more articles you must subscribe; it's £1.99 per month for unlimited web and phone access.)

Diana's cookbooks are popular with EYB members, and it's no wonder. Her first book, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, was shortlisted for a Glenfiddich Award for best cookbook. Her sixth book, Food From Plenty, was shortlisted for both the André Simon Award and the Guild of Food Writers Award for Cookbook of the Year. Her seventh book, Salt Sugar Smoke, was shortlisted for the Fortnum & Mason Award and The Guild of Food Writers Award for Cookbook of the Year. Fortnum & Mason named her Food Writer of the Year in 2013 and the Guild of Food Writers have named her Cookery Journalist of the Year twice.

If you're new to Diana's recipes and want to learn more, you can visit the EYB Forum, where several members have been cooking along with Diana Henry recipes. Many recipes also feature notes from those who've tried them. You can also read an excerpt from Diana's blog about the process involved in creating the cookbook - a must read for anyone who loves cookbooks.

Diana joins Mark BittmanRose Levy Beranbaum and Clotilde Dusoulier in having a complete recipe index on EYB.

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:

Apple Flan Tartlets from indexed Sweet Paul Magazine 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins from My Baking Addiction, added with the Bookmarklet

5 pesto recipes from the October issue of indexed BBC Good Food Magazine

From UK books:

3 recipes from The Gastropub Cookbook: Another Helping by Diana Henry

From AUS/NZ books:

9 recipes from Delicious: Indulge by Valli Little

From US books:

6 recipes from Mexican Flavors: Contemporary Recipes from Camp San Miguel 
by Hugh Carpenter
Enter our giveaway (Ends Sept. 23rd)

13 recipes from Poulet: More Than 50 Remarkable Meals That Exalt the Honest Chicken by Cree LeFavour, indexed by an EYB member

28 recipes from Mother's Best: Comfort Food That Takes You Home Again
by Lisa Schroeder & Danielle Centoni


Embrace the ebb and flow of seasons with Annabel Langbein

Annabel LangbeinPopular author Annabel Langbein follows the rhythms of her New Zealand garden in her latest cookbook, Through the Seasons. (EYB members in Australia and New Zealand can enter our contest for a chance to win one of three copies of the book.) She celebrates the timeless cycle of growing, harvesting, cooking, and sharing food by highlighting fresh ingredients from every season in simple, delicious recipes. We asked Annabel to discuss her cookbook and its companion television series, and to describe her food philosophy.


This is your 21st cookbook. What's new and different about this book?

This book follows the rhythm of the seasons in my garden, and is a partner to my third TV series of the same name (screening 7pm Saturday nights on TV One). Being my 21st book, it felt like a coming of age when I was making it. I put layers and layers into it, drawing on all the knowledge I have about plants and gardening as well as my interest in sustainability, then transferring that to the plate. The recipes are fresh and seasonal and draw on influences from my travels all over the globe with a mix of Mediterranean and Asian flavours. Also, subconsciously I ended up making a lot of vegetarian food. The book mirrors the way we eat at home and I think it's just the way we eat now - it's much lighter.

Why did you decide to theme this book "Through the Seasons"?

Living in Wanaka there is such a dramatic sense of seasonality - but though the winters are cold and bare there is still an amazing amount to eat in the garden. Being there and seeing the ebb and flow of seasons makes you far more aware of how things grow and what is ready when, and I wanted to show people how to work with that, and help people to cook more resourcefully and more sustainably.

What's your food philosophy?

For me it is about the way food connects us to nature and the environment, to our own and other cultures and the world around us, to family and friends as well as to our own creativity. In my own life I have found that cooking is a way to feel grounded, and bringing people together around the table is such a great way to have fun and create a sense of belonging.

What is it about your recipes that makes people so passionate about your books?

I want people to have a great experience when they cook with me, so they can discover how easy it is to have fun in the kitchen and feel empowered, rather than being daunted or finding it a chore. So I spend a lot of time thinking how to make the process easier, and more straightforward, working out any pitfalls as well as shortcuts with the aim of making recipes that taste really good and are usually pretty healthy, but are a snap to put together.

What are your favourite recipes in this book?

They are all favourites, and things I love to make - whether something humble and honest and so inexpensive like the bulgur and lentil kofte, or the freshest tuna nicose salad, or a buttery, crisp honey mille-feuille packed with blueberries, it's food that works for all sorts of different occasions as well as different seasons. Throughout the book I have included "Through the Seasons" recipes, with suggestions for substitutions depending on the season. They're a really useful toolkit of recipes that you can make with whatever fresh produce you have at hand.

You have sold more than two million books, won numerous international awards and produced and starred in your own television show. What has been your proudest moment?

There have been lots of exciting moments, but I think one of the highlights would have to be getting a letter from some refugees to tell me that they had been so inspired by the show that they were making gardens and cooking the food in the refugee camp. Being useful, relevant and helping to create change - these are things that make my spirit soar.

This new book is accompanied by a 13-part TV series. How is the process of making TV different from making a book?

We shoot hours and hours of TV to get to 22 minutes of a finished programme - it's so layered and there are so many things to consider, especially the light. When you make a recipe for a book, you think about it, write it down, get the ingredients and then run it though its paces in the kitchen to get down to a formula that is easy to follow and hopefully bulletproof. Take it onto the screen and you need to shoot it from different angles and show the different stages from different angles and make sure that you don't have a greasy mark on your shirt. There are so many people all doing different jobs - sound, light, camera... But it's such fun!

What made you decide to write cookery books? 

My mother was a home sciences graduate, so some of my earliest memories are of perching on a stool in the kitchen, watching her cook and waiting to be given the beater to lick. I was a bit of a hippy in my youth. I left home at 16 and spent at few years living off the land, cooking over an open fire, trapping possums in the Ureweras and jumping out of helicopters to recover live deer. And all the time I was cooking from the Julia Child recipe book my mother had given me when I was 14.
In my 20s I realised food was where I wanted to build my future but I wasn't sure where to start, so I wrote to Julia Child, asking for advice. When she wrote back I sold up the film catering business I had established and headed for New York to study culinary anthropology and nutrition. It got me thinking about how food is a constant thread that brings people together and wondering how I could share my skills and knowledge to empower others. I began my writing career with a fortnightly food column in a national magazine, then decided to create a book of some of my columns. Instead of taking the project to an established publisher, I designed, edited, published and distributed it myself, leading to the creation of my multi-media company Annabel Langbein Media. Twenty-one books later, the rest is history!

How can people find out more?

To find out about my book and TV series visit my website or follow me on Facebook. To see videos from the series subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

Cookbook Giveaway - Through the Seasons

Through the Seasons is Annabel Langbein's 21st cookbook and features recipes inspired by her New Zealand garden's ebb and flow throughout the year. You can read our author interview with Annabel where she discusses the cookbook as well as her food philosophy.

We're delighted to offer 3 copies of Through the Seasons to EYB members in Australia and New Zealand only. Enter by clicking on the contest below. Please note that while one of the entry options is to answer a question in the comments, you must enter through Rafflecopter or your entries won't be counted. The contest ends October 17, 2014.


Alta Editions Kickstarter features a "pioneering digital cookbook"

Alta Editions

Alta Editions, publisher of award-winning digital cookbooks like Laurent Gras: My Provence and The Journey, was launched a couple years back as a project inside a large mobile content company. Earlier this year, the team that started Alta purchased the business from the parent company. This independence, while fostering continued innovation in digital cookbooks, comes with a catch: fewer resources available for publishing. So Alta is turning to Kickstarter to fund its latest project called Unconventional, the next release in the Cooking Series.

Unconventional will feature "delicious recipes and stories from rising star chefs" including Jesse Schenker, Jehangir Mehta, and Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine. Veteran food photographer Evan Sung will be shooting all photos including step-by-step photos and short videos. Unlike other e-cookbooks, all of Alta's cookbooks are available online so you don't need any specific reading device or app - you can log in from your phone, tablet, or computer. Alta also promises plenty of helpful tips, instructional videos, shopping lists, and other interactive features.

Most of the cookbook development, such as recipe testing and editing, is complete, but funds are still needed to complete the photo shoot and for final design and production work. Some of the backing options include one-year and  lifetime subscriptions to the Alta Editions Cooking Series. If you're interested in backing this project, you need to act quickly - the campaign ends on October 3.

Alta believes "innovation is critical for the future of cookbooks in a world where bookstores are slowly disappearing and where the majority of cooks look to Google and online recipe databases for inspiration." They hope to create better online content by "combining the quality of traditional cookbooks (i.e. professionally-tested and edited recipes, top notch photography and quality writing) with the convenience, interactivity and the social capabilities of the web." You can learn more about My Provence and other Alta Editions books in our publisher profile.

Stamp of approval

James Beard stamp

The U.S. Postal Service is honoring five influential chefs in a new series of postage stamps. The Celebrity Chefs series recognizes icons like teacher and author James Beard, whose stamp is now available for pre-order (it will be officially released September 26). According to the U.S.P.S. website, these chefs "invited us to feast on regional and international flavors and were early but ardent champions of trends that many foodies now take for granted. As they shared their know-how, they encouraged us to undertake our own culinary adventures."

The stamps feature illustrations designed by Greg Breeding in a style meant to resemble oil paintings. Jason Seiler created the art for the James Beard. The design of the selvage represents "a white china plate resting on a fine linen tablecloth."

Although the U.S.P.S. website is mum about the other four chefs in the series, Eater reports that they are "Chinese food champion Joyce Chen, legendary cookbook author Julia Child, Southern cooking ambassador Edna Lewis, and South American chef Felipe Rojas-Lombardi." The Postal Service is on a food-themed roll,  as they released a series of farmers' market stamps in August.

What do you think about the Postal Service's choices? Who else would you like to see honored on a stamp?

Behind the scenes with a cookbook editor


Have you ever come across a cookbook that made you think "wow, someone was brave to take a chance on this book"? Then you'll love reading about cookbook editor Rux Martin of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She specializes in cookbooks, narrative nonfiction on food, and diet books, and has worked with storied authors like Dorie Greenspan, Mollie Katzen, Jacques Pépin, and Ruth Reichl. Martin has edited several best-selling cookbooks including Hello, Cupcake! and Around My French Table  as well as quirky tomes like The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert. Food writer Dianne Jacob provides an enlightening interview with Martin, where she dishes about about the cookbook market and trends, the importance of great photography, and how food blogging has changed the industry.

In addition to discussing trends in cookbooks (one of which is eclectic artwork), Martin provides advice for would-be authors. Prospective authors should realize that "there is a hugely shrinking space at all of the major retailers, that independent booksellers are still going out of business, that more cookbooks are being sold every day, and that in big box stores, they give less and less space to cookbooks." This means fierce competition as publishers fight over shrinking shelf space in bookstores.

When asked about what was new in the realm of recipe writing, Martin responded with an interesting perspective: "The world of the bloggers has perhaps resulted in more borrowing of recipes. In the past they would be considered stolen. You're supposed to be doing genuinely original work, giving full attribution as to how your recipe came into being. If you used a crust from so and so and a filling from so and so and put them together, and you say so, that's honest."

Read the full article to find out more, including how food bloggers have changed the cookbook industry.

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