Celebrate National Bundt Day

Today is National Bundt Day (an offically-named celebration day here in Minnesota, birthplace of the Bundt). Invented in the late 1950s by Nordic Ware founder H. David (Dave) Dahlquist. According to the Nordic Ware website, Dave and his wife Dorothy (Dotty), created the Nordic Ware company in 1948. You can read more about the birth of the Bundt in Jenny's post from earlier this year.

bundt cake

Like many businesses, it was built on a shoestring and sheet determination. Nordic Ware's fledgling product line included mainly specialty Scandinavian ethnic cookware products-the Rosette iron, Krumkake iron, Platte Panne pan, and the Ebelskiver pan. The Bundt came along later, and floundered until 1966, when the "Tunnel of Fudge" cake, baked in a Bundt pan, was a winner in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. The rest is history - delicious and beautiful history.

Nordic Ware is offering a special deal on Bundt pans until 11:59 p.m. US Central Time - you can get a free cake mix or if you purchase two Bundt pans, you will get a free Bundt cookbook. You can find several books featuring bundt cakes and bundt cake recipes galore in the EYB Library, including these favorites:

I'm partial to the Bavaria Bundt pan shape shown above, but I also like the Heritage Bundt and the Crown Bundt. What's your favorite bundt shape?

Gift Guide for Cookbook Lovers, Cooks and Bakers 2018

The season of giving is upon us. All year, I've been making notes for this gift guide to share with you books and products that I have bought, reviewed and love. My various gift guides from years' past can be found at the links below.

Any cookbooks on my Fall Cookbooks preview post, I whole-heartedly recommend especially Israeli SoulEveryday Dorie, and Estela. These titles are must-have for cooks and bakers (I will not repeat all the titles here). Books featured in our EYBD Program are great ideas for cookbook lovers because they also share the added benefit of digital access to the titles through EYB for your gift recipient. The EYBD book page shares links to previews, promotions (including giveaways with products I love), events and more.

Gifts for the Baker

Rose Levy Beranbaum has designed a wonderful collection of baking products that work! I covered a few of these products in our promotion for her latest book. Since that post, I have used two of these items religiously in my kitchen:  Rose's Magic Non-Stick Rolling Pin and Rose's Magic Dough Pastry Mat. This rolling pin really does the job without having to add flour and is super easy to clean up. The same can be said for the mat. If you are a baker or you know a baker - one of these items with Rose's book is a great gift.  

The KitchenAid Scale + Sifter attachment (UK link); is another genius product from KitchenAid. I treated myself to this attachment and have been having a great time using it. Other KitchenAid products, I love include, of course, the stand mixer itself, the vegetable sheeter, the ice cream maker, pasta attachments, spiralizer (curly fries!), and the mixer attachment pack

Every baker needs a good scale, the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display (UK linkCA link) is the stand alone type I recommend. One of the things that has helped me the most in the kitchen since I've been baking several times a week is being organized. I cannot say enough about OXO's Good Grips 10-Piece Airtight Food Storage POP Container (UK link; CA link). I have a set of these as well as four of the 4 quart size (UK link; CA link) for flours, sugars and more.

Another OXO product I have been enjoying is the OXO jelly roll pan (UK link; CA link) that we are featuring in our promotion for Pie Squared, Cathy Barrow's latest (and a part of our EYBD program). Bake up a recipe from this fantastic book in an OXO pan, wrap up the book, and you have the perfect hostess gift this season. 

Give someone you love a subscription to Bake from Scratch - my favorite baking magazine. This gift will provide a year's worth of inspiration as do any of their books on baking, cakes or breads

Mauviel is one of my absolute favorite things in the world. Their copper mixing bowl and stand or their new individual souffles set my heart aflutter. Every girl wants something shiny under the tree, and this girl wants Mauviel. For your holiday cooking and roasting, the Mauviel roaster is perfect. Look for a promotion soon for one of these gorgeous copper roasters.

Other ideas for the baker: 

Cookbooks for the Baker from 2018:

For the cook who has almost everything:

The Instant Pot multicooker is sweeping the world but did you know they make a Sous Vide, an incredibly priced sous vide that works just as well as models twice the price. I've used this product several times with great results. (UK link; CA link)

The latest from Instant Pot is their 8 Qt Aura Pro Multi-Use Programmable Multicooker with Sous Vide. I hope to be able to bring you a promotion soon on one of Instant Pot's sous vide products and will be providing a full review of the Aura Pro. (CA link)

Cookbooks for the Sous Vide from 2018:

Of course, an Instant Pot® (7-in-1) multi-cooker (UK link; CA link) is the tool every busy cook needs. Their newest products include the 6 quart 10-in-1 (with more functions) and the 8 quart 7-in-1 which is perfect for bigger jobs. For dorm rooms and smaller needs, the 3 quart, 7-in-1 mini duo is adorable and a perfect fit. My review on the mini pot can be found here. When deals for these products are available, we will be sure to let our members know and, of course, our Black Friday post will be available soon. Keep checking our Facebook page for updates. Next week, we'll have a promotion available for two of Ivy Manning's books and one of Instant Pot's multicookers! 

In January, I did a summary of our favorite Instant Pot books. This year there has been an influx of new exciting titles which include: 

Le Creuset is and will always be my first love. Every serious cook needs a piece of Le Creuset. This pot will last a lifetime, will be a workhorse in your kitchen and look great on top of it all. Check out our current promotion to find more information about Le Creuset and enter our giveaway to win a gorgeous Indigo Dutch Oven with Kate McDermott's Home Cooking.  Right now I'm obsessing over the Tartan design available at Williams Sonoma and hoping Santa has me on his nice list (I need to figure out how to hack that list).

Staub cast iron cookware is another wonderful option for gift giving. Staub comes in a variety of sizes and colors and they have the most adorable knobs that are as addictive as the cookware.

The fishsnailroostercowrabbit and pig knobs are whimiscal and would be a welcomed gift for those who already have Le Creuset or Staub (they are interchangeable) or as a stocking stuffer if Santa already has a dutch oven under the tree. Check out our current promotion for The Staub Cookbook and skillet and enter our giveaway. I am now infatuated with Staub's special holiday pot pictured to the left - it screams holidays. The Staub wood trivet is another great stocking stuffer and keeps your hot pot perfectly planted with no slipping.

My new favorite cutlery is Shun. The Shun premier chef's knife is the knife. I love the feel, weight and precision of Shun cutlery. We will be having a promotion very soon for this stunning knife. 

Emile Henry stoneware looks great on your table and produces perfect results for all your baking needs. Look for a promotion soon for a covered loaf pan! One of my favorite pieces is their potato pot. This stoneware delivers potatoes that are crispy all over - shake the pot instead of flippin (this piece can also be used for bread).

Besides cookware or a good knife, the item in my kitchen that gets the most use is my Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker. I confess I only use the dough cycle on this machine but it is a lifesaver. I make a batch of bagels every week and many yeasted dough baked goods - and the dough cycle makes this portion of baking easy work. We will have a promotion for this beauty coupled with Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Sweet and Decadent Baking for Every Occasion

Cookbooks from 2018

Any cookbooks on my Fall Cookbooks preview post, I whole-heartedly recommend especially Israeli SoulEveryday Dorie, and Estela. These titles are must-have for cooks and bakers (I will not repeat all the titles here). Books featured in our EYBD Program are great ideas for cookbook lovers because they also share the added benefit of digital access to the titles through EYB for your gift recipient. The EYBD book page shares links to previews, promotions (including giveaways with products I love), events and more.

In addition, the following titles that would make any cookbook lover happy:

And of course, give the gift that keeps on giving a Gift Certificate to Eat Your Books. We are running a contest right now, buy a gift certificate and be entered to win one of three sets of five cookbooks from 2018. 

Also, please remember to link from EYB before making any purchase on Amazon.  We earn a small affiliate fee for every purchase made in the next 24 hours after you click through to the Amazon site from any 'Buy Book' link in the EYB Library. Our affiliate store links can be directly accessed here Amazon USAmazon CA  and Amazon UK  with the same result. Our home page also shares our affiliate links on the right sidebar.  Remember, the more income we make, the more books we can index!

How to eliminate Thanksgiving menu planning frustrations

I will be the first to admit that I am a terrible menu planner. Either I don't start the process early enough, or I amass too many possibilities and have difficulty narrowing down the list. I also forget to check whether the timing of the foods I have selected works - it's no good when you have to do last minute things to each and every dish. If you suffer from the same problems, I have found some resources to help us both with planning our Thanksgiving menus.

Thanksgiving table

Food52 has a nifty tool they call the Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker. You answer a few questions, like whether you want a traditional turkey, want to try a different technique, or what type of stuffing you prefer, and a selection of recipes 'magically' appears. Once you make your selections, you get a page that you can bookmark and return to later. To make it even better, set up a bookmark in EYB with the recipes (adding any via the Bookmarklet if they aren't already there), and you can also print a shopping list to really help you get ready. 

A few other sites feature similar planners, like The Kitchn's Thanksgiving-o-matic, although most sites have static menus arranged to browse through. Cook's Illustrated features several themed menus such as A Southern Thanksgiving and a Make Ahead Menu. Similarly, Food Network bring us a bevy of pre-planned menus, including some from stars like Bobby Flay and Ina Garten. If you are looking for menus geared to special diets, check out Country Living's website. There you'll discover gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian menus, plus 25 more from which to choose. Combined with EYB, these menu planners will have you set in no time. 

Photo of Glazed Thanksgiving turkey from Secrets from a Caterer's Kitchen by Nicole Aloni

Celebrate National Dessert Day

I have seen over a dozen posts on social media noting that today is National Dessert Day. I was not aware of this special date because with my sweet tooth, I celebrate it every day. Nonetheless, it's a great reason to fire up the oven and break out the mixer if you aren't a daily dessert maker. 

Since I am currently battling a terrible head cold, I am not going to pull out all the stops for a showpiece dessert today. Lucky for me, the EYB Library is brimming with easy yet decadent dessert recipes so I can still celebrate. If feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of baking is keeping you from making desserts, you should check out the over 6,200 quick and easy dessert recipes in the Library.

You'll find many one-bowl cakes, brownies, and cookies along with loads of recipes that have just a few ingredients. My favorite quick and easy dessert is posset - you can vary the flavors almost infinitely, yet it's dead simple. As a bonus it's a great make ahead recipe. 

chocolate mousse

If you are the impatient type, there are many recipes for instant gratification, including variations on the miracle microwave mug cake, or the almost as fast two-ingredient chocolate mousse pictured above. The two ingredients? Chocolate and water. It couldn't be easier, and it's ready to eat in a hour. Whip it up and tuck it away in the fridge while you make dinner; its decadence will be waiting for you when you're finished. 

Here is a small sample of other popular quick and easy desserts from the EYB Library:

Thanksgiving recipes are delicious throughout the fall season

Monday marks Canadian Thanksgiving, and the US holiday is right on its heels, landing on November 22. That means it is time to gather the family favorites as well as check out new items to try for this year's feast. Whether you are looking for last minute ideas before the big day or are a meticulous planner who likes to have lists ready well in advance, the EYB Library stands at the ready, with over 7,400 recipes for the holiday. 

butternut squash tart

Of course, you don't have to wait for a particular calendar date (or even live in the US or Canada) to try these delicious dishes. They are perfect any time during the fall season. Terrific turkeys, succulent sides, decadent desserts - we've got them all. You can search by ingredient or make ahead ability - great for when you have limited kitchen or oven space. 

Without further ado, here's a list of the top ten most talked-about Thanksgiving recipes in the EYB Library:

Nigel Slater reminisces about 'How to Eat'

Some cookbooks age much better than others. After a couple of decades, what's left of the 'unicorn food' books are going to littering vintage shops, with shoppers making snide comments about how silly people were back in the teens. Other volumes, however, have timeless appeal. When you are lucky enough to find a copy in the resale store, it will be well-used, with splatters telling the story of successful dinners and satisfied eaters. 

Nigella Lawson's How to Eat is one such book. Can you believe that it's been 20 years since this magnificent cookbook was released? And who better than Nigel Slater to reminisce about it? He reminds us of how different How to Eat was than almost all of the cookbooks the preceded it, and how it ushered in a new wave of cookery books. 

How to Eat

"It says everything that Delia wrote  How to Cook and Nigella  How to Eat. And that's the difference between this and most other cookbooks. This is about meals rather than recipes," Slater writes. Nigella makes us feel at home in her books, like we are sharing the kitchen with her. And even though it's more than just another collection of recipes, the recipes work. How to Eat is as practical as it is inspirational. It's truly a cookbook for the ages. 

Own a slice of history by buying...wedding cake?

chiffon cake

We learned several weeks ago that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose to break from the tradition of serving fruitcake at their wedding, opting instead for a lemon and elderflower cake made by baker and cookbook author Claire Ptak. The tradition has held for centuries, and as Atlas Obscura explains, some of that ancient cake is still in circulation

Dating back to at least 1840, when Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, guests of the royal wedding have received commemorative slices of wedding fruitcake to take home as souvenirs. Often the cake was accompanied by a card and encased in a decorative box or tin. According to  Carol Wilson  in her article Wedding Cake: A Slice of History, royal wedding-cake souvenirs were based on the 1800s tradition of sending slices of un-iced "groom's cake" home with guests.

The practice continued through Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials in 2011. The souvenirs have become collectors' items, fetching thousands of dollars at auction. A slice of cake from the wedding of Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor  sold for $29,900 in 1998. An upcoming auction will feature cakes that span nearly 40 years of ceremonies, from  the 1973 wedding cake of Princess Anne to the 2011 wedding of Prince William.

The cake for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle won't become a collector's item, as the cake will be more fragile than the traditional fruitcake with its preservative liquor soak. People will have to look elsewhere for souvenirs from this royal wedding. 

Photo of Mango buttercream chiffon cake from The Guardian Cook Supplement by Claire Ptak

Celebrate Pi(e) Day

Apple pie

March 14 (3.14 if you use the month-first convention found in the US) is the perfect day for bakers to celebrate both pi (the mathematical constant) and pie (the tasty food with endless variants both savory and sweet) because of the natural synergy between the two. Bakers use pi when scaling pie and cake recipes to determine the proper pan size, and of course bakers love to make pies, whether filled with fruit, custard, meat, or vegetables. Pie is universally appealing to everyone from carnivores to vegans, for those with a sweet tooth or not, and even to those on gluten-free diets.

Officially, Pie Day (in the US) is January 23, but that doesn't stop people from celebrating on March 14. Any excuse is good enough when it comes to pie. While the mathematical constant is, well, constant, the definition of pie is less formally defined; you can celebrate with tartsquiche, and pasties, too.

Use these sweet and savory pies from the EYB library as your inspiration for Pi Day:

Fried apple pies from Eat the Love by Irvin Lin
Dahlia triple coconut cream pie from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Bacon and egg pie from the Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein
Creamy onion, broccoli and mushroom pie with a ruff puff pastry crust from Belleau Kitchen by Dominic Franks
Seville orange meringue pie from The Guardian by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

What pi(e) you are making to celebrate?

Why chocolate is associated with Valentine's Day

 chocolate cookies

Valentine's Day has several items associated with it: red roses, an exchange of cards (often heart-shaped and trimmed with lace), romantic dinners, wine, and last but not least, chocolate. But why, and how, did chocolate become associated with the holiday? NPR's The Salt has the answer

We need to travel back several centuries to find the root of the idea. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Latin America, cacao already had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. The Aztec leader Moctezuma served mugs of cacao-based drink at a banquet where Cortez was a guest, and reports of the elixir's alleged properties as a sexual stimulant traveled back with cocoa to Europe. It wasn't long before chocolate was popular on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. 

That only provides part of the explanation of why it is associated with Valentine's Day. We have to fast forward a couple of centuries to the mid-1800s in England to see how that happened. Chocolate had only recently been transformed from a drink to a solid candy. A rivalry between two chocolate companies J.S. Fry & Sons and Cadbury cemented the relationship between chocolate and the romantic holiday. I think we all know which company came out on top in that rivalry, but you can learn how fancy packaging helped link chocolate and Valentine's day on the NPR website

Photo of Double-chocolate sandwich cookies from Food Network Magazine

A cake fit for a king

King cake

Fat Tuesday, the capstone of the Carnival season in New Orleans, is tomorrow. Because it is the last day before Lent begins, people often indulge before they begin their Lenten abstention. In New Orleans, that involves eating king cake. King cake is to Mardi Gras as  pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving: the holiday just wouldn't be the same without it.

Although it's called a cake, king cake is more like a sweet bread. Laced with cinnamon, the cake if often shaped like a braid or a crown. It's also frequently decorated with sugar tinted in the three colors associated with Mardi Gras: gold for power, green for faith, and purple for justice.

A tiny plastic baby is hidden in the cake. This tradition stems from the cake's religious origins, but today the concept is much more secular. If you are the lucky person who gets the baby in your piece of cake, you are named "King" for a day and are required by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake.

If you can't make it to New Orleans or if your local bakeries don't offer king cake, you can make it yourself. The EYB Library contains 27 recipes for king cake, including How to make a king cake for Mardi Gras from indexed blog The Kitchn, pictured above. 

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